Cleveland Orchestra from 2005-2007

Originally from Canadian “Ring,” Lang Lang, Divans, Something American

P.S. 3. Concerning Something American, (March 19-21, 2008) Christoph von Dohnanyi, conductor / Elena Bashkirova, pianist

Schumann: Piano Concerto / Stravinsky: The Firebird (8 February 2005) Distinguished Heir to a Great Tradition – Conductor Christoph von Dohnányi : The Cleveland Orchestra knew it was continuing a cherished tradition in 1984 when it hired Dohnányi as its musical chief. (…) Dohnányi admits he is a demanding musical leader who expects as much dedication and meticulous attention to detail from his players as he expects from himself. Dohnányi canceled… (…) Dohnányi’s uncompromising toughness stems partly from his harrowing experiences as an adolescent growing up during the Second World War II. (…) But music is one of many subjects that fascinate the widely cultured Dohnányi, including film, politics, current events, languages and psychiatry. (…) “I consider myself a very faithful man – faithful to music,” Dohnányi reports, with a rueful smile. “Barbara accepts this. She comes from a family of Viennese musicians. Her uncle and grandfather played in the Vienna Philharmonic. She is filled with music, so she understands (me) maybe more than (my other wives) did…

JIWON: Waste of time. And weird… compared to this one: Simon Rattle’s Berliners Bring Thomas Adès and More Written by the President of Thomas Ades Fan-Club.


Anja Silja and Christoph von Dohnányi. I know I should read her autobiography first before I want to add my opinion to others’ about her private life, especially when it stood for her music. So, I need to be very careful and may have to change details of my writing some time later.

I just know the line from Wieland Wagner’s to André Cluytens is not quite similar the one from André Cluytens to Christoph von Dohnányi. Anja Silja and Christoph von Dohnányi… Considering their words in public places, both could be right or both could be wrong. I’m suspecting if neither part knows why. On the assumption that both had imaginative ears as most old-fashioned musicians did, the concept or ultimate goal of their music might have been same, but they belong to different time and space, and different tradition of the orchestra. I also suspect if they didn’t try to study about each other.

I realized it while watching her ‘young’ performance. It was a kind of (academically) fresh air, because her present singing and these and those official writings about her life, along with her present singing, made me think that she was a whore, just like Elena Bashkirova-Kremer-Barenboim. Still, AJ is not the figure of Callas, the combination of whose talent, personality, and her working style was far above men’s ability during her prime time. So am I, and then, her life style is still not my favorite. For me, legally unavailable guy means unavailable passion, no matter what. Because platonic love ultimately means bullshit, at least for me, and I don’t want to become an outsider or a victim of male chauvinism.

Elena Bashkirova playing Schumann with Christoph von Dohnányi?

It will be very interesting, because by the time I gave up my American study and prepared to return to this country, I heard his orchestra. It was… brrr… and why do you think so? It was not like the Philadelphia’s failing at that time. As usual, this Jewish whore will boast her Dohnányi resume after this concert and the old guy will be generous. Then, maestro Dohnányi will answer my request to analyze his ensemble with Bashkriova, and I will analyze his official statements, and anyone who is interested in Barenboim or Bashkirova will read it. As usual, Zubin Mehta is behind this business, isn’t he? 

I wonder if I am forced to listen to performances by Cleveland Orchestra from 2005 April to 2007 May. I’m not sure because this orchestra has nothing to do with Barenboim’s future. Will the orchestra members and management officers ever be interested in Barenboim’s directorship? I don’t think so. The Cleveland Orchestra is one of the major symphony orchestras in the United States. Of the “Big Five” orchestras of America, it is considered to be the most European. It is often considered one of the finest orchestras in the world. (February 2005) The New Yorker proclaimed the orchestra “the finest in America”, though it questioned The Cleveland Orchestra’s ability to survive the next century. (…)

JIWON: The Cleveland Orchestra from from 2005 to 2007. Something is better than the Szell era while something is not quite as good as Szell’s instrument. They say conductors did a fine job to preserve their golden tradition. Well, maybe… Studying each member’s resume will give you a clue. I thought the orchestra X has the best member in this part, though supported by couple of others. I must say. This Cleveland style didn’t work in professional orchestras in this country and why do you think so? This is perhaps the same reason why the New York critics made such a problematic reaction to their performance. In Chicago, by the time the seed of this style sprouted to start as a so-called tradition, the music director gave an order of using wrong fertilizers. It died. This was exactly how I lost my interest in Barenboim’s young CSO, where no supporting power functioning as antidote exists. Am I criticizing too much? Am I insulting them? Or The music institute’s prestige has grown under retiring director Gary Graffman. : The technical level of incoming students is obscenely high. It’s scary in some cases, so 90 percent of the time is not spent on solving technical problems. They’re way ahead. Many of them learn pieces so much faster than we did. When I was at Curtis, there were Leon Fleisher, Eugene Istomin and me. We were very talented, too, but some of the students now can learn in two weeks what we were spending two months on. (…) The caliber of students … Cole said 15 years ago that the kids now who come in are on a higher level than the one who used to graduate.


This is part of interview with Prof. Graffman and he is not the only one. Forumites have been questioning about this, too. Why does their American ensemble sound below their expectation while the fact is that individual musicians actually prove their techniques far more superior than the musicians in old days did?

There was a vast improvement in American music scene. True that couple of things evolved, but in a strange way. Then the official statement had already come from the Boston Symphony Orchestra member. It was years ago and I don’t think anyone listened to him. Frankly, I wanted to go to Boston when members of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra rejected Barenboim as their maestro. But then, Mr. You-Know-Who got this job and this tradition now seems to fade away. I can tell this, because I followed all the articles about their performances and the New York critics were particularly encouraging this happening. Sometimes, I am thinking. Who do the critics write for when they criticize orchestra performance? Readers or audience or conductor or performers?

As a matter of fact, I loved the Art of Criticism, not only because it was the only and the most effective way for me to survive in this Barenboim-battle, but because it could exist for the future. But another fact has been that the more I criticized performers, the more they regarded my criticism as an insult. They wanted to support Barenboim’s Angels after reading me. Then, all of them proved their endless failing and I was able to insult them. This time, I wanted to insult them. It was unbelievable.

Hence, I had to think again. Why? Then, I wanted to find a good way to explain this happening. This is what I found months ago.


%d bloggers like this: