Saturday’s concert with the Cleveland Orchestra and Jun Märkl at Severance hall consisted of Mussorgsky’s Prelude to Khovanschina, Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, Debussy’s Printemps and Rondes de Printemps, and rounding off the program, Liszt’s Les Preludes.

Jun Märkl, the conductor for Saturday’s concert, was very energetic and clearly enthusiastic about the music (at one point when walking out onstage, he did a running leap up to the podium). His conducting style is ever so slightly angular, and the dynamics he directed came across very suddenly. While he perhaps missed some of the smoother and emotional details of Mussorgsky’s Prelude, he was nonetheless a very interesting conductor to watch, and excellent at conveying ‘happy’.

He was able to clearly express the joy in Les Preludes and the two Debussy pieces, and it was easy to get caught up in the elation of the music—I an expressive listener, started grinning (practically non-stop) during the latter three pieces.

Leonidas Kavakos joined the Cleveland Orchestra for a much-anticipated performance of Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in D Minor. Kavakos was, in a word, amazing. His bow control is mind-blowing, and his piercing, brilliantly clear tone radiated through Severance Hall. His intonation was near-perfect, and clever uses of the lack of vibrato left the listener completely captivated throughout the entire performance. The last movement, known jokingly as the “polonaise for polar bears” for its war-like yet dancing character, was easily the best interpretation and execution I have heard. His encore, the Andante from Bach’s Violin Sonata no. 2, displayed his total control over his bow and outstanding intonation—he even had the nerve to deviate from the printed Bach, and play the entire movement ricochet. While I still prefer the original Bach, his technique was totally flawless, and he was able to pull everything off with a surprising amount of flair.

The Cleveland Orchestra itself was spectacular—no surprises there. It amazes me the clarity and fullness with which the Orchestra plays. Lynne Ramsey, who sat principal viola during this concert, stood out to me with a number of riveting and especially warm viola solos. It’s so easy to get swept up in the music. If possible, close your eyes during one of their concerts. The transcendent beauty and emotional quality of the music erases all of the background noise (the person with the sniffles, the rustling of program books) and mundane sensations that come with sitting for an extended period of time. After a while, one feels like one is floating on a cloud, swept up into the driving, emotional current the Orchestra creates. It’s simply a surreal experience.

All in all, this was a magnificent concert. After arriving at home the only thing I could think of to say was “I love music.” Obviously I eventually was able to articulate myself at least somewhat clearer, but that’s still the underlying theme behind the review—I love music, and this concert provided a delectable feast to feed that addiction.

Kaelyn Quinn, aged 16

Kaelyn attended a concert at Severance Hall on 12th February where Jun Märkl conducted the Cleveland Orchestra. The programme was Mussorgsky - Khovanshcina: prelude, Sibelius - Violin Concerto, Debussy - Printemps and Rondes de Printemps and Liszt - Les Préludes.