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

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Irish Chamber Orchestra at NCH : István Várdai

ICO in chamber music mode at the NCH

Shostakovich: 2Two pieces for octet
Schumann Cello Concerto  arr Vygen and Kahl
Nimbus for String Orchestra  Sam Perkin
Chamber Symphony for Strings op110a

The Irish Chamber Orchestra's current outing is titled World Premiere placing  Sam Perkin's commissioned piece, Nimbus for String Orchestra at the centre of their programme, bookended by works by Shostakovich.  The atmospheric, one movement work mixed a shifting palette  of string effects.  Drones set against shimmery,  tremolo violins , chuggy bass riffs, ghostly harmonics and stocky pizzicato ebbed and flowed in this freestyle piece inspired by an 'aura of radiance'. I originally thought it might have been inspired by cumulonimbus clouds and I could just imagine the music played to accompany shifting cloud patterns.

Hungarian cellist, Istvan Vardai joined them for a rendition of Schumann's Cello Concerto in a slimmed down arrangement for strings.  While some cellists can appear to wrestle with their oversized instrument, Vardai's cello seemed almost like a plaything held between his  wide arm span. The performance,  full of grace charm and effortless skill was well received by the NCH audience and we were treated to an encore, Schumann's Abendlied.   (Vardai returns to Ireland for three dates in March with pianist Finghin Collins). You can hear Vardai play the work in the video below)

The Irish Chamber Orchestra are arguably Ireland's most excellent string ensemble. The NCH is  the nation's  premier venue. So what was there not to like. The 18 standing musicians  had loads of room on the NCH platform. In the opening work, two pieces by Shostakovich for octet,  the orchestra was shorn of half it's troupe . Size matters. It felt rather like a glass of fine wine in a pint glass. The main auditorium just  lacked the intimacy that the chamber music programme, pared down to a single timbre needed to enfold the players and give the music it's full potency.

Two more dates in tour

  • 20:00, Thursday, February 5, 2015

    University Concert Hall, Limerick
  • 20:00, Friday, February 6, 2015

    The Model, Sligo

Hungarian Cellist with Hungarian Radio Symphony Orchestra in Budapest

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