by Guytano Parks
Springtime was heralded in at Severance Hall last Thursday evening when music director Franz Welser-Möst led The Cleveland Orchestra, soprano Kate Royal, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton, tenor John Tessier and The Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Children’s Chorus (prepared by Robert Porco and Ann Usher) in Benjamin Britten’s Spring Symphony. Earlier on the program came Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini with Austrian pianist Rudolf Buchbinder, Sibelius’s Lemminkainen’s Return, and Ryan Wigglesworth’s Locke’s Theatre.
Welser-Möstled a bold and sweeping account of the Sibelius (No. 4, from Legends, Op. 22) to begin the program. Emphasizing the dark, serious nature of its opening bars, he coaxed expressive, colorful sounds from the orchestra, full of rhythmic vigor and effective dynamic contrasts.
Buchbinder played Rachmaninoff’s popular Rhapsody in a straightforward manner, but still full of interest and excitement. [Read more…]