From festivals to summer schools and lunchtime concerts

This week’s best classical concerts

Finnegan Downie Dear: The young English conductor’s lunchtime programme takes the RTÉ Concert Orchestra through three different views of the Orient.

Finnegan Downie Dear: The young English conductor’s lunchtime programme takes the RTÉ Concert Orchestra through three different views of the Orient.

 

FRIDAY 18

CLASSICAL Kilkenny Arts Festival kilkennyarts.ie – The last weekend of the Kilkenny Arts Festival includes two Schubert song cycles, “Schwanengesang” (with Roderick Williams and Iain Burnside), and “Winterreise” (Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu), a talk on Schubert’s late piano sonatas by Alfred Brendel and performances of the last three by Christian Blackshaw, the Irish Chamber Orchestra under Jörg Widmann in the Great C major Symphony, and Paul Hillier’s Orthodox Spirit programme with Chamber Choir Ireland — this includes excerpts from Rachmaninov’s “Vespers” along with works by Arvo Pärt, Galina Grigorjeva, Stravinsky and Schnittke.

SUNDAY 20

CLASSICAL Charles Wood Summer School Armagh, various venues, until Sunday 27th charleswoodsummerschool.org – The reputation of Charles Wood (1866-1926), Armagh’s most famous composer, rests on his Anglican church music. And the annual summer school that’s named after him concentrates on “music in worship”, whether for choirs, solo voices, organ or larger forces. This year’s events range from choral services, sung masses, organ recitals and vocal seminars to the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition, and a jazz workshop tying in with a performance of Will Todd’s “Mass in Blue”.

TUESDAY 22

CLASSICAL RTÉCO/Finnegan Downie Dear NCH, Dublin 1.05pm €12 nch.ie – The young English conductor Finnegan Downie Dear’s lunchtime programme takes the RTÉ Concert Orchestra through three different views of the Orient. The Overture from French composer François-Adrien Boieldieu’s “Le calife de Bagdad” dates from 1800. Modest Mussorgsky’s “Persian Dances” come from the opera “Khovanshchina”, which the composer worked on between 1872 and 1880 but never finished. English composer Albert Ketèlbey was a hugely successful composer of light music, and his 1920 “In a Persian Market” was one of a number of pieces he named after exotic, far-away places. Perched between all of these is the Francis Poulenc’s late 1930s Organ Concerto (soloist Martina Smith), a work the composer described as “like a Poulenc en route for the cloisters, very 15th Century”.

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