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I am a Brucknerian

Dear Ben,

After the concert Whit and I discussed how much we enjoyed playing Bruckner 5. At the risk of turning this message into a "fan letter", I must say no other conductor in Boston is capable of transferring as much enthusiasm, joy, and love of this music to his players (and audience) as you did last weekend. I think you won over quite a few string and wind players along the way.

I needed no such conversion as I already considered myself a Brucknerian, though likely as seen through the sometimes narrow lens of a brass player. Most of us (brass players) are none too shy of playing loud, expansive music! Though I do recall an episode when I was a graduate student at Northwestern. Attending the recital of a trombone student I happened to be sitting next to one of the legends of the Chicago Symphony: Frank Crisafulli. I mentioned how thrilled I was to attend their concert of Bruckner 8 the upcoming week, and in my student-like zeal made the comment, "you must be so psyched to play Bruckner!" Mr. Crisafulli's answer was completely unexpected: "Oh no, not at all. It is so loud and long, it really is a lot of work." I was shocked of course that such a great player, noted for his large beautiful tone, and incredible volume was not at all looking forward to a weekend of Bruckner. I could forgive him the fact he was nearing the end of his career, and had likely performed the piece countless times under Reiner, Solti, and Barenboim. But I will never know for certain if he was a Brucknerian or not.

I won't soon forget the Saturday morning joy of listening to the second movement during one of my tacets, opening my eyes to see you conducting in one! It was a world-class moment, and I thank you again for allowing me to be a part of it.



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