Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Musical Postcards France NCH 20th July

My last trip to Dublin was to see one of the musical world's longest serving stars in Paul McCartney. By contrast this trip was to see rising star Dean Power at this premier concert venue. Alice and I came up by train and hopped on a bus at Heuston that brought us all the way to Stephen's green . The conductor saw to it that we were alerted to the right stop, a stones throw from Earlsfort Tce. Doesn't it make you feel good to meet cheerful people. On into the hall where an hour before the concert, there was a buzz with a queue forming for cancellations. We bumped into Ennis tenor Tony Murray also up to support fellow tenor.

The concert opened with a bright brassy fanfare by Dukas . It was a bit of a transition to the shimmery soundworld of Ibert in a concerto featuring Martin Johnson looking not unlike his rugby namesake. Dean looked a little nervous in his opening number Il Mio Tesore  but his delivery was confident and assured. The symphony orchestra were a little heavy I thought even though they had reduced their desks for the Mozart aria and a little more restraint in the accompaniment was called for , I think.

Next on the programme was a most attractive work by Gerry Murphy which drew its inspiration from the work of Jean Lurcat , tapestry maker . The work featured lots of interesting percussion effects and the composer was in attendance to receive the sustained applause of the capacity crowd. It must be a wonderful to  see a large band deployed to bring your ideas to life and come up and take that bow.
Of the remaining arias , the most successful was the aria by Lalo, In vain my beloved which Dean sang as though his heart was breaking. The deftness of the orchestration for an aria from Traviata contrasted with the rather heavy treatment of Lehar's smaltzy Girls were made to love and Kiss. Was I imagining it but has the word 'gay' been removed from the translation .

That was already probably enough excitement but the orchestra also gave us excerpts from The Dolly Suite by Faure. the last item did make the concert a little overlong and some poor souls had a bit of a job making their exit from the middle of rows to get back to their desks.

The ladies and gentlemen of the NSO sported their dress down Friday look and  I am not sure  that I liked it. Definitely , the shirt hanging out is not a good look . This is show business after all and while I appreciate the music is the thing, a little more glam is required please- maybe pastel shirts for the men, a white jacket perhaps and something other than white pants for the ladies please !
Most of the concert goers were in no hurry and the crowd lingered in the convivial lobby areas of the NCH for some time after to savour the occasion.  We met Mary Brennan, Dean's teacher for the last few years who was clearly delighted with her student and  Sonia Schorman an artist from Ennis who also travelled from Clare for the occasion.

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