Review: "Cleveland Orchestra marks museum centennial with festive but heavy public concert"

The Plain Dealer (Cleveland) has published a review of Brett Mitchell's performance yesterday with The Cleveland Orchestra at the Cleveland Museum of Art, celebrating the latter's centennial:

Brett Mitchell leads The Cleveland Orchestra at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday, June 26. (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

Brett Mitchell leads The Cleveland Orchestra at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Sunday, June 26. (Photo by Roger Mastroianni)

As host and chief interpreter, associate conductor Brett Mitchell proved an animated, engaging presence, offering helpful commentary and leading the orchestra in capable (albeit also muted) readings.

Far and away the most effective performance of the afternoon was the finale, the original version of Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain," chosen for its depiction of a Solstice feast. As the winds picked up, the orchestra dug deeply into the piece and brought off a raucous, dynamic scene.

Respighi's "Botticelli Triptych" also fared relatively well, despite competition from a nearby church carillon. The "Birth of Venus" movement came off exactly as intended, as a steady rising and swirling, and the "Adoration of the Magi" was easy to adore with haunting work by principal bassoon John Clouser.

Bartok's five "Hungarian Sketches," some of which the composer played on a 1928 visit to Cleveland, made for short, effervescent treats Sunday, and the "Angelic Concert" from Hindemith's opera "Mathis Der Maler" (Hindemith also visited Cleveland, in 1939) got the program off to a subdued but ultimately boisterous and brassy start.

To read the complete review, please click here.