Beautiful summer weekends mean a trip to Blossom Music Center to hear the world-famous Cleveland Orchestra perform in the open air. If you buy a book of 10 tickets for the lawn, it comes out to about $15 a person–for the frickin’ Cleveland Orchestra! And you can bring a picnic, or wine, and hang out on your blanket, or set up lawn chairs. It’s very laid-back and friendly, lots of families, etc.
Sunday evening I saw a great concert, beginning with two pieces by John Williams, one of the greatest living film composers, and my all-time favorite.
“Liberty Fanfare” reminded me strongly of other Williams fanfares, specifically the Olympic Fanfare and Theme, written around the same time, and Summon the Heroes from the ’96 Olympics. He has a talent for bringing out the best of each section, and playing them off against each other beautifully.
Next came three selections from Lincoln, some of his most recent work. Some of it was dramatic and thoughtful, with interesting pairings of 2 solo instruments, maybe hinting at the movie’s themes about cooperation. And some of it was lighter with a folk feel, calling for some fiddle. I love how Williams brings in cultural touches to his scores, for example the wonderful Southern quality of The Reivers or Rosewood, which includes the beautiful spiritual “Look Down, Lord.”
Lastly, we heard excepts from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, with lovely performances by Laquita Mitchell, Rodrick Dixon, and Eric Greene. It was my first time hearing these songs performed, and the singers really brought them to life, even without the trappings of an opera.
It was a great program of very accessible music. I am looking forward to going back later in the summer to hear Holst’s The Planets and see the Joffrey Ballet.