Tag Archives: Cleveland Orchestra Miami

Sketch of Spain

Miloš Karadaglić is not the first classical music rock star, but he’s the rock star of the moment. Milos — he goes by that name alone — is young, handsome and a guitar hero. Not loud, though; on the contrary, he claims his interpretation of Joaquín Rodrigo‘s Concierto de Aranjuez, which he will play with the Cleveland Orchestra on its Miami season premiere November 14 and 15, emphasizes a softness he learned from Miles Davis‘ dictum that “the softer you play it, the stronger it gets.” Rodrigo’s piece is a recording and concert warhorse, and its second movement has been interpreted over and over … Continue reading

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A New Season

Much to be said about each concert, but let me post my 2-cents worth of preview. We expect a concert of chestnuts to open The Cleveland Orchestra’s Miami Residency and this season is no exception. However, if there’s one chestnut I never get tired or hearing it’s Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez, no matter that it’s been performed and reinterpreted ad nauseam. No nausea for me, just the vertigo of overwhelming Spanish romanticism, to which conductor Giancarlo Guerrero would seem perfectly suited. The Beethoven/Shostakovitch pairing that follows in the next two concerts is bracing: how politics and ideology intersect with classical composition. It’s … Continue reading

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Over and Out (to Jupiter and Beyond)

The Cleveland Orchestra season closed with bravura. One doesn’t think of Mozart as mellow, but, in truth, the Overture from The Abduction from the Seraglio that opened the concert was but an amuse-gueule, given what followed.     Jennifer Higdon‘s Percussion Concerto, written for Colin Currie, who performed it, is nothing but dazzling. After his performance, I asked Currie if he was into Afro-Cuban percussion, and he said there was some of it in the piece, though, of course, it was a very deep subject. It had occurred to me that the Cuban-Americans in the audience might have been stirred by … Continue reading

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The Best and Future Audience: 4th Graders Visit The Planets

Forget Peter and the Wolf. I can’t think of a better work for introducing young people to the symphony orchestra than Gustav Holst‘s The Planets, particularly when enhanced with a projection of NASA imagery. 4th graders from 33 Miami-Dade public schools were treated to a concert of most of that piece, performed by The Cleveland Orchestra Thursday at Knight Hall, under the baton of Giancarlo Guerrero. The conductor burst onto the stage in his usual energetic manner and led the orchestra on a brief passage, after which the auditorium full of young students applauded and cheered. He then began to … Continue reading

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Percussion Up Front

As a kid, I always got a big thrill from the percussion section of a symphony orchestra. Maybe it was the memory of the beating of my mother’s heart or simply a child’s love of hitting things and making a big noise. Perhaps it was having watched the second version of Hitchcock’s The Man Who Knew Too Much which leads up to that tense moment when the cymbals will mask the firing of an assassin’s gun. Or that I grew up in a culture of percussion: claves, maracas, cowbell, gourds, drums, drums, drums. It still thrills me. Those musicians up … Continue reading

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The Music of the Spheres

A long, but not too long, time ago in our own solar system . . . a composer set out to capture that very solar system in music. Gustav Holst‘s The Planets — along with much of Wagner, quite a bit of Stravinsky and a good share of Schoenberg– is the fountainhead of sci-fi music. And Holst’s inspiration having been more astrological than astronomical is fitting for this birth; after all, what is astrology but the original science fiction? Holst first wrote most of it for two pianos, but it’s the full orchestral treatment that best projects the big cosmic … Continue reading

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Talking Toward Ensemble

Music performance is always a conversation. Between musician(s) and public, to be sure. But also among musicians. The conversation can be scripted, like a play, with room for interpretation, also like a play, and that is the case of classical music. It can be lightly scripted with lots of room for improvisation, and that’s jazz. It can be rowdy, and that’s rock’n’roll. It can be pious, in church, or profane, anywhere where liquor is served and sensuality is in the air. And it can also be just that, conversation, actual talk, which is what happens in a rehearsal. Frost School … Continue reading

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Parade’s End; Young Composers Get Read

Does a reading of student compositions tell us anything about where classical music is or has been heading? As I listened to an octet of Cleveland Orchestra musicians perform the works of the very skilled composition students at the University of Miami Frost School of Music some thoughts came to mind. This exercise could not be more valuable, for the students not only heard their pieces played by professional musicians but by virtuosi of the highest order. And the students were becoming savvy to the specifics of writing for an orchestra — which the octet, conducted by Brett Mitchell, represented. … Continue reading

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Applause versus Silence: A Very Public Dilemma

To clap or not to clap, that is the question:/Whether ‘tis Nobler in Knight Hall to suffer/The itch and restlessness of a frozen audience,/Or beat your arms in applause at the end/Of every godforsaken movement. A thoughtful post (in Spanish) by Sebastian Spreng posed the question of applause protocol. Instead of the traditional silence, there is now some clapping between movements, a noisy behavior adopted and sanctioned by some in the classical music community. Spreng recalls a marvelous concert from his Buenos Aires youth. A nadie se le ocurría romper el hechizo, he writes. No one could imagine breaking the … Continue reading

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A Singular Miami Concert

Audiences at this weekend’s Cleveland Orchestra concerts may want to know that hearing British baritone Simon Keenlyside sing with the orchestra is a singular experience (and not because the “barihunk” sang with an open collar). “His schedule would only allow these concerts in Miami”, said the orchestra’s Executive Director Gary Hanson during intermission. “He has not sung with the orchestra in Cleveland since 2011.” Regardless of one thinks of the performance, a question we will leave to the reviewers, the second concert of the season is singular in another way. One of the veteran concertgoers expressed his disappointment with the first … Continue reading

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