Music critic: RSNO & Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium

Patricia Kopatchinskaja

RSNO & Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall New Auditorium ****

Far from the overwhelming diplomacy of the SECC, Moldovan violinist Patricia Kopatchinskaja had a chilling, sincere and direct musical message to deliver as part of the cultural program surrounding COP26: an almost theatrical presentation Dies Irae, in which she appeared alongside musicians from the RSNO. and Royal Conservatory of Scotland.

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It was, as the title suggests, anything but an hour of sweet music. From Giacinto Scelsi’s sterile electronic Okanagon landscape emerged the dark and explosive entry of a choppy baroque ensemble Kopatchinskaja and RSNO in Biber’s famous pugilistic Battalia, each eccentric movement giving way to a more contemporary surrealist movement. of George Crumb’s anti-Vietnam. War Quartet, Black Angels. It was clear, even at this point, that comfort zone extraction applied to audiences as well as musicians.

Then from behind the scenes, a moment that seemed to calm the visual and sonorous cacophony that precedes, the RCS Vocal Ensemble, under the direction of Tim Dean, in the desperate motet of Lotti Crucifixus; but only momentarily, giving way to a raucous and deliberately irritating invasion of RCS trombonists, and a strangely moving improvisation that led the way, via John Dowland’s quieter territory, to Galina Ustwolskaja’s Komposition No 2: Dies Irae.

Written under the former Soviet regime, this saturated work from the 1970s was presented as a spellbinding procession and meditation on The Last Judgment, performed by eight double basses (mainly RCS) and a coffin-shaped box on the front of the stage, that Kopatchinskaja struck menacingly with hammers and finally deafening force.

But that was not the last word. This played out against the haunting intonation of Dies Irae’s traditional plainsong, the treatment of cast iron with torches and ticking metronomes that gradually died out to the point where a wrapped Kopatchinskaja was the only carrier remaining. Light off, metronome cut, remark made.

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