Cleveland Orchestra

Welser-Möst conducts Cleveland in Beethoven, Adès, & Smetana

Cleveland-orchestra-roger-mastroianni* Notes * 
Cleveland Orchestra (pictured left at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in 2008, photograph by Roger Mastroianni) played a second concert at San Francisco Symphony on Monday night. The program, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, began with Beethoven's Violin Concerto. The soloist, Nikolaj Znaider, showed a predilection for strong contrasts. One of the cadenzas was filled with choppy, violent double stops. At other points Znaider sounded rather plaintive, and he played with the orchestra, but did not blend in with the rest of the musicians. The horns lacked clarity in their first entrance but otherwise played perfectly well. The second half of the night featured Dances from Powder Her Face by Adès. The pieces were fun to listen to and looked fun to play. The evening ended with the first half of Smetana's Má vlast. The two harps that began Vyšehrad seemed almost scarily together. Vltava flowed, danced, and sparkled. The brass played nicely in Šárka.

* Tattling * 
There was light, excited talking during the Adès.

Welser-Möst conducts Cleveland in Mendelssohn, Saariaho, & Shostakovich

Franz-welser-moest* Notes * 
Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst (pictured left, photograph by Roger Mastroianni), played the first of a two night residency at San Francisco Symphony yesterday. The performance started with Mendelssohn's Symphony No. 3, Scottish. The quiet parts were restrained and tasteful, the louder parts appropriately ponderous. The musicians played rather smoothly. After the intermission came the more interesting pieces, beginning with Saariaho's Orion, which Cleveland Orchestra commissioned a decade ago. The first movement, with the title "Memento mori," was a bit like a spectral, somewhat demented music box. The second movement ("Winter Sky") was more subdued, and the final one ("Hunter") spiraled in a dizzying fashion. The concert ended with Shostakovich's Symphony No. 6. The Largo was mysterious, the sound from the orchestra tense and together. The Allegro was bright, and the Presto exhilarating.

* Tattling * 
The audience was fairly quiet for most of the evening. A metallic noise in the Orchestra Level, near Row A Seats 6 and 8 was heard during the last movement of the Mendelssohn. An elderly couple in Row G Seats 111 and 112 spoke during the Shostakovich.