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Making the most of my last month in Glasgow

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Approaching the end of my MMus, and with a move away from Glasgow (to Newcastle) forecast for January, I’ve been keeping my eyes out for jobs. I applied to two on the last day of September, and was offered one (the one I wanted) on the 13 October. This is a huge change in lifestyle, which I may write more on at another point. But more specifically, my remaining time in Glasgow has been cut short and I am due to start my new job in the North East on 14 November.

Without realising it, I’ve made the most of my very last full month in Glasgow by attending concerts from our national music companies. It certainly frames my time in Glasgow well (when I was new here I attended everything I could), but it really reminded me just how lucky we are with our musical culture in Scotland.

On 2 October I attended the BBC SSO with their new Chief Conductor, Thomas Dausgaard, at City Halls for an extraordinary and rare concert: Beethoven’s 1808 Academy Concert. This was a five hour extravaganza featuring Symphony No. 6, Op. 68; Ah! Perfido, Op. 65 (a concert aria); the Gloria from the Mass in C, Op. 86; Piano Concerto No. 4, Op. 58; Symphony No. 5, Op. 67; Sanctus and Benedictus from the Mass; Fantasia in G minor for solo piano, Op. 77; Chorale Fantasy, Op. 80.

On 7 October, I saw Scottish Chamber Orchestra and Robin Ticciati play Mozart’s last three symphonies (Nos 39-41: E-flat major, K.543; G minor, K.550; C major, K.551 ‘Jupiter’) all in the one go.

Then on 18 October, I went to see Scottish Opera’s re-staging of their 2010 production of Le nozze di Figaro directed by Thomas Allen. It was my first visit to the Theatre Royal on Hope Street since its overhaul, and I was particularly impressed.

Finally, on the 21st I heard the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (this one at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh, though they performed the same programme the following night in Glasgow!). They were performing Mahler’s Blumine and What the Wild Flowers Tell Me from Symphony No. 3 (arranged by Britten), Sibelius’ Violin Concerto with Janine Jansen, and Beethoven’s Seventh.

I don’t really feel able to go into a full review of them all. However, each evening was just pure magic. A personal highlight was Scottish Opera’s Figaro. This particular company have had such a varied track record recently, but this was first rate Mozart. A work I know so well, having seen it numerous times, conducted it, written a MMus thesis on it. I was so inspired by the endurance of the story and the way it was told. Thomas Allen’s directing was spot on, with plenty of comedy, but also leaving one or two plot strings open for the observer to ponder in their own time. The cast were great, and the orchestra were truly brilliant under Tobias Ringborg. One can easily expect another production of Figaro to just come and go – but I was truly surprised and impressed with this one.

Another highlight was SCO’s Mozart evening. Ticciati has long been established as a great Mozartian conductor. His decision to have natural brass, baroque timpani and gut strings (with modern winds?!) was inspired. Every nuance was spot on. It was breathtakingly wonderful.

The RSNO have never been a regular thing for me. But this was also special because I got to hear my younger brother, and attend the concert with my Mum, brother and nephew. 

Glasgow – I’ll miss you. 

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