“The Triumph of the Octagon,” composed by Philip Glass, left, received its world premiere by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, led by Riccardo Muti. The work will have its New York premiere Oct. 5 when the CSO and Muti perform at Carnegie Hall. (Philip Glass, left, oil on board by Luis Alvarez Roure, Smithsonian Portrait Gallery; Riccardo Muti photo by Todd Rosenberg)
Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Riccardo Muti, at Orchestra Hall.
By Nancy Malitz
It began with a quiet ripple, serene and a little mysterious, and gentle two against three syncopations among the strings and harp, pitches slowly rocking. Like sunlight on the vast surface of giant body of water, the impression was not so much that music had just begun, but rather that the music was already there.
“The Triumph of the Octagon,” a Sept. 28 world premiere commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association for Riccardo Muti, honors the esteemed conductor’s transition from music director (a title he held from 2010 until June 2023) to his new role as music director emeritus for life. The tone poem by Philip Glass, with its quiet undulations, beautifully commemorates the CSO’s season of transition: the orchestra’s capacity for singularly tranquil, unhurried and quite magical effects will linger as earmarks of Muti’s legacy. Read the full story »