Belfast Telegraph

Ulster Orchestra review: One truly memorable performance

By Alf McCreary

The buzz is back in the Ulster Orchestra's concerts.

This fine ensemble of musicians has been living under the pall of financial worries, but despite this they have been simply playing better and better.

Friday’s concert to yet another packed audience in the Ulster Hall under the baton of chief conductor Rafael Payare will be seen as one of the turning points towards better times for the orchestra and its public.

Any concert which includes Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto and his powerful Eroica Symphony will always attract a discerning audience, but this performance was truly memorable.

Beethoven’s ground-breaking Third Piano Concerto is familiar to most classical audiences, but few will have heard a better  rendition anywhere than Inon Barnatan’s outstanding interpretation, especially the ornamentation of the largo, and the exuberant finale.

Payare and this orchestra have developed a wonderful chemistry, which is apparent in almost everything they perform.

This was abundantly clear throughout the Eroica, and those gathered caught the mood with sustained and passionate applause. The terrific rapport between the players and the community is tangible, and there is no way that the Ulster Orchestra can be allowed to go under financially.

Five stars

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