Ulster Orchestra's season ends with superb performance
Review: Ulster Orchestra at Ulster Hall, Belfast
There is a tradition that the final evening concert of the Ulster Orchestra's season ends with a dramatic musical flourish, and this is exactly what happened in a jam-packed Ulster Hall on Friday night.
Under the direction of its music director Rafael Payare, the orchestra performed a memorable concert of music by Britten, Mahler and Shostakovich.
The first half did not include the usual musical "lollipop" of a well-known piece, but the Britten "Four Sea Interludes" provided wonderful pictures of a gritty Dawn, a normal Sunday Morning, Moonlight and a suitably impressive Storm.
The outstanding Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Karneus charmed everyone with Mahler's Ruckert-Lieder, especially in the final and peaceful "I am lost to the world".
The second half featured a stunning performance of the mighty Shostakovich Fifth Symphony.
The driving force - apart from the composer himself - was maestro Payare, who conducted without a score and who led, cajoled and inspired the players into a truly outstanding performance of one of the world's greatest symphonies.
And so the curtain falls on another season of music - but booking for next year starts soon.
This will be Rafael's last season, sadly, so catch this young international superstar while you can.