Orchestras: Triumph Abroad

May Day parades are hardly designed to celebrate the bonds of friendship between the U.S. and U.S.S.R. Yet in Tbilisi, Communist marchers repeatedly slowed their procession to applaud members of the Cleveland Orchestra, peering like conventioneers from the windows of the Hotel Tbilisi. As one Tbilisian put it, inviting the musicians to join him in a drink: "Viet Nam, nyet! But you, yes!"

The first U.S. orchestra to visit Russia in six years, the Clevelanders were feted and fawned upon. In Moscow, at the opening of the five-week tour, the audience summoned Conductor George Szell back for 20 curtain calls and...