Sunday, July 24, 2011
Reaction to Bruckner/Adams
The Cleveland Orchestra's Lincoln Center Festival residency an artistic success. The reviews and audience reaction were very positive.
Critics rightly praised Franz's conception of Bruckner's music, noting his emphasis on the beauty and balance in the scores instead the jagged, heaven-storming outbursts in other conductors' and orchestras' hands. One of my friends, who attended all four concerts, spoke of the performances as having a spiritual quality.
It was interesting to note the polarizing effect of our programming for this week. Many people who might usually make the effort to come hear us in New York stayed away. Those who did come were clearly devotees of Bruckner and/or Adams. Perhaps some were intrigued to see if the linkage of the two composers' music really worked.
The audiences were small, but absolutely rabid! For some of the concerts, only the first two levels of Avery Fisher were open for seating. No vegetarians at this restaurant's carnivore week! Each concert ended with sustained applause, yelling, etc.
The audience seemed to recognize the special nature of this week. I don't know if a major orchestra has presented four of Bruckner's last symphonies in concert within a five-day period. Comparisons were made to a Wagner Ring cycle.
John Adams was present for all of the rehearsals and concerts this week. He offered comments to Franz and the orchestra during rehearsals and appeared for bows at the performances of his works. It was great to have him there. I had a brief conversation with him in the bowels of Avery Fisher Hall before rehearsal one day. I really like his music and enjoy playing it. He told me he's presently working on a passion according to Mary Magdalene, called "The Other Mary". The libretto is being put together by Peter Sellars.
There were many Adams fans in the audience as well. His works were received with great enthusiasm.
The orchestra is scheduled to perform at the Festival again in 2013. Word has it that we will present Hindemith's opera, Cardillac in a production from the Vienna State Opera.