By Alf McCreary
Barry Douglas, who is the heart and soul of the successful Clandeboye Festival, gave a memorable solo recital on Wednesday to a packed audience in the estate’s Great Hall.
Douglas has recorded an acclaimed new release of Schubert’s solo works for piano, and two of the most important of these were featured in this recital.
The often-played Schubert Moments Musicaux is a collection of six pieces which Douglas played with aplomb and finesse and which reminded us, if we needed reminding, that he remains a world-class pianist.
As part of the French theme for this year’s Clandeboye Festival, Douglas also played Debussy’s Suite pour le Piano, premiered in 1902.
This was a lively tour de force, yet with remarkable contrasts.
The second half of the recital featured Schubert’s much-loved Sonata in B flat major D960. This is one of the last great works of the mature composer, and Douglas brought out all the passion, and the pathos, of this piano masterpiece.
All of this, and encores of pieces by Tchaikovsky and Brahms, added up to a remarkable musical evening.
Much credit is due to Douglas for the truly major effort he puts into organising Clandeboye, while also performing at the highest level. Our much-loved and greatly-talented Ulsterman is a phenomenon. Long may he continue.