by Daniel Hathaway
CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA PREMIERES IN FOCUS OCT. 15 :
The initial concert on The Cleveland Orchestra: IN FOCUS video streaming series will be available to subscribers, donors, and membership holders on the Orchestra’s new Adella platform on Thursday, October 15 at 7:00 pm and later on demand. (Adella is named after the Orchestra’s founder, Adella Prentiss Hughes.)
The fall series replaces in-person performances. In the first episode, an all-string orchestra program, Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will lead the third set of Respighi’s Ancient Airs and Dances, the premiere of George Walker’s Antifonys, and Tchaikovsky’s Souvenir of Venice. This and subsequent performances have been recorded in Severance Hall without audience, and with physical distancing protocols in place for the musicians. Click here for further information. (Photo by Roger Mastroianni.)
ADDED TO TODAY’S CALENDAR:
Oberlin grad and 2014 Chartres Competition prizewinner Dexter Kennedy is first up on this fall’s organ series from Christ Church in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, to be live streamed tonight. Kennedy writes in a Facebook post, “It’s hard to believe that it has been nearly 7 months since my last recital, but I’m looking forward to performing again this Friday, albeit in this socially distant way. Finally getting to some of the pieces learned during quarantine out for a spin!” The series continues with recitals by Todd Wilson on October 23, and Scott Hanoian on November 13. See the Concert Listings for details.
Two French composers have birthday anniversaries on this date.
Camille Saint-Saëns was born in 1835 in Paris and went on to a long career as organist at St-Merri and La Madeleine in Paris, teacher of Fauré and Ravel, and composer of a vast catalogue of works. As a keyboardist, he gave one of his last piano recitals in 1921 at the age of 86 — then went on holiday to his favorite vacation spot, Algiers, where he died a month later.
Celebrate the composer with a very private work he forbade to be played publicly during his lifetime: Carnival of the Animals, which parodies the music of Offenbach, Berlioz, Mendelssohn, and Rossini, and is usually accompanied by the delicious nonsense poetry of Ogden Nash. Here’s a performance by the Zagreb Music Academy Chamber Orchestra, and Nash’s opening lines go:
Was wracked with pains,
When people addressed him,
As Saint Sanes.
He held the human race to blame,
Because it could not pronounce his name.
So, he turned with metronome and fife,
To glorify other kinds of life.
Be quiet please — for here begins
His salute to feathers, fur, and fins.
Another famous work is his Danse macabre, a Halloween favorite, recorded here on a Brunswick 78 record by Nikolai Sokoloff and The Cleveland Orchestra in 1926.
Reynaldo Hahn, another French composer (though he was born in Venezuela, where he spent only the first three years of his life), was born on this day in 1875. He’s celebrated for his vocal music, and one of his most popular songs is À Chloris, sung here by Matthew Maisano on his Cleveland Institute of Music master’s recital in 2016, and more recently by Joyce DiDonato on last May’s “Call to Unite” 24-hour global pandemic initiative. DiDonato impressively serves as her own collaborative pianist.