by Daniel Hathaway
HAPPENING TODAY (OR NOT):
This is the time of year when concerts thin out after the holidays, creating an annual lacuna complicated this time around by the recrudescence of COVID-19 and the first snow event of the season.
It’s also the time when people begin looking ahead to more agreeable times — when gardeners haul out the seed catalogues and classical music fans begin filling out their must-hear calendars with intriguing events to come.
Even the latter activity has become dicey this year, with events that pop up and just as quickly disappear as reality trumps planning. It’s difficult to keep track — and in our case, to keep the ClevelandClassical.com Concert Listings up to date.
For example, we just received word from The Cleveland Orchestra of a COVID-related change to its March 3-5 concerts that were to have featured the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus in Mendelssohn’s “Reformation” Symphony and two Psalms by Alexander Zemlinsky. Those will be replaced by George Walker’s Lilacs featuring soprano Latonia Moore, and a suite from Richard Strauss’s Der Rosenkavalier compiled by Franz Welser-Möst. Imagine the challenges of running a symphony orchestra these days!
Since there are no events to list for today, Wednesday, January 19, let’s flag a few things that are about to happen and burrow a bit deeper into plans for two of the major festivals of the summer in Northeast Ohio.
Coming up on Thursday: A Highland Lassie, the latest event in Les Délices’ Concert Series will become available on demand at 12:01 am. The program visits the fascinating world of Scottish traditional music that celebrates “the permeable borders between folk song and art song, between country dance and cotillion. Truly, the tunes crossed social boundaries — being sung and played by folks from every walk of life from the ﬁelds to the tavern to the well-heeled salon. With their haunting melodies, budding romanticism, and nostalgic sentimentality, these traditional Scots songs speak powerfully to us today.”
Les Délices went “on location” to record this program, making use of the barn at Cleveland’s Dunham Tavern Museum, originally an 1824 home that served as a stagecoach stop on the Buffalo-Cleveland-Detroit post road. We’ll post a combination preview/review of the program in today’s Newsletter.
Performers (some pictured above) include Elena Mullins, soprano, Debra Nagy, baroque oboe & recorders, Julie Andrijeski & Allison Monroe, violins, Rebecca Reed, cello, Daniel Swenberg, English guittar, baroque guitar and archlute, and Mark Edwards, harpsichord.
The Cleveland Orchestra’s Adella platform will launch its second In Focus season on February 4 at 7:00 pm with the first of six new episodes that include behind-the-scenes interviews and features on the music and music-making.
Episode 1: Aftersilence features the world premiere of Hans Abrahamsen’s Vers Le Silence and Brahms’s Piano Concerto No. 2 with soloist Igor Levit. The episode also includes interviews with Welser-Möst, principal horn Nathaniel Silberschlag and Abrahamsen himself, from his composing base in Denmark through the first performance in Cleveland. Watch ClevelandClassical.com for an early February preview/review.
Also planning a new season, Ohio Light Opera has now opened its Box Office to book tickets for its six summer productions in Wooster. “It looks more like a normal season,” the website says, “only a bit shorter.”
And The Cleveland Orchestra is now selling subscriptions for its Blossom Music Festival, which runs from July 2 through September 4 in Cuyahoga Falls, with single tickets to become available on April 4.
Jarrett Hoffman teased the series in yesterday’s Diary. Here are some more details about who’s on for the summer.
Returning artists include conductors Vinay Parameswaran, Loris John Schissel, Richard Kaufman, Jahja Ling, and Giancarlo Guerrero, pianists Benjamin Grosvenor, Aaron Diehl, Cédric Tiberghien, and Daniil Trifonov, and vocalists Elizabeth DeShong and Raymond Aceto.
Blossom debuts include the Cleveland Orchestra premiere of Gulda’s Cello Concerto, conductors Elim Chan, Jader Bignamini, Ruth Reinhardt, and Jonathan Berman, and vocalists Leah Hawkins & Issachah Savage.
Other highlights: the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra with violinist Vadim Gluzman, Baldwin Wallace Musical Theater students, and film scores to Lord of the Rings and the Harry Potter series along with the movies on the big screen. Read more here.
On Sunday at 3:00 pm, the Cleveland Cello Society will present an online recital by its current Scholarship Winners. Performers include Daniel Dorsey, Senior Division Prize (St. Xavier H.S., Cincinnati, student of Sarah Kim), Drew Dansby Collegiate Gold Prize (Oberlin Conservatory, student of Darrett Adkins); Miles Reed, Collegiate Gold Prize (Oberlin Conservatory, student of Dmitry Kouzov), Samantha Powell, Collegiate Silver Prize (Cleveland Institute of Music, student of Richard Weiss), Sarah Dabin Baek, Collegiate Silver Prize (Oberlin Conservatory, student of Dmitry Kouzov), Seraphina Huang, Mary M. Kramer Prize, Elementary Division (Boulevard School, Shaker Hts.), student of Pamela Kelly, and Elena Ziegler, George K. Edwards Prize, Junior Division (Copley High School), student of Martha Baldwin. It’s free and only available online.
What? Tchaikovsky wrote a third piano concerto? Partly true. He revised material intended for a Symphony in E-flat into a concerto for a friend, but died before completing the project. On this date in 1895, the first movement of the incomplete concerto received its first performance in St. Petersburg. The second and third movements have been hypothetically reconstructed by Sergei Taneyev and published as Tchaikovsky’s Op. 79 in 1897. Now and again, the three are performed together as they are here.
And on this date in 1949 — somewhat late to the subject — Chicago Symphony musicians refused to play for guest conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, accusing him of being a Nazi collaborator. The complicated issues surrounding “Hitler’s favorite conductor” are the subject of a long 2019 New Yorker article by Alex Ross and a 2021 New York Times essay by David Allen.