Presented by the charming Jamie MacDougall, this evening of festive favourites is a treat for the family, and perfect for starting off your Christmas celebrations at the end of a long working year.
The orchestra, conducted by the energetic and precise Matthew Hamilton, entertain the audience with enchanting renditions of old favourite tunes, such as the Twelve Days of Christmas (audience participation required), accompanied by a fantastic choir who give an extra touch of warmth to the instrumental soundtracks on stage. The transitions between the music are well done, as there are various shifts in tone and style, and overall manage to keep the night well balanced between more commercially entertaining songs, such as White Christmas, and respectful traditional carols like O Holy Night. Throughout the night kids were dancing in the aisles, and parents alike were full of applause.
The main attraction of the night is the performance of The Snowman, the classic hand-drawn animated short film based on the book by Raymond Briggs. The film is projected for the audience to watch while the orchestra play and MacDougall narrates alongside it. The score is undeniably brilliant, equally quaintly nostalgic and haunting, and a special performance by Tom Marland for the iconic Walking in the Air is especially great. However, while MacDougall’s narration is well performed, I think that the music and the film alone communicate the story with more power, and that the narration overshadows the star of the night: the music itself.
Overall, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra created a night of joy and goodwill to all, guaranteed to warm chestnuts by the fire and grinches alike.