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Seeing Red 

Cleveland's newest orchestra blends classical music and film in a captivating performance.

Cat Power, emoting for the crowd at her March 7 - Beachland show. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Cat Power, emoting for the crowd at her March 7 Beachland show.

"In New York, that would have cost you $50," said conductor Jonathan Sheffer, playfully chastising an audience member whose cell phone interrupted Sheffer as he introduced a selection at Red {An Orchestra}'s spectacular premiere of Celluloid Copland last Wednesday at Cleveland's Masonic Auditorium. Red, a Cleveland-based orchestra that debuted in October, is all about dispensing with the pomp of classical music in hopes of reaching a wider audience.

Red succeeded on this night. In addition to well-dressed suit-and-tie-guys with fur-wearing wives, there were plenty of jeans-clad bohemians and scruffier attendees (including us), who were no doubt drawn to the program's unique blend of film and works by famed American composer Aaron Copland (as well as a suite from Paul Bowles).

The short silent film that opened the evening offered a brief glimpse into the private life of Copland, capturing him in such mundane activities as sipping coffee in a diner and walking the streets of New York City in 1939. It was interesting to see the man behind such celebrated works as "Fanfare for the Common Man" and the score for Of Mice and Men in such a casual setting, and it set the mood for Red's launching into a suite from The Cummington Story, one of Copland's many great film scores.

After an alternately stirring and sentimental run through a handful of works from Bowles, Red tackled selections from Copland's score to The City, a forbidding look at the effects of industrialization. Accompanying six scenes from the 1939 film, Red brought the images to life, working itself into a loud, heart-stopping climax as clouds of pollution choked the onscreen sky; a playful volley of flutes and violin offered some respite, as children played in the unmarred countryside. It was thrilling and absorbing -- and over all too soon, ending with a rendition of Copland's "Appalachian Spring" ballet. The entire performance was taped for broadcast on WCLV-FM 104.9 at a later date.

Cleveland's dark, orchestral metallers Somnus will be reuniting for a special gig at the Odeon this spring. The show, a warm-up for the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles Six Pack Weekend, will take place Thursday, June 12 -- the day before Brave Words kicks off. Also on the bill are local metal favorites Boulder, Abdullah, and Soulless, among others.

SynthCleveland has announced its second remix project: The group will tackle the cut "2 Faced" from Tactil Vision, an experimental music project from Stevi7, founder of the label/studio 5AMconductions. Deadline to submit your remix is Saturday, April 5. For rules and downloads, visit www.synthcleveland.com.

Hard rockers Gatlin will charter a 50-person bus for fans who want to join the band on a road trip to New York, where Gatlin will perform for label reps at the Acme Underground on March 25 and at Don Hill's on March 26. Those who make the trip will receive a Gatlin/N.Y.C. T-shirt, a ticket to Gatlin's next Cleveland show in April, and a severe ass-whipping if they attempt to poop on the bus -- a big no-no. For more information, go to www.gatlin316.net.

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