by Frank Lewis
Beethoven’s Violin Concerto is a staple that just about every major violinist performs and records. Indeed, as the early 20th-century music critic Lawrence Sommers wrote, the 1806 piece is the “ne plus ultra of fiddling ambition” and it “occupies a place of such transcendent glory in the musical firmament that its eminence is seldom disputed.” (Pause here to rinse that out of your mouth.) You can hear 33-year-old Dane Nikolaj Znaider play it on a violin that’s more than a half-century older than the concerto on Saturday (7/18) with the Cleveland Orchestra. Also on the program is Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5. Franz Welser-Möst conducts. Showtime is 8 p.m.
Cleveland Orchestra concerto performances are typically handled by guest soloists. But orchestra members can ask for the spotlight. Franklin Cohen gets that spotlight a lot. The orchestra’s principal clarinetist has performed concertos seven out of the past eight years. On Sunday (7/19) he plays Brahms Sonata for Clarinet and Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst. Also on the program is Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5. It starts at 7 p.m.
Both performances are at Blossom Music Center (1145 W. Steels Corners Rd., Cuyahoga Falls, 216.231.1111). — Michael Gill