The Cleveland Orchestra showcases music by Joseph Haydn this weekend, a celebrated composer who spent most of his career working for the Esterházy family outside Vienna before becoming an international sensation during his visits to London between 1781 and 1795. (One London newspaper could barely contain its enthusiasm, lauding him as “the inexhaustible, the wonderful, the sublime HAYDN!) British conductor Matthew Halls, who specializes in “early” music, will be at the helm at Severance Hall to conduct the Overture to L’isola disabitata, the Piano Concerto in D (No. 11) with Montréal-born Marc-André Hamelin at the keyboard (he now lives in Boston), the concerto for two horns, starring Richard King and Jessie McCormick, and the Symphony No. 101, a.k.a. “The Clock,” the ninth of Haydn’s dozen “London” symphonies. There are three concerts in this set, on Thursday, April 30 at 7:30, Friday, May 1 at 11:00 am (no horns for the matinee) and Saturday, May 2 at 8:00 pm. Tickets here.
Timpanist Andrew Pongracz and percussionist Mell Csicsila, who perform together as Duo Anime, offer a rare performance of Andrzej Panufnik’s Concertino for Timpani, Percussion and Strings accompanied by Heights Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Mark Allen McCoy on Sunday at 3:30 pm at First Baptist Church in Shaker Heights. Panufnik’s life story reads like a World War II—Cold War spy novel. He escaped from Poland to England in 1954, leaving all his compositions behind, ended up briefly leading the City of Birmingham Symphony, became a British citizen and was knighted by the Queen. His visited the U.S., but his travel here was complicated by the machinations of the McCarthy era. Also on the program, Haydn’s Symphony No. 104 (another of the “London” works, see above), and a real rarity, the Melpomene Overture, a Wagner-like piece by the turn-of-the-20th-century Boston composer George Whitefield Chadwick. No charge, but donations are welcome.
The Cleveland Chamber Music Society’s Young Artists Showcase annually turns the spotlight on a young, up-and-coming chamber music group. On Sunday, May 3 at 7:00 pm at First Unitarian Church in Shaker Heights, the Commodore Quartet will do the honors as Elizabeth Furuta & Kyoungmin Maria Park, violins, Sarah Toy, viola & Hannah Moses, cello play string quartets by Shostakovich (No. 9), Beethoven (No. 12) and Brahms (No. 2). Come early to hear a lively interview with the players led by the Cavani Quartet’s primo violinist and consummate mentor of young talent, Annie Fullard. The concert is free, but donations are welcome.
The West Shore Chorale, one of only a handful of avocational choruses that operate west of the Cuyahoga, will give its spring concert on Sunday, May 3 at 7:30 at the Magnificat Performing Arts Center in Rocky River. John Drotleff will conduct the chorus in the shorter of Beethoven’s two masses (the one in C, op. 86), and in selections from J.S. Bach’s fetive “Ascension” cantata, Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen, BWV 11. Young musicians will figure in this performance as well: students from Avon Lake, Lakewood, Rocky River and Westlake high schools will sing alongside their elders. Tickets are available online.
A larger group of young musicians will be featured at Severance Hall on Sunday evening, May 3 at 8:00 pm, as Brett Mitchell leads the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra in their final concert of the season. University School cellist Henry Shapard, who studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music with Richard Weiss, will be featured in Dmitry Kabalevsky’s Concerto in g, and the orchestra will take on two virtuoso pieces featuring itself: Samuel Barber’s Medea’s Dance of Vengeance, and Béla Bartók’s wonderful Concerto for Orchestra. More music happens at 7 in Reinberger Chamber Hall when chamber ensembles will play a prelude to the concert in the main hall. Order tickets online from the Severance Hall Box Office.