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. 


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