<< -- 3 -- Kelly Ferjutz RAVISHING FIREBIRD!
The orchestra applauded as briskly as did the audience, bringing Mr Boulez out for a solo bow, before they granted his wish that they stand to share the accolades.
The complete ballet music for The Firebird by Stravinsky comprised the second half of the program. Played without any pause between the musical sections, there was great delineation of
musical styles, making it easy to follow the story line. Mr Boulez devoted great attention to dynamics and line, while keeping the pace steady. Nearly every section principal had at least one solo, some longer than others, with several exceptional performances. Concertmaster Ellen dePasquale and cellist Desmond Hoebig were actually showcased on all three works, playing with exceptional beauty in each instance. Principal horn Richard King made the Prince a young man of passion and sensitivity in each of his appearances. Bassoonist John Clouser made the Lullaby a thing of beauty, accompanied by the three harps and muted strings. At one point there were even two contra-bassoons, a sight and sound not often encountered on an orchestral program. The brass, collectively, were marvelous as Kashchei, the monster.
The Firebird is comprised of nineteen musical vignettes; all but one form the first tableau. The very last one, however, is so different from those that precede it as to be mind-boggling. This is the one that allows the full orchestra to demonstrate its strength and beauty. Mr Boulez kept a firm hand on the tricky rhythms (3/2 and 7/4) while unleashing the virtuosity of the orchestra.
Even before Mr Boulez had traversed the circle of first stand string players surrounding the podium, shaking hands as he went, the audience was on its feet, applauding vigorously with occasional shouts of 'Bravo!' It took some doing, but he finally convinced the entire orchestra to stand with him, and bask in the cheerful, happy accolades.
He'll be back again next week for an all-Stravinsky program, including The Nightingale. Oh, joy! For information visit www.clevelandorchestra.com