CSU Symphony Orchestra with
pianist Angelin Chang (November 16)
Since assuming the reins as conductor of the Cleveland State University Orchestra, Victor Liva has thoughtfully shaped the ensemble into one of musical maturity. And their concert on November, 16 at Waetjen Auditorium did not disappoint.
Mozart’s Piano Concerto No. 20 in D minor hold the distinction of being one of only two of the composer's twenty-seven piano concertos to be written in a minor key. Premiered in 1785 with the composer as soloist, the concerto was well received by the public and even caught the ear of Beethoven, who kept it in his own repertoire. Although the piece is often considered to be dark in nature, each of the movements has lighter musical moments. Thus the challenge for the performer is to make these subtle mood shifts and color changes seem natural as well as make the technical passages sound seamless. And pianist Angelin Chang did all of this with style and grace.
Throughout, Chang was in complete technical command. Each scale passage was even in tone and played without effort. The first movement cadenza (by Beethoven) was mesmerizing. While the Romanza was a bit faster then I prefer, the music’s singing quality was not diminished. Chang wasted no time beginning the final Rondo, establishing a brisk tempo that she was able to sustain to the end. The transition into D major was magical. Liva and company were attentive collaborators and the many wind solo passages were performed with aplomb.
The Symphony No. 6, Pathetique, by Tchaikovsky is a challenge for any orchestra and the CSU orchestra accepted the challenge head on. Bassoonist Dorian Neuendorf’s opening solo was appropriately mournful. Liva drew a rich sound from the strings and allowed the wind solos to sing. Tempos were well chosen and the fourth movement, Allegro molto vivace flew by. The concluding Adagio lamentoso was contemplative and brooding. Although there were a few balance issues here and there, and more attention could have been paid to some of the musical transitions, this was a performance to be proud of. It will be interesting to hear how this talented ensemble progresses further into the academic year.
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Published on ClevelandClassical.com November 27, 2012
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