“Heaven, ascended toward by Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra as an exclamation point on its 100th anniversary celebrations, is simple enough to name: a performance of Olivier Messiaen’s ‘Turangalîla-Symphonie’ on Wednesday evening, followed on Thursday by Wagner’s ‘Tristan und Isolde,’ ” writes Zachary Woolfe in Saturday’s (4/28) New York Times. “But what might seem straightforward was actually extraordinary… ‘Tristan’ is a nearly four-hour score of immense complexity…. Yet in the midst of a run of concert performances of the opera, this ensemble plopped a single go at ‘Turangalîla,’ all 80 steroidally scored minutes of it…. To program it alongside Wagner’s opera, though, as part of a festival dubbed The Ecstasy of Tristan and Isolde, is not luxurious as much as slightly insane. The reason this plan made it past a spitballing session and into viable—indeed, beautiful—life? This is the Cleveland Orchestra…. Mr. Welser-Möst brought the same conception to both [works]: lightness, transparency, poise, an emphasis on textural variety, the quality of aeration that is his trademark…. Cleveland proved its mettle, yet again, by going above and beyond.”

Posted April 30, 2018

Pictured: The Cleveland Orchestra performs Messiaen’s “Turangalîla-Symphonie” with soloists Jean-Yves Thibaudet (piano) and Cynthia Millar (ondes martenot), led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. Photo by Roger Mastroianni