by Stephanie Manning
Many musicians will remember exactly what they were rehearsing in March of 2020, when the music suddenly stopped. For The Cleveland Orchestra, that unlucky piece was Schubert’s Symphony No. 9, which at the time was only heard by a private audience of staff members. More than two years later, the Orchestra finally gave the work the live performance it deserved on May 12 — and the seats at Severance Music Center were plenty full.
Conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, the Orchestra was in their element for the popular symphony, also known as “The Great” — a nickname born not out of a value designation, but to differentiate it from a shorter work of Schubert’s also in C Major. Clocking in at just under an hour in total, the four demanding movements are a test of endurance, which prompted the woodwind section to enlist some assistant players.