by Stephanie Manning
Change has been in the air at the Cleveland Institute of Music this year. After officially celebrating its centennial (delayed by the pandemic) in September, the CIM Orchestra returned to Severance Music Center on November 22 as part of their recent partnership with The Cleveland Orchestra. Under the direction of Carlos Kalmar — another recent addition to the school — the students gave great energy to their final concert of 2022.
Though the two composers on the program, Messiaen and Bruckner, were likely familiar to the audience, the pieces chosen were potentially less so. In the absence of written program notes, commentary was given from the stage (and with good humor) from violist Pablo Ronderos. Messiaen’s L’Ascension is “meditative, pensive, and prayer-like,” though not without the characteristic dissonances of the French composer. The early-career work, rooted in Messiaen’s Catholic faith, tells the story of Jesus’ ascent into heaven over four disparate movements.