WCLV TO KEEP YOU INFORMED OF THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA TOUR TO EUROPE
The Cleveland Orchestra is off to Europe for residencies in Salzburg and Lucerne as well as concerts in Italy. Beginning August 11, WCLV will present daily reports of the Orchestra's activities on the air weekdays at 10:20 AM and, beginning August 18, at 5:20 PM. Weekend reports will air Saturday and Sunday at 10:00 AM and 3:00 PM. Also, there will be updates, reviews, pictures and videos here on the WCLV website.
Here is a video of the Orchestra's Severance Hall performance of Rusalka and some views of Salzburg.
You can connect directly with The Cleveland Orchestra tour website by clicking here
Here are reports on day-by-day activities of the Orchestra, following which you'll find the performance schedule.
A brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
This evening marks the final concert of The Cleveland Orchestra Residencies in Salzburg and Lucerne and first appearance at the MITO September Festival in Italy. After a triumph in Salzburg, fantastic concerts at the famed KKL hall in Lucerne, and a brief jaunt to Italy over 26 days, the Orchestra is ready to return to Cleveland! They performed an opera, Rusalka, five times, and in nine concerts in 3 countries. Thanks go to all the musicians for such a spectacular journey!
The Turin hall, built in 1973. Franz and
the Orchestra received lengthy applause,
calling Franz to the stage multiple times
Principal Cellist Desmond Hoebig points
to a MITO Festival poster.
Formal guard at Teatro Regio in Turin
Festival banners at the Gallery near
the famous Il Duomo of Milan.
A brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra Residencies
At last night’s concert, there was so much applause after the performance of Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony, that Franz Welser-Möst had to lead the Orchestra directly into the encore, Johann Strauss, Jr.’s Emperor Waltz. Composer George Benjamin joined the Orchestra on stage after the world premiere of his piece, DUET for piano and orchestra featuring Pierre-Laurent Aimard (photos below). Twenty international jourmalists attended the concert from Greece, Switzerland, New York, Austria, London, Japan, Italy, Germany, and France.
After this morning’s rehearsal, Cleveland Orchestra musicians and Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra musicians had an opportunity to interact. Each orchestra opened its rehearsal to the other for observation, so we were able to watch Music Director Gustavo Dudamel and the young musicians prepare for their concert this afternoon.
The program for The Cleveland Orchestra this evening is Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra and Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. Unfortunately, tenor Jonas Kaufmann is still ill, and Johan Botha will once again replace him for this performance.
An update from The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
This evening at 6:30 at the KKL concert hall in Lucerne, Switzlerland, The Cleveland Orchestra, under the direction of Franz Welser-Möst, performs the world premiere of George Benjamin’s Duet with pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard. The composer attended the rehearsal this morning. The concert will be taped for radio broadcast in Europe.
George Benjamin (pictured at left), one of the foremost composers of his generation, received the fourth Roche commission from the Roche company, The Cleveland Orchestra and Carnegie Hall. He was born in London in 1960, started piano lessons at the age of seven and composing when he was nine. From 1974 he studied composition and piano with Peter Gellhorn, went to Paris in 1976 to study composition with Olivier Messiaen and piano with Yvonne Loriod at the Paris Conservatoire and later to King's College Cambridge where he studied under Alexander Goehr. In 1980, at the age of just 20, he attracted a great deal of attention in London by becoming the youngest composer ever to have a work performed at the BBC Proms. Today George Benjamin is the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King's College in London and one of the most celebrated contemporary musicians whose works have been performed worldwide by leading orchestras and conductors.
Lucerne Festival website
There was a brief editorial in today’s Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Orchestra does Cleveland proud across the world
The Plain Dealer, Saturday, August 30, 2008
Music lovers in the land of Mozart aren't shy about expressing their opinion. So opera-goers in Salzburg loudly booed directors of a darkly contoured new version of Antonin Dvorak's "Rusalka." And roared their approval of the sparkling music from the pit -- where the Cleveland Orchestra was.
"Rusalka," in short, was a hit -- and only because of the acclaim accorded the Clevelanders, under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, who have upstaged a none-too-pleased Vienna Philharmonic as the must-see ensemble at the Salzburg Festival.
The Cleveland Orchestra "saves Salzburg's artistic bacon this year," gushed Hugh Canning of the Sunday Times.
Additional English translations of Austrian reviews:
Franz Welser-Möst/Cleveland Orchestra
Susanne Zobl and Heinz Sichrovsky
News, August 28, 2008
Grosses Festpielhaus/Felsenreitschule. – Over three nights, Franz Welser-Möst and his congenial Cleveland Orchestra traversed the geographical and stylistic worlds of the Danube Monarchy, with enough energies left over for a trip to Messiaen’s Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum.
There was much to be learned: Berg’s Three Pieces for Orchestra, long feared as unplayable and abstract, can be understood out of the spirit of fiery Romantic music-making; the Emperor Waltz can be an exciting modern concert piece; and Dvorák’s New World is a sharply drawn double portrait of two cultures, rather than program music for a Bohemian cookbook. In the Strauss and the Dvorák, the string sound was like wrought silver; the rhetorical interjections of the woodwind were phenomenal in the Messiaen as well as in Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin, where immense energies were at work under the cover of perfection. In exemplary fashion, the orchestra took a step back when the grandiose soloists Mitsuko Uchida (piano) and Kim Kashkashian (viola) appeared, both in works by Bartók. And in Mahler’s Lied von der Erde, presented in a dream cast with Johan Botha and Simon Keenlyside, one heard a brass section that may well be the best in the world. The residency of The Cleveland Orchestra will long be remembered as a textbook example of festival-worthy opera and concert performances.
Grandiose, Powerful, Gripping
Oberösterreichischen Nachrichten, Michael Wruss
August 29, 2008
Bruckner’s last, unfinished symphony was dedicated to the good Lord. It was performed Tuesday at an extraordinary private concert in the Brucknerhaus, providing a much-awaited reunion with Franz Welser-Möst.
Between two Salzburg performances of Rusalka, The Cleveland Orchestra travelled to Linz at the invitation of the Raiffeisen Landesbank, as a mutual thank-you gesture most appreciated by the invited audience. The Raiffeisen bank was the young Franz Möst’s first sponsor when he had just begun to conquer Linz, the province, the country and soon all Europe with the Jeunesse Orchestra. By today, more than his name has changed: Franz Welser-Möst is one of the most renowned conductors of our time, although he has never denied his roots.
Bruckner’s last symphony is a gigantic step in the direction of modernity, preparing the way for late Mahler and even the Second Viennese School. The new ways of shaping themes necessarily throw the laws of romantic harmony into question. Furthermore, this late symphony written for the good Lord is not a bigoted work by a religious maniac, but rather a manifesto of faith that moves heaven and earth. And that’s where Franz Welser-Möst comes in.
No sick old man
There were no long-drawn-out, solemn and deliberate tempi to be heard, but rather a fluid, almost revolutionary forward drive; as if these notes had not been written by an old man whose health had been compromised but by a heaven-stormer who wanted to blow everything around him to smithereens. Yet Möst’s tempi were never exaggerated; instead, they always made sure that the music had a basic flow upon which he could superimpose those fine nuances which this exceptional orchestra is capable of offering. Technically, the Cleveland musicians are far above the notes, and this gives them a lot of room for emotional expression.
The austerity of the first movement was grandiose, the scherzo’s alternation between purgatory and the ideal world fascinating. Finally, it was gripping how the heavens opened up in the last movement, concluding in an otherwordly peace. There was much applause.
It was a welcome news, confirmed by Welser-Möst after the concert, that negotiations are underway with LIVA (Linz Performing Arts Organization) for future concerts. We may thus hope to hear the orchestra again, in “public.”
BRIEF UPDATE ABOUT THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA EUROPEAN RESIDENCIES
Cleveland Orchestra Music Director Franz Welser-Möst’s photo, taken after the concert in Linz, appeared in Austria’s Kronen Zeitung today (below).
Last night’s final performance of Rusalka was glorious. It was bittersweet to say goodbye to our friends at the Salzburg Festival after such a wonderful experience there. The final curtain call brought loud cheers for Franz and the Orchestra (see right).
Rave reviews continue to come in about the Orchestra’s performances –
“The magnificent severity of the first sentence, fascinatingly oscillating between hell and the heavenly sound world in the Scherzo and directly moving coming up to the sky in the final sentence, which found its conclusion in celestial peace. Much applause.” – [About Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9 at the Brucknerhaus in Linz], Oberosterreich Nachrichten, Michael Wruss, August 29, 2008
"The Cleveland residency will remain as a prime example for a festival of dignified opera and concert drama." - News (Austria), Heinz Sichrovsky and Susanne Zobl, August 28, 2008
The Cleveland Orchestra has arrived at the Lucerne Festival for a 3-day residency including 3 concerts in 3 days.
Saturday night marks the Roche Commission world premiere of George Benjamin's piece, Duet, written for pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard and The Cleveland Orchestra. Under its Roche Commissions program, Roche regularly commissions work from outstanding composers of contemporary music. The composers are selected by Roche based on recommendations by the artistic directors of the Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall and the Cleveland Orchestra. Each commissioned work is premiered at the Lucerne Summer Festival in a performance by the Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, and has its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall during the following concert season.
About the piece, Mr. Benjamin wrote, "With its vast range and virtuosic capacities the piano is in its own right almost the equivalent of an orchestra. So this Duet is an encounter between two equal partners, partners whose capacities, however, diverge in numerous essential ways. The piano can transverse over seven octaves with the greatest ease and, with the help of the sustaining pedal, accumulate harmonies containing literally dozens of notes. These are feats with which no orchestral instrument can compete. And yet every note of the piano begins to die away immediately after being struck, a characteristic so different from the legato capacities of string and wind instruments.
"I have attempted to cross the divide between the soloist and the orchestra by finding compatible areas between them, specifically by dividing the piano into a few distinct registers with timbral equivalents in the orchestra. At the same time the piano remains an alien figure in the orchestral landscape and often treads an independent path through instrumental textures that can seem intentionally oblivious of it.
"The orchestra employed is somewhat reduced, above all by the absence of violins. A certain prominence is given to the piano's nearest relatives in tuned percussion and, especially, the harp.
"This Duet is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Pierre-Laurent Aimard, my friend since the earliest days of my studies in Paris."
See musician Jesse McCormick speak about what’s coming up in Lucerne and more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wntMflBrEg0.
| Brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
- Last night’s performance of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony by The Cleveland Orchestra attracted such a large audience that there were dozens of people standing in the rear of the Brucknerhaus to hear the concert. Ludwig Scharinger, the CEO of Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich, introduced Music Director Franz Welser-Möst and thanked him for bringing The Cleveland Orchestra to Linz.
- Cleveland Orchestra musicians travel back and forth by bus from Linz to Salzburg today for the final performance of Rusalka at the Salzburg Festival (seen at right), so it’s goodbye tonight to Salzburg and hello tomorrow to Lucerne. Everyone flies to Lucerne in the morning.
A review of the third concert at the Salzburg Festival follows:
Clear Confidence, Hesitant Hope
The Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst
in Messiaen and Mahler
Walter Dobner, Die Presse – August 27, 2008
The best programs are not made by eyeing sales receipts but by concentrating on powerful messages. That was the case with Messiaen and Mahler at the third and last Salzburg Festival concert of The Cleveland Orchestra and Franz Welser-Möst. Two major themes were addressed: resurrection and the fragility of human life. In other words: firm confidence and hesitant hope for fulfillment. The concert began with Olivier Messiaen’s five-movement Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum for winds and percussion, and ended with Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde.
The deeply religious Messiaen’s “Resurrection Symphony” is characterized by straight lines and sobriety. André Malraux, the French Minister of Culture at the time, had wished for a Requiem for the victims of both World Wars. But Messiaen wanted to write about resurrection, not about death. Keeping that in mind, the Cleveland musicians, who played with an incredibly nuanced sound and exemplary precision, gave a performance whose intensity increased with every movement.
A robust tenor and a sensitive baritone
Equally convincing in every detail was Welser-Möst’s conception of Mahler’s song cycle. The conductor always left enough room for the voices to unfold, yet he never degraded the orchestra to mere accompaniment. Thus the vocal-instrumental ensemble could achieve ever greater intensity. This, of course, required extreme transparency in the orchestral textures; tempi intended to make the singing natural (that is, never too broad); and soloists with a song-like approach to the work. With his robust interpretation, Johan Botha, filling in for Jonas Kaufmann, offered a fitting contrast to Simon Keenlyside, who sang with nobler articulation and greater sensitivity.
Both were borne aloft by an orchestra that played with extreme subtlety (in the solo passages as well) and always considered acoustic refinement as a means to produce sophisticated artistic utterances. They were ideally directed in these complex tasks by Franz Welser-Möst.
Brief update from The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
The Cleveland Orchestra has arrived in Linz, Austria to perform a private concert this evening for invited guests. Linz is the hometown of Music Director Franz Welser-Möst. The program for concert at the Brucknerhaus (pictured below) on the Danube River is Bruckner’s Symphony No. 9.
Some of the musicians will travel back two hours by bus to Salzburg tomorrow for the final performance of Rusalka. Then it’s off to the Lucerne Festival on Thursday!
Quotes from reviews about The Cleveland Orchestra concert at the Felsenreitschule:
Salzburg Festival, Felsenreitschule: Cleveland In the Grips of Passion
Kronen Zeitung, August 26, 2008
“The Cleveland Orchestra is the most important guest ensemble at the 2008 Salzburg Festival. In their second concert at the Felsenreitschule, Franz Welser-Möst conducted a fascinating work: the Andante from Schubert’s “Tenth” in D, a fragment completed and orchestrated by Brian Newbould.
Schubert wrote not eight symphonies, but ten. Yet the last two have come down to us in fragmentary form. Welser-Möst and the “Clevelanders” have now played the Andante from the “Tenth,” which is far ahead of its time on account of its deep melancholy and modernity; it points forward all the way to Gustav Mahler. Deeply moving, intense and subtly colored, the performance was a rediscovery!
Then two works by Béla Bartók: first an extremely precise rendition of the ballet The Miraculous Mandarin (op. 19), bristling with power and passion. In this work, once surrounded by scandal, three thugs exploit a girl and murder her suitor, a rich mandarin. Welser-Möst “staged” it with great incision and brilliant attacks, full of spookiness and shrill mixtures of sound.
After intermission, Kim Kashkashian, the American violist of Armenian descent, shone in Bartók’s Viola Concerto, as completed and orchestrated by Tibor Serly, a violist in the Philadelphia Orchestra. The soloist played with virtuosic bow control and sensuous expresion…Enormous ovations for Welser-Möst and his marvellous musicians!”
Kurier, August 26, 2008
“The Cleveland Orchestra and its outstanding music director, Franz Welser-Möst, fascinated the audience of the Felsenreitschule [lobby photo at left] in Salzburg with its variegated yet homogeneous sound at the highest level Sunday night.”
A brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
- Last night’s concert at the Salzburg Festival was the third sold-out orchestral concert here by The Cleveland Orchestra. Tonight is the fourth performance of Rusalka and tomorrow the Orchestra travels to Linz for a private performance for sponsor Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich. The Cleveland Orchestra gratefully acknowledges Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich for its long-term commitment to Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra in Europe. Over the years, Raiffeisenlandesbank Oberösterreich has supported numerous recording projects and performances in a variety of venues in Central Europe, and is a major supporter of the residency activity in Salzburg.
- From the previous night’s concert: “Big triumph for Franz Welser-Möst and his grand musicians!“ – Volkmar Parschalk, Kronen Zeitung (Austria’s largest newspaper), August 26, 2008
A brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
Last night's Cleveland Orchestra concert (at left) led by Music Director Franz
Welser-Möst at the Felsenreitschule was packed to capacity. Again, there were
people standing outside with signs indicating they were looking for tickets. The
concert was received extremely well - there was so much applause that the audience
ultimately began clapping in a unison rhythm.
See a few photos from the concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be8J6U_jFnw
Violist Lisa Boyko shares her connection to Salzburg and her experience at the
Tonight at 8:30 p.m. The Cleveland Orchestra presents their final Salzburg Festival
orchestral program of Messiaen and Mahler at the Grosses Festspielhaus.
For the complete schedule of performances and programs click below:
Tomorrow marks the fourth performance of Dvorak's Rusalka (at right). "Dvorák's
opera Rusalka, with Camilla Nylund in the title role (center), became for The
Cleveland Orchestra and conductor Franz Welser-Möst the triumph." - Karl Harb,
Salzburger Nachrichten, August 23, 2008
The Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra is also currently performing at the Salzburg
Festival and it has been fun to run into the musicians as they navigate their way
between the three concert halls. They seem to make friends everywhere!
hotos: Felsenreitschule - Wolfgang Lienbacher/ Rusalka - Andrea Kolarik
Updates on The Cleveland Orchestra's Tour
The latest news is that tenor Johan Botha will replace Jonas Kaufmann, who is ill, in tomorrow's Cleveland Orchestra performance of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde at the Grosses Festpielhaus led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.
Two glowing reviews were published today in London about Rusalka and the first
Cleveland Orchestra concert at the Salzburg Festival:
August 24, 2008
The Sunday Telegraph
Cleveland Orchestra/Welser-Möst [****]
After its unusually dismal operatic summer, the Salzburg Festival has at last seen honour restored with a final new production that counts as one of the best stagings here in many a season. As directed by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, Rusalka, -set in a small-town bordello that also resembles a continuation of the theatre, Salzburg's recently opened Haus für Mozart - was always bound to cause discomfort to
some, but it is stimulating from start to finish, and ultimately tender and moving. More importantly, the playing of the Cleveland Orchestra under Franz Welser-Möst is sumptuously beautiful and exquisitely detailed, allowing Dvorak's operatic masterpiece to weave a strong spell at its first-ever Salzburg showing.
Indeed, the residency by the Clevelanders in Salzburg marks the climax of this festival. If any other orchestra can bring such gossamer strings or melting trumpet solos to this score, I've not heard it, yet Welser-Möst is not content to coast on sound alone. He emphasizes the muscularity of the music, making the marches that
flare up all the more surreal, and never over-sentimentalizes it: Rusalka's famous 'Song to the Moon', as sung by the gleaming soprano of Camilla Nylund, is unusually introspective. Completing the musical triumph is Piotr Beczala's lyric-tenor Prince, Ringingly clean and elegant of tone.
And while the directorial partners Wieler and Morabito - heavenly twins or a gruesome twosome, according to taste - are in thrall to the tics of German directors' opera, those visual trademarks prove unusually apposite here. The costume esigner Anja Rabes enjoys free rein with the current operatic fetish for a stage
full of shoes, yet vertiginous stilettos supply a fine metaphor for the water nymph's trouble and pain in walking. Rusalka's ill-fated and tragic attempts to win human love make sense in the context of a seedy brothel. Even the witch Jezibaba's comically huge black cat owes its presence to the libretto. Chris Kondek's video work never overstays its welcome, but as projected onto Barbara Ehnes's set its watery images - of unspoilt nature and human pollution - reinforce the unhappy message of this pre-Freudian opera.
|Updates on The Cleveland Orchestra's Tour
* Yesterday, The Cleveland Orchestra joined with sponsor Erste Bank to present an Ensemble Leadership Program for Erste Bank employees from across central and eastern Europe at the Musikum in Salzburg. The full day of events began with remarks from Cleveland Orchestra Executive Director Gary Hanson and Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra Secretary General Alexander Meraviglia-Crivelli.
Erste Bank employees witnessed coaching sessions between Cleveland Orchestra principals and youth
orchestra musicians, and then a rehearsal with more musicians with Franz Welser-Möst.
The day wound up with a leadership discussion between Franz, Cleveland Orchestra Concertmaster
William Preucil and Erste Bank Chief Executive Andreas Treichl, and then a discussion by participants
about the parallels between orchestral and bank leadership and communication.
See Stephen Rose, Cleveland Orchestra Principal Second Violin, Alfred M. and Clara
T. Rankin Chair, coaching Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra violinists here:
* Reviews are coming in from the first Cleveland Orchestra concert at the Salzburg Festival on August 19 that included Dvorak's Ninth Symphony, Bartok's Third Piano Concerto, and Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra. The following are excerpts from U.S., French and Austrian reviews.
"Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra were wonderful and startling in their strangeness - we were breathing the air of different planets. From the Cleveland Orchestra came a variety of colors, and exemplary precision. Mr. Welser-Möst did not try to "do" anything to these pieces. He more presented them as they were
written. The third piece, a march, had a creepy snap - just right. To single out some individuals, the Cleveland's percussionists were very skillful. And the low-brass players were terrifying and uniform. And the concertmaster, William Preucil, was both slick and otherworldly." - Jay Nordlinger, New York Sun, August
"On August 19 - a moment awaited in the Festival's Grosses Festspielhaus: the first of the Cleveland Orchestra's symphonic concerts, in residence in Salzburg before transferring, in several days, to the Lucerne Festival. The dream sound of this orchestra, considered one of the five best in America, was heard parallel to its performances of Dvorak's opera Rusalka and its appearance redoubled our aural appetite...Franz Welser-Möst gave the best of himself in The Three Pieces Op. 6, of Alban Berg. The control of sentiment profits brilliantly in this music which must not ring with too excessive expressionism...Welser- Möst observes this impeccably."- Renaud Machart, Le Monde, August 21, 2008
"Noble, perfect and brilliant...Since the 1940s The Cleveland Orchestra is enjoying a legendary reputation as America's number one." About the Bartok Piano Concerto No. 3, "...an interpretation of noble harmony, perfect balance between the captivating elegant playing of Uchida and Welser-Möst, who makes the musicians demonstrate power, sensual sonority and brilliant fulminations, yet accentuates the
exhilarating "Mozart-character" of this Bartok piece in expressive dialogue with the pianist...the orchestra responds with passionate vitality and delicate colours.Triumph!"
"...specifically with Berg, Welser-Möst is in his element. There the competent "orchestra technician" demonstrates his skills: Enormous bows are drawn to their limits! The spirit of the musical themes flourishes in captivating sensuality. Usually disregarded details become audible and build up to a theatre of sound of overwhelming beauty. A triumph for Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra."
- Karlheinz Roschitz, Kronenzeitung (Austria's largest newspaper), August 21, 2008
* London's Evening Standard published Norman Lebrecht's article about the Music and the Brain Symposium presented by The Cleveland Orchestra and Cleveland Clinic on August 16, 2008.
Can Music Add Years to Your Life?
"...For the whole day before his effervescent, high-risk performance of Dvorak's rarely-staged Rusalka at the Salzburg Festival this weekend, Welser-Möst, 48, co-chaired an international conference on music and the brain with his new best friend, Ali Rezai, director of the Cleveland Clinic for Neurological Restoration."
- Norman Lebrecht, Evening Standard, August 20, 2008. For the entire article click
* Tomorrow Franz is speaking with conductor Nikolaus Harnoncourt in a public discussion about the legacy of Herbert von Karajan at the Salzburg Festival and there is a matinee performance of Rusalka that is sold out. Note that WCLV will broadcast the Severance Hall performance of "Rusalka" tomorrow (Saturday) at 8:00 PM.
Updates about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies 2008:
August 20, 2008
Yesterday morning, The Cleveland Orchestra rehearsed in the Grosses Festspielhaus prior to a sold-out concert in the evening. About the concert, Christoph Lindenbauer of the Austrian Press Agency wrote, "...the final piece, Alban Berg's Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op.6, is a composition which you usually would begin a concert with... A piece, where it is difficult to get the audience, a piece that demands high technical discipline and deep understanding between the conductor and the orchestra: And exactly that was what how the guests from Cleveland were convincing yesterday evening.” View a one-minute photo slideshow from the concert here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0s2qMQQtCw
- Beth Woodside, Second Violin
Papageno Platz in the Old City of Salzburg
- The International Herald Tribune, an international newspaper sold in 180 countries, published the following:
Where brain waves meet sound waves
By George Loomis
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
SALZBURG: Few conductors would spend the day before a big opera premiere at a scholarly conference, but the Music and the Brain symposium Saturday at the Salzburg Festival was Franz Welser-Möst's idea. It provided a most unorthodox opening to the Cleveland Orchestra's residency at the festival this summer, and the orchestra's presence in the pit for a Salzburg opera was no ordinary event either. Welser-Möst and the orchestra proved to be vital ingredients in the success of Dvorak's "Rusalka" on Sunday evening, Salzburg's first-ever staging of the opera. The residency also includes more traditional fare consisting of three orchestral concerts.
The brain symposium is the product of a rare form of community outreach between the Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Clinic, a medical center that integrates clinical and hospital care with research and education. "Their doctors come to our concerts, and I thought we should get to know them," Welser-Möst said.
The upshot is a partnership in an ongoing program to study the brain's many functions relating to music, as well as the implications for health and society. The orchestra is apparently getting in on the ground floor. According to Robert Zatorre, a professor at McGill University in Montreal, the neurological study of music is essentially a new discipline, with technological advances making breakthroughs ever more possible.
Skilled musicians have long been thought to have brains that are different from those of the rest of us. Now we know a scientific basis exists. Brain scans, according to Zatorre's presentation, show that musicians have a higher concentration of gray matter in areas such as the auditory cortex, which is responsible for hearing.
Welser-Möst raised the question of why music affects people differently emotionally, yet sometimes an entire audience can seemed moved. A scientific answer is a long way off, yet Zatorre linked an appreciation of music to areas of the brain associated with primitive human functions, like the need for food, sex or even drugs.
As Michael Trimble, a professor at London's Institute for Neurology, observed, prehistoric man probably experienced emotional shivers triggered by music akin to those we feel today, a phenomenon that is measurable scientifically.
As for the therapeutic value of music, Michael Thaut, a professor at Colorado State University, noted that victims of strokes or traumatic brain injuries benefit from doing exercises to the accompaniment of music or even just the ticking of a metronome.
The issues raised at the symposium seemed far removed during the premiere of "Rusalka." The choice of the Cleveland Orchestra for this opera ruffled some feathers at the Vienna Philharmonic, but there is plenty else in Salzburg to keep that stalwart organization busy. Not since 1992, when the Los Angeles Philharmonic played for Messiaen's "Saint François d'Assise," has an American orchestra occupied the pit for a Salzburg opera production. The residency is part of the Cleveland Orchestra's ongoing strategy to diversify beyond its home city, where its base of support has stagnated.
As a work, "Rusalka" has clearly captured Welser-Möst's imagination, and the orchestra played with a warmth and color that recalled its legendary Dvorak performances under George Szell. The tale of a mermaid enamored of a human prince, inspired in part by the Hans Christian Andersen story, has music of exquisite beauty in its simplicity, which Welser-Möst ensured sounded ravishing, but he also had the measure of the opera's theatricality. Based on the tumultuous reception he and the orchestra received, the Austrian conductor, who takes over as music director of the Vienna Staatsoper in 2010, remains ever popular in his native country.
Indeed, largely because of the musical performance, "Rusalka," staged in the Haus für Mozart, is shaping up as the operatic hit of the Salzburg season. The production by Jossi Wieler and Sergio Morabito, their first in Salzburg since a famous "Ariadne auf Naxos" in Gérard Mortier's last year as intendant (2001), is controversial. Perhaps inspired by the presence of a Rhinemaiden-like trio of sexy water sp
A brief update about The Cleveland Orchestra European Residencies:
The Cleveland Orchestra has arrived in Turin, Italy for a performance tonight at the MITO September Music Festival.
- The following is a review of the first Cleveland Orchestra concert at the Lucerne Festival on Saturday, August 30 that was published today in The Guardian newspaper in London.
George Benjamin premiere
Lucerne festival, Switzerland