The evening concert consisted of two works. In the first half, Beethoven's Symphony No. 1 was a reminder of the composer's lighter mood. Like a bit of Haydn, and other contemporaries, this work sounded a little like Mozart, but so much better. The second half was altogether darker, with Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. I felt that tenor Johan Botha was struggling to be heard above the orchestra in the opening Das Trinkleid vom Jammer der Erde. This could have been my position in the arena; certainly Botha seemed to be giving his all, so if there was any fault in the balance, it was with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Donald Runnicles. His partner for the evening was mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, who didn't really come into her own until the final movement, Der Abschied, which was hauntingly beautiful and poignant. The length of the final movement, about as much as the preceding five movements put together, makes it difficult to feel that the work as a whole is balanced, but the performance was certainly competent.
*Tom Lehrer, preamble to Alma.