Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cleveland Orchestra: Jakub Hrusa Conducts: Haydn, Dvorak, and Janacek

Haydn: Symphony No. 60 ("I'll distratto")
Dvorak: The Golden Spinning Wheel, Op. 109
Janacek: Taras Bulba, Rhapsody for Orchestra
Jakob Hrusa, conductor

Coming back from Richmond this afternoon I wasn't so sure I was going to make or to tonight's concert -- my bed was sounding mighty attractive and United Airlines operational reliability (Read: ability to get me where I expect go at roughly the time I expect to be there) has been particularly lousy of late [how an airline can "misplace" an entire airplane at an airport is beyond me, but I digress]

But here I am, or rather was in Severance Hall -- starting this post during intermission so that I can find sleep sooner when I return home. The first piece on the program, Hadyn's six-movement symphony with a title translating to "The Distracted" was an apt start for my return. Over the course of 25 moments, though I was occasionally distracted it generally held and recaptured my attention with a variety of emotional responses -- from noble to "festive with a bit of mystery". The fourth movement presto was impressive for the sheer control of bow speed and the number of precise notes coming forth rapid fire succession. The fifth movement adagio was particularly meditative and when I closed my eyes a note seemed to drift across the stage.

The second piece on the program my favorite by a narrow margin -- also about 25 minutes was Dvorak's The Golden Spinning Wheel. While calling a half-hour of music a "tone poem" seems like a bit of a stretch, those who know me, or who have been reading for any length of time know the Dvorak is among my favorite composers and this piece, including tinges of toe-tapping folk music was no exception.

The last piece on the program, Janacek's Taras Bulba, a "rhapsody for orchestra" was most surprising. While the first and third movements were captivating, the second movement with a repetitive four note stinger gripped me, both for it's crisp delivery across the string sections and sense of familiarity (I swear I've heard it in a television program theme) held me in suspense throughout the piece.

I'm down to Miami next week -- sadly not at the same time as the Cleveland Orchestra's residency -- then back to Richmond and New York. I need some time off the road.


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