NCH Chamber Music Series

The Natural World

Sunday 12th February, 2023 -
Sunday 16th April, 2023

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The National Concert Hall is delighted to present a new series of chamber music concerts for 2023 curated by celebrated Irish pianist Fiachra Garvey. The Natural World provides the inspiration for this unique series which comprises six Sunday afternoon recitals from February to April next year featuring familiar chamber classics and Irish premieres.   

Popular with audiences, the Sunday afternoon concerts offer the ideal opportunity for chamber music fans to relax in the intimate surrounds of the Kevin Barry Recital Room and to connect and experience the magic of live music.  

Mairead Hickey & Fiachra Garvey

Mairéad Hickey & Fiachra Garvey "Melodic Masterworks"

Sunday 12th February, 3.00pm

Mairéad Hickey violin
Fiachra Garvey piano

Johannes Brahms Sonata No. 2 in A major for violin and piano, Op. 100 
Deirdre McKay "a quarter million miles from the moon"  
Richard Strauss Sonata in Eb major for violin and piano, Op. 18 

Brahms’s Sonata No. 2, nicknamed “Thun” after a holiday he spent at Lake Thun in Switzerland, has been described as being “so full of melodies that one has to be careful not to step on any”, the perfect way to begin a recital dedicated to the power and appeal of beautiful melodies. Strauss was besotted with a soprano when he was writing his violin sonata and these amorous feelings can be heard throughout the work. The sonata places huge demands both lyrically and technically on both the violinist and pianist. McKay’s ethereal work, sandwiched between these two masterworks, offers the perfect calm before the Strauss storm. 

Caitríona Frost & Alex Petcu

Sunday 26th February, 3.00pm

Bangers and Crash Percussion Duo - Caitríona Frost & Alex Petcu

Emmanuel Sejourne Losa 
Ivan Trevino 2+1  
Caitriona Frost Trip to Paris 
Elliot Cole Postlude No.8 
Ella Macens Falling Embers 
Nils Rohwer Duet Colours 
Gene Koshinski  And So The Wind Blew 

The Bangers and Crash Percussion Group is a collective of Irish percussionists who regularly collaborate for a wide range of projects. To open the concert, a lively piece by Emmanuel Séjourné called “Losa”, inspired by dance rhythms of Spanish Flamenco music. An Irish premiere follows, a Bon Iver inspired composition by Ivan Trevino: “2+1”. Alex Petcu will perform on vibraphone “Falling Embers” by Ella Macens, composed as a meditation for peace and relief from the fires that raged across the Australian landscape in the summer of 2019-20. Caitríona Frost will perform an original work on marimba composed on residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris. “And So the Wind Blew” by Gene Koshinski focuses on the sounds of nature and is inspired by gamelan and world music.

Alex Petcu
Fiona & Jean Kelly

Fiona Kelly & Jean Kelly "Towards the Sea"

Sunday 12th March, 3.00pm

Fiona Kelly flute
Jean Kelly harp

Cécile Chaminade Sérénade aux étoiles op. 142 
Arnold Bax Sonata for flute and harp  
Toru Takemitsu Toward the Sea III for alto flute and harp 
H. Leslie Adams Night Song 
William Alwyn Naiades Fantasy - Sonata for flute and harp 

Sisters Fiona and Jean Kelly present a flute and harp recital inspired by Nature, the Sea and the Night Sky. The concert opens with Cecile Chaminade’s beautiful miniature ‘Sérénade aux étoiles’. Down by the Salley Gardens is quoted in the next work – ‘Fantasy Sonata’ by Arnold Bax, an English composer who spent a great deal of time in Cork and was inspired by Ireland and Irish folk music.  ‘Toward the Sea’ by Toru Takemitsu is an evocative work for alto flute and harp, commissioned by Greenpeace for the Save the Whale campaign. ‘Night Song’ by American composer H. Leslie Adams provides a touch of jazzy romance. The programme concludes with the dramatic ‘Naiades, A Fantasy Sonata’ by William Alwyn.

Cassiopeia Winds "Ode to the West Wind"

Sunday 26th March, 3.00pm

Giulio Briccialdi Wind Quintet No.1 in D Major, Op.124 
Philip Hammond  Ho Hum Hill, N.H.  
Raymond Deane Pentaprism
Francis Poulenc Novelette in C Major  
Valerie Coleman Umoja The First Day of Kwanzaa 1997  
​​​​​​Paul Hindemith Kleine Kammermusik Op.24, No.2  

Herald spring! Let Cassiopeia Winds breeze you away from your everyday to a gentle sound-world of sonorous classics, coupled with atmospheric works reflecting diverse cultural and historical perspectives of composers hailing from distant continents connected by the flow of the west wind. Enjoy beautiful music for wind instruments from Italy, America, France, Germany and Ireland: reflecting unique perspectives, spanning centuries and representing the very best instrumental writing for winds. Glorious chamber works for flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn by well-loved composers Briccialdi, Hindemith and Poulenc, alongside evocative music by Americans, Valerie Coleman and topped off with by two World Premieres for Wind Quintet by renowned Irish composers Philip Hammond and Raymond Deane. Come, catch your breath with Cassiopeia Winds! 

Cassiopeia Winds
Ailbhe, Macdara & Ruth

Ailbhe McDonagh, Macdara Ó Seireadáin, Ruth McGinley "The Long Trip Home"

Sunday 2nd April, 3.00pm

Ailbhe McDonagh cello
Macdara Ó Seireadáin clarinet
Ruth McGinley piano

Edith Hemenway  Questions of Travel 
Nino Rota Trio for clarinet, cello and piano 
Johannes Brahms Clarinet trio in A minor Op.114 

The Long Trip home celebrates the closing chapters in the compositional journeys of Brahms, Hemenway, and Rota and the return to their roots and early influences. 

A chance encounter with the playing of clarinettist Richard Mühlfeld in Meiningen inspired Brahms to resume composing and sparked a period of extraordinary creativity, including a number of works for clarinet, piano, and voice. Autumnal in nature and deeply rooted in the classical tradition, his magnificent clarinet trio is a mellow, nostalgic glance back at a changed world. 

Describing his compositional style as being “with a little bit of nostalgia, a lot of optimism and good humour” Nino Rotas trio for clarinet, cello, and piano, unpublished during his lifetime certainly fits this characterisation. Hailing from his late creative period during which he returned to classical music from scoring film music, it comprises of a lyrical andante bookended by witty, zesty outer movements. 

Edith Hemenway’s Questions of Travel, a series of miniatures that take the listener on a surreal journey, each with their own unique sonic soundscapes offers a distinct contrast to both the humorous Nino Rota and melancholic Brahms trios. 

Yurodny Ensemble

Sunday 16th April, 3.00pm

Founded in 2007 by saxophonist and composer Nick Roth, the Yurodny Ensemble perform contemporary interpretations of traditional music from around the world alongside new works by composers inspired by these traditions. The group will create a new piece especially for this concert.