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RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra LIVE 

Fridays, 7pm - live from the national concert hall


The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra will return to live performance from Friday 11 September LIVE from the National Concert Hall stage in a new series of 12 concerts live-streamed worldwide in HD on RTÉ Culture and broadcast live on RTÉ lyric fm on Fridays at 7pm.

All concerts will be offered to the European Broadcasting Union for broadcasting across the European network. 

Jaime Martín

RTÉ NSO - Ravel & Beethoven

Friday 9th October, 7pm 
Watch Live Here

Jaime Martín conductor
Presented by Paul Herriott, RTÉ lyric fm 
Ravel Le tombeau de Couperin 
Beethoven Symphony No. 7

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra’s Chief Conductor Jaime Martín makes a most welcome return for two masterpieces in search of peace and resolution in challenging times.

Ravel’s Le tombeau de Couperin was begun in 1914 as an homage to his baroque compatriot François de Couperin. When completed in 1917, a year after he had been invalided out of the French army, it had become a tribute to close friends who had lost their lives during the horrors of the First World War and a memorial to his recently deceased mother.

Its title refers to a 17th-century fashion for tombeau – works of commemoration. Yet this is no sorrowful requiem. Instead, it boasts a vivaciousness that speaks of lives lived to the full, a quality brilliantly realised by the borrowing of animated forms from baroque dance music. As Ravel himself remarked: ‘The dead are sad enough in their eternal silence’.

Beethoven considered his Seventh Symphony ‘one of my best’. And no wonder. One of the last products of his ‘heroic’ phase, it’s a startling creation seething with a burning, revolutionary zeal and majestic nobility. Driven along by relentless rhythmic force, Wagner famously anointed it ‘the apotheosis of the dance’.

There’s a glimpse of pastoral escape in the skittish third movement – Beethoven’s ‘tomorrow is another day’ moment – and a combustible finale of thunderous defiance against oppression, political corruption and the encroaching silence of his deafness in what becomes a triumphant celebration of music itself.


RTÉ NSO - Stravinsky, Mozart & Prokofiev

Friday 16th October, 7pm
Watch Live Here

Jaime Martín conductor 
Presented by Paul Herriott, RTÉ lyric fm

Stravinsky Pulcinella Suite
Mozart Divertimento for Strings in D
Prokofiev Symphony No. 1 ‘Classical’

Two magnificent 20th-century displays of orchestral colour and mood laced with nostalgic longing for less troubled times frame a delightfully effervescent miniature symphony for strings that anticipates a return to sunnier climes.

Drawn from his one-act ballet score, Stravinsky’s Pulcinella Suite was written in the wake of the Great War and escapes its dark shadow by looking to centuries-old commedia dell’arte for inspiration. Joyfully celebrating the form’s playfully poised anarchy, it skips and pirouettes its way through a series of colourful incidents in music of delightfully varied attitudes and accents with pantomimic gleefulness.

Composed in his home town by the then 16-year-old Mozart, the Divertimento for Strings in D was the first of his so-called ‘Salzburg Symphonies’ although it is considerably more compact than that label suggests. Influenced by the crisp, delicate style of Corelli, whose music Mozart had encountered in his first visit to Italy and relished the prospect of returning to, it’s a work of enchanting sophistication that sets off with a sprightly pace, pauses for a moment of graceful reflection, and ends with a fizzing display of massed strings in exultantly playful mood. 

Prokofiev described his First Symphony as ‘happy and uncomplicated music’. Casting an admiring glance back towards the Classical era, hence its nickname, it pays fresh, witty homage to the spirited, life-enhancing music of Mozart and Haydn. But this is no mere pastiche. Instead, the past is filtered through Prokofiev’s recognisably contemporary voice and the result is an affectionate tribute to a more refined age that sounds all the more remarkable for its forward-looking treatment of traditional forms.

Jaime Martín
Jaime Martín

RTÉ NSO - Falla, Granados & Chapi

Friday 23rd October, 7pm 
Watch Live Here

Jaime Martín, conductor    
Rebeca Sanchez singer 
Presented by Paul Herriott, RTÉ lyric fm

Falla El sombrero de tres picos (The Three-Cornered Hat) Suite No. 1
Granados Intermezzo from Goyescas
Falla El amor brujo (Love the Magician) (1925)
Chapí Prelude from La Revoltosa  

Curtain up for a visit to the theatre in the company of a lecherous law-maker, an amorous toreador, a haunted wife and a mischievous troublemaker for two brilliant ballets, an opera and the distinctive accent of zarzuela from three of Spain’s most compelling composers.

Suffused with infectious melodies and shot through with wit and humour, Manuel de Falla’s exuberant The Three-Cornered Hat depicts a lascivious magistrate’s attempts to seduce the faithful wife of a crafty miller. All three protagonists are brought brilliantly to life in music drawn from traditional folk tunes from the regions of Murcia, Navarre and Falla’s native Andalusia in southern Spain.

Enrique Granados’s last opera, Goyescas, pays homage to the city of Madrid and to the Spanish romantic painter and printmaker Francisco Goya in a passionate, poetic tale of love, jealousy and murder involving a beautiful girl, a smitten army officer and an amorous toreador. A last-minute addition to the score, its Intermezzo ebbs and flows with melting heat and boasts a dark-hued beauty caught radiantly in the upper strings of cellos.

A ballet about a widow prevented from finding new love by the ghost of her dead husband, Falla’s Love the Magician also takes its musical inspiration from Andalusia to memorably blend the melodic and the macabre. Adding authentic Spanish glamour and excitement, singer and dancer Rebeca Sanchez joins to lend a flash of flamenco vitality in all its passionate vibrancy and alluring romance. 

Evocative, exotic, excitable and often exquisitely beautiful, its celebrated Ritual Fire Dance was famously recorded by jazz supremo Miles Davis as ‘Will o’ the Wisp’ on his ground-breaking album Sketches of Spain.

Ruperto Chapí was a prolific composer of zarzuelas, a potent Spanish theatrical style that fuses opera-like arias, popular songs, the spoken voice and dance to spellbinding effect. The Prelude to La Revoltosa (The Troublemaker) is a thrilling display of colour and heat, haunting romance and heightened drama, all vividly conjured by intoxicatingly atmospheric orchestral writing.

RTÉ NSO - Rossini, Fauré, Mendelssohn and Schubert 

Friday 30th OCtober
Watch Live Here

Proinnsías Ó Duinn conductor

Rossini Overture to L’italiana in Algeri 
Fauré Pavane 
Mendelssohn Intermezzo, Nocturne and Scherzo from A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Schubert Symphony No. 5 
Composed, legend has it, in not much more than a fortnight and less than month, Rossini’s L’italiana in Algeri, a frolicking romantic farce with an exotic setting, proved to be the smash-hit comedy of its day. Slowly turning the volume up to 11, the wonderfully brisk, bright cascade of colour that is the Overture sparkles and shines with knowing wit, warming lyricism and a few dramatic surprises up its sleeve.

From the ridiculous to the sublime: Fauré’s lilting, hypnotically undulating Pavane, a graceful display of French elegance carried along by the soft, subtle rhythm of a Spanish court dance that has inspired ballets, accompanied countless commercials and even been sampled by the likes of Iron Maiden and Little Mix.

The 17-year-old Mendelssohn’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the truly great orchestral showpieces: a brilliant kaleidoscope of overflowing lyricism, filigree-delicate melodies and enchantment woven seamlessly together with silver-spun orchestrations that bring Shakespeare’s fairy realm to vivacious life in time for Halloween.

Schubert was in the last of his teenage years when he composed his buoyant, free-flowing Fifth Symphony. With a Mozartian spring in its step, it’s as zesty and sophisticated as anything he wrote. At its heart is an exquisite slow movement, tinged with aching melancholy and boasting a magical, melting dialogue between woodwinds and strings. Its finale brims over with captivating exuberance.

Proinnsias Ó Duinn