To celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Dundee Symphony Orchestra it was right that this venerable and vital institution had invited along as beneficiary Big Noise Douglas to play from the stage of the Caird Hall at the start of their concert.
With a twirl of the cellos and to huge applause they played, vocalized and gyrated through Hoe Down and Persian Song by Stanley Fletcher and Mission Mars by Joelle Broad. The whole concert ably compered by Susan Scott Rae.
The Caird Hall was well and enthusiastically filled for the Dundee Symphony Orchestra under conductor Robert Dick in their Winter Concert, which started with an affectionate performance of Humperdinck’s Overture Hansel and Gretel. Using tunes from the opera, it built from the Evening Hymn to a glorious climax.
A substantial Suite from Tchaikovsky’s Ballet Sleeping Beauty followed: from the urgent Introduction, through the characterful woodwind of the Lilac Fairy, the grand Adagio, the colourfully descriptive Puss-in-Boots, to the famous Panorama, done full justice, and finally the well-known, vertiginous Waltz.
Described as a big sister to all in Sistema Scotland, the DSO’s patron and soloist in Bruch’s Violin Concerto was Nicola Benedetti. Against the rich orchestral background Nicola Benedetti displayed warmth and ability to soar – just right for this most Romantic of concertos. Heart and spirit flowed through the gorgeous tunes of the Adagio and the virtuoso finale sparkled with grand full tone. At the end Nicola Benedetti spoke of the beautiful atmosphere of having Big Noise Douglas and the DSO together.
After the Interval the DSO under Robert Dick gave a performance of Elgar’s “Enigma” Variations where the orchestra shone collectively and individually. The nobility of the Nimrod towered, well contrasted with the delicate Dorabella. With both panache and thoughtfulness Elgar’s own variation had the giant contribution of the Caird Hall organ in the exciting, final climax.