Riccardo Muti Conducts Brahms 3 and 4

This past Tuesday, I managed to fit in one more CSO performance of Brahms’ 1 and 2 before heading back last night to hear Brahms’ 3 and 4, which was definitely a fulfilling completion of the entire Brahms’ symphony cycle. It was nice to have the two performances almost back-to-back, which made the experience much more immersive. And as an awesome bonus, after Tuesday’s performance, Maestro Muti managed to see me (and wave hello!) as he was walking to and from the podium for his curtain calls, so that was super cool.

If I had to rank all the symphonies in terms of my favorites (even though they’re all really good!!), I would probably rank the third and fourth at the top of my lists, as I find that they’re a little bit more lyrical than the first two – the third movement of the third symphony is absolutely sublime. Plus, I’ve had the experiences of listening to them being rehearsed by Maestro Muti and the Civic Orchestra, so I have a little bit of a better conception of what they’re like in terms of musical structure.

As I’ve said before, Maestro Muti (again) clearly brought out the Viennese/Schubert-like qualities of Brahms’ music and did not overpower the classical structures of the third and fourth symphonies with their also inherent Romanticism, which can easily be done if not conducted carefully – another reason why Maestro Muti is one of the best conductors out there (the best in my opinion 😀 ). The orchestra played with both a noted lyrical sensitivity and a powerful sound that expertly followed Brahms’ dynamic markings. I can easily say that this one of the coolest experiences I’ve had, as it isn’t that often that you get to hear an orchestra go through an entire Brahms cycle, least of all in one week and with Maestro Muti conducting!

Depending on what my summer plans turn out to be (still waiting to hear some updates from my research advisor), this might be my last CSO concerts of the 2016-2017 season (I really, really want to hear Maestro Muti conduct some Verdi next month in Chicago, but alas, it might not turn to be in favor with my schedule…hopefully that changes!) If that is the case though, then this Brahms cycle was a great way to end the season — now I should probably start preparing for Maestro Muti’s academy in Ravenna, which I am looking forward to a lot. Aida is another one of Verdi’s great operas, and I’m very excited to learn about the opera from Maestro Muti, especially since he’ll have just finished conducting it in Salzburg by the time the academy rolls around 😀

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