Alan Rusbridger and Gerald Barry’s Organ Concerto: the best classical concerts of the week
Sligo International Chamber Music Festival is another highlight of the next seven days
Alan Rusbridger: in Galway on Sunday for an encounter with the Irish pianist Finghin Collins
Sunday, April 29th
Play It Again
Town Hall Theatre, Galway; 8pm; €18, €20/€6; 091-705962, tht.ie
Five years ago, when he was editor of the Guardian, Alan Rusbridger published Play It Again: An Amateur against the Impossible. The book documented his struggle to master Chopin’s Ballade in G minor, Op 23, a pretty stiff challenge for someone taking it on as a spare-time activity. He’s obviously still engaged with music and piano performance, and he’s in Galway for an encounter with the Irish pianist Finghin Collins that recycles the title of his book and adds the description Conversation in Concert. The evening’s moderator is the Journal of Music’s editor, Toner Quinn.
Friday, May 4th
RTÉ NSO/Stefan Asbury
NCH, Dublin; 7.30pm; €15-€35/€13-€31; 01-4170000, nch.ie
The organ was Gerald Barry’s instrument before the piano was – well, not exactly an organ but a harmonium, in the church at Clarecastle, Co Clare. But it’s only this year that he is finally presenting an organ concerto to the world, a concerto in which the sound world includes the angelus bell and a horde of metronomes. Thomas Trotter, who gave the first performance with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in March, is also the soloist in the Irish premiere. The concert was to have been conducted by Thomas Adès and to have included Stravinsky’s Symphony in Three Movements and Lutoslawski’s Third Symphony. But Adès has withdrawn, and for his replacement, Stefan Asbury, the works have been changed to Brahms’s Haydn Variations and Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony.
Sligo International Chamber Music Festival
St Columba’s Church, Drumcliffe, Co Sligo, and the Model, Sligo, until Monday; various times; €5-€30, day and festival passes €55-€148; sligochambermusic.ie
Sligo International Chamber Music Festival is built around the Vogler String Quartet, whose relationship with Ireland goes back 30 years, to a concert they gave for John Ruddock’s Limerick Music Association in April 1988. Their guests this year include the leading German soprano Christiane Oelze, the Silver-Garburg Piano Duo, the violinist Katherine Hunka, the accordion player Dermot Dunne, the cellist Christopher Ellis and the Erlendis Quartet, a guitar quartet formed in Poland in 2013. Schubert’s String Quintet is the biggest repertoire attraction, and the composer is also well represented through songs and two of his major piano duets.