The Ulster Orchestra is gearing up for its new season, which begins in late September.
Running until the middle of December under the auspicious banner of Music That Moves - a fitting title given that the current demand for tickets is already so rife that you had better move quickly if you want to go to any of the concerts - the new season is jam-packed with many tantalising treats for the ear, under the watchful guidance of Belfast-born conductor Kenneth Montgomery.
The opening concert, on September 21, will see the orchestra on stage with the Belfast Philharmonic Choir, a choir which has been making great progress since the appointment of chorus master Christopher Bell (pictured), also a native of Belfast. The philharmonic will be performing Beethoven's Symphony No 9, a masterpiece in four movements, best known for its stellar chorale finale which is sometimes labelled a 'symphony within a symphony'.
Also being performed is Vaughan Williams' Five Mystical Songs from 1911, a musical setting of four poems by the Welsh poet George Herbert, taken from his 1633 collection called The Temple: Sacred Poems and Private Ejaculations - a title which sounds quite saucy by today's standards! Aaron Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man is also included in this programme.
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Following its annual summer course, the Ulster Youth Choir will present two concerts in Northern Ireland, one in St Macartan's Cathedral in Enniskillen on September 1, and the other in Clonard Monastery in Belfast on September 2.
The 52-strong choir will perform three specially commissioned new works for the concerts: White Guardians of the Universe of Sleep by Ian Wilson, a work based on texts by the American poet EE Cummings; Nachtlied by Daniel Morse, which is based on the words of Austrian expressionist poet George Trakl; and Spheros by Grant Davidson Ford, a piece originating from the remaining fragments of a treatise by the Greek philosopher Empedocles.
The choir will also perform music by Eric Whitacre, James Macmillan, Urmas Sisask, and Vaughan Williams, as well as folk song arrangements by John Rutter and Donald James.
The Ulster Youth Choir contains some of the best young singers in Northern Ireland. Combined with some exciting new music commissions, this should prove a memorable event.
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