"CITY RAIN" by Natalia VyatkinaThe second concert was in the beautiful acoustics of St. Ann’s Church of Ireland in Dawson Street. The concert sponsored most generously by the Reverend Empey saw the first performance by a foreign orchestra of Sean Ó Riada’s “Hercules Dux Ferrariae”. After the applause for this marvelous work conductor Lygia O’Riordan held up the score in recognition of the composer who died at only 40 after a life of disappointments and hardship and tragically not realizing his potential as the Irish Bartok.

The concert continued with Rodion Shedrin’s delightful Balaika where the musicians place their violins on their knees in imitation of the Russian instrument. Finally, all of Prokofiev’s “Visions Fugitives” were played  in the arrangement for string orchestra by Rudolf Barshai, conductor of the great old Moscow Chamber Orchestra.

Disaster seemed about to loom with the concert in Dublin’s main hall that was taken little interest in by its director. On the morning of the concert about 5 places had been bought due to the lack of publicity. This was in stark contrast to the Sydney Opera House that had pulled out all stops (even financing a banner in the main Sydney newspaper) to promote a concert that was ultimately not their responsibility. Fortunately the press was enthusiastic. Irish pianist and conductor Eithne Tinney, now a senior producer with Ireland’s main classical radio station had been enormously supportive and organized a transmission of the concert from the National concert Hall. An appearance on the popular Pat Kenny Radio Show on the morning of the concert was to prove a turning point. After Lygia O’Riordan had described how the concert had been supposed to raise money for instruments for the children on Sakhalin, both the show and the orchestra were inundated with real Irish generosity. That evening members of the audience were heard to say: “Frankly when we heard the plight of that Irish girl and the children on the island we had to come tonight”. Backstage Lygia was overwhelmed with envelopes delivered to her dressing room with donations. At one point the door opened and a lady carrying two violins in cases burst into tears and cried “selfishly I have kept these in my attic for many years in the hope that my children would play them but they never will now” and placing them on the table dashed off in tears. After the concert such scenes were repeated. The next morning the Pat Kenny Show rang to inform that more donations and letters of support had arrived at the studios.....