Archive for January 8th, 2008

We went to hear a concert by NYOS in Perth Concert Hall.   This is Scotland’s Youth Orchestra, and the players really do come from all over Scotland.   They normally play in Glasgow and Edinburgh, but as the Usher Hall is being refurbished just now, Perth is a substitute for the Edinburgh dates.     They must have had a busy Christmas and New Year preparing for this concert.

Howard Williams conducted the large (over 120 players) orchestra through Walton’s Portsmouth Point, Thomas Wilson’s Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.     These are serious and ambitious pieces and the orchestra pulled them all off in some style.

The Violin Concerto was specially commissioned for NYOS 15 years ago, and though modern was very accessible.    Kurt Nikkanen was a very able soloist, and he was accompanied with feeling through the linked movements.

I had not heard the Rachmaninov before, which was a colossal and spectacular work really challenging the wind section in particular.    They rose to the occasion though, and took a deserved extra bow at the end.

I am looking forward to more concerts by NYOS in Perth.  

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It always amazes me how actors can keep Christmas shows fresh after Christmas, and more especially, after New Year.   Jack and the Beanstalk at Dundee Rep was still in pretty good shape on the 3rd January, and we really enjoyed the show.

It is great fun to see actors who perform grown-up (sometimes very grown-up) plays the rest of the year appearing as fairy-tale characters.   The theatre put serious resources into creating the show, with impressive sets, and original music specially commissioned – and played live.    The audience of children and rather bigger children went home very happy.

And I really can’t let this performance go without mentioning the family in front of us who arrived with a big Tesco bag of food.     They picked a quiet moment in the first half to rummage about noisily for goodies.     In the interval, china plates and cake were produced.   The show only ran for roughly 50 minutes – interval – 50 minutes ….. so why?      I can understand big interval meals for Wagner Operas, where you get big intervals to eat them, but cannot get this at all.   

And after years of looking for somewhere good to eat in Dundee, we found a delightful restaurant called Andre’s where the food was delicious and reasonably priced.

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