RSNO Søndergård Conducts The Nutcracker – Usher Hall

The Usher Hall was filled with festive magic last Friday night as the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, accompanied by their Junior Chorus, presented a concert to transport you to a sparkling Christmas in Moscow.

Beginning with Prokofiev’s cheerful Winter Bonfire, followed by Tchaikovsky’s Variations on a Rococo Theme, the Orchestra brought life and warmth to the music. The cello solo in the latter piece was played with astonishing ease and heart-warming happiness by RSNO Artist in Residence Johannes Moser, who shared smiles with conductor Thomas Søndergård and his fellow musicians at moments of particular beauty though the piece. 

The spaciousness of Usher Hall and the welcoming nature of Søndergård’s asides allowed for an atmosphere of gentle, festive ease not often associated with classical concerts. The grand circle is also perfect for people-watching and Christmas-jumper-spotting!

After an interval for merlot and ice cream, we settled down to indulge in the joy of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker. There is something so special about hearing familiar music played live, and it is such a treat to witness the talent of fellow human beings. The Nutcracker can never get old. The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy elicited a universal smile from the audience and the Finale Waltz a universal grin.

Cheerful Søndergård and his shiny shoes bobbed with the music and his orchestra seemed to love their concert as much as we did. The forty-five minutes of The Nutcracker flew by throughout which the children of the RSNO Junior Chorus sat, bejewelled in tinsel, patiently awaiting their cue. It was a shame that their moment of glory lasted but three minutes, as it would have been lovely to hear more of their angelic voices. They did a wonderful job nonetheless. 

It was an evening of timeless Christmas joy, exquisite music played with artistry and delight. 

PHOTOS: Usher Hall

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Laura Hounsell

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