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Rebel to rebel

Beethoven, Berg and others in Cleveland and New York,
reviewed by KELLY FERJUTZ


If the Cleveland Orchestra were in the habit of naming its programs, the first program in the Beethoven Piano Concerto Festival might well have been 'From Beethoven to Berg: rebel to rebel'.

Indeed, the now-revered and much-loved Beethoven was considered somewhat of a rebel in his younger days, and the Fourth Concerto exhibited that tendency for all to hear, by beginning with the soloist and piano all by themselves. No orchestral tutti preparing the way! Outrageous! Well, no more so, perhaps than Alban Berg, a century later and his adherence to the twelve-tone modality. In between these two was Schubert's Unfinished Symphony in B minor. Actually, in this presentation, the Three Pieces for Orchestra Op 6 of Berg was played as a continuation of the Schubert -- no applause allowed or expected, in between.

The Cleveland Orchestra has a long history of performing in New York's Carnegie Hall. Not only does it allow New Yorkers (and others) to hear our magnificent orchestra on the listener's home turf, so to speak, but Clevelanders get to hear the programs first! During the first week of February, the tradition continues as the Orchestra with Music Director Franz Welser-Möst will play four concerts in the Big Apple.

Harrison Birtwistle
Harrison Birtwistle

A wide variety of music will be presented in these concerts, but two very special events will demand the listener's full attention. The bigger of these special events is a Beethoven Piano Concerto Festival with all five concerti being presented over the four evenings, all featuring the splendid Romanian pianist Radu Lupu. The other happening is the New York première of a work by Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Night's Black Bird. Resulting from a joint commission by Carnegie Hall, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Roche Foundation, in conjunction with the Lucerne Festival, this piece was originally premièred last summer in Lucerne, then performed as part of an appearance at the Edinburgh Festival.

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Copyright © 1 February 2005 Kelly Ferjutz, Cleveland USA


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