Royal Scottish National Orchestra

“Earlier this year, when word got out that the RSNO was going to introduce a new series of early-evening concerts, there were suggestions that it was probably going to be a lightweight venture: get the punters in on their way home from work or shopping, and give them a quick fix of something popular from the classical mainstream.

Any vestige of that notion must have been comprehensively dispelled last night in the second concert of the series which featured, respectively, music of the greatest profundity in Elgar’s Cello Concerto and some of the most dangerously volatile and explosive music in the repertoire, in the form of Carl Nielsen’s Fourth Symphony, the Inextinguishable, which also happens to be one of the most sensationally exciting symphonies in the book.

Admittedly, in the hands of James Lowe, the RSNO’s associate conductor, Nielsen’s symphony found a director who seems to have a flair for the ultra-dynamic, combative music that draws its impetus from conflict and tension: does anyone remember his pulverising version of Holst’s Mars a good while ago?

Lowe is a deep-end conductor, which absolutely suited the Nielsen in this volcanic interpretation which erupted before the crowd (at around 800 strong). Lowe did not miss a moment in those pages of the symphony where the tensions mount and boil, and clash – especially in the outstandingly-played antiphonal timpani duels of the finale – though in between times the momentum was less certain.”

Michael Tumelty, The Herald