Payare brings Bruckner to life with top symphony
Ulster Orchestra, Ulster Hall
Music lovers who like Anton Bruckner enjoyed a rare treat in the Ulster Orchestra's performance on Friday of his Fourth 'Romantic' Symphony under their musical director Rafael Payare.
Bruckner is an acquired taste. To some his symphonies seem interminable, as a reminder of the Emperor's alleged comment to Mozart: "Too many notes!"
However, many others, including this reviewer, regard Bruckner's symphonies as musical masterpieces. The Fourth lasts a full 65 minutes, and patience is required as the composer slowly builds his music cathedral brick by brick. Among the huge pillars of sound are delightfully tuneful diversions by this devout composer, and all building up to a memorable climax.
The large Ulster Orchestra was more than equal to the demanding score, and deservedly received sustained appreciation from the audience.
Earlier, the Icelandic superstar soloist Vikingur Olafsson thrilled the audience with a masterly account of Mozart's Piano Concerto No 24, and followed this with a fascinating encore of Soliti's arrangement of JS Bach's Prelude in E Minor.
The Orchestra's management inserted a short programme questionnaire seeking views on an earlier start of 7.30pm instead of 7.45pm. Judging by the number of people who slip out quietly when a concert finishes after 10pm, as on this occasion, an earlier start seems sensible.