Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cleveland Orchestra: Alan Gilbert Conducts

Beethoven: Romance No. 2 in F major, Op. 50 (for violin and orchestra, William Preucil, violin)
Webern: Im Sommerwind [In the Summer  Breeze]
Bruch: Adagio appassionato, (for violin and orchestra, William Preucil, violin)
Schoenberg: Pelleas and Melisande, Op. 5
Alan Gilbert, conductor.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder and based on tonight's concert -- the first back in Severance Hall since the orchestra's European tour and residency and my first after returning from a week in New York state -- would tend to support that assertion.

I wasn't sure if I'd be back in time, in fact, for tonight's concert -- and assuming I would be back in time I was waffling, between being dead exhausted from the trip (I hope to have blogs for the remainder of my visit up tomorrow) and being woefully unimpressed by the NY Philharmonic, where Mr. Gilbert is Music Director my bed was looking awfully luring.

Tonight's concert, though, lived, breathed, and had a wonderfull variety of textures. The first half of the program were three pieces each of about 10 minutes in length. Starting with Beethoven's Romance No. 2, a wonderfully romantic embrace between solo violin (played by Cleveland Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil) and the orchestra. Delightful but not overly sweet this piece moved and may serve as my favorite Beethoven for now.

Next Im Sommerwind (In the Summer Breeze) by Anton Webern was aptly titled and a warm choice as the leaves have turned colors and the days are getting colder. While I lost the feeling to a degree in the ending the beginning and ending were clearly Summery with a breeze of music wafting throughout with occasional gusts of powerful music, closing my eyes, I could swear that I also heard frolicking children amongst the notes.

Finishing out the first half  of the program Bruch's Adagio appassionato, again with Mr. Preucil playing the violin solo part, gave me the sensation of the soloist wandering alone, much more emotional and restrained than Beethoven's Romance but no less enjoyable to listen to.

After intermission, Mr. Gilbert addressed the audience with comments about Schoenberg's Pelleas and Melisande, and had the orchestra to play samples of the various motifs used to tell the stories of the various players in the drama-turned-tone-poem, which was unique and added to the performance, though as a matter of personal preference, I thought the excerpting was a bit excessive. When the performance of the piece began I simply closed my eyes and let vivid imagery fly through my head. Some of it related to what Mr. Gilbert had introduced, and some was completely unrelated, but it was  where I entered the meditative state that I so enjoy about the Cleveland Orchestra and just let the weeks behind me slip away.


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