The classical music event of the summer is coming to Avery Fisher Hall this week, with the Cleveland Orchestra and their music director, Franz Welser-Möst performing four concerts in five days as part of the Lincoln Center Festival. For their Lincoln Center debut, Welser-Möst has chosen to pair the symphonies of Anton Bruckner (5, 7, 8 and 9) with the orchestral music of John Adams (Guide to Strange Places, Doctor Atomic Symphony and the Violin Concerto.) It's a bold stroke on the part of both Welser-Möst and Lincoln Center, but one grounded in musical common sense: both Bruckner and Adams feature repeating motifs, swelling strings, explosions of brass, and general grandeur in their music.
Anyone who reads this blog knows that I've been a huge fan of both Bruckner and Adams for a long time (see here and here), and have always wondered why someone hasn't thought to put these two on the same program before. (Adams, for his part, considers Bruckner a musical forefather.) As it happens, I've heard that tickets for the series haven't sold especially well, to the degree where Lincoln Center even put some half-off tickets up for sale on GroupOn last week. Apparently, Bruckner is a tough sell; more than a century after his death, he still gets no respect.
So, let me be straight with you: you owe it to yourself to get up to Avery Fisher, even if it's only for one concert. (I'd pick Sunday's pairing of the 9th with the Doctor Atomic Symphony.) I promise you, you won't regret it.
Details on the four concerts and how to get tickets are online here.