Belfast Telegraph

Review: Poor crowd only dull part of Ulster Orchestra concert to brighten any dreary day

Ulster Orchestra, Ulster Hall

The Ulster Orchestra provided some musical sunshine on a January day with its latest lunchtime concert in the Ulster Hall.

The audience was smaller than normal for this successful series of concerts and this may have been due to the January blues and also the slightly rarefied programme.

The central piece featured Enescu's Suite No 1, with the orchestra under the impressive direction of Gabriel Bebeselea, the current principal conductor of the Transylvania State Philharmonic Orchestra.

Despite his best efforts, and those of the orchestra, the Enescu Menuet and Intermede meandered at times towards the foothills of oblivion, though the prelude was truly beautiful and also played beautifully, while the finale was complex and uplifting.

Full marks, however, to the Ulster Orchestra's management for experimentation, which is a mark of this season's entire programme.

The concert started well with a lively performance of Smetana's more familiar Overture The Bartered Bride.

The final piece was Kodaly's Dances of Marossek, which was full of melody and rhythm, during which Colin Fleming and Kieran Moynihan were particularly impressive.

Overall this was a concert to brighten any dull day and to contradict Dr Johnson's comments about the Giant's Causeway as "worth seeing but not worth going to see", the music in this lunchtime was largely worth hearing and coming to hear.

Those who stayed away missed a treat.

Alf McCreary

Belfast Telegraph

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