Saturday, February 6, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Messiaen, Ravel, Debussy

Capping off a week of great performances with an evening of musical ecstasy brought to life by the Cleveland Orchestra and Pierre Boulez.

Messiaen: L'Ascension, four meditations symphoniques.
Ravel: Piano Concerto in G major*
Ravel: Piano Concerto in D major for the Left Hand*
Debussy: Iberia from Images
Pierre Boulez, conductor; *- with Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano.

Last week, while in New York I heard Mr. Boulez conducting the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. It wasn't until I returned from that trip that I realized that this week's performances by the Cleveland orchestra would be under his While that performance was completely acceptable it was nothing particularly memorable; I commented that I felt that it was lacking a certain je ne sais quois.

Tonight's performance with the Cleveland Orchestra had that missing je ne sais qouis and then some. It was quite simply mesmerizing. While I was apathetic toward the first movement of L'Ascension, but from the second movement on each movement of each piece was better than the last. The music was beautifully textured from beginning to end.

I had heard the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand at Blossom in 2009 and I wrote favorably about it at the time. Tonight's performance was absolutely captivating and exceeded my already high expectations. The remainder of the program was new to me, and I was impressed. The Piano Concerto in G Major was energetic (with my particular favor to the third movement), and you were enveloped by the atmosphere of the city throughout the each of the movements of Debussy's Iberia.

The lady seated next to me in Box 2 was a pleasure to chat with and was likewise thrilled with the program, predicting a Grammy for the CD that will come of this weekend's concerts.


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