Saturday, January 18, 2014

Cleveland Orchestra: Franz Welser-Most Conducts Mozart, Wndmann, and Beethoven

Mozart: Symphony No. 38 ("Prague") in D major, K.504
Widmann: Teufel Amor; Symphonic Hymn after Schiller
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4 in G major, Op 58 (Yefim, Bronfmam, piano)
Franz Welser-Most, conductor. 

Tonight's concert was an interesting concert -- no doubt in part due to the orchestra's impending flight south for the winter. Likewise, it was interesting comparing my seat for this week's concert, at virtually dead center, versus last weeks house left experience -- but with that centrism comes a small loss of intimacy with the musicians; I don't think the difference was that significant.

Mozart's Symphony 38 ("Prague") bad a delightful beginning to the concert but seemed as if it were being treated a bit too delicately by Mr. Welser-Most, particularly the first movement which had festive undertones but seemed more a wallflower than a willing participant in the goings on. The second movement was likewise measured and delicate but smoothly flowing, reminding me in some places of the precision of a ballet and the third movement was a dignified frenzy that was enjoyable but passed on the ballet ambiance from the second movement.

For the 25 minutes of enjoyment the Mozart brought, Jorg Widmann's Teufel Amor was 30 minutes of musical agony. Sounding like a lumbering swamp creature that just would not die while lumbering around an entirely atonal environment, it could not have been over fast enough. While I am not a fan of Mr. Widmann (and quite frankly wish the orchestra would stop programming his works and perhaps try another young composer) his other pieces at least have the advantage of being relatively short minimizing the suffering inflicted upon the paying audience.

Following intermission, certainly the most enjoyable piece on the program was Yefim Bronfman's interpretation of  Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 4... From a 35 minute piece, the first movement was the meatiest at about 20 minutes, and may be best described as the evolution of a romantic relationship between piano and orchestra -- from the tentative and restrained words of a first date to the more comfortable later stages to completing each others thoughts. The later movements were a bit more passionate and empotional outbursts.


No comments:

Post a Comment