Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Classical Concert

Having devoured a light meal at home and ventured up to the sports club for thirty lengths of the pool, I still managed to motor home and leave my wet gear out to dry.

The doors opened at 7pm in the Ulster Hall, Bedford Street, Belfast. This was my very first concert there since its major refurbishment. Remarkably enough, sections of the interior walls are showing signs of mould already; it looks a bit like coffee stains on the subtly-painted surfaces. The Council had better get the contractor back to remedy matters on behalf of rate-payers.

Tonight BBC Radio 3 was producing a New Generation Artists Invitation Concert; and, despite the numbers being more akin to a half-house, rather than a full-house, it proved to be a most enjoyable concert. The Ulster Orchestra was in good form; the soloists were top-rate too.

We were admirably cosmopolitan this evening: Shai Wosner, the pianist, hailed from Israel; Maxim Rysanov, the violist, was born in Ukraine; and the conductor, David Porcelijn, was Dutch. The viola is such a marvellous instrument; so expressive, I feel. Young Mr Rysanov's viola was a Guiseppe Guadagnini made in 1780, lent by the Elise Mathilde Foundation. Sounds expensive.

The audience was treated to renditions of The Bartered Bride overture, by Smetana; Piano Concerto No. 25 in C Major, by Mozart; the Rhapsody-Concerto for Viola and Orchestra, by Martinů; and finally Appalachian Spring, by Copland.

This was a selection of classical music that everyone could appreciate. One pretty blonde female violinist about two or three rows in front of the conductor caught my eye again. Now and again she glanced over to her left and smiled at someone - could it have been another player? At any rate, my eye kept moving back to her during the concert. I'll see her again on Friday!

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