Saturday, April 10, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Bychkov conducts Ravel, Dutilleux, Schumann (Updated)

Ravel: Le Tombeau de Couperin
Dutilleux: Metaboles
Schumann: Symphony No. 2 in C major, Op. 61
Semyon Bychkov, conductor.

I had no strong reaction either way to the program as a whole or Mr. Bychkov's conducting. My seatmate[2] for this concert enjoyed it and is looking forward to Mr. Bychkov's return to Severance Hall.

Dutilleux's Metaboles was my least favorite piece on the program, it didn't strike my ear in a favorable way. The piece is notable for being originally commissioned by the Cleveland Orchestra's 40th season in 1957, yet not completed until 7 years later in 1964. According to the program notes, it and another piece are the only two of ten originally commissioned for that season to have entered the orchestral repertoire.

The first two movements of Schumann's second left me unmoved; the third movement adagio and the fourth movement allegro were both quite enjoyable.

Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin started life as a collection of piano pieces each dedicated to the memory of a friend who died during World War I and later orchestrated by Ravel (I thought the genesis was interesting considering that the best-known version of Pictures at an Exhibition started as a piece for the piano (Modest Mussorgsky) and was orchestrated by Ravel. I enjoyed all four movements, but the fourth movement (Rigaundon) nearly got my head bobbing. The woodwinds delivered a particularly strong performance in this piece.

For some reason I couldn't put my finger on, my perception of the orchestra members' body language wasn't the typical "serious musician" but "gloomy"/"death in the family" (On Sunday I learned that 25-year orchestra member and 2nd violinist Leon Lazarev had passed earlier in the day Saturday, and I extend my condolances)

Updated April 12, 2010 to remove a reference to a telemarketing call, since that situation has been resolved. Also updated to include the passing of Leon Lazarev.


[2] A 45-year subscriber to the Orchestra's concerts with a wide and deep exposure to other classical music, and someone who I've had the pleasure of sharing several previous concerts with.

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