REVIEW: Friday Night is Music Night BBC Music Day Concert – City Halls, Glasgow

Once in a while, the stars align to bring a magical evening’s entertainment that will linger long in the memory and so it was at Glasgow’s City Halls to celebrate BBC Music Day, with BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night presenting a gala concert featuring the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and a line-up of guests from across the musical spectrum.

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The programme comprising a selection of popular classical pieces, (The Marriage of Figaro, Tosca) to well-loved movie and stage soundtracks (My Fair Lady Overture, the Back to the Future theme tune), as well as some jazz and pop standards, was a popular one.

Jamie Cullum, representing the world of jazz, gave a pared back and perfectly performed version of Pure Imagination as well as the roof raising Bond theme-like Edge of Something, opera tenor Noah Stewart, easy on the eye as well as ear, astounded with an emotive Recondita Armonia from Tosca and a goose-bump inducing Grenada.

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World-renowned violinist Jack Liebeck gave a snippet of Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto, harpist Catrin Finch (formerly Prince Charles Official Harpist) performed two beautifully melodic pieces, Bhangra artist Jaz Dhami accompanied by kohl and tabla players as well as the SSO delivered two full-blooded Bollywood movie classic themes and Claire Hastings BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2015 gave a lyrical version of Robert Burns The Posie and a stirring Johnny Ramensky.

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Local gal Lulu, appearing first across the water at the BBC HQ at The Quay crossed the river to deliver her 60’s movie hit To Sir With Love.

Less successful in a night of big-hitters were local pop stalwarts Deacon Blue who were woefully underpowered by an on top form SSO. Vocalist Lorraine McIntosh didn’t help proceedings by looking as if she would rather be anywhere else but here.

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That said, this minor blip did not ruin a magical evening of world class talent for a Glasgow audience in roof-raising form – truly breathtaking from start to finish.