Monday, March 31, 2008

Midori, Mahler, Mozart among best bets


March 16, 2008

The Cincinnati Enquirer
By Janelle Gelfand

A calendar of stars and interesting program choices in the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra's 2008-09 season should supply rewarding evenings in Music Hall. But choosing from 24 concerts can be daunting. Here are my picks.
Rach 2 (Sept. 12-13) - André Watts is a living legend who has enjoyed a celebrated career for more than four decades. Add Rachmaninoff's romantic Piano Concerto No. 2, and you have a recipe for an electric combination. Paavo Järvi conducts the season opener of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninoff.
"A German Requiem" (Nov. 7-8) - The May Festival Chorus, prepared by Robert Porco, excels in Brahms' beautiful requiem, which has the serene movement "How Lovely Are Thy Dwelling Places." Two fine soloists, Camilla Tilling and Matthias Goerne, join the chorus.
"The Planets" (Nov. 20-22) - Gustav Holst's "The Planets" is an out-of-this-world masterpiece describing seven planets. Julia Fischer, playing Dvorak's Violin Concerto in A Minor, was Gramophone magazine's 2007 artist of the year.
The Mahler universe (Jan. 16-18) - The last time Järvi led Mahler's Symphony No. 1, "Titan," in 2002, the eight horns stood for the stunning finale. There's also a warhorse (Tchaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 2, with Denis Matsuev, piano) and a U.S. premiere by Erkki-Sven Tuur.
Beethoven (Jan. 23-24) - The Romanian virtuoso Radu Lupu, a foremost interpreter of Beethoven, performs the composer's Piano Concerto No. 4.
Sir Roger leads Mozart (Jan. 30-31) - Sir Roger Norrington, known for historically authentic performances, leads two Mozart symphonies and "Masonic Funeral Music." CSO principal horn Elizabeth Freimuth performs the Horn Concerto No. 4.
Yefim Bronfman (March 5-7) - Bronfman is simply one of the best pianists on the planet, and he's playing Brahms' magnificent Piano Concerto No. 2.
A violinist for all seasons (April 2, 4) - Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg is known for pushing classical boundaries. Here, she delivers music in the tango mode by Astor Piazzola, "Four Seasons of Buenos Aires." Frenchman Yan Pascal Tortelier conducts Ravel's "Rapsodie espagnole" and Prokofiev's Suite from "Romeo and Juliet."
Brahms and Berlioz (April 17-18) - Violinist Christian Tetzlaff, Musical America's 2005 instrumentalist of the year, performs Brahms' Violin Concerto in D Major, and Järvi leads Berlioz's orchestral music from "Romeo et Juliette."
Midori (April 24-26) - One word says it all. The sensational violinist performs Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto in E Minor, and Järvi leads Saint-Saens' "Organ" Symphony.

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