by Daniel Hathaway
IN THIS EDITION:
. The concert calendar has an expansive list of performances.
. Almanac: This weekend’s births include Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan, Otto Klemperer, and Claudio Monteverdi.
THIS WEEKEND’S EVENTS:
There appears to be something for everyone this weekend, which offers music from the very old to the very new played by chamber groups, choruses, orchestras, brass and percussion ensembles, and soloists. Check our Concert Listings page for details.
Friday, May 13 —
At 7:00 pm – City Music Cleveland’s Pantheon Ensemble plays Mendelssohn’s Piano Sextet, Mozart’s Divertimento K. 136, and the premiere of Füsun Köksal’s Music for String Quintet & Piano at Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus. The program will be repeated on Sunday at 3:00 pm at Lakewood Congregational Church — both in-person and online. The concerts are free and masks are required.
At 7:30 pm – Quire Cleveland, under the direction of Jay White will present “Resonant Glory: Music for Grand Spaces” at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Their program will also be presented on Saturday at 8:00 pm at St. Noel Church in Willoughby Hills and on Sunday at 5:00 pm at St. Sebastian Church in Akron. The concerts are free. Read a preview article here.
Also at 7:30 pm, Fridays at Finney will feature the Oberlin Orchestra and Contemporary Music Ensemble in Donghoon Shin’s Hunter’s Funeral, Gavin Higgins’ What Wild Ecstasy, and Arnold Schoenberg’s Kammersymphonie, as well as Prokofiev’s Violin Concerto No. 2 with concerto competition winner Johnum Palado. Free. Click here for live stream.
Saturday, May 14 —
At 4:30 pm the Oberlin Brass Ensemble plays works by Copland, Caesar Giovannini, Norman Dello Joio, Gabriel Fauré, Walter S. Hartley and Eugène Gigout in Warner Concert Hall. Free. Click here for live stream.
At 7:30 pm at Plymouth Church in Shaker Hts., Cleveland Classical Guitar Society presents William Kanengiser in a program that highlights commissioned works from his “Diaspora Project.” Click here for tickets. Read a preview article here.
Also at 7:30 pm La Tanya Hall leads the Oberlin Gospel Choir in Finney Chapel. The program pays tribute to the Fisk Jubilee Singers as well as to the Oberlin Black Ensemble, featuring the return of the OBE’s co-founders, vocalist Charles Woods, and pianist Everett Williams. Free.
And at 8:00 pm at Severance Music Center Franz Welser-Möst leads the Cleveland Orchestra in Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite, Wolfgang Rihm’s Verwandlung II and Schubert’s Symphony No. 9 in C. Tickets available online.
Sunday, May 15 —
At 3:00 pm the Cleveland Composers Guild presentes “Creativity — Learning through Experience XXX” in Glick Recital Hall at The Music Settlement. The program features nine premieres of new works written for student performers. Free.
Also at 3:00, Matthew Salvaggio will lead the Cleveland Repertory Orchestra at First Baptist Church in the ensemble’s Inaugural Concert. Kevin Day’s Blue Hour Skyline, Christopher Rouse’s Flute Concerto with Ian Wenz, and Dvorák’s Symphony No. 7 are the featured works. Free.
At 4:30 pm in Warner Concert Hall, Pablo Rieppi leads the Oberlin Percussion Group in works by Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis, Aurel Hollo, Julia Wolfe, Juri Seo, and Rolf Wallin. Free. Click here for live stream.
At 7:30 pm, back at Finney Chapel, Ben Johns will lead the Oberlin Musical Union and Oberlin College Choir in Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Haydn’s Te deum, and Ariel Ramírez’ Misa Criolla. Free. Click here for live stream.
THIS WEEKEND’S ALMANAC:
Many anniversaries to take note of this weekend. We’ll throw darts and pick three of them.
On May 13, 1842, British composer Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan entered the world in London. Sullivan exhibited his musical prowess early on — at the age of eight he composed his first anthem and soon after became a soloist in the boys’ choir of the Chapel Royal. At age 14 the Royal Academy of Music awarded Sullivan the first Mendelssohn Scholarship, allowing him to pursue his musical studies at the Academy as well as the Leipzig Conservatory. His early works include a ballet, a symphony, and a cello concerto, as well as some 80 popular songs, parlor ballads and hymns.
Today Sullivan is best known for his fourteen light opera collaborations with librettist William Schwenck Gilbert. This summer, Ohio Light Opera returns to live productions, and will give six performances of G&S’s The Pirates of Penzance at The College of Wooster beginning on July 7.
OLO writes in their brochure: “Building on the success of H.M.S. Pinafore, but trading — as their satirical focus — the rigors of naval discipline for the obligations of duty, G&S manage to burlesque their normal share of popular institutions, including the army, the police, and operatic sopranos…The engaging musical score includes some of the catchiest music in operetta: Mabel’s pyrotechnic “Poor, Wandering One”; the tongue-twisting “I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General”; “A Policeman’s Lot”; and “With Catlike Tread,” which, decades later, was given new words as “Hail, Hail, the Gang’s All Here.”
In addition to providing musical undergirding for Gilbert’s penetrating satire, Sullivan wrote his own musical parodies of hallowed musical forms, like his sendup of the Renaissance madrigal in “Strange Adventure” from Yeomen of the Guard, and in some of his serious compositions reflected the spiritual crises of the Victorian era. Commentators have found his a cappella song, The Long Day Closes, to be as much of a valedictory to the 19th century as many of Mahler’s songs and symphony movements.
German conductor Otto Klemperer, born on May 14, 1885 in Breslau, was forced to leave his post at the Hamburg Opera in 1915 after a scandal involving a recently married soprano. In popular culture, his son Werner probably eclipsed his fame as the actor who played the bumbling Colonel Klink in the CBS television series Hogan’s Heroes. But back to the concert world, here’s Otto Klemperer’s take on the finale of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the New Philharmonia Orchestra. (Werner Klemperer is playing in the second violin section).
Italian composer Claudio Monteverdi was born either on May 15 or 14, 1567 in Cremona, later serving the household of the Duke of Mantua and the “most serene republic” of Venice, and launching the early Baroque period with a flurry of inventive works including opera, church music, and madrigals.
Jeannette Sorrell and Cleveland’s Baroque Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, have programmed much of Monteverdi’s music in various halls in Northeast Ohio as well as across the U.S. and Europe. Here are a few videos from their archives:
We’ll start with a collection of secular works from the 2020 program, “L’AMORE — Love and Rejection in Old Italy,” performed at St. Paul’s in Cleveland Heights. It begins with a piece by Barbara Strozzi, then goes on to selections from L’Incoronazione di Poppea, and the Scherzi musicali. Watch here.
One of the composer’s monuments is the Vespers of 1610, written for the Mantuan court, and which has required some reassembly, having been published as individual pieces. One of the motets editors haven’t quite known what to do with but has to be included because of its powerful declamation, Duo Seraphim was sung by tenors Jacob Perry, Nathan Hodgson and Nathan Dougherty at First Baptist Church in October, 2019. Watch here.
Like all Vespers services, Monteverdi’s setting concludes with the “Magnificat.” His bravura setting covers many of the stylistic bases available to the composer, including wonderful echo effects. (I heard a performance at the Edinburgh Festival where the conductor had the echo tenor sing his part from the Gents’ just off the balcony of the performing venue — a perfect location.)
Apollo’s Fire performs the “Magnificat” here in Trinity Cathedral in November of 2014, and will open their 31st season with a complete performance of the Vespers in the fall.
Finally, here’s an exquisite performance by tenor Karim Sulayman of Monteverdi’s Si dolce è il tormento (How sweet the torment) from an Apollo’s Fire “Blues Café 1610” performance on Valentine’s Day of 2015 at the Music Box Supper Club in Cleveland.