Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cleveland Orchestra: A Salute to John Williams

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder... apparently the same applies to the ear. It's been three weeks since my last visit to Severance and the richness of tonight's performance exceeded my expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by the massive turnout including what appeared to be a large number of first-timers.

To get the not so great (to call it bad would be a massive overstatement) out of the way first, if I hear the Main Title from Star Wars one more time this year I think I'm going to go crazy(er)... I truly don't understand why it's as popular as it is; and despite some beautiful string passages it really is "honky" for my taste.

I had previously noted that I hoped to hear some of Mr. Williams' lesser known works and was generally pleased with the diversity of the program, including several pieces that I've never before heard. The music from Far and Away was by far my favorite and it was new to me. A note in the score noted that the composer had fun wiht the piece and that he hoped orchestras and audiences would have similar feelings--that hope was satisfied.

After an initial standing ovation, Richard Kaufman, conductor remarked that the orchestra had "fourteen more pieces" -- I don't think the audience would have minded. The encore, March from the film 1941 was not new to me -- it's been in my iTunes collection for at least 9 years -- but the vibrancy and sheer energy of live performance could not be beat.

Events I'm planning on attending in the next two weeks.
Sunday, November 8th, 4 PM - Cleveland Institute of Music: New Music Series (Mixon Hall)
Friday, November 13th, 9 PM - Cleveland Museum of Art After Hours
Saturday, November 14th , 8 PM - The Cleveland Orchestra, Doctor Atomic Symphony (Find me in Box 8, Seat F)
Thursday, November 19th, 7:30 PM - Orange County (CA) Performing Arts Center: Spring Awakening (Find me in the Orchestra, seat BB7; my 6th time in 3 states with this show)
Friday, November 20th 7:00 PM - The Cleveland Orchestra: Fridays@7 (find me in Box 5, Seat E)

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