The week’s best classical concerts
From Boston Symphony Chamber Players in Dublin to the Ulster Orchestra in Belfast
French soloist Victor Julien-Laferrière plays with the RTÉ NSO on Friday, May 24th
Boston Symphony Chamber Players
NCH, Dublin, nch.ie
They say that you can judge the quality of an orchestra by the quality of the chamber ensembles it spawns. The Boston Symphony Chamber Players, founded in 1964, is one of the best around. The group’s Dublin debut is part of a European tour that began in Istanbul on Sunday, May 9th, and will have worked its way through Berlin, Munich, Warsaw, Luxembourg, Prague, Aalborg and Aarhus before reaching Dublin. The 8pm concert features Jean Françaix’s Dixtuor, Mozart’s Oboe Quartet, Beethoven’s Septet and Plain Song by the jazz-influenced New England composer Michael Gandolfi.
RTÉ NSO/Nathalie Stutzmann
NCH, Dublin, nch.ie
Principal guest conductor Nathalie Stutzmann’s last concert of the season is devoted to just two composers. The big work is Dvorak’s Cello Concerto with a French soloist, Victor Julien-Laferrière, who took the top prize at the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels in 2017, the first year the competition was open to cellists. The second composer is Ravel, whose big Viennese indulgence, La Valse, is preceded by two short works, the Menuet Antique and Un Barque sur l’Océan. The concert, which starts at 7.30pm, also includes three Slavonic Dances from Dvorak’s Op 46. By the way, anyone who’s concerned about the demise of Stutzmann’s ensemble Orfeo 55 in connection with its scheduled all-Bach programme at Kilkenny Arts Festival can relax. The ensemble shut up shop late last month. But the concert will go ahead as planned, with Stutzmann not just conducting but also making her Irish debut as a contralto. The second soloist, is also as advertised, Leon Kosavic.
Ulster Orchestra/Rafael Payare
Ulster Hall, Belfast
Rafael Payare’s five-season reign at the Ulster Orchestra comes to an end after tonight’s 7.45pm Ulster Hall concert. It was the Ulster Orchestra that gave the Venezuelan conductor his first chief conductor job, and his title was later elevated to music director. His parting programme couples one of Mozart’s darkest Piano Concertos, No 20 in D minor, K466 (soloist Inon Barnatan), with Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, which includes one of the composer’s most popular movements, the Adagietto, which was featured in Luchino Viscotni’s 1971 film, Death in Venice. Payare takes up his next position, as the 13th music director of the San Diego Symphony, in July. His opening San Diego programme in October couples the same Mahler Symphony with US composer Mason Bates’s “energy symphony” Alternative Energy.