In Wednesday’s (5/27) Plain Dealer, Zachary Lewis writes, “Oliver Knussen’s ‘Cleveland Pictures’ wasn’t on the program, but an air of anticipation still pervaded Severance Hall on Saturday as the Cleveland Orchestra courageously devoted an entire night to contemporary music. Knussen, the British composer whose long-awaited musical tribute to the Cleveland Museum of Art was [originally scheduled] to be premiered Saturday, followed through on only the second half of the plan, appearing as conductor for two premieres and performances of three other works. … One unmistakable bright spot was ‘Outblaze the Sky,’ a short work for large ensemble by Luke Bedford. … Along with Knussen, the biggest name on the program was Augusta Read Thomas. Representing her considerable oeuvre was ‘Helios Choros III,’ the finale of a triptych ballet about the Greek god who rides his chariot across the sky. In just 12 restlessly inventive minutes, Thomas and the orchestra took listeners on a fantastically evocative journey through a rugged rite to a serene sendoff into the heavens.” Also on the program were Julian Anderson’s Imagin’d Corners, Sean Shepherd’s Wanderlust, and, replacing Cleveland Pictures, Knussen’s Requiem—Songs for Sue.

Posted May 27, 2009