Thursday, January 29, 2009

Great music in Feb from RTE National Symphony Orchestra

Hey, recessionista January is nearly over and there's some great music coming up in fab February. The RTE National Symphony Orchestra play Beethoven, Barry and Shostakovich at the NCH on Friday 6 Feb. First off is the world premiere of Gerald Barry's orchestral piece No other people - you can hear Barry discuss his angular and highly idiosyncratic work before the concert (6.45pm). The conductor is dynamic young Finnish maestro Pietari Inkinen, who incidentally is also a mean violinist. Russian pianist Elisabeth Leonskaja is the soloist in Beethoven's Piano Concerto No 4 in G, brilliant, dramatic and at times surprisingly playful. the final piece is Shostakovich's Symphony No 5 in D minor, with it's potent mix of despair and triumphalism, written in 1937 after his opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk had been banned by Stalin, and ironically titled ' A Soviet Artist's Practical Creative Reply to Just Criticism'. In his memoirs, Shostakovich wrote of the finale "It's as if someone were beating you with a stick and saying, Your business is rejoicing, your business is rejoicing, and you rise, shaky, and go marching off, muttering, Our business is rejoicing, our business is rejoicing..."
Other NSO concerts to watch out for include Janacek's thrilling Glagolitic Mass with the RTE Philharmonic Choir on Friday 20 Feb, conducted by Andreas Delfs; and the amazing percussionist Colin Currie playing Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto on Friday 27 Feb in an unusually (for the NSO) contemporary concert, with works by James MacMillan (who also conducts), Fergus Johnston and leading Georgian composer Giya Kancheli.