Friday, May 10, 2013

Cleveland Orchestra: Handel's Water Music

Handel: Water Music Suite No. 1 in F minor
Handel: Zadok the Priest, Coronation Anthem No. 1
Handel: Te Deum ("Dettingen") in D major
The Cleveland Orchestra Chamber Chorus, Robert Porto, Director; Jay Carter, countertenor; Steven Soph, tenor; Klaus Mertens, bass-baritone.
Ton Koopman, conductor.

So I made it back from Vancouver (no thanks to United Airlines) and I'll have to post an update on that trip later -- You may recall though, that for the first time I begged off last week's Cleveland Orchestra concert on the account of both illness and death in the family [it was not a good week...] -- and I was really looking forward to getting back to the hall tonight.

Conductor Ton Koopman has an effervescent stage presence, but unfortunately that didn't carry through to the music; both of the substantial pieces on the program (Handel's Water Music and Te Deum) largely felt hollow and passionless -- there was no technical fault with the execution, but the artists involved seemed to be enjoying plying roughly as much as observing an actual execution. Of course, neither piece was completely without redemption, and particularly in Te Deum, the Cleveland Orchestra Chamber Chorus came through with passages that would have felt right at home in any church.

The shortest piece on tonight's program at about five minutes - Zadok the Priest - was also the piece I most enjoyed as it was very focused, and had a consistent feeling and wasn't quite as devoid of passion as the others

[For the sake of disclosure, I should say that I was much further house (side) right than usual -- in the past I've noted differences in sound in the off-axis seats, though I don't think that played into my perception of tonight's program]

In two weeks my dad is visiting for a delayed birthday weekend, so I'll attend my last concert of the 12-13 season on Thursday evening... and the Blossom season is just around the corner.


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