Articles tagged with: Riccardo Muti
Review: Music director Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra opened their 2018-19 season Sept. 21 with an eloquent and gripping performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (“Babi Yar”) on verses of Yevgeny Yevtushenko memorializing the massacre of Jews by German soldiers near Kiev in 1941. The composer’s widow, Irina Shostakovich, joined Muti on stage at Orchestra Hall for a post-performance conversation.
Review: If there was a moment during the season-ending concert that summed up the singular achievement of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus under the long-term influence of Riccardo Muti, it came near the end of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater,” a Catholic hymn to Mary that pulls the listeners into the mother’s grief at the foot of the cross and offers transcendence. The three-line prayer “Quando corpus morietur” (“When my body dies, let me live in Paradise, too”) is so very human and humble that the listener might not notice how treacherous it is to sing. The Chicago Symphony Chorus imbued it with a powerful emotion that filled the hall, yet with sound so soft it barely hung on a thread.
Review: You could say the 600 representatives of symphony orchestras from around the country who heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with music director Riccardo Muti and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, were in the right place at the right time. If ever there was a musical nexus, this was one: the convergence of those particular performing forces and the work at hand, Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2, a sublime masterpiece captured at Orchestra Hall on June 14 in every dimension of its dark drama, searing introspection and virtuosic eloquence.
Review: A world premiere by Chicago Symphony violist-composer Max Raimi, who set to music the poetry of a 94-year-old Pulitzer Prize winning poet in the city’s midst, was part of a special showcase honoring the orchestra’s own: The Chicago Symphony Chorus, celebrating its 60th anniversary this season, sang a Schubert magnum opus not heard in Orchestra Hall since 1975.
Review: As Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s irrepressibly grand 234-year-old “Linz” Symphony swept through the Chicago Symphony from stand to stand, at Orchestra Hall, one might have taken the music for yet another example of the brilliant young composer being inspired by Franz Joseph Haydn, his esteemed elder. But as music director Riccardo Muti and the CSO deftly demonstrated, the 24-year difference in their ages does not imply a one-way flow of influence from elder to younger. The influence worked both ways.
Review: On the one hand, Jennifer Higdon’s solidly crafted Low Brass Concerto, which received its world premiere Feb. 1 by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, enjoyed artful framing by three brilliant pieces from by a wide range of top-flight composers from the past. On the other hand, well, see above. The premiere featured four veteran members of the CSO brass section.
Review: Any deeply satisfying concerto performance bespeaks a close collaboration between soloist and conductor, yet even by that measure the majestic and probing Brahms First Piano Concerto delivered by Kirill Gerstein with Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 17 was a rare, one might say time-stopping, experience.
Review: I caught up belatedly with the Chicago Symphony’s season-opening program under music director Riccardo Muti – a spritz of modernism in Penderecki’s “The Awakening of Jacob,” soloist Anne-Sophie Mutter’s spell-binding flight through the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto and Muti’s revelatory account of Schumann’s Second Symphony — then two nights later heard the program that continues through Oct. 1: the world premiere of CSO resident composer Elizabeth Ogonek’s alluring “All These Lighted Things” and perhaps the greatest performance of Bruckner’s Fourth Symphony that I’ve witnessed in 50 years as a critic.
Review: Riccardo Muti still has one program to go in this, his seventh season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. We might think of the impending finale – a mixed bag of orchestral music, choruses and arias from Italian opera in concerts June 22-25 – as a grand encore to the conductor’s roundly rewarding season of appearances with the CSO. Or perhaps as a festive postlude to his splendid traversal of Brahms’ symphonies over the last two weeks.
Review: Ordinarily, the idea of hearing Brahms’ four ultra-familiar symphonies performed consecutively over two weekends might seem, well, unimaginative. Brahms in the care of CSO music director Riccardo Muti suddenly transforms the routine into a journey of discovery greatly to be anticipated. And illuminating it was when Muti led Brahms’ First and Second Symphonies on May 4 at Orchestra Hall to commence a cycle that winds up May 11-13 when the CSO turns to Symphonies 3 and 4.
Review: With music director Riccardo Muti back on the podium, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra delivered a bravura world premiere with Samuel Adams’ “many words of love,” framed by an elegant and emotionally charged performance of Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto with soloist Mitsuko Uchida and a vivacious account of Schumann’s Fourth Symphony, which remarkably enough the CSO had not played since 2003.
Review: Some 600,000 of the curious, and proud, already have taken the long, long escalator ride from street level to the eighth-floor lobby of Hamburg’s brand-new Elbphilharmonie concert hall, where the Chicago Symphony in concerts Jan. 14-15 became the first foreign orchestra to perform on its stage. Both the curiosity and the pride were understandable.
Review: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s current series of concerts with music director Riccardo Muti spotlights one of its own — principal cellist John Sharp in an elegant and lyrical turn through the Schumann concerto. But the program also previews the CSO’s January tour of Europe, and the performance Oct. 14 no doubt anticipated the coming response abroad: The crowd went wild.
Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director Riccardo Muti has long and eagerly shared his love for some 19th-century Italian composers who are otherwise slipping into history. For Giuseppe Martucci’s formidable song cycle “La canzone dei ricordi” (Song of Remembrance), Muti brought in another persuasive advocate, the mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato. An electrifying Beethoven Seventh Symphony lit up the concert’s second half.
Report: Mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato was about to make her Chicago Symphony Orchestra debut with music director Riccardo Muti in a rare Italian work, and bass-baritone Eric Owens, over at the Lyric Opera, was readying the role of Wotan, king of the gods in Wagner’s “Ring” cycle, for the first time in his career. Yet these three internationally celebrated artists made time to perform for youths within the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, where boys in conflict with the law, most in their mid to late teens, are held for an intensive period of education and intervention designed to set them on a safer course.
Review: Picking up right where they left off at the end of last season, with glorious Bruckner, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti opened their 2016-17 series Sept. 22 by illuminating the sonorous towers and spiritual depths of the Seventh Symphony. And after a drawn-out period in flux, the CSO finally has a settled on its quartet of solo winds.
Review: When Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra open their 2016-17 season at Orchestra Hall in September, it’s going to feel very much like picking up where the current season ended, with one of the splendorous symphonies by the 19th-century Austrian composer Anton Bruckner. To have just heard the Ninth is to look forward to next season’s opener, Bruckner’s Seventh Symphony, with electric anticipation.
Review: Julia Fischer’s exquisite performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Muti is one of the CSO’s don’t-miss concerts of this season. And happily, you have one more chance to hear it, on June 21 at Orchestra Hall.
Report: The burning gaze of Fritz Reiner, who presided as sixth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1953-62, is back in full daunting view at Symphony Center, where on June 14 the CSO unveiled a new bust of the conductor that will greet visitors henceforth in the center’s outer lobby.
Preview: The Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus help to observe the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in April with performances of two major works under the baton of CSO music director Riccard Muti – Berlioz’s dramatic symphony “Roméo et Juliette” and a concert version of Verdi’s last opera, “Falstaff.” The demands the two works place on the chorus, says director Duain Wolfe, could hardly be more different.
News Release: CHICAGO — Distinguished Russian conductor Gennady Rozhdestvensky, who is currently in Chicago to lead the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in performances of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 1 & 15 this weekend February 5 & 6, has graciously agreed to remain with the Orchestra for an additional set of concerts on February 11, 12, 13 & 16. Rozhdestvensky steps in for CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti, who had to withdraw from his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation.
News Release: CHICAGO — CSO Music Director Riccardo Muti is unable to conduct his February concerts in Chicago due to recovery from a hip operation that was needed following a minor accident. The concert scheduled for February 19 at Holy Name Cathedral will be postponed with a new date to be announced. A guest conductor or conductors for the CSO’s performances February 11-20 will also be announced at a later date.
Review: What was good was very good in the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s concert with music director Riccardo Muti on Oct. 1 at Orchestra Hall. Then came the program’s bizarre second half, which recalled the previous week’s fare and left one wondering just how weird – and musically marginal – the CSO’s 125th anniversary season will turn out to be.
Review: Who knew that a big middle-period work by Beethoven and a Tchaikovsky symphony would add up to a completely new concert experience? But such was the exhilarating sum of a Chicago Symphony Orchestra program that paired Beethoven’s Concerto for Piano, Violin and Cello with Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 2 in C minor conducted by CSO music director Riccardo Muti.
Review: Riccardo Muti’s season of advocacy for the symphonies of Alexander Scriabin must be reckoned a blazing success, even with one work remaining for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra music director to conduct when he makes his final appearances of the season at Orchestra Hall in June. Scriabin’s Second Symphony, currently featured in CSO concerts that continue through March 3, makes the point of musical merit as well as that of historical neglect.
Review: It was a sad time for Chicago’s musical community, which had lost two respected musicians within days of each other. By astonishing coincidence the scheduled program, dedicated to their memory, included the Requiem by Mozart, whose own life slipped away from him as he wrote it. A bit of the Lacrymosa is the last passage in Mozart’s own hand.
Review: Perhaps it’s simply a matter of time zones and surroundings, but the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, playing the same music it had performed in its recent visit to Paris and Vienna, delivered a knockout performance at New York’s Carnegie Hall on Jan. 30 that outshone its best in those European capitals.
Report: Keith Buncke was still a Curtis Institute of Music student in February 2014 when he won the principal bassoon job, at 20, with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. Now 21, he has taken a second bounce, and it’s a big one – to become the new principal at the CSO.
Review: In broad, round terms, the figure of pianist Yefim Bronfman taking his seat at the keyboard to play Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2 in B-flat with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and conductor Riccardo Muti on Jan. 15 immediately brought to mind images of the composer in exactly that posture. When Bronfman’s serene – really beyond sublime – performance had ended, that evocative association only felt confirmed.
Interview: Habitués of Chicago’s Orchestra Hall have something in common with audiences in Vienna who heard the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s final European tour concerts last week at the Musikverein. They know the droll, often outrageously funny side of the CSO’s artistically exacting music director, Riccardo Muti. But the conductor was all seriousness when he declared the orchestra’s latest European tour a big success.