I am just in from a wonderful night of orchestral music in Waterford courtesy of Symphony Club of Waterford. The Hibernian Orchestra is a Dublin based ensemble that straddles the amateur and professional sphere. It is a voluntary group but skill levels are high and most of these players could sit in comfortably to a pro orchestra desk/
The all Beethoven programme featured a Leonora Overture, the relatively sunny second symphony and a mighty performance by Helena Wood of the Violin Concerto. I can't imagine hearing a better rendition of this work . Ms Wood's performance was full of vim and vigour but with plenty of sweetness and delicacy to make you swoon too. Leader of the NSO, she is superb and clearly a great asset to the Irish scene. The orchestra under conductor John Finucane coped very well with the washy acoustic keeping everything short and scaling back the pianissimos to 'barely there' to allow the soloist to shine. The Larghetto augmented by the counterpoint of a natural sound effect of a whistling wind was sublime.
The team of volunteers at Symphony Club of Waterford under administrator Liam Daly do a terrific job of bringing large scale ensembles to Waterford. SCOW has just announced five attractive events for 2016 featuring some of the very best ensembles in Ireland. Details are posted below. I was disappointed tonight not to see many fellow musicians in the audience. Waterford has umpteen choirs, several brass bands , several orchestras, music schools and a third level degree music programme, none of whom were well represented this evening. Where was everybody? The standard of music making deserved a bigger audience cohort than the sub 100 gathered in Parnell Street for a remarkable musical evening, surely a highlight of the 2015 season.The evening started with silence as we remembered the many in Paris who just like us had set out to enjoy a night's entertainment in their city. If the audience was meagre, they did not lack enthusiasm and I am happy to report that there was a standing ovation following the final triumphant bars of the concerto. Bravo tutti!
The Hibernian Orchestra repeat the programme on November 28th Christchurch Cathedral Dublin
SCOW 2016 Season
Camerata Ireland with Barry Douglas (piano) Friday 12th The Large Room
Itish Chamber Orchestra Thursday 19th May St John's Church
RTE NSO July Date Venue tbc
Irish Symphonic Wind Orchestra Sunday 11th September WIT Sports Hall
Irish Baoque Orchestra Friday 11th November St John's Church