Sunday, May 29, 2011

Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra 25th Anniversary Alumni Celebration Concert

Wagner: Prelude to Die Meistersinger (Gareth Morrell, conductor; music director 1993-97)
Brahms: Fourth movement from Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68 (Jayce Ogren, conductor; music director 2006-09)
De Falla: Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat (Steven Smith, conductor; music director 1998-2003)
Tchaikovsky: Fourth movement from Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36 (James Feddeck, conductor; music director 2009-)

For the past two years I haven't missed a concert weekend from The Cleveland Orchestra's Severance Hall season... until this weekend where I had a slightly more pressing matter: My mother's masters' graduation in California. To "make up" for that miss -- and partially out of curiosity about the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra -- COYO -- I made my way to Severance Hall for this afternoon's 25th anniversary alumni concert.

Not knowing how the travel would affect me I hadn't purchased a ticket in advnace... but with a solid night's sleep (and the need to stop obsessing about the car buying process, see, e.g. this post from earlier today) I made my way to Severance hall.

The concert pulled together four of the six music directors that the orchestra has had over its 25-year history, along with nearly ninety alumni of COYO. Unfortunately the hall was sparsely populated.

The concert, while not billed as such, by taking individual movements from pieces almost qualified as a "greatest hits" piece. From my seat in box 10, the strings sound deeper and heavier than I prefer, though as a whole the orchestra sounded generally delightful. (I've previously found that the strings sound a little odd to my ear in the high even-numbered boxes such as 10, 12, 14, etc., so I'm not sure if my reaction to the strings today was due to the acoustics of the hall or an artistic choice)

All four pieces on the program were generally lively and full of personality. I think that Adagio from Brahm's Symphony No. 1 which embodied a range of emotions. A dramatic opening turned a bit lighthearted and from that point the drama and joy traded the spotlight before giving way to a wistful yet dramatic passage and a bold ending.

In Manuel De Falla's Suite No. 2 from The Three-Cornered Hat, I particularly enjoyed the flute and celesta in the first movement (The Neighbor's Dance), the other two movements didn't really resonate with me however. The adagio con fuoco Finale from Tchiakovsky's Symphony No. 4 had an impressively explosive introduction.

One thing was clear, however: The Cleveland Orchestra through The Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra has nurtured a lot of talent and growth over the past quarter century.


1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the kind review. As an alumni of COYO (1989-1993), it was a pleasure to be back among the ranks of such talent, and an honor to play on the Severance Hall stage one last time. I hope that you enjoyed the concert as much as we enjoyed performing it.