The Cleveland Orchestra announces next two recording releases, featuring music by Richard Strauss and George Walker, led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst
Strauss tone poems: Macbeth, Don Juan, and
Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks
Available worldwide via streaming, download, and CD on June 3
Available for pre-order from May 6
Walker: Antifonys for string orchestra, Sinfonias No. 4 and No. 5, and Lilacs for voice and orchestra
Available worldwide via streaming, download, and CD on November 4
Available for pre-order from June 24
The Cleveland Orchestra announces two new audio recordings, both led by Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.
The Strauss album features three of Richard Strauss’s early tone poems (Macbeth, Don Juan, and Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks), providing a tantalizing window into Welser-Möst’s reputation as a renowned conductor of Strauss’s music. The George Walker album offers an exploration of the composer’s Pulitzer Prize–winning Lilacs for voice and orchestra with soprano Latonia Moore, as well as Antifonys for string orchestra, and Sinfonias No. 4 and No. 5.
“[For these recordings] what we want to convey is there’s so much to discover,” said Franz Welser-Möst. “There’s so much great music which gets overlooked. And that’s what we are trying to do, to say, ‘Listen, here there’s something else which we really believe in, have a try. Try to listen to it. You might enjoy it, you might not enjoy it but we believe in it and that’s why we are doing it.’”
These recent and forthcoming albums released under the Orchestra’s own label are part of a vision to share the unique artistry of the Welser-Möst/Cleveland Orchestra partnership with audiences in Cleveland and around the world, while expanding the Orchestra’s extensive recording catalogue, which includes video/DVD releases of Bruckner and Brahms under Welser-Möst’s baton.
Franz Welser-Möst on Strauss
“Richard Strauss’s gift for commenting on human behavior and in touching our hearts through music is peerless. In the three tone poems on this recording, he demonstrates his great skill as a master storyteller,” said Franz Welser-Möst. “He looks at the exuberance and weight of unbridled passion (Don Juan), at the consuming fire of ambition (Macbeth), and at the delightful tricks and slight-of-hand that humans, almost alone among earth’s living creatures, understand and thrive upon as humor (Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks).
“Strauss was a master of heartache, of yearnings, drama, comedy, and tragedy. Of full-throated emotions across so many categories, including the little moments of everyday life, the small truths that overwhelm us sometimes, but are in actuality not important except in that moment of reality. All of these, Strauss’s music manages with an unfailing mastery that quite often leaves me speechless and with a big smile — not in laughter but in admiration for his many perfect touches of musical coloring and punctuation.”
Franz Welser-Möst on Walker
“The first time I heard [George Walker’s] music listening to a recording, I thought, ‘This is central European, great 20th-century music.’ And then of course, you find he’s quoting a gospel there, in a well-trained, free-spirited way. I’m interested in his music — not because of his life story — I’m interested in his music because of the quality. It’s very condensed. George Walker’s music is so dense that ten minutes are as emotionally exhausting as other music which is three times as long. It’s tricky, it’s difficult, it’s demanding, it’s challenging, and there is an intensity and a real voice which I enjoy enormously.”
With the performances and recordings of George Walker’s music, Franz Welser-Möst and The Cleveland Orchestra have expanded on their perpetual drive to learn and promote new works. The Walker album features four works spanning fifty years by a pioneering American composer, showcasing his singular vision and meticulously crafted sound world.
Both the Strauss and Walker releases will be available worldwide (June 3 and November 4, respectively), via international retail outlets, and the Cleveland Orchestra Store.
These new albums, available on CD (Hybrid SACD), or digitally worldwide on all major online streaming or download purchase services, are the Orchestra’s fourth and fifth releases, respectively, on its own label with Franz Welser-Möst following its inaugural album titled A New Century (June 2020), Schubert’s “Great” C-major Symphony paired with Ernst Křenek’s Static and Ecstatic (October 2020) and Schnittke and Prokofiev (October 2021).
On May 6 (Strauss) and June 24 (Walker), the recordings will be available for pre-order. The physical set can be purchased through the Orchestra’s Store at cleveland-orchestra-store.myshopify.com/. For additional details, see the Production Information section below and clevelandorchestra.com/recordings.
Access to the Strauss and Walker recordings for media reviewing is available upon request as well as high-resolution images of the product packaging, and photos of The Cleveland Orchestra and Music Director Franz Welser-Möst.
Suggested Retail Price: Strauss (Catalog No: TCO-0004) $24.95, Walker (Catalog No: TCO-0005) $24.95
THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA
Franz Welser-Möst, conductor
RICHARD STRAUSS (1864-1949)
THREE TONE POEMS
Recorded Live at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance Music Center (September and October 2021)
Track 1 Macbeth, Opus 23
Track 2 Don Juan, after Lenau, Opus 20
Track 3 Till Eulenspiegel’s Merry Pranks, Opus 28
GEORGE WALKER (1922-2018)
Recorded Live at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Concert Hall at Severance Music Center
Track 1 Antifonys for string orchestra (recorded October 2020)
Track 2 Sinfonia No. 4, “Strands” (recorded October 2021)
Track 3 Lilacs for voice and orchestra with Latonia Moore, soprano (recorded March 2022)
Track 4 Sinfonia No. 5, “Visions” (recorded October 2021)
CD box size dimensions: 7.625” x 7.625” x 0.25” (Strauss and Walker)
Companion booklets include special insights from Franz Welser-Möst, Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra about the recordings along with program notes about the musical works, and photographs of The Cleveland Orchestra performing the pieces.
About The Cleveland Orchestra
Now firmly in its second century, The Cleveland Orchestra, under the leadership of Franz Welser-Möst since 2002, remains one of the most sought-after performing ensembles in the world. Year after year the ensemble exemplifies extraordinary artistic excellence, creative programming, and community engagement. In recent years, The New York Times has called Cleveland “the best in America” for its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color and chamber-like musical cohesion, “virtually flawless,” and “one of the finest ensembles in the country (if not the world).”
Founded by Adella Prentiss Hughes, The Orchestra performed its inaugural concert in December 1918. By the middle of the century, decades of growth and sustained support had turned the ensemble into one of the most admired around the world.
The past decade has seen an increasing number of young people attending concerts, bringing fresh attention to The Cleveland Orchestra’s legendary sound and committed programming. More recently in 2020, the Orchestra launched several bold digital projects, including the streaming broadcast series In Focus, the podcast On A Personal Note, and its own recording label. A long history of strong community support from across the ensemble’s home region continues to drive the Orchestra forward and has provided remarkable energy and focus throughout the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. New initiatives for audience growth and community service have been launched in recent years, including new technological infrastructure and capabilities at its home, Severance Music Center, to capture the Orchestra’s unique artistry and the musical achievements of the Welser-Möst and Cleveland Orchestra partnership.
The 2021-22 season marks Franz Welser-Möst’s 20th year as music director, a period in which The Cleveland Orchestra earned unprecedented acclaim around the world, including a series of residencies at the Musikverein in Vienna, the first of its kind by an American orchestra. The Orchestra’s 100th season in 2017-18 featured two international tours, concluding with the presentation of Welser-Möst’s Prometheus Project, featuring works by Beethoven, on three continents.
Its acclaimed opera presentations, including Strauss’s Ariadne auf Naxos (2019), Debussy’s Pelléas et Mélisande (May 2017), Bartók’s The Miraculous Mandarin and Bluebeard’s Castle (2016), and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (2014 and 2017), have showcased the ensemble’s unique artistry and collaborative work ethic.
Since 1918, seven music directors — Nikolai Sokoloff , Artur Rodziński, Erich Leinsdorf, George Szell, Lorin Maazel, Christoph von Dohnányi, and Franz Welser-Möst — have guided and shaped the ensemble’s growth and sound. Through concerts at home and on tour, broadcasts, and a catalog of acclaimed recordings, The Cleveland Orchestra is heard today by a growing group of fans around the world. For more information, visit clevelandorchestra.com.
About Franz Welser-Möst
Franz Welser-Möst is among today’s most distinguished conductors. The 2021-22 season marks his twentieth year as music director of The Cleveland Orchestra. With the future of their acclaimed partnership extended to 2027, he will be the longest-serving musical leader in the ensemble’s history. The New York Times has declared Cleveland under Welser-Möst’s direction to be “America’s most brilliant orchestra,” praising its virtuosity, elegance of sound, variety of color, and chamber-like musical cohesion.
With Welser-Möst, The Cleveland Orchestra has been acclaimed for its inventive programming, its ongoing support for new musical works, and for its innovative work in presenting semi-staged and staged operas. An imaginative approach to juxtaposing newer and older works has opened new dialogue and fresh insights for musicians and audiences alike. The Orchestra has also been hugely successful in fostering a new and, notably, a young audience. To date, the Orchestra and Welser-Möst have been showcased around the world in nineteen international tours together. In 2020, despite shutdowns caused by the global pandemic, the ensemble launched its own recording label — and new streaming broadcast performances with the In Focus series — to continue and extend sharing their artistry globally.
In addition to his commitment to Cleveland, Mr. Welser-Möst enjoys a particularly close and productive relationship with the Vienna Philharmonic as a guest conductor. He has been selected three times to conduct its celebrated New Year’s Concert, and regularly leads the orchestra in subscription concerts in Vienna, as well as on tours in Japan, China, Australia, and the United States. Highlights of appearances in recent seasons include performances of Strauss’s Die Aegyptische Helena at Teatro alla Scala, as well as concerts with the New York Philharmonic, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and Amsterdam’s Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. He is a regular guest at the Salzburg Festival, where his work leading a series of opera performances has been widely admired. These have included Rusalka, Der Rosenkavalier, Fidelio, Die Liebe der Danae, Aribert Reimann’s Lear, and Strauss’s Salome and Elektra. At the 2022 Salzburg Festival, he will lead performances of Puccini’s Il Trittico and the Camerata Salzburg in a program of music by Schubert.
From 2010 to 2014, Franz Welser-Möst served as general music director of the Vienna State Opera. His partnership with the company included a wide-ranging repertoire, including a series of critically-praised new productions. Mr. Welser-Möst had earlier led the Zurich Opera across a decade-long tenure, conducting more than forty new productions.
Franz Welser-Möst’s recordings and videos have won major international awards and honors. With The Cleveland Orchestra, his recordings include a number of DVDs on the Clasart Classic label, featuring live performances of five Bruckner symphonies and a multi-DVD set of major works by Brahms. A number of his Salzburg opera productions, including Der Rosenkavalier, have been released internationally on DVD by Unitel.
In 2019, Mr. Welser-Möst was awarded the Gold Medal in the Arts by the Kennedy Center International Committee on the Arts in recognition of his long-lasting impact on the international arts community. Other honors include The Cleveland Orchestra’s Distinguished Service Award (given during the ensemble’s 100th season celebrations for his focus on community and education), two Cleveland Arts Prize citations, the Vienna Philharmonic’s “Ring of Honor” for his personal and artistic relationship with the ensemble, recognition from the Western Law Center for Disability Rights, honorary membership in the Vienna Singverein, appointment as an Academician of the European Academy of Yuste, and the Kilenyi Medal from the Bruckner Society of America.
Franz Welser-Möst’s book From Silence: Finding Calm in a Dissonant World was published in Austria in July 2020, under the title Als ich die Stille fand, and rapidly rose to number one on the [German-language] best-seller lists, where it remained through much of 2021. The English version of From Silence was released worldwide in Summer 2021. To read more about Franz Welser-Möst, visit this link: clevelandorchestra.com/about/musicians-and-conductors/franz-welser-most/.
About Latonia Moore
The Metropolitan Opera star and Texas native has been praised as “richly talented” by The New York Times, and most recently, performed in two acclaimed Met productions during the 2021–22 season, Fire Shut Up In My Bones and Porgy and Bess, in the roles of Billie and Serena, respectively.
Last season, Ms. Moore returned to the title role in Tosca in her house debut at Austin Opera, as well as at Opéra de Rouen Normandie in France. Other operatic highlights include appearances as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera, Liù in Turandot at Royal Opera House, Elisabeth in Don Carlo with Opera Australia, Mimi in La boheme with Semperoper Dresden, Desdemona in Otello at Bergen National Opera in Norway, and an appearance at the Metropolitan Opera’s 50th Anniversary Gala at Lincoln Center.
Ms. Moore is scheduled to reprise the title role in Aida for an LA Opera production conducted by James Conlon in May 2022. She received global acclaim for her interpretation of this role, with The New York Times raving, “Her voice was radiant, plush and sizeable at its best, with gleaming top notes that broke through the chorus and orchestra during the crowd scenes.” Ms. Moore has sung Aida at the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House, Opernhaus Zürich, Opera Australia, Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, English National Opera, New National Theatre Tokyo, and Dubai Opera.
Her honors and awards include the Maria Callas Award from Dallas Opera, a Richard Tucker Foundation grant, first prize in the Concours International d’Opéra in Marseille, and first prize in the 2004 International Competition dell’Opera, when it was held in Dresden. Ms. Moore is a native of Houston, Texas, and currently resides in Miami, Florida. For more information, visit latoniamooresoprano.com/