RSNO : Magic & Monsters


Classical review • Carol Main


Usher Hall, Edinburgh

AT A time when the search is on to identify new audiences for classical music, does it matter whether the children at the RSNO’s Magic and Monsters concert eventually metamorphose into grown-up enthusiasts? For now, they are simply having fun.

Skilfully presented by Christopher Bell and Children’s Classic Concerts, Sunday afternoon’s performance produced cheering, whistling and stamping of feet. Magic was conjured up from Dukas’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice (in its jaunty Disney makeover), and the hall’s very own monster took a starring role in the big-tune bits from Saint-Saëns’s Organ Symphony.

There was also an opportunity for the young audience to sample some of the best music being written now, alongside the familiar favourites. Howard Shore’s The Lord of the Rings was a popular choice, but more satisfying by far was Savourna Stevenson’s Misterstourworm and the Kelpie’s Gift, vividly narrated in its premiere performance by Billy Boyd, the Hobbit star of the aforementioned film.

Stevenson’s first score for a full orchestra is a mixture of Greek legend, Scottish myth and Orcadian folklore, conveyed with instrumental storytelling that has a special, intuitive magic all of its own.

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