logo

CityMusic: all-Beethoven with violinist Tessa Lark (May 20)

June 18th, 2018

by Daniel Hathaway

CityMusic 052018

 

Surely it was just a coincidence that CityMusic Cleveland’s final series of concerts mostly duplicated works The Cleveland Orchestra had played the week before in the third concert of its all-Beethoven Prometheus Project at Severance Hall. The unique piece on CityMusic’s program was the Violin Concerto, which received a glowing performance by Tessa Lark and the ensemble on Sunday afternoon, May 20 in St. Noel Church in Willoughby.

Music director Avner Dorman opened the program with the gloomy Coriolan Overture, a piece whose dramatic rests are nearly as important as its notes. Dorman kept the tension flowing between the opening chords, assisted by the lively acoustic of the modern building. A lyrical melody only temporarily brings sunlight into the piece, which ends with portentous pizzicatos. Though not the most challenging of Beethoven’s orchestral works, CityMusic embellished the overture with a patina of professionalism.

A program change moved the Eighth Symphony to the center of the concert. A compact, witty piece, the work is laced with subtle Beethovenian humor and self-parody, including a scherzo-like second movement suggested (or maybe not) by Maelzel’s ticky-tocky metronome, a backward-looking minuet with an elaborate trio featuring solo clarinet plus cello and two horns (ending dangerously on a high F for the clarinet), and a wild finale that veers off into unrelated keys and almost refuses to end, inspiring one of the composer’s longest and funniest codas.

Everything in CityMusic’s performance was tidily in place, but Dorman seemed content to lead a straightforward reading that passed up numerous opportunities to bring out the symphony’s special moments. Some details were just miscalculated: a ritardando in the last two bars of the opening movement made a lyrical statement out of the composer’s final, dismissive statement of its theme.

Lark

 

After intermission, violinist Tessa Lark joined the ensemble for her third solo appearance with CityMusic. She was recently featured in the Dvořák concerto, and in John Corigliano’s “The Red Violin” Concerto with the composer in attendance on his 80th birthday — an occasion when the Kentucky native also brought down the house with a bluegrass encore.

Her virtuosity aside, Lark’s playing is so appealing because of its complete honesty and directness. From her first entrance in Beethoven’s only concerto-length piece featuring the violin, she produced a singing tone that penetrated the heart, and throughout the work her musical intelligence stimulated the brain in equal measure.

Lark, Dorman, and the orchestra collaborated in a tightly-controlled performance that still left room for lyricism and spontaneity. The violinist’s cadenzas were eloquent, and she made joyful moments out of each return of the rondo theme in the final movement. No wonder that Tessa Lark has just joined the ranks of distinguished musicians who have won Borletti-Buitoni fellowships (and that on top of an Avery Fisher Career Grant, and medals at the Naumburg and Indianapolis violin competitions). We hope she’ll keep showing up in Cleveland.

Published on ClevelandClassical.com May 30, 2018.

 

Source: http://clevelandclassical.com/citymusic-all-beethoven-with-violinist-tessa-lark-may-20/

Categories: Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

CityMusic Cleveland concerts are made possible by audience contributions.

CityMusic Cleveland

CityMusic Cleveland is a professional chamber orchestra that performs free concerts throughout Northeast Ohio,often accompanied by exhibits of local artwork.

Since exploding onto the scene in 2004, CityMusic Cleveland has won cheering audiences with beautiful music, brilliantly performed in familiar neighborhood settings.
FREE concerts - make CityMusic concerts accessible to everyone!


More About Us

Recent Reviews & Articles

Peak Performance

August 7, 2018

CityMusic Cleveland strives for more as it approaches its 15th season Story and photography by Michael C. Butz On a sweltering and stormy evening in mid-May, the Shrine Church of St. Stanislaus presented a special Saturday night service, of sorts. It was a program that typically takes place only four times a year at the […]



Social Media Resource Document

With generous support from the Cleveland Foundation, CityMusic Cleveland has embarked on a mission to enhance our digital footprint to more fully engage with our local communities, especially younger audiences. Our social media consultant has documented the strategy so far as a resource for other non-profits who may struggle to find the resources to devote to digital media. (link to social media resource page)


Find out more

Stay in touch with the latest concerts information from CityMusic Cleveland!