Beethoven and Khachatryan a winning combination
Review: Ulster Orchestra at Ulster Hall, Belfast
A year is a long time to anticipate a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto but the internationally outstanding soloist Sergey Khachatryan played this masterpiece on Friday to a packed audience in the Ulster Hall, and the wait was well worth it.
Mr Khachatryan was scheduled to play this concerto in last year's season, but instead we heard the Bruch Violin Concerto, which itself received a warm reception.
The Ulster Orchestra's managing director Richard Wigley was right to invite this dazzling young Armenian soloist back again, and his interpretation of the Beethoven Violin Concerto was breathtaking.
Unlike some soloists who allow their strong personalities to accompany them on stage, Sergey Khachatryan had an almost self-effacing approach during which he allowed the rare beauty of the music to speak for itself.
Much credit is due also to the Ulster Orchestra, under the inspired shaping of Musical Director Rafael Payare, who provided the right kind of gentle backing for the soloist when required.
This ensemble has a well-deserved reputation for its collective skill in interpreting the needs of a soloist, and this soloist deserved the prolonged applause at the end.
He also gave us an Armenian encore.
In its performance of Brahm's Third Symphony, the Ulster Orchestra once again demonstrated its all-round ability in a sensitive yet powerful reading of the composer's most gentle and memorably beautiful work so full of melodies.
There is a great deal going on in every movement of this symphony, and the Ulster Orchestra and maestro Payare captured every nuance of this great work.