Friday, 2 September 2011

Organ Concerto

Tonight at the Ulster Hall in Bedford Street, Belfast, the last BBC Invitation Concert of this Russian series took place.

Pride of place was given to the mighty Mulholland Grand Organ, the largest instrument of its kind in Northern Ireland. 

The Ulster Hall features one of the oldest examples of a functioning classic English pipe organ in the British Isles.

The Mulholland Grand Organ is named in honour of a former Mayor of Belfast, Andrew Mulholland JP DL (father of the 1st Baron Dunleath), who donated it to the hall in the 1860s. It was built by William Hill & Son and donated after the hall was officially opened. 

In the late 1970s the organ was extensively restored to Hill's own original design. Mulholland's great-great-grandson Henry, 4th Lord Dunleath, oversaw the restoration.

The citizens of Belfast and, indeed, Northern Ireland, are eternally grateful and proud of this generous and philanthropic gesture afforded by the Mulhollands, Barons Dunleath.

The soloist for tonight's performance of Horatio Parker's Organ Concerto was Colm Carey, Belfast City Organist and Master of Music at the Chapel Royal, HM Tower of London.

Mr Carey, sporting bright red socks and ponytail, played with great aplomb.

The Ulster Orchestra, conducted by Nicholas Braithwaite, played splendidly as usual and the Leader, Ioana Petcu-Colan, played a solo so sweetly and beautifully; as did several other musicians, to their credit.

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