RTÉ NSO turns 60
Ten years ago, when RTÉ presented the 50th anniversary concert of what was founded as the Radio Éireann Symphony Orchestra, the national broadcaster chose to commission a new work from one of its former heads of music, John Kinsella. Ten years on, a lot has changed in RTÉ. The PIANO Report, commissioned by the Minster for the Arts, which recommended the removal of the RTÉ NSO from RTÉ, has been forgotten about. The orchestra appears to have found a stable course, in spite of the upheavals that affected other parts of RTÉ. And there’s even a major sponsor, Anglo-Irish Bank, supporting the NSO’s regular subscription concerts.
But some things don’t change. John Kinsella has again been commissioned to write the 60th anniversary concert’s opening work. His new piece, to be premiered on Friday, is intriguingly titled Cúchulainn and Ferdia - Duel at the Ford. Other elements remain unchanged, too. There’s to be a piano concerto (Beethoven’s Fourth with Antti Siirala), and some opera, this time the Dance of the Seven Veils and the final scene from Strauss’s Salome, with Susan Bullock and Deirdre CoolingNolan. And, naturally enough, principal conductor Gerhard Markson presides on the podium. The Irish Chamber Orchestra heads off across the Atlantic for a US tour that starts in New York on Thursday, and will also visit Fairfield in Connecticut, Hampton in Virginia, the University of Maryland, Akron in Ohio, and Fayetteville in Arizona. They’ll be playing Bach (excerpts from The Art of Fugue), Gerald Barry ( La Jalousie taciturne), Mendelssohn (the D minor Violin Concerto with artistic director Anthony Marwood as soloist) and Sibelius (his string quartet, Voces intimae, in an arrangement by Marwood).
There are still two opportunities to hear the programme before the orchestra’s departure, in Cork on Friday and in Dublin on Sunday.