Belfast Telegraph

Friday 22 August 2014

Bland, impersonal starter failed to whet appetite of expectant throng

The first event in this year's Out To Lunch Arts Festival was presented to a full house, which may encourage the festival to be more adventurous in future and include more classical music events.

Having said that, Scala Strings' programmed music was on the very lightweight side of the musical spectrum, and not at all typical of the classical string quartet repertoire.

All four members of this ensemble were introduced as being Ulster Youth Orchestra players, and that pedigree allowed them to be taken seriously when playing a mix of rock, pop and classical.

It would have been helpful, however, if there had been more information as to what exactly the packed audience was listening to.

In this type of event, Scala Strings need to improve considerably their act and its presentation with more chat and personal connection.

Most of the musical items were fairly banal arrangements of popular songs, unchallenging both to themselves and probably most of the audience.

Young players like these obviously have an eye and ear to the commercial side of their trade, and there is nothing wrong with that.

But what a missed opportunity on their part, and that of the festival organisers, to broaden their enthusiastic audience's perspectives.

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