Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cleveland Institute of Music: CIM @ Severance Hall (@cim_edu)

Berlioz: Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23
Gluck: Two Arias (Unis des la plus tendre enfance and Ah! mon ami, j'implore ta pite) from Iphigenie en Tauride (Vinson Cole, Tenor)
Gluck: Dance of the Blessed Spirits from Orphee et Euridice
Berlioz: Two Arias (Merci, doux crepuscule and Invocation de la Nature) from La damnation de Faust (Vinson Cole, Tenor)
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 44
Jeffrey Kahane, guest conductor.

Tonight was quite musical in University Circle with Case students performing in the galleries of the Clevleland Museum of Art and the fifth of six CIM Orchestra concerts at Severance Hall. Based on scheduling I wasn't able to make it to the Case performance, but Rachel and I did make it to Severance.

Leaving Severance Hall tonight all I could really say to myself is "everyone is bound to have an off night every once in a while" to be sure the evening got off to a bumpy start even before the music started: I don't think I've seen such disorder and confusion in the Severance Hall garage and Mr. Smirnoff, CIM"s president made reference to "Cleveland Circle" (not University Circle) and invited the audience to visit (the website of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum) instead of during his opening remarks. But usually once the music begins pre-concert bumps are a distant memory.

Tonight the music was just generally missing that je ne sais qouis and dare I say languid in execution. The first half of the program was opera-heavy, starting promisingly with a 0-60 burst of notes with the overture from Berlioz's Benvenuto Cellini but after that initial burst the remainder of the piece felt overly restrained.

Following were the first set of arias sung by tenor Vinson Cole and while Mr. Cole has a solid voice all four arias were musically underwhelming and nearly put both Rachel and I to sleep; I can't say that any of the four (two Gluck and two Berlioz) were particularly memorable, but nor were they unenjoyable. Merci douz crepuscule from La damnation de Faust was the strongest of the four by my estimation.

Gluck's Dance of the Blessed Spirits was the most enjoyable of the evening giving me the musical feeling of as subdued walk through nature in springtime.

Rachmaninoff's third symphony capped off the evening and stood alone after intermission as the only piece not excerpted from an opera and it was generally enjoyable but again didn't really have the verve that I expect from CIM students.


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