Scottish Chamber Orchestra
City Halls, Glasgow Fri 18 Jan; Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Sat 19 Jan
From the familiar tunes of Vivaldi’s pre-Christmas Four Seasons to four saxophones performing a brand new piece of music is quite a leap. Four is also the number of Adventurer concerts in the SCO’s current concert season. It is as part of this strand of their work that the world premiere of Sally Beamish’s new Concerto for saxophone quartet and strings can be found, with the virtuosic Raschèr Quartet at its forefront. It is not, however, only Scottish audiences who will be able to hear the new piece, as the commissioning of the music has been shared by orchestras in Germany and Sweden.
‘Over the last ten to 15 years co-commissioning has grown spectacularly,’ says SCO Managing Director, Roy McEwan. ‘There are two key benefits. Firstly, it enables the orchestras to share the costs, but also, and more valuably, it increases the exposure of a new piece at the beginning of its life.’
In this particular case, the quartet also have greater opportunity to perform and an orchestra such as the Norbotten Chamber Orchestra, based in the spectacular mountain national park region of Sweden, have the chance of a commission which they might not have been in a position to undertake on their own.
Co-commissioning in this way might come about by a mixture of methods, whether via the networks of orchestra chief execs attending international conferences, the sharing of information carried by conductors or, as with the Beamish, through the soloists.
‘We introduced Sally Beamish to the quartet when they were here playing the Philip Glass concerto and they got talking,’ explains McEwan. Beamish has dedicated her new piece to them as one of her main sources of its inspiration, the other being Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos, masterworks with which she has always been fascinated.