Posted by Gary Stucka on May 13, 1999 at 07:43:10:
In Reply to: Cleveland Orch. posted by Bob on May 13, 1999 at 03:38:43:
I played in Cleveland from 1981-86. I joined the Chicago Symphony in 1986. I can offer just a couple of basic comparisons that I remember noticing when I first joined the CSO. I KNOW that things have changed in both orchestras since then. Playing with Cleveland was like playing in a giant chamber ensemble. No matter what was happening on the podium, the ensemble was unbelievably tight. It was like hopping on a big machine for a ride. It was a fantastic sensation!!
When I got to Chicago, the first thing that I noticed was a much wider dynamic range than in Cleveland. Louds were louder (our brass make sure of that!!!!!!) but softs were much more extreme. From an ensemble standpoint, things were less tight in the CSO; kind of an "every man for himself" sort of approach. I think that part of the reason for this is the incredibly shallow and wide stage that we've had at Orchestra Hall. One could not rely on listening across the stage as one could in Cleveland. One had to rely on the conductor's HOPEFULLY clear beat. Still, the performances were electric, especially under Solti.
It's really impossible for me to express a preference for one or the other. All I know is that, thanks to a history of hard work by our orchestra committee dating back over 30 years, our working, touring, and financial conditions have a near-"flagship" status among American Orchestras.
It's also good to be back in my home-town again!
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