Friday, January 3, 2014

RDS Rising Stars Concert

Fancy some fancy? We did, especially if it was to be free! The night after attending Peter and the Wolf at UCD, we attended the Royal Dublin Society (RDS) Rising Stars concert celebrating young and promising Irish musicians.

The RDS Rising Stars programme awards scholarships to top musicians for outstanding performance and musicianship. Irish musical culture benefits from these awards, and we the cheapskate music lovers, benefit from the free showcase performance.

The Program(me) for RDS Rising Stars Gala Evening November 2013
The Programme
Now, if this was a stuffy musical culture blog (and it isn't...yet) there would be a pretentious piece by piece breakdown of each student's choice of literature and musical interpretation.

Example: "AHEM! The Beethoven Quartet 14?  From the late period of his quartets? I would have gone with the adagio from..."

You get the idea.  Beethoven's late quartet was a fine choice, anyway. It was free inspiring to see such great talent in young Irish people. We sincerely enjoyed each performance- and the variety of instruments, voices, and musical literature was a nice survey of art music of the last few centuries. The saxophone quartet brought me back to my high school band directing days. American band instruments aren't as widely popular here in Ireland, so I perk up whenever I hear wind and percussion ensembles on the streets or in concert.

Highlighting the program was the winner of the first RDS Music Bursary, performing on an unusual instrument. He performed pieces on the Brahms Guitar, an eight-string guitar played upright like a cello. At the bottom of the body, a long peg extends down to a special wooden sounding box. Vibrations from the body of the guitar travel down this peg and to this hollow box, which has tone holes facing out to the audience. The box amplifies the sound and warms the tone, filling the hall with a rich and unique sound.

We will be keeping our eyes on the Dublin Event Guide for the next round of RDS scholarships.  Fair play to you, RDS, for keeping Irish classical music alive and healthy.

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