Muti Conducts Strauss and Bruckner (Chicago)

Tuesday night was the 4th performance of the Strauss/Bruckner program that opened the CSO’s 126th season, and it was a great way to kick off my start of the concert season. Three pieces made up the program for the night: Mussorgsky’s Night on Bald Mountain, Richard Strauss’ Don Juan, and Bruckner’s 7th Symphony. The first, mostly just a showpiece, did however feature an incredible finale – I couldn’t see who exactly was playing from where I was sitting, but I think it was a clarinet/flute solo…and the playing was absolutely sublime – the instruments were indeed “singing”. I know the CSO brass gets a lot of credit, but the wind section is pretty darn good too IMO, and this was also evident in Don Juan.

I’ve become somewhat of a fan of Bruckner’s music, pretty weird considering how I’m not that huge of a fan of Wagner’s music. But I guess my personal dislike of Wagner’s music stems purely from its length and not the content of the music itself, if that makes any sense. Wagner’s pieces are really masterful compositions…but I feel like at times it just drones on and on and on…seemingly without any end. (I really wish I had the patience…maybe I’ll develop it eventually.) Anyways, I bring up Wagner because of course, Wagner was a huge influence on Bruckner’s music, and it was pretty clear right away. In fact, towards the end of the first movement, there was just an uncanny resemblance to the opening of Das Rheingold that immediately came up in my mind.  And, I haven’t read up too closely on the use of Wagner tubas and stuff like that, but you could definitely hear the similarities between the two composers. Even the lady sitting next to me was like, “definitely Wagner.”Anyways, similar to Bruckner 2 in Salzburg, Maestro Muti led a beautifully rendered performance of the 7th, with the refined and subtle moments contrasting with the grandiosity and regality of the piece. The only thing that bothered me  was that there was some big guy sitting in the front, right behind Maestro Muti, who had the nerve to comment (pretty loudly too) on how they were playing. He then proceeded to comment multiple times throughout the piece…and I’m just like, seriously dude – save your opinions for after or just leave if you don’t like it.

ALSO, BY THE WAY, THE COOLEST THING HAPPENED (sorry for writing in all caps, but this was such a super exciting moment haha)!! I was sitting in the very first row on the left side of the main floor (totally love it when the student ticket seats are on the main floor), so I was up pretty close to the stage. After the Mussorgsky piece ended and Maestro Muti walked off the podium, he actually looked down and saw me! And then, he proceeded to point me out and wave to me!! I definitely saw some envious looks from the people around me 😀 I couldn’t believe that he actually remembered me. I mean, he did say that in Salzburg, but I still had the slightest of doubts and thought that maybe he was just trying to be nice to an overenthusiastic student/fan. So yeah, this was basically just a really cool moment and is definitely the best thing to happen so far this week. Hopefully this luck translates to the new school year as well 😀

Tonight is the first performance of the Martucci/Catalani/Beethoven program with Joyce DiDonato – can’t wait!

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