Belfast Telegraph

Friday 18 April 2014

Composer flies the flag for marching band tunes

A century ago American pioneer Charles Ives was imitating the sound of marching bands in his music.

In Flags and Emblems, a new Ulster Orchestra commission, Belfast composer Ian Wilson went one better, by involving a real band (the Ballygowan Flute) in the performance.

At the Whitla Hall premiere, the Ballygowan sat on the left of the floor area accommodating most of the players, with the Ulster Orchestra (minus strings) opposite, and pianist Matthew Schellhorn in between. It was a striking spectacle, with a large battery of percussion ranged onstage, and the crimson Ballygowan uniforms contrasted graphically with the traditional stage-black of the orchestra.

Wilson used band, orchestra and soloist in shifting combinations, and occasionally together.

Making his conducting debut with the Ulster Orchestra, Wilson drew a predictably tight, assured performance from the players, confirming that Flags and Emblems is an innovative, vividly imagined piece, worthy of repeat performances.

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Your Horoscopes by Russell Grant

Aries:

Peace and quiet will help you recover from a busy social life. Although you love attending parties, these engagements can take a toll on your health. Set aside a few hours in your busy schedule for solitary pursuits. Taking a nap, reading for pleasure or luxuriating in a hot bath is strongly advised. You've lost touch with your spiritual side. Take this opportunity to reconnect with it. You'll be surprised to learn how much you enjoy your own company.More