The news of Cleveland Plain Dealer music critic Donald Rosenberg's reassignment from the orchestra beat had raised many questions, considerable fervor in the blogosphere (the Baltimore Sun's Tim Smith has amassed a good list), and a sizable lump in my throat.
Rosenberg occupied a fairly lofty position in Cleveland as critic of the city's most notable musical institution, one praised all over the world. Did his frequently negative criticisms of Orchestra director Franz Welser-Möst lead to this decision? Did the Orchestra put pressure on the newspaper to make this move? I've read Rosenberg's reviews occasionally over the last few years, and he has always appeared to me to be deeply knowledgeable. His commentary on the unfortunate situation with the Columbus Orchestra was equally thoughtful and incisive.
Whatever pressure might have been brought to bear, I certainly hope that Mr. Rosenberg will seek recourse and that he will continue to put his gifts as a writer and critic to use, either in Cleveland or elsewhere. Best of luck to Zachary Lewis, the Plain Dealer's new orchestra critic; for him, for Mr. Rosenberg, for me (I'm reviewing the Philadelphia Orchestra at its matinee this afternoon), and for all of us who try to put this ineffable stuff into words, it's all we can do to listen close, play it straight, and tell the truth.