by Kevin McLaughlin
The concert by CityMusic Cleveland on Thursday, September 21 in Fairmount Presbyterian Church was a reminder of two things: that there is an abundance of appealing music yet to be heard or played out, and there are exceptional performers in Cleveland ready to play it. The consistently splendid CityMusic (now in its twentieth year) maintained its high standard with a program of infrequently heard works by George Walker, Joseph Bologne, Tōru Takemitsu, and W.A. Mozart, aided by guest solo violinists Kyung Sun Lee and Jung-Min Amy Lee (pictured at another venue).
Walker’s Lyric for Strings has the quiet solemnity of Barber’s famous Adagio for Strings, and like that piece, it started life as the second movement from an early string quartet. Walker added the title Lament (later Lyric for Strings) and dedicated it as an elegy to his grandmother. From the first notes the ensemble, led by concertmaster Laura Hamilton, conveyed the right mood and established a bath of tonal beauty that benefitted every piece to come.