Jonathan Morton handed over the reins to guest director Anthony Marwood for the final set of concerts in the 2010/11 series from the Scottish Ensemble. Marwood was also the soloist for the UK premiere of Schuman's Cello Concerto arranged for violin by Orlando Jopling. It was interesting to see how differently the group responded to a different leader.

© Scottish Ensemble
© Scottish Ensemble

To start, we heard a youthful Mendelssohn's String Symphony 13 with some colourful and expressive playing. This was followed by Morton Gould's String Music. Composed for Rostropovich's last season with the National Symphony in Washington, this piece won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995, and as Anthony Marwood explained, is full of stuff Rostropovich would have liked, including a Tango, one of five small movements. Even the Dirge was compelling with it's double bass beginnings. The finale, Strum, was almost a hoe-down, and the Ensemble were enjoying themselves.

The meat of the evening was the Schumann with Anthony Marwood putting in a thrilling virtuosic performance, well matched by the slightly augmented Ensemble. It must have sounded so different from the original written for cello and orchestra. In programming terms, this was a great piece to round off the evening, but the concert felt light and we were home a bit too early.

However, those who attended a pre-concert audience forum were rewarded with a really interesting discussion about the future of the Scottish Ensemble and Perth. We are very fortunate to have such a world-class group visiting us regularly, but when the Ensemble visit the Wigmore Hall, they regularly sell out, so it will be interesting to see if the ideas on audience development we discussed bear fruit next season. There are many string players in Perth, as well as lots of musical groups, giving plenty of opportunity for some much needed joining up to take place.