THERE’S a treat in store for music lovers as they are invited to immerse themselves once again in the always popular Ardee Baroque Festival, which runs from Friday, November 24th to Sunday, November 26th.
The immensely popular festival is now in its 14th year and will take place at numerous venues throughout the town with a host of top classical musicians taking part.
Aimed at music lovers young and old, this year’s Ardee Baroque Festival includes a return visit by the Irish Baroque Orchestra with leading Irish soprano Sinead Campbell Wallace; a family friendly concert from Music Generation Louth’s Junior Orchestra; a solo violin recital by one of Ireland’s most exciting players; a talk on Irish harp from the region, and a performance by pianist Michael McHale and cellist Brian O’Kane.
Programme director, Pauline Ashwood said preparations are well underway for the festival, which promises to be the best one yet.
‘Hoping to draw on the success of last year with record numbers enjoying Vivaldi’s ‘Four Seasons’ with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, this year we will have one of Ireland’s leading sopranos to perform a programme of popular and much-loved arias by Handel for the main Saturday evening concert. You don’t have to be a classical music expert to enjoy this festival.
‘Many performances include well-known tunes from the Baroque period as well as a piano and cello concert with music by and inspired by Bach.’
Over the years, Ardee has been host to many special musical events and has seen some of the greatest performers of baroque music visit the County Louth town. As the cold and darker evenings draw in, the town gears itself up for an influx of musicians and people to support this great festival.
The Irish Baroque Orchestra remains the headline act for the festival.
Under the direction of violinist Claire Duff, this year they bring Irish soprano, Sinead Campbell-Wallace with a programme of delightful and many well-known arias from the baroque period, including pieces from Handel’s Messiah. Sticking with the almost-seasonal theme, they will also perform Corelli’s celebrated Christmas Concerto.
Music Generation initiatives around the country have been growing from strength to strength.
Music Generation Louth’s impressive youth chamber groups and Junior String Orchestra perform a family-friendly selection of baroque favourites including Winter from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and music from the Royal Fireworks by Handel. This is an inspirational concert for and by young musicians.
Irish violinist Mairéad Hickey is much in demand for the beauty, quality and sensitivity of her playing. For this hour-long concert in the intimate setting of the drawing room in Hatch’s castle, she will perform a programme of baroque and traditional Irish works for solo violin.
Harper, Patrick Quin was one of the youngest of the 18th century Irish harpers. The Sunday lecture will feature researcher Sylvia Crawford talking about Patrick and the potential of Irish music in cultural tourism in the Oriel region.
The weekend comes to a close with a recital featuring music written and inspired by Bach and will include Brahms’ glorious sonata for violin and piano.
Originally from Belfast, pianist Michael McHale lived in Louth for a number of years and is delighted to return to the wee county joined by Cork cellist Brian O’Kane. Tickets are available through An Táin Arts Centre, Crowe St, Dundalk, Co Louth +353 42 9332332 or www.antain.ie
Ardee Baroque Festival was initiated by Louth County Arts Office in 2004. It is funded by Louth County Council, Create Louth and the Arts Council.
The Music Generation Youth Orchestra who will feature in this year’s Ardee Baroque Music Festival.