Bernard has had the opportunity to work with the worlds major orchestral conductors
during his long performing career.
Of Fritz Reiner, Bernard said When Reiner gave a musician a lesson, it was a lesson for life, never to be forgotten! My first lesson with Reiner occurred during my first week of rehearsals with the Pittsburgh Symphony. One of the pieces was Coplands El Salon Mexico. I hadnt studied 5/8 meters yet, so Reiner stopped the orchestra and had me play my part alone for about 45 minutes. The rest of the orchestra just sat there. To this day, my 5/8 in El Salon Mexico is impeccable.
Reiner had an incredible stick technique and was able to control the orchestra with the slightest flick of his baton. Most of the musicians were terrorized by Reiner. When asked how a sixteen year old with no orchestral experience and repertoire survives in this environment Bernie responded, I was too young to be frightened or nervous.
Bernard credits Dorati with giving him the initial opportunity to play first trumpet and remembers him as an orchestra builder in both Dallas and Minneapolis. During Doratis early years in Minneapolis, the orchestra became noted for performances and recordings of the major ballet literature of Tschaikovsky and Stravinsky. He also performed and recorded many of his countrymens works: Bartok, Kodaly, etc. with great success. Later Dorati concentrated on more repertoire from the classical period and recorded the complete Haydn symphonies to critical acclaim in London.
As Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra from 1946 until his death in 1970, George Szell developed the Orchestra into a superb ensemble that embodied his strict notions of discipline in producing an orchestral sound with the clarity and balance of chamber music. Under Mr. Szell, the Orchestra entered a period of dramatic and sustained growth. The Orchestras personnel was enlarged to 104, and the length of the season gradually grew from 30 to 52 weeks. Blossom Music Center, the summer home of The Cleveland Orchestra, was opened in 1968. New series were inaugurated to meet audience demand, and popular Family programs and Childrens Concerts were added. Local and nationwide radio broadcasts and recording activities were expanded. Szell led the Orchestra on tours throughout the United States, Europe, Canada and, shortly before his death, the Far East and Russia. One critic called The Cleveland Orchestra the Rolls Royce of Symphony Orchestras.
Lorin Maazel served as the fifth Music Director of the Cleveland Orchestra from 1972-83. During the decade he was with The Cleveland Orchestra, there were initiated a number of innovative projects, including the Great Composers of Our Time Series, featuring programs devoted to the works of major creative figures of our time; the Friday Early Matinee Series, begun in 1972; a series of concerts in Clevelands Public Auditorium. He led the Orchestra on ten international tours as well as numerous national tours. With The Cleveland he made over 30 recordings, several of which received national and international prizes.
His appointment came as a surprise to many since he had never conducted The Cleveland Orchestra except once as a very young lad. He won the respect of the players for his unlimited repertoire and the excitement he brought to the music. For a brass player, Maazel was great to play for. All entrances were indicated clearly with cues. Bernard also remembers Maazels uncanny memory. He could come in to a morning rehearsal with a piece he had obviously not seen before, and by the afternoon he wasnt using the score and knew every note. In some ways he assumed that the orchestra had the same memory skills as his, and liked to believe that the Cleveland Orchestra always maintained a large repertoire that could be just touched-up and performed at a moments notice. In one season Cleveland took three major foreign tours with Maazel. He led the orchestra into a new era with his brilliant conducting technique, extensive repertoire and eccentric musicianship.
CHRISTOPH VON DOHNANYI
Christoph von Dohnanyi was the sixth Music Director of The Cleveland Orchestra. He was the grandson of the famed Hungarian composer Ernst von Dohnanyi. Mr. Dohnanyi received enthusiastic praise for his first tour with The Cleveland Orchestra in August 1984, prior to the start of his tenure as Music Director. He and the Orchestra made numerous acclaimed recordings. He brought a calmer temperament to the podium and restored some of the European musical values of the Szell era.
Dohnanyi had an acute sense of intonation and developed the music in a German concept of long lines. He took special care with the balance of the various choirs within the orchestra and their blend together. The orchestra under his direction used less definition to the articulation. Dohnanyi seemed to have an aversion to hearing the notes begin with a sharp attack. Under his direction the Orchestra had developed a very smooth quality.
The Cleveland Orchestra, Discography, compiled by Archivists denise Horstman and Judith Arnold of the Musical Arts Association.