Sunday, July 11, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Tchikovsky Violin Concerto

Bernstein: Symphonic Dances from West Side Story
Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
Elgar: Enigma Variations, Op. 36 (Variations on an Original Theme)
Giora Schmidt, violin; Tito Munoz, conductor.

(See this related post for a preview of Joffrey Ballet's return to Blossom, which I was invited to before this evening's concert)

My predisposition to liking Bernstein's work is becoming aparent based on my reactions to his first symphony and last week's performance of his overture to Candide. Tonight's Symphonic Dances was no disappointment , with my ear particularly perking to to Somewhere There's a Place For Us. As a Cleveland-has-more-performing-arts-than-I-can-count aside, the musical that the Dances were excerpted from will be at Playhouse Square in May if you'd like to hear the works in context.

Concerti do not benefit from the same favorable predisposition, in no small part based on my lack of enthusiasm for the soloists and the sensation that the composers often push the orchestra too far into the background. Such was not the case tonight: Mr. Schmidt played Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto with a beautiful clarity; the notes resonating from within the violin had no trouble filling Blossom on their own when called for, yet they also blended nicely with the notes from the orchestra when that was called for. From a very lyrical mood to bold and dramatic swells it's very hard to believe that one early critic declared that the concerto "stank to the ear".

At an intermission reception with Messrs. Schmidt and Munoz I was interested to learn that the two have actually known each other since high school.

Following intermission was Elgar's Enigma Variations. At some point during the piece I lost count of which variation we were listening to, but nonetheless, the work was interesting. One cannot help but to wonder about the people embodied in each of the variations. If my count was correct, my favorite would be Variation No. 5 (R.P.A), though the variety of the variations: From climatic to mellow to bold in that order was interesting.


No comments:

Post a Comment