Monday, February 18, 2013

The Cleveland Orchestra, Herbert Blomstedt conductor, Nielsen Symphony 3, Beethoven Symphony 7, February 16, 2013

Saturday night in Cleveland rocked! The theme of the evening was rhythm, and it was clearly and precisely enunciated. Herbert Blomstedt was all smiles as he lead Cleveland in these two classic pieces, written 100 years apart, and yet brimming with similar rhythmic excitement. And for an orchestra and conductor to pair such dynamic pieces together was sheer brilliance.

I wasn't familiar with Nielsen's work, but that is about to change. The hard-charging Symphony #3 "Sinfonia Espansiva" was expansive indeed, on several levels, and Blomstedt's joy in pushing the work forward at all times was very much contagious.

Beethoven's 7th is another fast-paced cooker, and again Blomstedt never let up. The slow passages were brief and added needed relief from the powerful force of the piece.

The crowd went wild. The 85-year-old Swede led the orchestra with verve and drive, and the normally refined orchestra responded with a performance of, at least for them, near abandon. It was a special night at Severance Hall indeed.

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