Ó Seireadáin, RTÉCO/Palliser


NCH, Dublin

Hardiman/Moore – Lord of the Dance selections. Williams – Angela’s Ashesselections. Stanford – Clarinet Concerto. Young – The Quiet Man Suite (exc). Bill Whelan – Riverdance.

Everything on the menu for the RTÉ Concert Orchestra’s lunchtime concert on Tuesday had an Irish connection.

There were excerpts from the scores written for film sets and made in Ireland, Victor Young’s music for John Ford’s The Quiet Manand John Williams’s for Alan Parker’s Angela’s Ashes.

At the heart of the programme was Dubliner Charles Villiers Stanford’s Clarinet Concerto of 1902, a piece written for Richard Mühlfeld, the German clarinettist who had inspired the late clarinet works of Brahms, and whose rejection of the concerto came as a bitter disappointment to Stanford.

The whole was framed by dance music, Ronan Hardiman’s for Lord of the Danceand Bill Whelan’s Riverdance.

The concert also brought two notable débuts.

Both clarinettist Macdara Ó Seireadáin, winner of the inaugural 2010 Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year competition, and conductor Conor Palliser, a recipient of one of last year’s Bryden Thomson Trust Awards (and a semi-finalist, as a pianist, in the Freemasons competition), were appearing for the first time with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Palliser, whose platform manner is rather muted, secured fine, lush playing in the film music, and conveyed the dances with well-sprung impact. It’s not every conductor who achieves such well-focused playing from the RTÉCO.

Ó Seireadáin showed himself fully at ease with the demands of the Stanford, luxuriantly full in tone at the bottom of the range, and penetrating at the top, and Palliser took a robust, sometimes slightly roughened approach to Stanford’s orchestral writing. In short, these are two musicians you’re likely to be hearing a lot more from.