Review of concert in Curtis Auditorium for Cork Orchestral Society on 8 May by Declan Townsend, Irish Examiner 10 May 2014.
Catherine Hunka (leader, Irish Chamber Orchestra) joined ICO colleague Malachy Robinson (double bass) and accordionist Dermot Dunne for this latest presentation by Cork Orchestra Society.
The trio’s enthusiasm and sense of enjoyment in what they were doing simply oozed from the stage and the audience loved it. This was not a ‘recital’ in the normal sense; it was more in the nature of a ‘session’ that one might hear in a very select pub or even a performance at a Fleadh Ceoil. The players arrived in their street clothes (no attempt at formal ‘concert dress’) and proceeded to entertain us with an astonishing variety of music, some familiar, played with a huge sense of joy, and performed with outstanding virtuosity.
Film music by Ennio Morricone, John Williams and Michel Legrand shared the programme with a Bulgarian suite arranged by Dunne, folk music from Russia, tangos from Argentina, fiddle music from the US, original music by the Irish-based composer Ariel Hernandez, Bottesini’s astonishing Elegy for Double Bass and Accordion, Bartok’s popular Rumanian Dances and the virtuosic Sonata Representiva by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704), widely regarded as the Paganini of his time.
The latter, one of Biber’s ‘show-off’ pieces (much of his music is astonishingly virtuosic and only played by the most outstandingly brilliant, players) called on the players to create animal and bird sounds on their instruments — and it brought the house down. Finally, Dermot Dunne’s medley of popular Russian gypsy tunes, ending with Kalinka, ensured that several encores were called for and freely given.