Fixated by a fantastic night
A thrilled and excited audience greeted conductor Kenneth Montgomery and the Ulster Orchestra in the Ulster Hall last night.
The gentle opening texture of Weber's Oberon was conveyed in a powerful and qualified manner by the Orchestra. The bold and brassy orchestration of the overture was given a suitable vibrancy and the growing crescendo dynamics echoed thunderously in the acoustics of the Ulster Hall. A great opening piece - fresh, short and mesmerising.
Next, the Orchestra was joined onstage by Benjamin Schmid from Vienna on violin and Quirine Viersen from Holland on cello for Brahms's Double Concerto in A minor. The audience was fixated by the blazing virtuosic counterpoint playing of this dynamic duo. The music was beautifully balanced in its dynamics and the elegant soloists were rewarded with roaring applause, returning to perform a lively variation of Handel's Passacaglia, which portrayed a wonderfully controlled use of tremolo.
After this welcomed surprise, the concert ended with the serious and dramatic First Symphony from Jean Sibelius. It is a testament to the level of invention within this work that it can maintain the listener's interest for almost forty minutes. The Orchestra performed lyrically.
I do not say this lightly, but this was a fantastic night of music.
Rathcol, Belfast Telegraph, 12-02-07