Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Cleveland Orchestra: Vladimir Jurowski Conducts Prokofiev's Cinderella

Stravinsky: Scherzo Fantastique, Op. 3
Britten: Violin Concerto, Op. 15 (Simone Lamsma, violin)
Prokofiev: Suite from Cinderella, Op. 87
Vladimir Jurowski, conductor.

Where has this season gone? I four d myself pondering as I watch it come to a close not far from where I heard of come to a start-- my favorite perch at the front of Box 3.

Tonights program certainly headed the advice to go out on a high note. Opening with Stravinsky's Scherzo Fantastique -- a 10-minute slightly ephemeral and fanciful appetizer perhaps especially notable for including three harps on the Severance stage.

The second piece was a bit less fanciful and quite a bit more dramatic with violinist Simone Lamsma turning in a performance that was beautifully breathtaking at times soaring over a monotonous four note drone of the orchestra and at others engaging in a subdued and intimate romantic dialog with the orchestra behind her. Equally stunning - the entire house sat in awed silence for what seemed like an eternity until maestro Jurowski completely released his tension. I cannot think of a more perfect performance in this hall this season.

Perhaps it was the terrific delivery of the first two pieces, or perhaps it was the length, but I didn't find Prokofiev's sixty minute (and fifty movement) Suite from Cinderella nearly as polished or engaging. There were points in the music where felt it the performance would have been strengthened if it had been accompanied by the visual of dance. 

Blossom, for Rachel and I, starts July 3rd. 


Saturday, May 24, 2014

Strange looks in New York

So I'm spending the weekend in Manhattan after a couple days of training in New Jersey -- and I met a couple friends for dinner and drinks.

Unfortunately, thanks to the Port Authority and NJTransit, the usually easy AirTrain-to-NJTransit connection has been screwed up beyond all recognition and it took close to two and a half hours to get from EWR (aka Newark Airport) to New York Penn Station.

My original plan was to drop my bags at the hotel and then proceed to the designated drinking location -- however being already an hour late and waiting for a downtown C train that didn't seem to exist, I bit the bullet and both me and my luggage made it uptown (well... W. 72nd)

However, in that process my cell phone died -- containing both the name of the place we were meeting (decided just an hour or so before) as well as my firends contact info.

You wouldn't beleive the number of strange looks you get when you're on a subway with a USB cord sticking out of a bag and plugged into a phone. But using my laptop (in said bag) to charge my phone worked well enough for me to get a "I'm on my way" text out and then get me pointed in the right direction.


May and June are turning into those "continuous travel" months where I don't have the time to stop and enjoy the smells.

I'm tired now...