Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Orchestra are in fine fettle for night of firsts

Ulster Hall

By Alf McCreary

The Ulster Orchestra has played to another packed audience in an evening of firsts, even though the theme was 'Beethoven Twos'.

Someone had the bright idea of packaging some of Beethoven's marvellous but slightly lesser-known pieces, including the Leonora No 2 Overture, his Piano Concerto No 2, and Symphony No 2.

It worked well, and under the baton of its dynamic principal conductor Rafael Rayare the music sounded fresh and exciting.

This was evident in the 2nd Piano Concerto in which soloist Jonathan Biss, making his debut in Belfast, was truly outstanding.

The other 'first' was the European premiere of Timo Andres' extraordinary piece The Blind Banister For Piano And Orchestra, written for and dedicated to the soloist. The final 'first' was the presence of the orchestra's new managing director Richard Wigley to sample one of the best concerts in an already very good season.

Fours stars

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