Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Next we took a train to Salzburg.  The Cleveland Orchestra was booked for two concerts at the Salzburg Festival. 

Salzburg is known as the town where Mozart was born and where he spent his early years when he wasn't on the road with his family playing for the crowned heads of Europe.  We played in the Grosses Festspielhaus, just a few streets away from his house.

Featured on the two concerts were movements from Smetana's Ma Vlast, Shostakovich Symphony #6 and Lutoslawksi's Concerto for Orchestra.

We had a surprise when Krystian Zimmerman, the piano soloist for the Lutoslawski Piano Concerto cancelled at the last minute.  After much frantic phone calling to find a replacement, the piece's performance was cancelled. 

In its place we scheduled a repeat of the piece we commissioned and premiered a few days ago in Lucerne, Matthias Pintscher's Chute d'Etoiles for Two Trumpets and Orchestra.  Mike Sachs and Jack Sutte, Principal Trumpet and Second Trumpet were called back into action for this performance.

The Salzburg Festival is one of the most exclusive music festivals in the world. It was started in between the World Wars by prominent German artists such as Max Rheinhardt and Richard Strauss.

Along with us, the lineup for this year's Festival included a production of Handel's "Julius Caesar" with an all-star cast.  An old friend of mine, Ed Deskur, was playing horn in the Handel orchestra. 

On one night we both had concerts (the Festival has several concert venues in the same complex).  However, Ed only played at the beginning and end of the opera.  Julius Caesar is a FIVE HOUR opera, so he had lots of free time in between.  He snuck backstage at our hall and met up with me during my intermission. He ended up staying to hear the rest of our concert and then went back to play the last few minutes of his!

The next day, we got together and hiked up to the castle on the mountain overlooking Salzburg.

During our stay in Salzburg, I also had a chance to see another friend, Stanley Hale.  Stan lives outside of Vienna and caught a train to come up and spend an afternoon with me. We hiked up the Kapuzinerberg and then had dinner.

The orchestra left the next morning for Linz.  Since it was a day off, I stayed an extra day and went for a long run on the path by the Salzach river that morning.

After the run I went to my favorite coffee bar for an espresso and some breakfast. 

The Salzburg Cafe Primadonna is not the fanciest coffee bar in Salzburg, but it is quick and the coffee is expertly made. The espresso is complex, rich, but not burned tasting like many places.  It doesn't adhere to the Starbucks trend of extreme dark roast.  Therefore, you don't need milk of any kind to cover the burned taste.

It is centrally located just off the Linzergasse just across the bridge from the western part of the Old City.

Later that evening I boarded a train for Linz, our next stop on the tour.

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