At CCM in Cincinnati, students (and faculty) show the way to the future


United StatesUnited States Brahms, Dvořák: Giora Schmidt (violin), University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Philharmonia Orchestra / Mark Gibson (conductor), Corbett Auditorium, Cincinnati, OH. 20.9.2019. (RDA)

Giora Schmidt (c) Dave Getzschman

DvořákSlavonic Dance in C Major, Op.46, No.1; Violin Concerto

Brahms – Symphony No.2 in D Major, Op.73

It is quite remarkable that on the same September day, two orchestras would open their seasons in a mid-sized, midwestern city. One is a professional ensemble and conductor, each with a world-wide reputation (the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra with Louis Langrée). The other is a terrific student group, the Philharmonia Orchestra at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), led by the superb conductor, Mark Gibson.

Once again, I sing the praises of the young musicians being trained at CCM, but a few facts must come before anything else. More than anything else, Dvořák’s Slavonic Dance in C Major, Op.46, No.1 requires an easy, dance-like way with its wonderfully irregular furiant rhythm. The unfailingly masterful Gibson and the musicians delivered that in abundance, plus Bohemian exuberance and joy.

The composer’s Violin Concerto is arguably one of the most difficult in the canon, but without doubt one of the most beautiful. Infused with an outpouring of melody that never ceases throughout its three movements, the concerto was given a soulful, impassioned reading by the Israeli-American violinist Giora Schmidt, now on the CCM faculty. And Gibson, who listens closely to any soloist, supported Schmidt throughout the work’s forty minutes of quintessentially Czech Romanticism.

On the second half came Brahms’s Second Symphony, a bucolic and wistful 1877 mid-career work. The composer was unusually cheery when he wrote it while on holiday, while misleading his publisher before sending the manuscript: ‘My work is so melancholy that you will not be able to stand it. I have never written anything so sad…this score must be dressed in mourning’.

In a superb reading, the CCM players alternated delicacy with bold assertiveness. This kind of triumph by brilliant young musicians is a frequent occurrence at CCM in music-wealthy Cincinnati, and we count our blessings.

Rafael de Acha


Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Season Previews

  • UPDATE! 2020 BBC Proms – 17 July to 12 September __________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival’s 2020 online series of concerts and talks __________________________________
  • NEW! Glyndebourne 2020 cancelled and looking to the future __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Philadelphia announces Digital Festival O __________________________________
  • NEW! The Singapore Symphony in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Berlin’s Staatsoper Unter den Linden 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at Dresden’s Semperoper __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! London’s Southbank Centre in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020-2021 at London’s Barbican __________________________________
  • NEW! Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2020-2021 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Free Review Summary Newsletter

    Search S&H

    News and Featured Articles

  • NEW! Educating Rita, says who? __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2020 Salzburg Festival – 1 to 30 August __________________________________
  • NEW! Did we really need Vera Lynn during the war – and when will we all meet again? __________________________________
  • NEW! 2020 Three Choirs Festival – postponed __________________________________
  • UPDATED ONLINE NEWS! IMPACT OF CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC __________________________________
  • NEW! Need to escape reality? Enter into the magical world of composer David Hertzberg __________________________________
  • NEW! BTHVN2020 – Beethoven anniversary goes into overtime __________________________________
  • SOME GOOD NEWS! Extraordinary generosity of the Longborough Festival Opera audience __________________________________
  • Remembering Margaret Rutherford: murder on and off screen __________________________________
  • Remembering George London’s life and legacy on the 100th anniversary of his birth __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH SARDINIAN TENOR PIERO PRETTI __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month