by Daniel Hathaway
The burning question after The Cleveland Orchestra’s concert on Thursday April 24 was why it took so long to bring conductor Jane Glover and pianist Imogen Cooper — either singly or together — to Severance Hall. The two British artists collaborated to produce a spectacular performance of Beethoven’s first concerto, and Glover led pristine and loveable readings of sinfonias by C.P.E. Bach and Johann Baptist Waṅhal* as well as a finely shaped account of Haydn’s “Drum Roll” symphony.
Glover set up a bright, sprightly introduction for Cooper in the Beethoven (the pared-down string section allowed the orchestra to play with amazing transparency). Responding with verve and an effortless elegance, Cooper breezed through her passagework, made perfect joins with Glover and the orchestra and pointed up exquisite moments like the sudden shift into E-flat. The recapitulation of the first movement was announced by a surprising blaze of horns and Cooper’s initially calm, orderly cadenza suddenly jolted the ear with wild chord juxtapositions. “She’s fantastic!” cried a woman in the row behind me. No shushing and no argument there. [Read more…]