by Robert Rollin
Last Thursday evening, April 17, The Cleveland Orchestra under guest conductor Herbert Blomstedt’s masterful hand performed a stunningly beautiful concert of romantic music. The program featured two wonderful Slavic works.
The evening’s highlight was the performance of the Antonin Dvořák Cello Concerto in b, Opus 104 with Mark Kosower, the orchestra’s principal cellist, as soloist. The piece is one of the great romantic concertos.
The opening Allegro’s orchestral exposition sparkled with gorgeous solos by Frank Rosenwein, principal oboe, Michael Mayhew, associate principal French horn and Franklin Cohen, principal clarinet. The tutti grew in intensity as it approached Kosower’s first passages. The rapport among soloist, conductor, and orchestra was apparent in the very first soloist entrance. The performance had a remarkable clarity, and all the cello’s rapid sixteenth notes were apparent even when the accompanying textures were thick.
Kosower’s clear, bright tone and Blomstedt’s supple and well-prepared conducting helped maintain the wonderful balance. After an orchestral transition, the second theme in D, the relative major, emerged in the solo cello like a sudden ray of sunshine. This lush romantic melody gradually ascended to the high range. Lovely solos in principal flute and oboe followed. [Read more…]