‘‘A lively Grieg – Holberg Suite, was dancy enough to give the musicians free-rein…”
Founded in 2005, the London Irish Camerata that includes Irish students studying in London and under the tutelage of Nicola Sweeney, this 17-piece chamber group are on an Irish Tour. They are described as a Research partner in the Arts Council Touring Experiment and they came to Christ Church Cathedral for the first concert of their Irish tour.
A lively Grieg – Holberg Suite, was dancy enough to give the musicians free-rein and apart from a curious Andante Religioso and the Allegro con brio was fun, even if at times there was unevenness but I would put that down to expressive eagerness.
Fingin Collins, again, showed his exuberance and style with Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 13 with splendid rolls, thrills and exciting flourishes. The young orchestra was equal to Collins brio and confidence.
After the interval it was a joy to hear a contemporary Irish composer – John Kinsella and his almost solo Hommage a’Clarence was atmospheric and expressive with the violin emerging to surprise us like the viola in the fading closing chords.
The Shostakovich Symphony Op 110a was a plaintive beautiful brooding work where the orchestra shone. With three Largos, this was sad stuff and it got to me with its mixed images of war, desolation and concentration camps. This was movie music to tug at your conscience and perhaps in these revisionist times we might think that Shostakovich had his mind or internal Soviet terror rather than Nazi brutality.
A selection of Romanian Dances by Bela Bartok seemed lively enough but for a quartet perhaps after the pensive Shostakovich.
But back to the Arts Council and what do they mean by Research Partner and Touring Experiment? Ah, no doubt arts revisionism is alive and well. Touring is a necessity for the provinces who fund these events through taxes.