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Schubert: Symphony No. 9 ‘Great C Major’; Krenek: Static and Ecstatic

Schubert: Symphony No. 9 ‘Great C Major’; Krenek: Static and Ecstatic —The Cleveland Orchestra/Franz Welser-Möst (ClevOrch 0002)

Franz Welser-Möst on the genesis of this album: “On Thursday morning, March 12, [TCO President & CEO] André [Gremillet] addressed the Orchestra just prior to the week’s final dress rehearsal, telling everyone that, in anticipation of Ohio’s governor banning the gathering of more than 100 people together, we were closing Severance Hall to the public. We would continue with plans to record the Thursday evening and Friday morning concerts, but Thursday night’s performance would be for an invited audience only, a few donors and staff members, to comply with new orders from the State of Ohio.  During rehearsals throughout the week, we had already been feeling each day that this week was somehow different. A number of the musicians were optimistic, others more worried and concerned. But we were all aware of everything happening across the world. And what we could agree on, what we knew with clearer certainty, was the music itself. And together we focused on what we were able to do, somehow almost unconsciously putting extra effort and understanding into our work together.  I remember at one point — and I know quite specifically when in the second movement — I suddenly realized that this might be the last time I would ever conduct The Cleveland Orchestra. The months ahead were filled with increasing uncertainty. We might not yet be ready to announce cancelling the rest of the season in April and May, but suddenly, perhaps without words, I understood the possibility of how deep this crisis might go. The tour, the weekend, the season, the summer. We could not know when we might make music together again, for a very long time.  In such times, you are in a situation you have never been before, yet also filled with awareness of reality. And the performances by The Cleveland Orchestra, both on Thursday and on Friday, the performances by this extraordinary group of musicians were perhaps as close to perfection as is possible to imagine. For all of us, in this kind of situation, you feel you want to hang on to something you love — to fully embrace the act of playing together, and to focus on Schubert’s beautifully laid-out music, filled as it is with clarity and conviction, in a musical journey of utmost majesty and tenderness. . . . This album of two contrasting works is an artifact of those nearly perfect sessions.