Dave’s Current
Top 5 Favorite Recordings
By The Cleveland Orchestra
Beethoven: 5 Piano Concertos / Choral Fantasy

Stravinsky: Petrouchka;
Le Sacre de printemps

Olivier Messiaen: Et
exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum; Chronochromie; La Ville d'en haut

Beethoven: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 6 / Egmont Overture

Symphony 4


The Cleveland Orchestra

The Cleveland OrchestraIt’s unlikely that classical music aficionados have not heard of The Cleveland Orchestra, which one magazine dubbed “the best band in the land.” The Orchestra has been an official entity since 1918; this year marks the 75th anniversary of Severance Hall, the beautiful, recently-renovated home of the Orchestra.

The musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra and their director, Franz Welser-Möst, make their presence known in musical circles by the very act of doing their thing in Cleveland and abroad. Arguably the biggest lynch-pin in the area’s arts experience, the Orchestra’s winter season is typically anchored by its subscription concerts of enormous variety, ranging from beloved favorites and less well-known traditional works to literature of the 20th century and the newest world premieres. The roster of visiting soloists shines with pianists, instrumentalists, and singers of international renown. Talented young conductors as well as well-known maestros come to the podium for guest appearances during the season. The Orchestra also performs on festival occasions in the city of Cleveland and in nearby locations, reaching an enormous local audience. Tours to Europe and periods of residency in Miami, Florida, take the Orchestra well beyond its home sphere. Performances by the Orchestra under a number of its historic conductors can be heard on CDs and radio broadcasts in cities across the world, and details of the organization can be explored in some depth at its website (clevelandorchestra.com).

Around the Orchestra itself and its director lie constellations of musical activities that bolster and enhance the work of this magnificent ensemble. A significant portion of each season under Welser-Möst’s direction includes collaboration with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, about 150 strictly volunteer singers under Robert Porco and Betsy Burleigh, Director and Assistant Director of Choruses, respectively. The detail of preparation and the sheer time the chorus dedicates to their art are no less than heroic. The results are awe-inspiring. In the coming season their repertoire will include Haydn’s Harmoniemesse, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, Bach’s Magnificat, portions of Handel’s Messiah, Rachmaninoff’s All-Night Vigil (Vespers), and Strauss’s Rosenkavalier. A portion of the chorus will also form the nucleus of the Blossom Festival Chorus, performing with The Cleveland Orchestra at its summer venue, Blossom Music Center, near Akron.

Future generations of professional musicians from the Cleveland area are likely to get their start in the Orchestra’s allied ensembles: the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Orchestra, conducted by Jayce Ogren, the Cleveland Orchestra Youth Chorus, directed by Frank Bianchi, and the Cleveland Orchestra Children’s Chorus, directed by Ann Usher. Further educational activities by  the Musical Arts Organization include a lecture series at local venues prior to each concert by specially prepared staff; preview presentations at Severance Hall prior to each concert; and education concerts for school-age and very young children, for which the young people come to Severance Hall.

— Judith Eckelmeyer, 9/14/06