Last Thursday, 3rd July, the Junior Orchestra of The National Youth Orchestra got a sustained and richly deserved standing ovation and it must have been sweet success to the ears of the two young Waterford members, Rebecca McCarthy-Kent (violin) and Anne O’Riordan (oboe).
On a miserable excuse for a summer’s night, Gearoid Grant, the charismatic conductor encouraged his young musicians to be exuberant and enjoy the music and that infectious feeling found a welcome on the generous hears of the audience.
The opening was a vigorous Orchestral Suite from Bizet’s Carmen. The Good Shepherd Chapel rang to the bright toreador setting with a glorious Intermezzo that had all the pleasures of a real summer’s evening. The Habanera sparkled into the Danse Boheme in fine party mood.
Gwendolyn Masin in the Mendelssohn, Violin Concerto in E Minor was in virtuoso form and a few notes in had grabbed the music and asserted her expressive style. Her playing demanded attention and she got it with confident work that inspired rapt attention. She herself had played for three years in the Junior Orchestra. In the slow movement, the music was plaintive, almost painful as her solo work made the violin weep with emotion as the orchestra moved into warmer happier tones of listless summer evenings and pleasing strings.
After the interval, the Dvorak Symphony was big, bright and brassy with dreamy interludes and a fold dance variation on flutes and oboe. This was New World style like cinema music and the brass rocked the mood into a fireworks display of an ending.
This was spirited musicianship and the audience loved it and showed its pleasure in a rousing ovation.