Review: Brahms and Sibelius bring out the best in stunning soloist
The Ulster Orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Gabriel Bebeselea, gave memorable performances of two of the best-loved works in the classical repertoire - Brahms' mighty second piano concerto, and the second symphony by Sibelius - in a well-attended concert.
Soloist Simon Trpceski, who stood in for the indisposed Boris Giltburg, proved to be an inspired choice by the orchestra's management.
Trpceski was outstanding in the Brahms concerto, which is a Herculean task for any soloist, and he brought great technicality to the music.
He also displayed a warm enthusiasm for this masterpiece, which he quickly transmitted to the large audience.
He also joined orchestra leader Tamas Kocsis and his colleagues, Joseph Fisher and Charles-Antoine Duflot, in a beautiful performance of Brahms' third piano quartet.
There are few soloists who will offer such a sustained encore after Brahms' demanding second piano concerto, and Trpceski was given deservedly warm applause by the audience.
The second half of the show was devoted to Sibelius's second symphony, with the conductor painstakingly bringing out every element of light and shade in this great work - right to its thrilling climax.
This was an evening of great music played with flair and total conviction to a most appreciative audience.