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by Guytano Parks

BuchbinderSpringtime was heralded in at Severance Hall last Thursday evening when music director Franz Welser-Möst led The Cleveland Orchestra, soprano Kate Royal, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, tenor John Tessier and The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Children’s Chorus (prepared by Robert Porco and Ann Usher) in Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony. Earlier on the program came Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, Sibelius’s Lemminkainen’s Return, and Ryan Wigglesworth’s Locke’s Theatre.

Welser-Möstled a bold and sweeping account of the Sibelius (No. 4, from Legends, Op. 22) to begin the program. Emphasizing the dark, serious nature of its opening bars, he coaxed expressive, colorful sounds from the orchestra, full of rhythmic vigor and effective dynamic contrasts.

Buchbinder played Rachmaninoff’s popular Rhapsody in a straightforward manner, but still full of interest and excitement. Read the rest of this entry »


by Mike Telin

CMA-Virgin-and-ChildInspired by imagery of the Virgin and Child in the Cleveland Museum of Art’s medieval collection, Mother and Child, a progressive choral event, invites audiences to experience a stunning intersection of the aural and the visual in three different museum spaces on Saturday, December 14. Performers will include Quire Cleveland, led by Ross Duffin, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth and Children’s Choruses, directed by Lisa Wong, and the sopranos and altos of Trinity Cathedral Choir with brass and organ conducted by Todd Wilson.

At 2:00 pm in the Reid Gallery, Quire Cleveland will begin with a work from the 15th century, There is no rose, followed by Josquin des Prez’s Ave Maria, which Duffin describes as one of the composer’s iconic works. The performance continues with an extended piece in carol form from the Court of Henry VIII, Quid petis, o fili? byRichard Pygott. “It’s about Mary speaking to her child,” says Duffin. “It’s an intimate, imagined conversation and very appropriate to the Mother and Child theme.” A Spanish Christmas piece from the 16th Century, E la don don, was printed in Venice in 1556 in the Cancionero de Upsala and survives in only one copy. Duffin says it’s a lively piece that will feature solos by Quire’s male singers. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

WALTERS-RobertPatrons who packed the four sold-out houses last weekend at Severance Hall came to hear Carl Orff’s spirited medieval cantata Carmina Burana, but they were also treated to the bonus of an elegant curtain-raiser in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto in A for oboe d’amore and strings with Robert Walters on the solo line.

Bach — that great recycler — turned several wind concertos from his days as court composer at Köthen into harpsichord concertos for his coffee house concerts with the Leipzig University Collegium Musicum between 1729 and 1741. Though the originals have been lost, they can be reconstructed by clever musicologists, as an uncredited arranger did for BWV 1055.

James Feddeck, stepping in for Franz Welser-Möst last weekend, led a string section pared down to eight first violins, six seconds, five violas, four cellos and two double basses, creating an admirable balance between soloist and orchestra Read the rest of this entry »

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