by Daniel Hathaway
James Feddeck conducted CityMusic Cleveland in the second of five themed concerts devoted to the topic of refugees on Thursday, March 13 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Ohio City, a program that began with an arresting solo cello work by Chinary Ung, moved on to an imaginative new percussion concerto by CIM-trained composer Dan Visconti featuring Shane Shanahan, and culminated in a thrilling performance of Beethoven’s “Eroica” Symphony.
After demonstrating some of the special effects in the piece, cellist James Jaffee led off the evening with an intense, committed performance of Ung’s 1980 Khse Buon (Four Strings), a 15-minute work that the Cambodian composer wrote during his difficult transition from the troubles in his homeland to life in the United States. Playing from the conductor’s platform in front of the already seated orchestra, Jaffee produced an amazing range of sounds from growling bass figures to high, whistling harmonics, and from sudden, startling fortissimos to disappearing whispers. A fusion of eastern and western traditions, Khse Buon manages to sound strange and familiar at the same time. [Read more…]