I’ve been a bit behind in updating the blog (2 midterms and a seemingly constant barrage of problem sets do not help…), but this week is definitely much better, so I’ve finally got some time to catch up.
So about two weeks ago was Maestro Muti’s last concert in Chicago. He just finished up a series of concerts with the Vienna Philharmonic last week (at the Musikverein!) and is headed to Japan to conduct a staged production of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro with the Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera). Anyways, four pieces made up the program: Dvorak’s Husitska overture, Schumann’s Cello Concerto, Hindemith’s Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass, and Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition.
CSO principal cellist, John Sharp, was the soloist for Schumann’s Cello Concerto, which, along with Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, were the two main works of the evening. Sharp is one of my favorite players in the CSO and it was really cool to hear him featured as soloist. Plus, this concerto is one of the great “Romantic-era” pieces for the cello (although the Dvorak is still my favorite). There was one point during the piece, where he and Ken Olsen (CSO assistant principal cellist) play this one section together, and their lines just meshed together so well.
Maestro Muti has conducted the Mussorgsky many times, live and in recording, but this was only the first time that I’ve heard him conduct this live in concert. It’s originally a piece for the piano, but was orchestrated by Ravel (with a solo saxophone part!). It’s also one of the main parts of the CSO’s tour to Europe in January (along with the Catalani/Strauss from the last program), so even though this was probably just routine playing for the orchestra in prep for the tour, the performance was a fine rendition, showing the tip-top shape of the orchestra (under Muti of course). Can’t wait until he returns in February for Prokofiev’s Ivan the Terrible (with Gerard Depardieu)!!!
I’ll also put up post on my trip to Lyric to see Lucia di Lammermoor this past Tuesday (which was fantastic by the way), conducted by Enrique Mazzola.