The second album from Franz Welser-Möst on The Cleveland Orchestra’s in-house label pairs Schubert’s "Great" C Major Symphony with music by the 20th-century Austrian-American composer Ernst Krenek. These recordings serve as a unique document of the Orchestra’s music-making, having been made only days before the coronavirus pandemic forced the temporary shuttering of Severance Hall. Schubert has long been an important part of Welser-Möst’s musical life, and The Cleveland Orchestra Music Director has described the composer as a master of melody, harmony, and emotional weight. All of these characteristics are on full display in the majestic "Great" C Major Symphony, which dates from 1825 and was premiered by Felix Mendelssohn in 1839. Born in Vienna in 1900, Ernst Krenek began composing in the aftermath of the First World War before emigrating to the US in his late thirties. His music encompasses a variety of styles and he explored many of the stylistic innovations that arose during the 20th century. The suite "Statisch und ekstatisch", subtitled "10 movements for chamber orchestra", is music of contrast and extremes, juxtaposing moments of strictly serial music with freely composed material.
BBC Music Magazine December 2020
The trademark Cleveland sound, both ultra-classy and gloss-free, here intersects with Welser-Möst’s masterly approach to this greatest of symphonies – surely one of music’s supreme triumphs of the human spirit – to produce something very special…[The Krenek offers] vivid modern contrast, incisively composed, and performed with tight-focus brilliance to match. ***** (Performance) / **** (Recording)