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Ulster Orchestra treats audience to varied selection of pieces

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One of the strengths of the Ulster Orchestra’s season is the programming of music rarely performed here, together with well-known pieces guaranteed to fill seats, and also to enable the audience to hear music which may be unfamiliar

One of the strengths of the Ulster Orchestra’s season is the programming of music rarely performed here, together with well-known pieces guaranteed to fill seats, and also to enable the audience to hear music which may be unfamiliar

One of the strengths of the Ulster Orchestra’s season is the programming of music rarely performed here, together with well-known pieces guaranteed to fill seats, and also to enable the audience to hear music which may be unfamiliar

One of the strengths of the Ulster Orchestra's season is the programming of music rarely performed here, together with well-known pieces guaranteed to fill seats, and also to enable the audience to hear music which may be unfamiliar.

On Friday, a virtually full Ulster Hall heard a first half devoted to less familiar pieces including the neo-classical Danses Concertantes by Stravinsky, who also featured recently in a lunchtime concert.

Another enjoyable feature of the Ulster Orchestra's regular performances is the high standard of guest conductors who are attracted here to play with our fine ensemble.

On Friday, the impressive young female maestro was the New Zealand-born Gemma New, the principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in Texas.

The soloist was the superbly talented principal flute of the London Symphony Orchestra, Adam Walker, who played Ibert's technically demanding Flute Concerto with great virtuosity and aplomb, and received a huge welcome.

In the second half, the Musica Celestis by Aaron Jay Kernis was reminiscent of Barber's famous Adagio for Strings, though a degree more shrill at times.

The concert ended with Mendelssohn's stirring and sunny Italian Symphony. This might have been taken by some members of the audience as a topically fond - or joyous - farewell to Europe only two hours before Brexit became a reality on Friday night.

Either way, the Italian musical warmth was a welcome treat in Belfast on a cold winter's evening.

Belfast Telegraph