Maxim Emelyanychev, principal conductor of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, has two reasons to be cheerful.
Firstly, he has extended his contract with the orchestra through to 2028. Secondly, he has recently presided over a successful tour of Scotland to mark the SCO’s 50th anniversary season, a tour which culminates in Aberdeen’s Music Hall on October 7.
“I’m delighted to be extending my commitment to this wonderful group of musicians with whom I have shared such incredible musical experiences since our partnership began,” he says. “I’m very excited about the season ahead which celebrates the orchestra’s anniversary by showing what we do best – creating life-changing musical experiences for our audiences.”
The audiences in the tour – which has taken in venues including Perth, Ayr and Craigmillar – have in turn been excited by the programme the SCO has provided, and the Aberdeen audience can expect equal enjoyment.
The programme is fronted by Beethoven’s marvellous Eroica symphony and supplemented by what could be described as the unusual – Max Bruch’s concerto for clarinet and viola – and the unknown – The Origin of Colour, a world premier written by the young Scots composer Jay Capperauld, and commissioned by the SCO.
A symphony that needs little introduction
To lead with the Eroica is enough of an attraction in itself, but if you like the unusual pairing of clarinet and viola and fancy a trip into the unfamiliar world of contemporary music, then the other works will more than compliment the symphony.
Bruch wrote the concerto for his son Max Felix, a clarinettist, and was first performed in 1912. Saturday’s performance will feature SCO principal clarinet Maximiliano Martin and principal viola Max Mandel. With conductor and the two soloists – not to mention the composer and his son – rejoicing in the name “Max”, there’s an interesting but not intentional link.
It’s refreshing to see soloists emerging from the orchestra’s ranks. Many will have witnessed them in the general sense, in the core of SCO performances, but to hear Maximiliano and Max in a solo capacity will be an un-doubted treat.
To seasoned classical music fans, Beethoven’s third symphony needs little introduction. To those unfamiliar with this magnificent work, be prepared for 50 minutes or so of a composer at the peak of his imaginative powers. It was originally dedicated to Napoleon, Beethoven’s ideal as a man of the people. However, as the French emperor became more and more self-orientated, the composer scrubbed his name from the work’s opening page.
‘A huge honour’
Whatever the personal reasons behind the naming of the symphony, I feel that it is the best of all the nine symphonies Beethoven wrote – although it’s a mighty close call bearing in mind the opposition involved. However, if you want a world-class performance from a world-class ensemble, I can assure that you’ll get that on Saturday night.
Then to the afore-mentioned Origin of Colour, quite an exciting prospect from an exciting young composer, who is relishing his role as SCO Associate Composer.
“It is a huge honour to be appointed to this position,” says Jay. “It sees me fully embedded in all aspects of the orchestra’s activities over the coming years. This vital support and championship of my music is incredibly important at this stage in my career as it provides me with a platform to develop my repertoire for the orchestra.”
‘Excited and energised’
The Origin of Colour takes its inspiration from a short story in Italo Calvino’s Cosmicomics series Without Colours, which tells a surrealist tale of the creation of colour on Earth.
“My intention is to capture Calvino’s story in a musical journey that maps the creation of colour on Earth from the hollow, translucent landscape described by him to a kaleidoscopica and vibrant world which is beautiful and terrifying in equal measure,” he continues.
“I am always excited and energised by the prospect of my music being performed and those feelings are especially heightened when that performance is a world premiere. I love the process of rehearsing with orchestras in the lead up to a premiere, to work with the musicians to realise the ideas that I am trying to express in my music.
“The sense of anticipation that builds when we are about to share a new piece with audiences in a live setting is totally thrilling!”
Maxim’s Eroica. Aberdeen Music Hall, Saturday October 7, 7.30pm. Tickets are available online at aberdeenperformingarts.com or by phoning 01224 641122.