Parent Category: Film and the Arts
Published on Monday, 14 October 2019 14:23
Written by Jack Angstreich
Franz Welser-Möst with the Cleveland Orchestra Photo ©2019 Chris Lee.
A new season of orchestral music at Carnegie Hall began auspiciously on the evening of Friday, October 4th, with the appearance of the extraordinary musicians of the Cleveland Orchestra, under the superb direction of Franz Welser-Möst, one of the finest contemporary conductors. The ensemble had performed at the gala concert on the previous night, featuring the celebrated virtuosi: violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, cellist Lynn Harrell, and pianist Yefim Bronfman.
The first half of the program was devoted to the Carnegie Hall premiere of a recent piano concerto, Trauermarsch, by the prominent contemporary Jörg Widmann—who has had a long association with the Cleveland Orchestra—with Bronfman as soloist, for whom the work was written. The piece was originally conceived as a conventional concerto with a funeral march as the opening movement but in writing that section, the composer eventually developed it to comprise the entire work. Even so, the concerto has a surprisingly variegated texture and is characterized by impressive orchestrations, although I am not competent to judge the ultimate merits of a work in this idiom.
The remainder of the evening consisted of a compelling account of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 5, which opened arrestingly with the majestic funeral march movement. More turbulent and more grandiloquent, if also more eccentric, was the adventurous second movement, while the ensuing Scherzo was even more wild. The incomparable Adagietto was as haunting as ever and Welser-Möst led the musicians to an exhilarating climax in the finale.
The artists received an exceedingly enthusiastic ovation with the conductor returning to the stage multiple times. I look forward to their return to this venue.