Cleveland Orchestra Voted World’s Favorite in Poll
The Cleveland Orchestra was recently voted the “world’s favorite orchestra” by the London-based website Bachtrack.com, an international concert finder that ran a poll to find out which group the world loves best. After a month of on-line voting with nearly 12,000 votes from 97 countries, the Cleveland Orchestra clearly emerged in the top spot. You can see all of the rankings on their website.
I have to admit I was a little surprised at the result. I would have thought the Berlin Philharmonic or Vienna Philharmonic, or since it was a British-based website, the London Symphony Orchestra might have come out on top. I’m sure there was some heavy-duty lobbying going on by organizations everywhere to get supporters of their orchestra to vote.
I always knew the Cleveland Orchestra was one of the best in the world, a reputation easily confirmed by listening to many of their fine recordings over the years, or by seeing and hearing them in concert at their fine Severance Hall. Under the reign of George Szell (1946-1970), the group acquired a high national and international profile and has long been considered one of the “Big Five” in the United States, along with the orchestras of New York, Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago.
I’m not entirely sure how significant the recent accolade is, or if the results would have been different in a poll taken a month from now, for there seems to be something ephemeral and maybe sometimes fickle about the online world, as in, “oh, that was so twenty seconds ago.” But then there are those recordings widely available for anyone to hear, so who knows for sure?
I do know that if Cleveland’s fine orchestra had not made it into the top ten of any poll of major orchestras, any time, something would clearly be wrong. But be that as it may, we’ll take this occasion to celebrate our great Ohio orchestra north of Columbus by featuring them all this week on Symphony @ 7 on Classical 101. I hope you’ll join me.
In the meantime, here they are in concert: first in a vintage George Szell era recording with some Beethoven:
And here, more recently with Franz Welser-Moest leading the orchestra in a bit of Bruckner: