Wednesday, November 2, 2011

CIM Chamber Orchestra: Mozart, Ante, and Strauss (@cim_edu)

(This marks the 400th Lincoln In Cleveland post. Thanks for reading!)
Mozart: Symphony No. 39, K.543 in E-flat Major
Grgin: Theme and Variations No. 2 (Nikola Djurica, clarinet)
Strauss: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, TrV 228c, Op. 60 (Der Burger als Edelmann) Suite
Carl Topilow, conductor.

Tonight's concert at CIM was preceded by a collaborative event between CIM and the Cleveland Museum of Art bringing live music to CMA's galleries -- unfortunately, by the time I made it home from work I had just enough time to get to CIM for this concert's 7:30 start time. My understanding is that music returns to the Museum on November 16th and I hope to sneak over there to check that out.

Tonight's concert seems to be the first this year for the CIM Chamber Orchestra and my first this year in the visually stunning Mixon Hall, where the clear glass wall behind the stage gives glimpses of the beautiful fall scene outside matched the music inside.

The program opened with Mozart's Symphony No. 39 and it took most of the first movement for me to settle in -- and the orchestra seemed to also take at least a portion of that movement to really hit its stride. The second movement can be described simply as strolling, and was very relaxing -- I found myself slightly craving a light snowfall beyond the glass. The fourth movement, though, was my favorite from the piece with a playful opening, a persistent flutter of notes and particularly strong winds.

In the middle of the program and my unreserved favorite from the program was Ante Grgin's Theme and Variations No. 2 with the Nikola Djurica playing the clarinet solo magnificently and both he and the orchestra had a great energy. ("Virtuoso" was an adjective thrown out by many of the audience members around me immediately after the piece and I have no grounds upon which to disagree).  The piece had two distinct moods: In the first part, it is a dance--a slow loving embrace between Clarinet and Orchestra both in spirit and execution. Inexplicably, outside the all two leaves fluttered from somewhere above the hall and oh-so-carefully drifted to the ground, perfectly capturing the mood of the piece. In the second part, the connection between soloist and orchestra remained just as strong, but the sound took on a more energetic and swingy feeling.

The standing ovation was  immediate, unsurprising, and quite enthusiastic.

In a true case of "the show must go on" it's worth noting one of the cellists spent much of the second half of the piece apparently trying desperately to stifle a sneeze--while obvious in physical discomfort she managed to keep the music flowing.

The program ended with from Strauss's Le  Bourgeois Gentilhomme suite which didn't match the strength of the Theme and Variations. The overall balance for the first three movements seemed a little wonky, though the third movement was enjoyably lively. The fourth movement (The Entrance and Dance of the Tailors) evoked the imagery of dancing tailors and had a beautiful solo violin part, and the fifth and sixth movements were acceptable, but the seventh movement (Entrance of Cleonte, after Lully) would prove to be my favorite from the piece: Beginning with a restrained air, it gives way to lively winds before ending with a decidedly regal mood, while the ninth movement had a triumphant feeling with a beautiful passage featuring harp (uncredited) and principal cello (Thomas Carpenter) playing alone)


1 comment:

  1. 400 posts! Thanks for letting us be part of the journey.

    Thank you for going/doing/being!