Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Maestro's fiery stylings are short and sweet joy

Belfast Music Week got off to a rousing start yesterday with John Wilson conducting the Ulster Orchestra at the Ulster Hall.

The highly respected Gateshead-born composer presided over an aptly dramatic three-quarters-of-an-hour.

The commanding strains of Ravel's Mother Goose opened the lunchtime recital.

Van Morrison may be Belfast Music Week's biggest name, but he can't rival the Ulster Orchestra for sheer scale.

There seemed to be nearly as many people on stage as in the audience, which is probably more a reflection of the expansiveness of the orchestra than the appeal of the concert.

As for Wilson, his strong leadership and fiery stylings seemed to push the assembled musicians to ever greater heights.

The maestro (41) was equally adept at teasing out delicate passages as he was at driving on the bombast. It all added up to a short but sweet performance.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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