National Symphony orchestra

NSO and Peter Whelan:
Mozart, Stravinsky

Friday 6th January, 2023

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National Symphony Orchestra
Peter Whelan
, conductor 2022
Paula Murrihy, mezzo-soprano
Nick Pritchard, tenor
John Molloy, bass
Meadhbh O’Rourke, flute Winner Maura Dowdall Concerto Competition 2022
Richard Allen, harp

Mozart Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra
Stravinsky Pulcinella

Peter Whelan’s ‘stylish verve’ (BBC Music Magazine) and ‘exuberance and elegance’ (Irish Examiner) leads exciting young talents – Paula Murrihy’s ‘golden malleable voice’ (Bachtrack), Nick Pritchard’s ‘dulcet lyric tenor’ (Gramophone) and ‘Ireland’s leading bass’ (Offaly Independent), John Molloy, with stunning harpist Richard Allen and flautist Meadhbh O’Rourke – in an evening of classical refinement and contemporary hi-jinks.

Contrasts aplenty with two works that sparkle and thrill: the classical effervescence of Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp and Stravinsky’s Janus-faced ballet Pulcinella, borrowing from the past to usher in a brilliant new modernity.

Winner of the 2022 Maura Dowdall Concerto Competition, flautist Meadhbh O’Rourke partners with harpist Richard Allen, ‘an artist in the true sense of the word’ (Sioned Williams, UK Harp Association President), for Mozart’s enchanting Concerto for Flute, Harp and Orchestra. Graceful, elegant, effusively joyful, it is one of only two double concertos he wrote and positively revels in the virtuosic interplay between both solo instruments and the orchestra.

Composed in the wake of the Great War, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella for three singers and orchestra escaped the conflict’s dark shadow by looking back for inspiration to the 18th century from the music of Pergolesi, and further still in time to commedia dell’arte. First staged by Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballet Russes with Léonide Massine choreographing and designed by Pablo Picasso, Stravinsky rose to the challenge of his illustrious peers to create a masterpiece ballet.

Relishing its playfully poised anarchy, as befits the anarchic title character, it skips and pirouettes its way through a series of colourful incidents couched in delightfully varied musical attitudes and accents with pantomimic gleefulness.

Presented by National Symphony Orchestra

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