Sunday, August 10, 2014

Cleveland Orchestra: A Midsummer Nights Dream

Stravinsky: Suite from Pulcinella
Haydn: Violin Concerto in C major, H.Villa:1 (Peter Otto, violin)
Mendelssohn: Scherzo and Nocturne from A Midsummer Night's Dream, Op. 61
Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 4 ("Italian") in A major, Op. 60.
Jeffrey Kahane, Conductor)

I actually really wanted to attend last Sunday's concert, however, having dropped Rachel off at the airport to begin her internship at the Library of Congress on Saturday only to return to the airport on Sunday to send myself to Minnesota.... The scheduling didn't quite work out. Actually looking at the remainder of the Blossom season only on e Saturday and none of the Sunday concerts is even a scheduling possibility, leaving the very real prospect that this may be my last visit to Blossom for the 2014 season.

And, based upon the first half if it is to be my last, it will certainly be the best I've attended this season. While Stravinsky is known for his riotous--not to mention cutting edge--The Right of Spring, the suite from Pulcinella was equally pleasing but substantially more nostalgic and circumspect -- music that while good, and knowing its good, is trying to pass without drawing too much attention to itself.

Peter Otto's performance in Haydn's violin concerto had a similar restrained air. Once I was able to tune out the harpsichord (what can I say...I am no fan of its twang) I just let my mind go soft and before I knew it the piece was complete.

Following intermission the two selections from a Midsummer Night's Dream -- the Scherzo and Nocturne  passed by quickly covering the span of about five minutes in total. The scherzo was light and airy, while the Nocturne was more somber but clearly shared some of the same musical DNA as the Wedding March, also originally from this piece. 

The program closed out with Mendelssohn's Italian symphony and it's famous opening theme; unfortunately, I didn't really find myself engaged beyond that opening and repetitive theme.