Home New Ulster Orchestra’s Concert: A Night of Musical Brilliance with Light and Shade

Ulster Orchestra’s Concert: A Night of Musical Brilliance with Light and Shade

by Madonna

The recent concert by the Ulster Orchestra provided a delightful evening of music, juxtaposing light and shade in a program that spanned classical masterpieces and contemporary compositions.

The performance commenced with Carl Maria Von Weber’s well-known overture, ‘Oberon,’ a sparkling and luminous piece that has captivated audiences since its London premiere in 1826. Despite the brilliance of the overture, it is marked with a touch of poignancy as Weber succumbed to tuberculosis a few weeks after its premiere at the tender age of 39.

The first half of the concert featured Weber’s Clarinet Concerto No. 2, composed in 1811. Renowned clarinettist Michael Collins, making a return to the Ulster Hall after his appearance the previous year, showcased his virtuosity. Collins and the orchestra skillfully demonstrated their musical prowess, presenting the concerto in its full splendor.

Following the interval, the atmosphere shifted with the premiere of Simon Mawhinney’s Ulster Orchestra Commission, supported by the Vaughan Williams Foundation. Titled ‘A Pillar of Light for Haydn,’ this emotionally charged composition by the Queen’s University professor of composition was dedicated to the memory of Hayden Roberts, who succumbed to cancer in 2020 at the age of 19. The work was specifically crafted to complement Joseph Haydn’s 104th Symphony, known as the ‘London.’

The transition between Mawhinney’s contemporary composition and Haydn’s traditional classicism was seamless, offering a striking contrast in musical styles.

The program concluded with a performance of Haydn’s 104th Symphony itself, reinforcing the distinction between modern composition and the enduring classicism of Haydn, who passed away in 1809.

The Ulster Orchestra has a bustling week ahead with performances in the On Your Doorstep program in Armagh and Strabane. Subsequently, they will present ‘The Two of Us – the Songs of Lennon and McCartney’ at the Waterfront Hall, promising an extraordinary evening for Beatles enthusiasts.

Looking ahead, the Ulster Orchestra’s February 9 concert at the Ulster Hall, featuring chief conductor Danielle Rustioni, violinist Francesca Dego, and cellist Daniel Muller-Schott, is anticipated to be a sell-out. The program includes Avril Coleridge-Taylor’s ‘Sussex Landscape’ and Brahms’ ‘Double Concerto for Violin and Cello,’ followed by Elgar’s timeless ‘Enigma Variations’ in the second half.

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