Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Beethoven Eroica

Beethoven: Overture to Coriolan, Op. 62
Berg: Symphonic Suite from Lulu
Beethoven: Symphony No. 3 (Eroica) in E-flat major, Op. 55

Going in I desperately wanted to love this evening's Beethoven sandwich of a concert, yet I can only muster like and even that has reservations attached. In general, the Orchestra seemed overly restrained--even stiff--at times, I can't help but wonder the travel to and from Friday night's sell-out concert in New York may have put a damper on the energy. The best, though not entirely accurate, comparison I can draw is that of a musical pit bull tied to a too-short leash.

The overture from Beethoven's Coriolan kicked the concert off to a reasonable start and was certainly enjoyable to listen to, but I never got the sense of "furrowed brow and raging ferocity" that, according to the program notes, are "given musical substance" in this piece.

The suite from Berg's Lulu was interminable and seemed just odd; perhaps as a staged opera--or more than mere excerpts--it would have been more cohesive, but as excerpts it just seemed to meander pointlessly for an unnecessarily long time. While waiting for it to end, I found myself considering is as a good piece for hold music. In short, I have a very strong contender as my least favorite piece of the 2009-10 Cleveland Orchestra season.

And that leaves us with Beethoven's Eroica. When I heard the piece performed at CIM earlier this year, I described it as an "Unexpected, pleasant, suprise". I was looking forward to hearing it again: Though overly restrained and given, to my senses, a leasurely pace it was still quite plesant to listen to.


By the way, mark your calendars: Blossom Festival single tickets go on sale June 1st. It looks like a good lineup, and I already know the first two tickets I'm buying...

1 comment:

  1. As a very casual fan of classical music, I'm glad to see that someone with greater knowledge of the subject than me didn't like Lulu. I didn't get into that piece at all.

    I did enjoy both of the Beethoven works, especially Coriolan.