“Any number of composers could have penned a piece for the Cleveland Orchestra centennial,” writes Zachary Lewis in Thursday’s (9/20) Plain Dealer (Cleveland). “Only one, though, could have written ‘Pantheon,’ the work due for its premiere today … on the group’s Severance Hall season opener: Jeffrey Rathbun. An accomplished composer as well as the orchestra’s assistant principal oboist, [he] crafted … an insider’s tribute to his orchestra colleagues…. While writing the music, a collection of solos for several principals, he came across the word ‘pantheon’ … and was intrigued by one of its definitions: an assembly of distinguished people. ‘I thought, “That fits the orchestra perfectly,” ‘ Rathbun recalled…. The season-opening concert also includes Tchaikovsky’s complete ‘Swan Lake’ and a second contemporary work: ‘Left, Alone,’ a piano concerto for the left hand by Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen…. Both [Abrahamsen and Rathbun] have been featured previously by the orchestra. Abrahamsen is the force behind ‘Let Me Tell You,’ a highlight of the 2016 season, while Rathbun saw performances of his ‘Motions for Cello’ in 2000 and ‘Daredevil’ in 1995…. Landing another commission from his own orchestra … ‘is exciting and intimidating,’ [Rathbun] said. ‘I’m really going try and just enjoy the week.’ ”

Posted September 21, 2018

Jeffrey Rathbun photo by Roger Mastroianni