Inside This Issue

PreViews & Features

Cleveland Orchestra announces 2015 Blossom Programs

TCO@BlossomCleveland, January 25, 2015 — The Cleveland Orchestra will play fifteen of seventeen Blossom Festival concerts this summer, which begins on July 2 and continues through September 6. Subscription Renewals are currently underway, and premier subscriptions and Create-Your-Own are now available for purchase. Pre-sale single tickets for current Cleveland Orchestra subscribers will go on sale on April 20 and individual tickets for the general public may be purchased beginning on May 12.

The complete schedule follows. [Read More…]

Cleveland Museum of Art to honor organist Karel Paukert on his 80th Birthday

by Daniel Hathaway

PAUKERT-KarelOn Sunday, January 25, the Cleveland Museum of Art will present organist Karel Paukert, former and long-time curator of musical arts at the museum, in a special recital in Gartner Auditorium. To mark his 80th birthday Paukert will revisit a work that he has played “at least annually” for decades, Olivier Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur (“The Birth of Christ”).

In December of 2008, shortly after the launch of ClevelandClassical.com, we interviewed Karel Paukert about his forthcoming January performance of the Messiaen work at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Cleveland Heights. That performance observed the centenary of the famous French composer’s birth. Paukert’s reflections on La Nativité and on his own career, reprinted below, remain highly relevant six years later.

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Born in Prague, Karel Paukert came to the US by way of Reykjavík and Belgium. He taught and played organ in St. Louis and Evanston, IL before becoming a US citizen in 1972 and curator of musical arts at the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1974. During his thirty years in that post he played more than 800 organ recitals, administered two highly respected concert series, founded the Aki Festival of new music and arranged for the personal appearance of Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod in Cleveland in 1978. [Read More…]

Northeast Ohio Grammy nominees, Part I: Jason Vieaux up for Best Classical Instrumental Solo

by Mike Telin

Vieaux-Play-CDGuitarist Jason Vieaux’s solo album, Play, is among the five 2015 Grammy Award nominees in the category of Best Classical Instrumental Solo. The awards ceremony will take place on February 8 at Los Angeles’s Staples Center.

The album, released in January 2014 by Cleveland’s Azica Records, includes showpieces by Barrios, Sagreras, Bustamante, and Sainz De La Maza, as well as Tárrega’s Recuerdos de la Alhambra and Capricho Arabe, Vieaux’s own arrangement of Duke Ellington’s In A Sentimental Mood, and Andrew York’s Sunburst, which had “Encores” as its original working title.

“The album is a culmination of Jason’s twenty years as a touring artist, a retrospective of encores,” Azica’s Bruce Egre, who engineered the recording, said in a recent conversation. “It took us months to figure out the title,” said producer Alan Bise. “We wanted it to say something interesting without becoming cheesy.”

How much does a title really matter these days? “That’s a good question,” Egre said. “With so much product coming out, especially in the classical world, you need to put something out there that is a little bit distinctive. What do you call an album of Haydn string quartets?” They settled on Play, and Egre admitted that the title has grown on him. [Read More…]

Apollo’s Fire: Madeline Apple Healey to play Lieschen in Bach’s “Coffee Cantata”

by Daniel Hathaway

Healey-StraussJohann Sebastian Bach’s charming cantata about a parent in the throes of despair over his daughter’s addiction to coffee forms the centerpiece of Apollo’s Fire’s next set of concerts. “Family Frolic” will begin its run on Thursday, January 22 with a performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music’s Mixon Hall.

Set in the context of a day in the Bach family quarters in Leipzig, the comedic cantata had — and will have — some connections to real life. One of Bach’s daughters answered to the nickname of Lieschen, and Madeline Apple Healey, the soprano who will play that role this weekend, actually works as a barista at Phoenix Coffee in Ohio City. And she does love the beverage she dispenses, she said in a telephone conversation. “I’m a coffee purist. Usually I just make a pourover of single origin coffee — Ethiopians are my favorite, though occasionally I’ll have a cappuccino.”

Bach penned his Kaffee-Kantate to be performed by the Leipzig Collegium Musicum at a Leipzig coffee emporium, possibly Zimmerman’s, where the composer’s student ensemble was a regular fixture. After the patrons are called to order by a narrator, Herr Schlendrian storms in, roaring like a bear over his daughter’s fascination with the caffeinated brew, which is all the rage among the younger set in Leipzig. Lieschen responds with an elaborate ode to coffee, and the conversation, or shall we say family argument, continues from that point. Artistic Director Jeannette Sorrell, who has provided a new English translation, will direct the mini-drama with tenor Corey Shotwell as narrator and bass-baritone Jeffrey Strauss as Schlendrian. [Read More…]