Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Chris Botti

The printed program for this evening's performance was virtually useless as far as the music was concerned -- "Musical Selections will be announced from the stage" -- and the names of those selections didn't stick in my mind long enough to make it home.

Although it was great to hear the Minnesota Orchestra last night, it was so nice to be back on my home turf, like slipping back into a comfortable pair of shoes. As tempting as it is to say I had no idea who Chris Botti was going into the concert, that wouldn't be entirely accurate: A week or two ago I heard the term Jazz Trumpeter attached. And I was afraid. That fear was misplaced.

The use of amplification still irritates me -- and a spotlight was cast on that irritation when during the final song Mr. Botti and pianist Billy Childs went unplugged and it was easily the clearest and overall best sounding piece played. I found myself wondering why, if the instrument and player had such clarity without "aid" of amplification why the decision was made not only to reinforce the instrument but to make the primary avenue of listening to it amplified. As if the amplification of the instruments wasn't bad enough the noticeable electronic reverb added to the vocals and solo violin was painfully distracting, and didn't add anything to the performance.

Overall, ignoring the amplification, the performance was quite pleasant. Particularly enjoyable was violinist and CIM alum Caroline Campbell's playing (on a "$800 box of wood")

While Pink Martini's performance earlier this year in Severance Hall brought what I believe was the hall's first conga line, tonight's performance included a substantial portion of the audience chanting "We've got the funk". Also notable was that my boxmates and parents of an orchestra staffmember were celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary with a song dedicated to the event.


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