Young Musicians of the Future: Musical youth entertain us royally
One of the key aims of the Clandeboye Festival is to nurture the rising generation of Irish classical performers.
Thursday evening is the Young Musicians' own moment in the spotlight, and no fewer than 14 of them featured, with soloists on violin, viola, cello, flute, clarinet, French horn, trombone and piano, along with two sopranos.
The evening is not a "competition", leaving the listener free to relish one high-calibre performance after another. Some very demanding repertoire was chosen – Haydn's Scena di Berenice, for instance, in which soprano Rebecca Rogers displayed an impressively fiery temperament and a voice already rich and powerful.
Both violinists also chose demanding pieces. David Tobin's slinkily idiomatic performance of Waxman's dashing Carmen Fantasy rightly drew shouts of approval. Mairead Hickey, meanwhile, showed remarkable poise and maturity in Saint-Saëns' Rondo Capriccioso.
Piano was also strongly represented, Sean Rooney making an emotional connection in two movements of Scriabin's Third Sonata, and Mairead Lochrie distilling an austere beauty in the Sarabande from Debussy's Pour le Piano. There was tremendous virtuosity, too, from Cillian O'Ceallachain on trombone, in the punchy neo-classicism of Lars-Erik Larsson's Concertino.
A splendid evening, and one that held the brightest hopes for Ireland's classical future.