Saturday, December 5, 2009

Cleveland Orchestra: Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2

Von Weber: Overture to Der Frelschutz
Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 3, Op. 37
Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2, Op. 27

The majority of the time my ovation at any performance is the matter of conscious thought and deliberation: Do I clap? How long? Perhaps most importantly, Does it deserve a standing ovation?

At the conclusion of tonight's performance, I was on my feet and enthusiastically clapping before my brain registered what I had done. The combination of all three pieces was made for quite possibly the most amazing performance I've ever had the pleasure of hearing. The type of performance that imprints a euphoric energy on the audience that is still with me as I type this.

Between the quick Overture with some beautiful string work and the well-played Piano Concerto No. 3 -- highlighting the fantastic acoustics of Severance where I could hear the felt of the hammers striking the strings from across the hall -- there was nothing not to like about the first half of the program.

Logic tells me that if I liked the first two pieces the I must not like the third piece. I couldn't have been more wrong -- I not only liked, but loved the Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2. To attempt to identify any single highlight would be an exercise in futility... Franklin Cohen's clarinet solo in the 3rd movement is definitely up there. The violins, particularly, throughout the piece were not only beautiful to watch, but beautiful in tone.

It is impossible for me to choose a favorite piece, let alone movement from tonight's program. Likewise, I can't choose a piece or movement that I disliked.

Events that transpired during intermission, however, cemented this concert as my all time favorite (to date) Severance Hall experience. Between that and the aforementioned euphoric energy, I feel like I'm defying gravity (as of 10 am Sunday...I have come down :( ).


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