by Jarrett Hoffman
August is when the end of summer comes into sight, a blues for which Mendelssohn’s Fourth Symphony might be the antidote. The composer himself called it “the jolliest work I have so far written” — and the first movement really is bottled joy.
That symphony, known as the “Italian,” will sit side by side with Samuel Barber’s lesser-known Symphony in One Movement this Friday, August 16 at 7:00 pm, when guest conductor Osmo Vänskä pays a visit to Severance Hall to close out The Cleveland Orchestra’s Summers@Severance series.
“I have to say that I am so happy about the Barber,” Vänskä said during a telephone interview. “Even three years ago, let’s say, I didn’t know anything about this first symphony of his. Now I have done it twice during the last season. I really love the piece, and I think that it might be a good surprise for many people to hear it.”