Monthly Archives: October 2013

São Paulo SO; Marin Alsop, NCH Dublin 26/10/13

Last Saturday I traveled to Dublin for my first concert of my live music year, which runs from September to June.

I booked a hotel close by, the O’ Callaghan Hotel. Alas, the taxi I hopped into at the train station brought me to the wrong one! Apparently there are three O’Callaghan hotels in the city centre. So, following a second taxi journey, it cost me an extra €15 from hotel A to hotel B.

When I got to the NCH* I noticed there seemed to be a younger crowd than normal. The usual concert-going people are of an older generation; don’t get me wrong there were still quite a few, but less. Even more to my surprise, I didn’t spot anyone falling asleep during the concert – which happens a lot!

Anyway here is my review of the concert.


Clarice AssadTerra Brasilis Fantasia sobre o Hino Nacional Brasileiro
Leonard BernsteinSymphonic Dances from ‘West Side Story’
Gustav MahlerSymphony No. 1 in D major

The American and now Irish** conductor Marin Alsop was, somewhat unusually, the second woman to take charge of a symphony orchestra at the NCH this weekend. Galway native Sinead Hayes made her debut with the NSO with a programme of Mozart on Friday evening.

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Hello and welcome to my new classical music blog: IrishPianoMan!

My name is Andrew Newman and you’re welcome to my classical music blog.


Why classical music?
I’ve been listening to classical music for as long as I can remember. In the early 80′s my father had a tape of a guy called
Richard Clayderman. He wasn’t a classical pianist  per se, but I obviously listened to it with my father. We had an upright piano in the sitting room which was kinda always out of tune, but okay. Apparently one morning , when I was five, I started to play a tune of his called Ballade for Adeline (I had up to that point never played the piano before!).

I started piano lessons soon after that and that’s when my interest in classical music started. I can still remember the first recordings that were given to me as presents: Mozart piano concertos numbers 20, 21 and 23 with Maurizio Pollini and the famous recordings of  Beethoven’s symphonies numbers 5 and 7 with the great  Austrian conductor Carlos Kleiber.

I really didn’t like any music other than classical music from an early age which was, I suppose, a little odd. I never really strayed from the German/Austrian composers: Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert. The most radical music that I just about could tolerate was Mars from the Planet Suite by the English composer Gustav Holst! All these were found on a Christmas present that I got: ’The Essential Karajan’. I used to listen to that tape for hours until eventually it broke :(

The teenage years…
In around 1993 I got a CD player and started buying the, now defunct, magazine Classic CD. Each month it had an attached CD with 10 recordings of the month. This really opened my eyes to other composers music. I found Gustav Mahler and Igor Stravinsky whose music I would otherwise never have bothered listening to. I eventually realised that not all contemporary classical music sounded like the, in my opinion, awful music of the 20th century composer Karlheinz Stockhausen.

In 2002 I was introduced to the wonderful music of Magnus Lindberg, with his wonderful clarinet concerto. That opened my eyes to other contemporary composers who didn’t mind writing tunes e.g. Thomas Adès and Eric Whitacre.

What will be in my blog?
I have been presenting a classical music radio show on Claremorris Community Radio in Mayo every Sunday (at 3pm) called “Classical Sounds”. Each week I’ll be posting a podcast and the playlist and maybe a Spotify playlist here of my programme.

I also attend concerts fairly regularly at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Next week I will have the unusual pleasure of a lady conducting an orchestra. Marin Alsop is bringing her São Paulo Symphony Orchestra who are on a 15 country tour with a great programme of music. I hope to review this concert and other’s that I’ll be attending in the future.

That’s all I hope you didn’t find this too rambling until next time. Cheerio!