Belfast Telegraph

Review: Night of passion and pathos from orchestra at its peak

Ulster Orchestra, Ulster Hall

By Alf McCreary

Two days before the latest Ulster Orchestra concert, the Russian piano soloist Alexander Gavrylyuk was indisposed. With great good fortune the management found the Argentinian virtuoso Ingrid Fliter, who gave a stunning performance of Chopin's Piano Concerto No 2.

Ms Fliter had played the same piece in another concert recently, and she brought immense technical expertise and passion to one of the most romantic piano concertos in the repertoire. Hopefully she will be invited to return soon.

The concert began with Anna Clyne's modern piece, The Midnight Hour, which was a strange and beautiful composition with much fire and fury at both ends, and attractive lyricism at its core.

In the second half, the Ulster Orchestra, under the direction of conductor Eivind Gullberg Jensen, gave an impressive performance of Tchaikovsky's Sixth Symphony, which ends, as TS Eliot noted in another context, "not with a bang but a whimper".

This much-played masterpiece, premiered shortly before the composer allegedly committed suicide, brings out all the beauty and pathos of Tchaikovsky's troubled life, from the contrasts of the first movement to the magnificent third, and the almost unbearable sadness of the ending - and was played and listened to with total commitment throughout.

This was another evening of great music-making by an orchestra at its peak.

Belfast Telegraph

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