Friday, August 28, 2015

George Cleve conducts

I wrote yesterday an obituary for George Cleve, and today I thought I would show you a video of him conducting. I picked this one because, despite the shaky sound quality, the video is focused throughout on Cleve's conducting, and because the music - a fine, energetic performance with the Russian National Philharmonic - is Schumann's Fourth Symphony, one of the works Cleve had been scheduled to conduct with Symphony Silicon Valley a little over a month from now, and which now we will not hear him do. (Or his substitute, who has changed the selection to the Second.)

Also for the wincesome moment at the beginning where, just as Cleve is about to begin, a cell phone goes off in the audience, and he gives a little reproving glance behind him. I've seen that happen more than once.

If you don't know Schumann's Fourth, I'll just say that it's my favorite of his symphonies, an alternately dark and coy work in D minor, in four movements with a slow introduction, but the most exciting and interesting part to listen for comes between 21:07 and 22:55 on this video, the link passage between the scherzo and the finale, a trick Schumann borrowed without apology from Beethoven's Fifth, which does the same thing for the same reason: to tie the movements more firmly together and keep the audience, which was prone to this in those days, from applauding between them.

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