Since the Ulster Orchestra has started it’s live on your doorstep series, bringing it away from it’s comfort blanket of Belfast, it has been very warmly received.
On this occasion it was lead by virtuoso Pianist Barry Douglas at Derry’s Guildhall. Viewed as one of his most complex, yet most celebrated pieces, Rachmaninov was on a bit of a low when he wrote his second piano concerto; his first having been heavily panned by the critics, he went into a deep state of depression, and there are those who even say that he wrote the piece under a state of severe psychosis. The piece was originally starts with piano alone but builds up into the crescendo of a full orchestra. It’s most famous movement is it’s second, used in everything from the movies, to pop songs to adverts. This however has caused the piece to become a cliche with some of its complexities overlooked. Each element is pieced together delacatly, like a fine tapestry to make one grand over all masterpiece.
Petruschka, based on an old Russian folk tale is a story of love and loss, no less intricate and no less enjoyed by the generous gathering at the Guildhall in Derry.
The Ulster Orchestra’s On Your doorstep series is to be commended, taking the Orchestra out of its narrow comfort zone of Belfast, no bad thing, and bringing some of it’s best works to a wider audience.
The only down side, and it unfortunately has to be said, is that the pricing structure discriminates against those on lower incomes and encourages a younger audience which it both doesn’t seem to be gaining and which is not necessarily appropriate for younger audiences. This particular reviewer is all for encouraging interest from a younger audience; having been encouraged to gain interest from such things by my own disearning parents, but not at the expense and pocket of genuine fans. Ulster Orchestra please take note.