I rarely buy tickets in advance for concerts preferring not to commit myself until the last moment. The early booker is not rewarded and is sometimes penalised by extra booking fees on top of the the ticket prices and there is always the chance of discounted tickets for performances with a low turnout. Arts centres might do better to go for the budget airline model where early bookers can snap up the cheapest deal with roll ups paying the full whack. However I broke the habit of a lifetime and took out a family subscription for the Waterford Music chamber music series. Why? Well of course I wanted to support performances of top class artists in Waterford but what made me whip out my cheque book was that the subscription was fantastic value at €140 for 8 concerts for two people, offering greater than 50% discount on the door price.
To date we have heard three concerts. Contemporary Dublin Guitar Quartet were followed by a Baroque programme by Camerata Kilkenny .
Last night the newly appointed RTE String Quartet, The Contempo Quartet presented two distinct elements in a programme of standard Classical string quartet repertoire and Argentinian tango. The storms and squalls of a Beethoven Quartet in F minor were followed by golden beams of Haydn's Sunrise Quartet. A short piece written for the quartet by Jane O Leary featured an array of modern playing effects. In the absence of programme notes, cellist Adrian Mantu and Dermot Dunne introduced the items . The Contempo play with such a bristling energy and panache, they are always good to watch and hear. They had just the right sort of Latin edge for the collaboration with Dunne on five pieces by Piazzola although at times they overpowered the accordion particularly in the opening number. Particularly lovely was the sultry third piece with muted strings So beguiling was this combination of accordion and luscious strings that I would love to have heard more and could happily haver listened to them all over again. Wonderful and all as it was to hear Haydn and Beethoven so superbly performed, it did seem a waste to have a virtuoso accorddionist sitting on his hands in the audience for the larger part of the evening.You can hear one of the pieces in the video below .
There are five concerts remaining and concerts take place on Thursday evenings in the elegant Georgian Room in City Hall. Next concert features another combination of top notch musicians -cellist Guy Johnston, Katherine Hunka (Leader ICO) and Hugh Tinney. Pianist Michael McHale with clarinettist Michael Collins and Joanne McGregor are all down for later dates. It is fantastic to have these artists perform on or doorstep. I recommend this series highly.