by Stephanie Manning
Both long-time listeners and recent fans likely found something to enjoy at Severance on April 13. The Cleveland Orchestra’s program that weekend not only included a symphony that could win over many a first-time audience member, but also a work that hadn’t been heard from the ensemble since 1930. In either case, the result was fantastic.
At the podium was conductor Michael Tilson Thomas, who brought a charming and nuanced interpretation to two lesser-known works by Debussy. Jeux; poème dansé, originally written for the Ballets Russes, is lush yet perpetually unsettled. The orchestra responded well to the music’s indecisive shifts, flitting easily from one thing to the next — all underscored by some precise tamborine work from principal percussionist Marc Damoulakis.
With Jeux’s inclusion of a number of auxiliary instruments came the opportunity for featuring moments across the wind and brass sections, a quality also present in the Fantaisie for piano and orchestra that followed. [Read more…]