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by Daniel Hathaway

ART-Players-042714Arts Renaissance Tremont crowned its 23rd season at Pilgrim Church Auditorium on Sunday afternoon, April 27 with an excellent concert of music for winds and piano featuring Cleveland Orchestra members Mary Lynch, oboe, Robert Woolfrey, clarinet, Barrick Stees, bassoon and Richard King, horn, with Youngstown State University faculty member Cicilia Yudha, piano. A new Yamaha concert grand piano was the sixth performer.

Planning a full-length concert of wind music can be tricky. The ear can grow weary no matter how fine the playing (and wind players can get tired for their own reasons). Sunday’s group made some savvy decisions, mingling two trios with a solo piece and ending with probably the best work in the wind chamber music repertoire.

Robert Woolfrey led off with Oskar Morawetz’s Clarinet Sonata from 1981. Read the rest of this entry »


by Mike Telin

hereOn Sunday, April 27 beginning at 3:00 pm in Pilgrim Congregational Church, Arts Renaissance Tremont presents a concert of chamber music for woodwinds and piano performed by Cleveland Orchestra members Mary Lynch, oboe, Robert Woolfrey, clarinet, Barrick Stees, bassoon and Richard King, horn, with Cicilia Yudha, piano.

The program includes Oskar Morawetz’s Clarinet Sonata (1981), Heinrich von Herzogenberg’s Trio in D for Oboe, Horn & Piano, op. 61, Poulenc’s Trio for Oboe, Bassoon & Piano (1926) and Mozart’s Quintet in E-flat for winds and piano, K. 452 (1784).

Cicilia Yudha, who is an Assistant Professor at the Dana School of Music Faculty at Youngstown State University and coordinator of the keyboard musicianship program, pointed out during a recent telephone conversation, “As a pianist, it is rare to play chamber music with woodwinds. There is a lot more repertoire in the piano trio and quartet area. But this music is such a joy to play and of course these players are all top notch. I’m just very happy to be doing it.”

Oboist Mary Lynch who along with Yudha spearheaded the program added, “I’m very excited about the whole program. I think it presents a good picture of the repertoire for winds and piano. And we’re all just very happy to be playing this music together and excited to bring it to people.” Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

BRITTEN-BenjaminIt would be Benjamin Britten’s hundredth birthday this year, and The Cleveland Orchestra is programming three of the British composer’s works as a centenary tribute. This weekend’s concerts featured one of his most characteristic works. Written in 1943 for the phenomenal hornist Dennis Brain and Britten’s life partner and tenor of choice, Peter Pears, the Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings sets splendid nocturnal poetry to music so well-tailored to its texts that it’s difficult to read the verse now without hearing Britten’s music running through your head.

Britten almost invariably wrote for specific performers with their special musical gifts in mind. In many cases, their interpretations have become proprietary — perhaps one of the reasons other musicians have been reticent about taking them on. But Dennis Brain ran his car into a tree returning from the Edinburgh Festival in 1957, and ten years after Britten’s own demise, Peter Pears died at the Red House in Aldeburgh in 1986. That left the Serenade field wide open — at least for virtuoso horn players with embouchures of steel and high tenors with exquisite literary sensibilities. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

KING-RichardI have played many of the big horn concertos and this piece has been on the back burner because [we needed] to find a tenor who was of the right ilk and available, says Cleveland Orchestra principal horn Richard King. The piece King is referring to is Benjamin Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings and luckily for Cleveland audiences, the right tenor has come along.

This weekend at Severance Hall, tenor Matthew Polenzani and Richard King will give the first performances by The Cleveland Orchestra of Britten’s haunting work. The concerts, under the direction of Marek Janowski, also include Fauré’s Suite from Pelléas and Mélisande and Franck’s Symphony in D minor. Additionally, on Friday, October 11 beginning at 11:30 at the Beechmont Country Club, Richard King will be the featured guest on the orchestra’s Meet the Artist Series.

We spoke to Richard King by telephone and began by asking him to share his thoughts on Britten’s Serenade.

Richard King: Well I have never played it, so I am very excited. I don’t know if the Serenade is in the mainstream anymore but this is Britten’s 100th birthday year. The piece was written for the great — and maybe the greatest horn player of all time — Dennis Brain at his request. Read the rest of this entry »

by Daniel Hathaway

WelserMostBlossomIf you were expecting American music to open The Cleveland Orchestra’s Blossom season on Independence Day weekend this year, surprise! Richard Strauss and Dmitri Shostakovich were on the menu on Friday, July 5, the date itself an anomaly, because the orchestra normally plays Blossom on Saturdays and Sundays.

Reportedly the result of a scheduling issue with Lincoln Center, this unusual Blossom kickoff had the advantage of bringing music director Franz Welser-Möst back to town for three concerts over two summer weekends — and on Friday for a distinguished opening event however thematically remote from the national holiday.

Slovakian soprano Orgonášová joined the orchestra for Strauss’s Four Last Songs, 25 minutes of exquisite musical poetry which comprised the first half of the program. Written in Switzerland and completed in 1948, the songs were gathered, put in their current order and published posthumously, then premiered in 1950 in London by Strauss’s chosen soprano, Kirsten Flagstad and the Philharmonia Orchestra under Wilhelm Furtwängler. Twelve years later, Flagstad sang three of them with The Cleveland Orchestra under George Szell, who conducted all four with Elisabeth Schwarzkopf in 1958. Read the rest of this entry »

by Mike Telin

Omni-QuartetNote: this concert was cancelled due to weather conditions and has been rescheduled with revised repertory for Tuesday, July 23 (see the concert listings for details).

We continue our coverage of the Kent/Blossom Music Festival with an enlightening conversation with violinist and faculty member Jung-Min Amy Lee. Lee joined The Cleveland Orchestra as associate concertmaster in March 2008 and has served on the Kent/Blossom Faculty since that same summer.

On Wednesday, July 10 beginning at 7:30 pm in Ludwig Recital Hall, Amy Lee (left in photo) will join her Cleveland Orchestra colleagues and Omni Quartet members violinist Alicia Koelz, violist Joanna Patterson, and cellist Tanya Ell for a performance of Bartok’s 3rd String Quartet and Kodaly’s Duo for Violin and Cello. The program also includes Ligeti’s Trio for Violin, Horn and Piano featuring Cleveland Orchestra principal horn Richard King and pianist Randall Fusco.

For Amy Lee, teaching is all about the passing down of traditions. “I think the real beauty of [teaching] is that you take the traditions from the past, preserve them and hopefully better them, and hand them down to the younger generation.” Beginning in the fall, Lee will have the opportunity to pass down musical traditions more when she becomes part of a new faculty ensemble at the Hugh A. Glauser School of Music at Kent State University. Read the rest of this entry »

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