Ulster Orchestra Chief Conductor Daniele Rustioni will guide you through a lovely evening of music from France on 12 March 2021.
Fauré’s suite Masques et Bergamasques developed from a commission from Prince Albert of Monaco in 1918 for a short work for stage and it sees the mature Fauré revisit and rework some of his earlier compositions.
Saint-Saëns’s Second Piano Concerto was composed in a flurry of 17 days in order for the composer to premiere it as part of the Parisian conducting debut of his great friend, the Russian pianist Arthur Rubenstein. The result is an exhilarating ride through influences such as Liszt and Bach, inspiration from Saint-Saëns’s then-pupil Gabriel Fauré and finishes with the lively Italian dance, the saltarello.
Our soloist for this piece is Benjamin Grosvenor, whose recording of the Concerto in 2012 garnered mass critical acclaim with Gramophone declaring “one of the most dazzling records to have come my way for many years ... He has technique to burn and his pungency and force are things to marvel at ... Mercifully free from the increasingly stale competition circuit, Grosvenor’s is, at least, a talent in a thousand.”
Augusta Holmès was a French composer of Irish descent, who had to fight for the right to become a musician as her mother actively opposed her wishes. A disciple of César Franck, she was also a close friend of Franz Liszt, who admired her work and encouraged her to keep composing. La Nuit et L’amour is a delightfully romantic symphonic interlude from a larger symphonic work, Ludus pro Patria.
This final concert finishes with Ravel’s charming suite, Mother Goose (Ma mère l’oye). Five character pieces, each based on a classic French fairy tale, were conceived in the summer of 1908 as a gift for Mimie and Jean, the young children of his friends Cipa and Ida Godebski. Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, Laideronette (Empress of the Pagodas) and Beauty and the Beast all feature in this lovely fairytale for all ages.