Review, by Alf McCreary: Great husband and wife teamwork - Daniel Rustioni and Francesca Dego - at Ulster Orchestra concert
The Northern Ireland audiences have been privileged to hear this celebrated couple performing together regularly over the past few years, and they are two of the brightest young stars in the international music world.
The first half began with a lively interpretation of Dvorak’s Slavonic dances, including the lesser known Op. 2 No 7.
It was followed by the Sibelius violin concerto which is technically very difficult for the soloist, but Francesca Dego gave an outstanding performance which was sensitively supported by her conductor husband and the orchestra.
Daniele Rustioni maintained the delicate balance needed between the soloist and the orchestra, and yet allowed the fire of the tumultuous finale to round off an impressive performance by everyone on the Ulster Hall stage.
Francesca Dega opened the second half with Clara Schumann’s Three Romances, the third of which was particularly memorable.
The second half of Friday’s concert also featured Dvorak’s Seventh Symphony, which is perhaps not as well-known as his Ninth “New World” Symphony, but his Seventh is generally regarded as his greatest.
Once again Rustioni drew out all the quiet sensitivities of this work as well as its triumphant finale, to end an evening of memorable music which the large audience acclaimed enthusiastically.
This husband and wife partnership of Francesca and Daniele Rustioni will be back on stage in the Ulster Hall on Friday, February 9 next for performances of the Brahms Double Concerto for Violin and Cello, as well as Edward Elgar’s landmark Enigma Variations.
Francesca is currently the Ulster Orchestra’s inaugural "artist in focus” and she will return here again in March for a special chamber music project with Ulster Orchestra players, which will tour to venues beyond Belfast.
Meanwhile, the Ulster Orchestra’s next big concert will take place in the Ulster Hall on Friday, December 1 and will feature the delightful Rhenish Symphony No.3 by Robert Schumann. The soloist will be the Ukranian pianist Vadym Kholodenko who won the Gold Medal in the prestigious Van Cliburn Piano Competition in 2013 and now enjoys a stellar career. He will be playing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No 3. This should be a concert well worth hearing.