Friday, April 30, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Fridays@7: Royal Trumpets

Neurda: Trumpet Concerto in E-flat major (Michael Sachs, trumpet)
Handel: Water Music (Suite in F major, Suite in G major, Suite in D major)
After-concert interlude by Samba Joia and concert with flamenco musicians and dancers.

Anyone who has read this blog -- and a few who haven't -- knows that the past few weeks of Orchestra concerts have not been my favorite, however, as I told someone before the concert: I come to discover new music; whether I love or hate a piece of music I know the Cleveland Orchestra has given the music the best performance it deserves.

Searching my recent memories, the Orchestra's portion of tonight's concert was one of the more enjoyable of recent memory. I had never heard of Jan Krtitel Jiri Neurada prior to tonight's concert, much less hear his music. With beautiful participation from the strings, Michael Sachs's trumpet resonated clearly, crisply, and naturally throughout Severance Hall.

Handel's Water Music--consisting of three suites of ten, four, and five movements respectively--was a bit eh for my tastes. Each section of the orchestra was featured throughout the various movements, including the first appearance of a Recorder on the Severance Hall stage, at least from the collective memories of the occupants of Box 1. I would certainly enjoy listening to this, perhaps, as ambiance music for a party but doing nothing but listening for 45 minutes struggled to hold my attention, and I often found mind wandering to the image of the Cleveland Orchestra playing the piece while floating on a barge down the Cuyahoga River to approximate the piece's debut.

When I found out that the after-concert concert, featuring flamenco music and dance would be in the Hall, I was disappointed but kept an open mind. The interlude (my word, not theirs) by Brazilian drum group Samba Joia in the Grand Foyer briefly buoyed my hopes, with a great energy, a resonating percussive and fun sound, but when the action returned to the Hall, that quickly sunk: After about 20 minutes and struggling to stay awake (literally; had a neighbor not bumped me I may still be napping) the siren's song of my bed--after two days on the road--was too enticing.

I think had the flamenco portion of the event taken place in the Grand Foyer, it could have had a much better energy but by doing it in the hall, with the formality of fixed seating that prevents easy circulation and a formal stage the "informal" event takes on a a "formal" air that doesn't lend itself to casual enjoyment.


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