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

Monday, October 8, 2018

13 Years of New Ross Piano Festival

Joe O Grady takes a bow

The piano arrives at NRPF
On Sunday last,  New Ross Piano Festival wrapped up their 13th festival in the small town on the Barrow with an afternoon concert  with an interesting and diverse programme.  The festival ticks a lot of boxes. I had been at the launch back in September where Collins had introduced a 12 year old Joe O Grady   Yet again, Finghin Collins gathered an impressive roster of top drawer international talent, some of whom haven't been heard in Ireland before. Also featured were up and coming Irish  pianists. I heard excellent reports about the jazz day events and it is good to see jazz becoming established as part of the festivities. John Buckley was the featured composer  About 200 people had gathered  for the last event in St Mary's Church. The Romanian British pianist Alexandra Dariescu projected a sunny personality and seemed genuinely delighted to be in New Ross . Dressed in a mauve and green maxi dress picking up a reference in the programme note about the colours associated with the modes used in the Preludes by Messiaen. She included attractive works by a little known French woman Germaine Tailleferre whose "progressive musical ideas during the 1920's earned her a measure of notoriety throughout the Parisian musical establishment in the 1920's" the comprehensive programme note informed  us. I was interested to note that one of her first husband's ex-wives  had married the playwright Eugene O Neill who coincidentally also has strong links with New Ross.

My favourite work of the afternoon was the Schubert Piano Trio in B flat. Here Finghin Collins was joined by Bulgarian violinist Svetlin Roussev and cellist, Marc Coppey. Have a listen to the beautiful Andante in the video attached. The Andante is about 12 minutes in. The American pianist Anne Marie McDermott  was demonstrated a fierce virtuosity in a sonata by Prokofiev. On paper, New Ross would not appear to be endowed with any great advantages. They have a nice venue with a good acoustic and they hire a piano for the weekend. I think the committee under Connie Tantrum do a fantastic job in producing 5 days of fantastic daytime and evening events that can compare with the best in the world. Bravo tutti!