THE establishment early last year of the Irish Chamber Orchestra as an independent group based in Limerick has proved one of the brightest recent developments on the Irish musical scene, writes Michael Dervan. The orchestra is currently preparing for a six concert tour of the Netherlands, where its programme will include Gerald Barry's La Jalousie Taciturne, which it premiered last Saturday and is playing again in Limerick tomorrow night.
One of the unexpected bonuses of the relocation of the ICO was the emergence of the Orchestra of St Cecilia, a new band, based around a core of Dublin resident ex ICO players which is managed by hand say Armstrong (ex RTE oboist, NCH manager, RIAM director, as well as founding manager of the ICO itself).
The St Cecilians, admittedly carrying a little less musical lustre than their Limerick based colleagues, have been active at St Ann's, Dawson Street, Dublin (re establishing Bach cantatus in February, and starting a well planned summer series) and are about to embark on their largest undertaking yet, a cycle of the Mozart piano concertos over three years at the National Concert Hall with Hugh Tinney.
The first programme, on Wednesday next, is conducted by Geoffrey Spratt and launches, as it were, in media res, with concertos written within a couple of months of Mozart's 30th birthday, K482 in E flat, and the sublime K488 in A. The project will be spread over three years and the remaining concerts of the first leg will be given on Wednesday, November 13th (K414 in A and K271 in E flat) and Wednesday, November 20th (K450 in B flat and K453 in G).