Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Nott conducts CSO


* Notes * 
Last weekend Jonathan Nott (pictured left, photograph by Thomas Müller) conducted Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Schoenberg's Piano Concerto and Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde. The concert started with the former, the soloist being Pierre-Laurent Aimard, who played with clarity. The orchestra sounded neat and together. Schoenberg's music tends to put pressure on my sinuses, perhaps it is simply tension, and after the piano concerto was over, I sneezed three times in quick succession. Das Lied von der Erde was more engaging, even if we happened to be sitting on the wrong side of the singers. It felt a bit as if we were part of the brass section. Stuart Skelton's voice was not quite expansive enough to be heard that distinctly from the Center Terrace, but his sound is pretty and his diction comprehensible. Michelle DeYoung was perfectly audible, her voice has an interesting metallic quality, and she sang the last part rather well.

* Tattling * 
The audience completely quiet for the Schoenberg, but some talking was heard during the Mahler. A few people on the Orchestra Level were clearly asleep, but one young man near the front was rapt by DeYoung's performance.

Dutoit conducts CSO

CSO * Notes * 
On Tuesday night Charles Dutoit conducted Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Berlioz, Penderecki, and Elgar. The concert began with Berlioz's Roman Carnival Overture. The brass was clear, and the piece was played with much charm. For some reason, I experienced the Concerto grosso for Three Cellos and Orchestra from Penderecki that followed as an unrelenting stomachache. The most of the phrases seemed rather sinister to me, especially those shared by the low strings. The soloists, John Sharp, Kenneth Olsen, and Katinka Kleijn, played well. The principal horn sounded mellow and clear. After the intermission came Elgar's Enigma Variations. The orchestra had a glittering, tight-knit sound. The clarinet and viola soli were particularly beautiful. The cello melody in XII was lucid and lovely.

* Tattling * 
The audience was silent for first half of the program. At least 4 people on the orchestra were either concentrating with their eyes closed during Penderecki, or were asleep. There was light whispering during Elgar. The person in A 102 of the Center Terrace rather mysteriously told his companion in A 104 "second tier, first medallion" near the end of Elgar.