CoolCleveland.com: December 19, 2007

Three works are featured on this new CD produced by the very ambitious CityMusic Cleveland and its music director & conductor, James Gaffigan. Danses concertantes was the first work composed by the Russian Igor Stravinsky after he came to the US just before the outbreak of WWII. He specialized in danceable music, and indeed it’s difficult to sit still while listening to this engaging piece. The liner notes for the CD state that it was recorded in concert, brilliantly demonstrating the bright, lively sound achieved by the ensemble—and the rapt attention paid by the audience.

Concertmaster Michi Wiancko is, at heart, an international soul, thus inspiring composer Margaret Brouwer (head of the composition department at CIM) to produce a concerto particularly suited to the violinist. The three movements: Narrative, Ballad and Gypsy each take inspiration from a different musical partiality of the soloist. Having been a violinist herself, Dr. Brouwer knows how to make the instrument sing.

And then, there is Mozart. One of his last three great symphonies, the No. 39 in the bright and happy key of E-flat Major (K.543) receives a lustrous performance that will guarantee hours of pleasurable listening. As many times as I’ve heard this symphony in performance, I’ve never heard the clarinets so enchanting as on track 11, the menuetto. The finale really clips along at a smart pace.

This is the next best thing to actually being at one of CityMusic Cleveland’s exhilarating concerts. You can sample as well as purchase a copy for yourself or a gift at the website. (There are also others of the group’s CDs available.) Go to http://www.citymusiccleveland.org.

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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.
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