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Clandeboye Festival: Joyous cycle through the seasons by a musician at his peak


Maestro: Barry Douglas

Maestro: Barry Douglas

Maestro: Barry Douglas

The theme of this year's Clandeboye Festival is Oh, Vienna, but the first part of Barry Douglas' stunning recital on Wednesday was devoted to the Imperial Russia of Tchaikovsky.

Douglas reminded the audience that the composer's The Seasons piano cycle, unlike that of Vivaldi, had 12 different scenes, each representing a month of the year.

The soloist was very much in command throughout, from January's By The Hearth to the warmth and vitality of the final, and arguably best-known, Christmas.

The recital moved nearer to its central theme in the second half with music by Franz Schubert, who was born to immigrant parents in a suburb of the Austrian capital.

Quite the most beautiful part of the recital was Douglas' reading of the Schubert Sonata in A Minor with its wonderful melodies, followed by the power and also the lyricism of the Sonata in A Major - followed by not one, but two, encores.

This was a memorable late summer evening of music-making in wonderful stately surroundings.

Much praise is due to Douglas and his team for making this festival such an attraction over so many years.

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There are still many magical moments at Clandeboye to come.

The festival finishes tomorrow with the gala concert featuring Camerata Ireland conducted by Douglas.

He will also be the soloist in Mozart's Piano Concerto in E Flat K449.

The programme includes the Haydn Cello Concerto in E with soloist Andres Diaz.

The finale will be Mozart's Sinfonia Concertante, with Ed Creedon (viola) and Mairead Hickey (violin).

This will neatly round off the Oh, Vienna theme, and bring the festival to a fitting end at Clandeboye.

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