Saturday, May 31, 2008

Ian's World of Old Music

On the Thursday after the Living Music festival I found myself once more back in the Concert Hall for some performances by the Ulster Orchestra. Our northern friends started off with a performance of Tchaikovsky's The Tempest. This was grand, but it did not scale the heights of some of his other well-known works. They followed this with Lizst's first and second piano concerto. The second of these was dubbed "The Triangle Concerto" by some disgruntled critic, angered by the excessive use of that instrument. And you can see his point, in that it does at times seem a bit 'Don't Fear The Reaper' (only with triangle), which would really grind your nads if you had some kind of fear of triangular instruments. I am, fortunately, free of such an affliction.

The star of the evening was the last piece, Stravinsky's 1919 iteration of the concert suite of The Firebird. You probably know this, as it is a stunning piece of music, building and turning initially and then exploding into insane rhythm. "Will I recognise the bit the ORCH5 sample is taken from?" said my beloved. "Yes," I replied, and she did.

I would love to see the ballet version of this. In my mind's eye as the music accelerates I can imagine frenzied figures dancing and leaping to Stravinsky's Scythian rhythms. It would be nice to see them in real life as well.

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