Billed as Fireworks and Spectacle the SCOW concert with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra lived up to that promo in the cramped chapel at WIT College Street.
The long opening movement of Beethoven’s Symphony No.2 seemed tired, even when the adage was busy and punchy but the dramatic Larghetto dispelled any lethargy before a bubbly Scherzo danced away into a strong final allegro that stops in midpace like a surprise.
Soprano Mairead Buicke joined the orchestra for a Samuel Barber piece Knoxville; Summer of 1915, based on a James Agee story. At times the vocal seemed strident over the orchestra but I loved the tranquil passages (sleep, soft smiling) at times it reminded me of Delibes and the much later Songs of the Auvergne.
After the interval the violin virtuoso Nicola Benedetti shone like stars wide and alive with Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto in D major.
Gypsy Tunes filled the chapel as Benedetti mastered the difficult music to please an audience well up for the experience.
This was crowd pleasing stuff and the gathering showed their appreciation for a beautiful Intermezzo full of yearning and emotion.
A ballet style Allegro Vivace allowed Benedetti to let loose and the orchestra enjoyed the exhilarating rust to finale.
Then we got the clatter and whoosh of fireworks with a noisy rock and roll 1812 overture. The glorious sound rang around the walls as the French Marseillaise tune represented Napoleon as the Tsar of Russia was represented by an early national anthem full of triumphalist brass and drums.
What a sound, what energy, what music, what a night, it really was, such a night.