Saturday, September 22, 2012

Cleveland Orchestra Franz Welser-Most Conducts Mahler Three

Mahler: Symphony No. 3
The Women of The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, Robert Porco, director
The Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus, Ann Usher, director.
Zoryana Kushpler, mezzo-soprano
Franz Welser-Most, conductor.

Nothing, for me, quite announces that summer is officially over like the Cleveland Orchestra's triumphant return to Severance Hall. While summers at Blossom are lovely, nothing quite matches the splendor of hearing the Cleveland Orchestra back in Severance Hall. What pleasure Monet, Picasso, and Leger bring to the eyes across the street at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the artists within Severance Hall delight upon the ears.

I always have some hesitation with single-composer, let alone single-piece programs but the excitement was palpable: Hovering near the box office and overhearing a cluster of students "I'm going to save this" "Why?" "I save the ticket stub from every great concert I attend". Meanwhile, while I greeted patrons I recognized from least season with a "Glad to be back?" the answer was, in each case, a resounding yes.

Mahler's Symphony Number Three is an epic work covering a wide range of emotions, techniques, and the better part of two hours of time, sans intermission.

The first movement stands alone as Part One, starting with a far off call that begins with a broad cinematic feeling before taking an ominous tone. As the movement continues a delectably fine texture emerged from the aural canvass like the fine brushstrokes in a painting. Mr. Pruecil's solo violin before Mr. La Rosas beautifully lonely trumpet took over the landscape.

Part Two encompassed the remaining movements -- two through six -- each having a slightly different feeling. The second movement was more light and moved quickly. The third movement it both playful and nostalgic at places but struck me as endlessly contemplative. One of only two movements to feature the human voice, the fourth movement, set to Midnight Song from Also sprach Zarathustra was a bit slow and almost depressing for my tastes, but the fifth movement -- featuring the Women of the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and the Cleveland Orchestra Children's Chorus was a glimmer of joyous sunshine that took over the orchestra. The sixth movement, marked as slow, peaceful, and with feeling, gives the audience time to reflect upon that which they've just heard and the season ahead.

If tonight was any indication it should be a good season.


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