Franz Welser-Möst: Why Bruckner Matters

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Basketball fans know all too well that Cleveland experienced much disappointment when LeBron James, the star forward for the Cavaliers, decamped for the Miami Heat one year ago. By contrast, the Cleveland Orchestra has been a model of relative stability under the leadership of music director Franz Welser-Möst.

The Austrian conductor has been with Cleveland since 2002 and his contract has been extended through 2018. Lately, the boyish 50-year-old has been putting his stamp on the orchestra with an unusual project: championing the music of Anton Bruckner. "Bruckner's music has always been regarded as religious and churchy even," said Welser-Möst. "I think there’s so much more to it. In some ways, he’s very modern."

From Wednesday through Sunday, Welser-Möst seeks to illustrate that modern side when he brings the Cleveland Orchestra to the Lincoln Center Festival. On tap are four concerts pairing Bruckner with another master of the big orchestral sound: John Adams. Host Terrance McKnight asked him about this unusual pairing.

Championing Anton Bruckner's music:

Comparing Bruckner with Gustav Mahler:

How Bruckner resonates with a modern mindset:

On creating a legacy at the Cleveland Orchestra, and about building future audiences:


Podcast producer: Brian Wise

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Comments [3]

HH from New York

Highly entertaining reading some of the comments. Not sure why Frank and Michael needed to get in a snit with each other. Music is of course so subjective and hits each of his in different ways, different reasons/reactions, time and place play a part.......I had to choose Mahler as his music is in my top 3 composers in general but wanna give a shout out to Bruckner -- his 4th & 7th symphonies are beautiful and grand and thrilling.

Jul. 15 2011 04:11 PM
richard from brooklyn

Just came from the first concert. I had a wonderful time. I am both a Bruckner fan and a John Adams fan. My observation on the pairing is that I don't quite get it for a couple reasons.

It would be a true pairing if Adams weren't just acting as the warm up act. As it is, his music doesn't have a chance to shine. The second problem is the choice of repertoire. Guide to Strange Places? It's a 20 minute directionless noodlefest. Why not Short Ride, Common Tones,or Grand Pianola? Tomorrow is his Violin Concerto. While not lightweight, it's not Harmonielehre.

So while the pairing doesn't work, the Bruckner 5 was amazing. What a great orchestra. The house should have been more than 2/3rds full.

Jul. 14 2011 12:23 AM
Frank Feldman

What's next for the Cleveland Orchestra-a Montovani/Beethoven festival?

Jul. 13 2011 02:39 PM

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