If you have not been to Severance Hall lately, this would be a very good weekend to find out why the Cleveland Orchestra continues to rank among the best in the world. And even if you have been to Severance Hall lately, you will not want to miss this weekend’s program.
It opens with Beethoven’s Symphony No. 4, a work that for many orchestras would constitute a concluding piece. Certainly conductor and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst gave it that kind of attention, crafting a balanced performance filled with powerful internal dynamics that avoided the usual clichés of being overly loud and bombastic. His ability to draw out the deep emotions in the piece while still keeping the overall sound crisp and understated was a model of intelligence and restraint. One could travel throughout many of the major music cities of Europe and not hear such refined treatment of Beethoven.