Zachary Lewis, successor to recently deposed Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rossenberg, has a feature article about Franz Welser-Möst in today’s paper. You can see it here. There is no hint of the recent controversy. It is very even-handed, with quotes from present and former orchestra members, Cleveland Orchestra management (including Gary Hanson), as well as impresarios elsewhere, and discussions with Franz himself. The article details some of the criticisms of Franz’s work (“blankness”, “lack of interpretation”) and some of the orchestra’s financial and artistic challenges (e.g. subscriptions and ticket sales are flat to declining in Cleveland; meanwhile revenues and demand from the orchestra’s tours are up.) The piece seems to set a level and neutral playing field for what Lewis’s future critical working relationship to the orchestra will be.
The orchestra season begins tonight at Severance Hall, with the U.S. premiere of George Benjamin’s Duet for piano and orchestra (with Super-Pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard as the soloist) and Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7, which is being filmed for release on DVD as the third in the orchestra’s series of DVDs of Bruckner symphonies. Virtual Farm Boy is attending the Friday evening performance–under duress: I do not have the Bruckner gene, and I find his symphonies really tedious. But I try to give things I don’t like multiple opportunites to win my favor (It’s happened with Wagner.) Maybe this will be the time for Bruckner.