Six Classical Music Events You Shouldn't Miss This Week

By the editors of ClevelandClassical

To close the 65th season of the Cleveland Chamber Music Society, British tenor Ian Bostridge will join pianist Wenwen Duh to sing music on the subject of war, taking as a point of departure the 100th anniversary of the beginning of The Great War (the “war to end all wars” that didn’t). He’s chosen some wonderful songs by Rudi Stephan and George Butterworth, two artists-turned-soldier who perished in the early years of World War I, as well as older songs by Gustav Mahler and newer ones by Kurt Weill and Benjamin Britten that bring the conversation into other generations, including the American Civil War (Weill’s Four Whitman Songs) and the 20th century (Benjamin Britten’s Who are these children? on words by the Scottish poet William Soutar. The performance is at Plymouth Church on Tuesday, April 21 at 7:30 pm. Tickets here or at the door. CCMS invites American veterans and those on active military service to apply for free tickets. Call 216.291.2777 and leave a message. ClevelandClassical editor Daniel Hathaway will talk about the music at 6:30 pm.

Les Délices, Cleveland’s French baroque music specialists, will present “The Angel and the Devil,” three concerts that characterize the most famous pair of viola da gamba players of the eighteenth century, Marin Marais (remember the movie, Tous les matins du monde?) and Antoine Forqueray. They were referred to respectively as The Angel and The Devil and they’ll be covered this weekend by two modern gambists, Josh Lee and Emily Walhout. Oboists and recorder players Debra Nagy and Kathryn Montoya, baroque violinists Scott Metcalfe and Ingrid Matthews join harpsichordist Michael Sponseller and the dueling gambists in music by Jean-Féry Rebel, François Couperin and Marc-Antoine Charpentier. It sounds quaint, but Les Délices routinely dazzles audiences with its verve and virtuosity. Three opportunities: Thursday, April 23 at 7:00 pm at the Hudson Library and Historical Society, Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 pm in William Busta Gallery on Prospect Ave. in downtown Cleveland, and Sunday, April 26 at 4:00 pm in Herr Chapel at Plymouth Church in Shaker Heights. Actually, there’s a fourth performance designed for kids on Saturday, April 25 at 3:00 pm at Plymouth Church. Hudson and the 3:00 show on Saturday are free. Tickets are available here for the Saturday night and Sunday afternoon performances.

The Cleveland Orchestra welcomes two guest artists this week: Finnish conductor Susanna Mälkki and pianist Jeremy Denk, an Oberlin grad and McArthur “genius grant” recipient. Mälkki will lead the orchestra in Jan Sibelius’s “The Oceanides,” based on the Greek mythology about the feminine spirits who live in the waters (they’re called “Aallottaret” or “Spirits of the Waves” in Finnish) and in Igor Stravinsky’s ballet music for “Pétrouchka.” Denk will take the demanding solo role in Béla Bartók’s “Piano Concerto No. 3.” That will happen three times and in two different venues this weekend: Thursday, April 23 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, April 25 at 8:00 pm at home in Severance Hall, and on Friday, April 24 at 8:00 pm in Finney Chapel at Oberlin College as part of Oberlin’s Artist Recital Series. Buy tickets for the Severance Hall concert here, and for the Oberlin runout here.

Bloody Mary and the Seabees will invade E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron on Saturday, April 25 at 7:00 pm as the Akron Symphony presents a fully-staged production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s 1949 musical, South Pacific, directed by Craig Joseph. Music director Christopher Wilkins will take you back to the days when Broadway filled its orchestra pits with symphonic-sized ensembles and singers didn’t have to scream. Katherine Deboer stars as Ensign Nellie Forbush, BW faculty baritone Benjamin Czarnota sings the role of Emile de Becque, and Tina D. Stump portrays Bloody Mary (“whose skin is tender as DiMaggio’s glove.”) Tickets available here.

Violinist Michael Ferri returns for his second solo gig with the Robert L. Cronquist and the Cleveland Women’s Orchestra as that ensemble plays its 80th Anniversary Concert at Severance Hall on Sunday, April 26 at 3:30 pm. Ferri will take on Pytor Tchaikovsky’s famously difficult — and only — violin concerto, a project he’s taken a semester off from his studies at Rice University to focus on. The orchestra will begin the afternoon with Carl Maria von Weber’s “Overture to Oberon” and finish up with Modest Mussorgsky’s “Pictures at an Exhibition.” Audiences are used to hearing Maurice Ravel’s orchestration of Mussorgsky’s piano suite — but this time the honors have been done by one Mikhail Tushmalov, the first person to repurpose it for orchestra. Both the colors and the selections will be different. Tickets at the Severance Hall box office or online.

The Canton Symphony completes its Beethoven Festival on Saturday and Sunday, April 25 and 26 at 7:30 pm in Umstattd Hall with André Watts as soloist in the 4th and 5th piano concertos on Saturday and in the “Choral Fantasy” on Sunday. Gerhardt Zimmermann fills the programs out with “Musik zu einem Ritterballet” (“Music for a Knight’s Ballet”) on Saturday and, as the Beatles called it, “famous Beethoven’s famous Ninth Symphony” on Sunday. The “Ritterballet” celebrated the customary activities of medieval knights — war, singing, hunting, love and drinking — while the “Choral Fantasy” served as an early study for the last movement of the “Ninth.” Six vocal soloists are in the lineup: Rachel Hall, soprano, Maribeth Crawford, soprano, Kathryn Findlen, mezzo-soprano, Timothy Culver, tenor, Britt Cooper, baritone & Nathan Stark, bass. Tickets here.
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