I usually make it to one of the Blossom concerts in the summer, but this year, due to my upcoming trip to Mexico, I was going to miss most of the season, and I did not plan on attending. However, a friend of mine, who enjoys the Cleveland Orchestra, asked, "Can't we squeeze in a concert before you leave?" I checked the schedule, and the opening concert was the weekend before my departure. So I ordered tickets and invited another friend.
Fortunately, after several days of uncomfortable heat and then torrential rain, yesterday the weather was perfect. It was sunny with pleasant temperatures... an ideal summer evening for the drive down to Blossom and a concert with one of the greatest orchestras in the world.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Blossom Music Center. (Gosh, I'm getting old! I remember when it was constructed!) The Music Director Franz Welser-Most was ill. In his place Jahja Ling conducted the concert. Mr. Ling, who was born in Indonesia, is a favorite with the Cleveland audiences. He was a member of the Cleveland Orchestra conducting staff from 1984 through 2005, and was the director of the Blossom Festival between 2000 and 2005. Since then he has frequently returned to Cleveland as a guest conductor. He has the distinction of having led the Cleveland Orchestra in more concerts than any other conductor.
|(image taken from the web)|
The evening's concert began with Beethoven's Triple Concerto for piano, violin, cello, and orchestra. It was very nice, but it was the second piece, Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition which brought the audience to their feet.
A new feature, installed just days ago for the 50th anniversary, was a pair of giant TV screens on either side of the stage.
I have mixed feelings about the screens. It was great because it gave us close-up views of the musicians, but I also found myself watching the TV instead of the orchestra on stage.
After the concert there was a fireworks display, so I had my Fourth of July dose of pyrotechnics a few days late.
As always, it was a glorious evening with the orchestra. We in Cleveland are so lucky to have this magnificent cultural institution.