RTÉ NSO turns 60

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Listings - MICHAEL DER­VAN MICHAEL DER­VAN

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.

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