Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra at the NCH: the best classical music this week

Choirland, a collection of 15 pieces for unaccompanied choir, goes on tour

Wednesday, April 18

LSO/Simon Rattle

NCH, Dublin. 8pm €50-€110

If you haven't booked your ticket to hear Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra in Mahler's Ninth Symphony you'll have to take your place on the list for returns for this sold-out concert. But you'll also probably be glad to hear of the orchestra's new linkage with the National Concert Hall. Rattle's Mahler marks the start of a five-year association which will see the LSO make annual appearances at the NCH until 2022. No details of repertoire and performers have yet been announced other than the involvement of Rattle "and the orchestra's other named conductors". The "named conductors", who are unnamed in the NCH's press release, are principal guest conductors Gianandrea Noseda and François-Xavier Roth, conductor laureate Michael Tilson Thomas, conductor emeritus André Previn, and assistant conductor Niklas Benjamin Hoffmann.

Friday, April 20

RTÉ NSO/Nathalie Stutzmann


NCH, Dublin. 7.30pm €15-€35/€13-€31 

In the absence of a principal conductor, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra's principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann is currently the orchestra's greatest regular draw. Her latest concert couples two of the staples of the romantic repertoire, Rachmaninov's Second Piano Concerto and Brahms's First Symphony. Both were written after a struggle. Brahms, long dogged by the shadow of Beethoven, was into his 40s before he managed to complete his First Symphony. Rachmaninov took a long time to recover from the failure of his First Piano Concerto, and credited the turnaround to a hypnotist, Dr Nikolai Dahl, to whom he dedicated what would become his most famous concerto. The NSO's soloist, Russian pianist Vyacheslav Gryaznov, can be heard in a pre-concert interview with Dearbhla Collins at 7.30pm.

Choirland Revisited

St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork. 7.30pm €21, and on tour to Dublin (Sat), Belfast (Sun)

Choirland is a collection of 15 pieces for unaccompanied choir, published in 2012 in print and as a CD by the Contemporary Music Centre in association with the National Chamber Choir and the Association of Irish Choirs. The National Chamber Choir has since become Chamber Choir Ireland and is now presenting Choirland Revisited, with works by Tarik O'Regan, David Fennessy (including his piece chOirland from the original collection), James MacMillan and Andrew Hamilton (his music for Thomas Bernhard). After touring Ireland the choir and its artistic director Paul Hillier will take the programme to the Lunalia Festival of Flanders in Belgium in May and to the Fishguard International Music Festival in July.

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan

Michael Dervan is a music critic and Irish Times contributor