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Re: “Thrilling Brahms Brings Audience — and Maestro — to Their Feet at Severance Hall

TCO Subscriber -- I appreciate the only coherent and constructive part of your otherwise odd tantrum. The misidentification of the clarinet soloist has been corrected.

Hank -- You're absolutely right, I somehow confused the rondo with a scherzo. It's been corrected. Thank you for your perspective.

Posted by Philip De Oliveira on 12/11/2017 at 2:12 PM

Re: “The Organ’s Beauty Sparkles in a Refreshing Program of Copland, Paulus and Tchaikovsky

Here's my take on the concert from my blog, which I am unable to link to:

Copland, Paulus, & Tchaikovsky at Severance

Giancarlo Guerrero returned to Severance Hall this weekend for a concert which mixed the familiar and unfamiliar. Dan was out of town visiting family, so I was a solo attendee. Owing to my continuing recovery from surgery, I was tempted to pass my ticket on to a friend despite some discomfort, Im glad I went.

The concert began with a work that has become not only familiar, but maligned by some as Pops concert material: Aaron Coplands El Salon Mexico. Guerrero eschewed garish colors in favor of an approach that balanced the works bracing rhythms with Coplands skillful orchestration each of the repeated chords toward the end of the piece was played with precisely the same tonal value with each section sounding perfectly balanced from my seat in Row W. In my estimation, the performance was far superior to Coplands own recording.

The unfamiliar consisted of Stephen Paulus Grand Concerto for Organ and Orchestra. This weekend marked the first time the work, composed in 2004, had been presented at Severance. Despite clearly being a work of the post-modern era, the Concerto is somewhat traditionally structured and resolutely tonal. Its always a pleasure to hear Severance Halls Norton Memorial Organ the restoration of which was one of the key factors in Severances extensive renovation at the turn of the century. This was especially the case last night, as Paul Jacobs performance was a hallmark of musical virtuosity, where thrilling technical acumen never distracted from the musical argument. His physical demeanor during the performance was modest focusing the audiences attention on the auditory splendor of the music. Well, with one exception: an extended section for foot pedals only, where the audience craned their necks to view Jacobs footwork. Not that Jacobs was showing off, merely that his hands were placed on the bench while his feet did the work. Guerrero was a cordial and sympathetic collaborator. The crowd leaped to its feet for a standing ovation, and Jacobs was brought back for an encore: the Prelude from the Violin Partita in E major, BWV 1006 presumably in Jacobs own arrangement. I hope Mr. Jacobs is invited to Severance again. Oerhaps the orchestra can be persuaded to present the Poulenc Concerto?

Following intermission the audience was treated to Tchaikovskys Fourth Symphony one of that composers most frequently abused works. Its all too common for conductors to tear the works structure into shreds for the sake of dramatic effect. A certain former Musical Director of the Cleveland Orchestra was particularly guilty in this regard. Not so Guerrero. Every moment of the Symphony, from the opening brass fanfare to the final crashing coda was placed in context. The performance lacked the sentimentality which is too often poured all over Tchaikovsky interpretation like chocolate syrup. This is not to say the performance was lacking in emotion: Frank Rosenweins melting oboe solo in the second movement was particularly striking. The third movement was a delight, as the string pizzicatos which dominate the movement were perfectly balanced, with beautifully gauged crescendos and decrescendos, and never sounded garish which is too often the case.

The concert was preceded by one of the finest pre-concert talks Ive witnessed, Fateful Encounters, hosted by Meaghan Heinrich. Her engaging presentation traced how Copland was able to capture the flavor of Mexican folk music, without blindly imitating it; how Pauluss skillful orchestration melded the orchestra and organ; and the structural underpinnings of Tchaikovskys Fourth Symphony. Remarkably, she gave the entire presentation from memory. I certainly hope to hear her again.

Posted by Hank Drake on 12/11/2017 at 8:14 AM

Re: “Thrilling Brahms Brings Audience — and Maestro — to Their Feet at Severance Hall

I attended Saturday's performance and reacted somewhat differently than the critic. I found the Mozart Concerto performance entirely generic: nothing awful about it, nothing great either. From where I sat, some of the piano passages sounded overpedaled - and as I could see Goode's feet, they looked overpedaled. Btw, the Mozart Concerto K.456 does not have a scherzo - the Finale is marked Allegro vivace. One person on the main floor awarded a standing ovation after the Mozart. The Brahms fared better - particularly the outer movements. The hall was well filled, but the audience was the oldest demographic I've seen at Severance in many a moon - and the cough-iest. No doubt the oldies bought the tickets to hear their idol Dohnanyi - but he cancelled.

Posted by Hank Drake on 12/11/2017 at 8:07 AM

Re: “Update: Local Rocker Michael Stanley Postpones Upcoming Hard Rock Live Shows

I had two friends that had clogged arteries and both of them had bypass surgery. And both of them died of heart heart attacks within two years. My arteries were clogged up as well, and after seeing what happened to my friends, I tried something different. Hey Michael, if you read this, try taking Nattokinase, Magnesium Citrate and Astragalus. Nattokinase will clear your arteries and the other two things will relax your arteries and blood vessels so that you don't get clots.

As soon as I started with the Nattokinase, I felt so much better. It took a year, but my arteries are cleared, my blood pressure is down and I rarely get chest pains.

Posted by Mr. Akron on 12/11/2017 at 3:53 AM

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