Classical review: BBC SSO: Matthias Pintscher, Glasgow ****

Matthias Pintscher
The Scotsman

By Ken Walton

When the single most familiar composer on the programme is Pierre Boulez – who celebrates his 90th birthday this month – you know you are in uncharted musical territory. The rest of Saturday’s Hear and Now programme by the BBC SSO, under the ever-explorative Matthais Pintscher, introduced intriguingly obscure names: Serbian Marko Nikodijevic, Slovenian Vito Žuraj and German Manfred Trojahn.

It was one of the most refreshing contemporary orchestral programmes in a long time. The range and diversity of the music, elements of wit, profundity and unflinching individuality, combined to make the evening a refreshing experience all round.

Pintscher opened with Nikodijevic’s Cvetic, Kucica, a work of often frustratingly low-key dynamics, but sustained by its beautifully defined undulating textures. Trojahn’s Herbstmusik was a robust, hi-definition response, its inspiration drawn from Sibelius’ Fifth Symphony, but driven by its own explosive energy and ideas.

Žuraj’s horn concerto Hawk-eye was both a circus act for soloist Saar Berger and a wonderful piece of light entertainment in an uncompromising contemporary style. It unleashed sounds from the horn no-one ever thought existed. They do now.

Read the full review here.