- Irene Buckley
Awakening (RTÉ NSO Commission)
The Firebird (1945)
In the depth of December darkness as the Winter Solstice nears, three works that promise the return of light and warmth, including two colour-saturated masterpieces with the sun-soaked passion of Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole taking the edge off winter’s chill, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird stirring the imagination with a combustible fantasy of a princess, an ogre and a bird made from living flames.
Composed as the world came to a standstill in 2020, Irene Buckley’s Awakenings was given its first performance by the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra earlier this year as part of New Music Dublin, and reflects, says the composer ‘the wondrous transition from the stasis of winter to the rebirth of spring’. In music of dense, layered textures it suggests ‘the opening up and revealing of new growth, the springing forth of new life. Darkness emerging into light’.
Violinist Ellinor D’Melon, lauded as ‘one of those rare players who gives the impression that her command – both technical and musical – is total’ (The Irish Times) for her thrilling Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra in 2019, makes her anticipated return for one of the instrument’s most glorious raptures – Lalo’s Symphonie espagnole.
A rhapsodic celebration of Spanish folk songs composed for the legendary Spanish violinist Pablo de Sarasate, it blends fireworks virtuosity, rhythmic vitality and soaring lyricism in five contrasted sections that sing of the exotic, sun-kissed romance of Spain.
The Firebird catapulted Stravinsky to fame and proved so popular he produced three orchestral suites from its effervescent, colourful and combustible music. Dating from 1945, the last is also the longest and makes the most magical use of the orchestra with its flamboyant use of colour, ripe romanticism and hypnotic rhythms to conjure the most flammable of fantasies.
National Concert Hall
National Concert Hall, Earlsfort Terrace, IrelandOpen Larger Map