1. Vengerov’s a Kilkenny fan now
“I'll get my coat!” cried violinist Patrick Rafter when Maxim Vengerov phoned to invite him to study with him in Switzerland. Since then, Patrick's diary has been stuffed with performance dates with some of the most prestigious orchestras and conductors in the world. Kilkenny born, he swapped his hurl for a bow, and his swift rise to being one of Ireland's finest musicians is no surprise given his innate musicianship, his dazzling technique and his passion.
2. It’s infectious – but in a good way!
The Sunday Times wrote that pianist Fiachra Garvey "brings a deep and infectious enthusiasm, combined with insight and technical comfort" to everything he performs. He’s already captivated audiences in concert halls across Europe and beyond – now’s your chance to enjoy his joyful music-making at home!
3. Musical lockdown mindfulness
How did you feel during the most intense days of the covid lockdowns? Did you find some days passed at a glacial pace, while others zoomed past in a blur? Composer Emma O’Halloran found herself paying close attention to the minute details of her daily life during those long months. In To Turn in Circles, Emma’s new Music Network commission, she has captured this experience, where she found an inextricable blend of anxiety and dread balanced by mindfulness and serenity. Emma says that “the piece has become about paying attention… every moment is significant, the slightest shift in colour becomes monumental, and at times, these barely perceptible disturbances can become warped and distorted, taking on a life of their own.”
4. More romantic than any gift registry
César Franck’s tender and lyrical Sonata in A major was composed as a wedding gift for his Belgian compatriot, the virtuoso violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, whose own Poème élégiaque is also included in the concert’s programme. As you might expect of a wedding gift, it’s a work of teeming romance, tremendous warmth and spirited interaction. It’s not without its moments of tumult – a seasoned caution, perhaps from the then 63-year-old, worldwise Franck to the young newlyweds – but it does end in a declaration of joyous, loving accord. Phew!
5. It was all a dream… or was it?
The shimmering, diaphanous beauty of Gabriel Fauré’s ever-popular Après un rêve has prompted countless transcriptions of the work for various permutations of instruments. The piece is marked by the exquisite agonies of love lost and love expected, contrary qualities that Fauré’s music elegantly and intimately captures as it shifts from anguish to serenity and back again. You can watch a video of the cellist Gautier Capuçon playing Après un rêve on the wing of an aeroplane below. Our version for violin and piano is a little more, well, grounded. But you’ll get the idea!
Watch Patrick Rafter and Fiachra Garvey perform a stunning programme of music by Franck, Fauré, Ysaÿe and Emma O’Halloran online from 16 June – 1 July 2021. Tickets cost €10.