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Music in Great Irish Houses

Last night I was lucky enough to be taken (by my employer no less) to a concert in Kilruddery House, near Bray, County Wicklow. Home of the Earls of Meath (since the early 17th Century), the house was rebuilt in the mid-20th century, and boasts exceptional 17th century style gardens (hedges and canals), which stretch as far as the eye can see.

The programme was of piano trios, played by the Capuçon brothers (from Chambery, France) on violin and ‘cello, and the American born Nicholas Anderich on piano.

The concert was set in the massive conservatory of the house, on a wonderful summer’s evening – picnics in the grounds first – and opened with a trio by Franz Josef Haydn. Beautifully and passionately played, but really only a warm-up for the more meaty music of Johannes Brahms (trio in c minor), which came later. Brahms wrote this particular trio whilst at his summer retreat in Thun, Switzerland, and the music brings across the impressiveness of that location.

The second half of the concert consisted solely of Dmitri Shostakovich’s outstanding piano trio in e minor, written following the death of his closest friend Ivan Sollertinsky. The beauty of the work, charting the passage from life into death was truly exceptionally moving. The vigour and virtuosity of the performance from all three musicians could only add to the overall effect.

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