Four to the floor: This week’s best classical music gigs

A Culture Night programme at the National Concert Hall is among the highlights

Sunday, September 15th

Sunday String Quartet Series
NCH Kevin Barry Recital Room, Dublin

Most of the strands in the National Concert Hall's new season of chamber music concerts run to three programmes. A number extend to six, but just one gets up to eight. The Sunday String Quartet Series, with a 3pm starting time, runs between now and December 8th. The opening concert by the Ophelia Quartet adds Robin Haigh's Samoyeds to quartets by Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Ravel. The other concerts are by the Piatti Quartet on September 29th (to include Áine Mallon's Flotsam), the Lir Quartet on October 13th, the Esposito Quartet on October 20th (including Aleksandra Vrebalov's Pannonia Boundless and a new work by Sebastian Adams), the ConTempo Quartet on November 3rd (including Jane O'Leary's The Passing Sound of Forever), the Navarra Quartet on November 17th (the most intricately conceived of the programmes, bundling works by Turina, Kurtag, Puccini, Janacek and Schubert under the banner Love and Death), the Carducci Quartet on December 1st (including EJ Moeran's String Quartet No 2 and Brian Boydell's Adagio and Scherzo) and the Ficino Quartet on December 8th (including Thomas Adès's The Four Quarters and Donnacha Dennehy's STAMP (to avoid erotic thoughts)).

Friday, September 20th

RTÉ NSO/Leonard Slatkin
NCH, Dublin

Leonard Slatkin's debut with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra last May included a work by Slatkin's wife, Cindy McTee. Now, for his Culture Night programme, he's bringing a work of his own, Kinah, written in memory of his parents, Felix Slatkin and Eleanor Aller, both members of the celebrated Hollywood String Quartet. The remainder of the first half is also American: the Piano Concerto commissioned by the music publishers Schirmer from Samuel Barber to mark the company's centenary. The first performance of the piece, in 1962, was given by John Browning. The NSO's soloist is Chinese pianist Xiayin Wang. The concert, which has a 7.30pm start, ends with Brahms's Fourth Symphony.


Saturday, September 21st

Farmleigh House, Phoenix Park

The new music ensemble Kirkos presents Attrition: A Musical Tribute to a Lost Generation, at Farmleigh House at 3pm on this afternoon. There are two works in the programme. Sebastian Adams has created a new version of his Harry Patch, modelled after Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time and named after the longest-living British combatant in the first World War. The composer describes the work as "a secular meditation on the futility of war" that "exists in a world where no one is listening". Meanwhile, Robert Coleman's audiovisual work Cross takes its inspiration from Thomas Ashe, one of the leaders of the Easter Rising, and features material from Let me carry your cross for Ireland, Lord, words that Ashe wrote in prison in England.