Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cleveland Orchestra: Bruckner Symphony No. 7

Britten: Four Sea Interludes and Passacaglia from the opera Peter Grimes
Bruckner: Symphony No. 7 in E major
Franz Welser-Most, conductor.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it to a Cleveland Orchestra concert this weekend; I'll meeting my dad in Las Vegas tomorrow evening, and I've been in Columbus most of this week for a work luck would have it, I was back in Cleveland shortly after 5 PM...and at the Severance Hall Box Office by 5:30.

While I was purchasing my ticket a passerby told me that they had heard part of the Britten piece in rehearsal and I was going to love it. They were right.

It's difficult for me to imagine a more appropriate musical statement of the dawn of a new day than the first movement (Dawn) of the four sea interludes--leading with a ethereal sound from the violins and a recurring theme that offers optimism for the day ahead. The transition into Sunday Morning -- another movement that evokes all that one would imagine from a Sunday Morning, but more impressively buoys the soul to that point where the resonance of the notes on the ear becomes internal. While the third movement (Moonlight) didn't really move me, Storm, the fourth movement, once again embodied all of the emotion and power you would expect from a movement of that name.

Going into intermission, I was prepared to call this my favorite piece thus far in the 2010-11 season without hesitation. But then we had Bruckner's magnificent 7th symphony. Though a bit on the long side every note sparkled in the hall -- to borrow shamelessly from a New York Times review... "And the sound? Wow.". Beautiful sound came from every section of the orchestra, and I found it only appropriate to close my eyes for a significant portion of the piece to bask in the glow upon my ears. I did prefer the first half of the piece to the second, but I cannot pinpoint the reasons why.

In the end, I think Britten's Four Sea Interludes wins, but only by a hair.


1 comment:

  1. I didn't go to this concert, but I did get the DVD made from a concert two years ago. Confession: I don't much care for Bruckner. But Welser-Most made a convert out of me - at least in this particular symphony when he conducts it.

    Love the Sea Interludes.