Regarded as one of the top orchestras in the U.S., if not the entire world, the Cleveland Orchestra, led by music director Franz Welser- Möst, performed Sunday at The Palladium in Carmel.
Appearing with renowned pianist Emanuel Ax, this famed orchestra’s single engagement served as reinforcement that Central Indiana’s newest performing arts venue is truly world-class.
Playing to a sold-out audience, the orchestra performed a diverse program that included, “A Guide to Strange Places,” by John Adams, Haydn’s “Piano Concerto in D Major,” “Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra” by Igor Stravinsky and Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 8 in F Major.”
Crowding the Palladium stage with more than 100 musicians, the orchestra projected both formidability and extraordinary energy as it launched into Adam’s dark contemporary piece. While on vacation in southern France with his family, Adams came across a guide book about the mysterious, macabre and occult attractions that could be found in Provence. His imagination sparked, he composed “A Guide to Strange Places,” filled with sounds that are strange, odd and simply weird.
As interpreted and performed by Welser-Möst and his orchestra, this piece chillingly captured what Adams once described as a “descent into an imagined, unexpected underworld.” Using every instrument at its disposal, particularly those in the percussion section, the orchestra was stunning in its execution.
Exhibiting the poetic temperament and affability for which he is known, Ax regaled and captivated a tranfixed audience during his virtuoso solo performances of both “Piano Concerto in D Major,” which he infused with soft elegance and “Capriccio for Piano and Orchestra,” which he interpreted with playful lightheartedness.
Any doubt whatsoever about the about the rare artistic quality of the orchestra up to that point was surely dispelled by the time they closed the program with Beethoven’s grand and joyous “Symphony No. 8 in F Major.” Displaying extraordinary vitality, the Cleveland Orchestra more than lived up to its reputation as a premier musical organization.
Judging from audience response, those fortunate enough to be present at the concert were awarded the kind of musical experience that is to be savored for a long time. The Palladium won increased legitimacy as an important new force for the advancement of the performing arts in Central Indiana.
For tickets and information regarding upcoming events at The Palladium and the other venues at Carmel’s Center for the Performing Arts, call the box office at (317) 843-3800 or visit www.thecenterfortheperformingarts.org.