Muti Returns


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Riccardo Muti returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on February 3, 2011.

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Muti Returns

  1. 1. B A C K S TA G E AT S Y MP H O N Y C E N T E R F E BRUA RY 2 011 MUTI RE TURNSJoin us for a month of dynamic collaborations! CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA RICCARDO MUTI Music Director 312-294-3000 • CSO.ORG Global Sponsor of the CSO
  2. 2. &2 B A C K S TA G E FEBRUARY 2 011 c s o.o r g • 312-2 94 - 3 0 0 0 3 Thursday, February 3, 8:00 Friday, February 4, 1:30 Saturday, February 5, 8:00 Tuesday, February 8, 7:30 United Airlines Tuesdays MUTI M I T S U KO Chicago Symphony Orchestra Riccardo Muti conductor Mitsuko Uchida piano Cherubini Overture in G Major Schumann Piano Concerto Shostakovich Symphony No. 5 Riccardo Muti begins his winter residency with the Schumann Piano Concerto featuring Mitsuko Uchida. Uchida, regarded as one of the supreme interpreters of Schumann, has commented on the composer and his work: Was he a great pianist? The answer is no. His wife Clara was. He had such fantasy. He had such imagination, a unique imagination. It is so difficult to really get through to Schumann because, by twisting a motif, for example, he creates completely unexpected dissonances...In this piece, the hidden motif (comes from) Clara. (The “Clara motif,” based on the five letters of her name, can be found in many of Schumann’s works.) It’s his affection and love for Clara. It’s in many of his pieces, but in this piece very strongly so. He composed this piece as a fantasy first, and then someone pointed out it should be expanded into a concerto. Maestro Muti ends the program with Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5, an intense, triumphant symphonic statement that left audience members weeping and applauding for 40 minutes at its premiere. In 1936, Shostakovich had been the target of brutal criticism from the Soviet government for creating music that was “vulgar, formalistic, neurotic.” The composer’s Fifth Symphony is a powerful, succinct response to those scathing attacks. The theme, Shostakovich said, “is the making of a man. I saw man with all his experiences in the center of the composition...lyrical in form from beginning to end.” C S O R E S O U N D R E C O R D I N G O f S H O S TA K O v I C H 5 Mitsuko Uchida The Chicago Tribune described the CSO’s 2006 performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 as an “absorbing” account, with “playing of admirable gravity, depth, commitment, and power.” This recording, led by conductor Myung-Whun Chung, is available for download from CSO Resound. Visit to download. CSO Tuesday series concerts are sponsored by United Airlines.
  3. 3. &4 B A C K S TA G E FEBRUARY 2 011 c s o.o r g • 312-2 94 - 3 0 0 0 5 Thursday, February 10, 8:00 Friday, February 11, 1:30 Saturday, February 12, 8:00 Tuesday, February 15, 7:30 United Airlines Tuesdays M UT I C lY N E TC H A I KOv S K Y Anna Clyne Chicago Symphony Orchestra Riccardo Muti conductor Vadim Repin violin Clyne <<rewind<< Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto Hindemith Symphony in E-Flat Tchaikovsky dedicated his violin concerto to the A N N A C lY N E O N <<rewind<< great violinist Leopold Auer, who returned the piece I wrote <<rewind<< in 2005. It was my first serious The work is demanding for the strings because to the composer, declaring it “unplayable.” Auer’s attempt at orchestral writing. The entire work is there is a lot of repetition, which is physically quite pronouncement postponed the premiere for several about seven minutes for orchestra and tape. At the challenging. The percussion parts also are very years, and its first performance, with an under end, you’ll hear a literal rewind of the music itself, challenging because I only left just enough time for rehearsed orchestra and messy score, was a disaster. prerecorded and then triggered by a laptop. the musicians to switch instruments. But the players Today, the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto is beloved as a always find a way to do it. masterpiece and is treasured among violinists. Critics There were three sources of inspiration for the piece. glowingly described Maestro Muti and soloist Vadim I’m especially inspired by collaborations with other Having the CSO perform <<rewind<< at Carnegie Repin’s recent collaboration: “It’s not easy to make a artists outside of music, especially choreography. Hall (on tour in April) is so exciting. It feels like a repertory chestnut like Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto While I was writing the piece, I had in mind the work completion of a circle for me: I lived in New York, come across as the audaciously original work it of Kitty McNamee, the artistic director of Hysterica wrote the piece there, and then came here to Chicago. seemed at its 1881 premiere. But this is what Mr. Dance Company in Los Angeles. I love her use of It feels quite special. Muti and his brilliant soloist, Vadim Repin, achieved” repetitive physical gestures to create a structure for (New York Times). her work. So, throughout <<rewind<< there are some It’s a great honor to work with Maestro Muti. Of very stark percussive hits that recur, which were course, he is such a unique musician and human The CSO gives its first performance of <<rewind<<, written with Kitty’s choreography in mind. being. His vision of bringing music to communities of a work by CSO Mead Composer-in-Residence Anna people, his real care for music and its ability to speak Clyne, who, Maestro Muti says “is an artist who Another inspiration for <<rewind<< is a visual so directly to people regardless of background—those writes from the heart, who defies categorization and image of analog tape actually rewinding—scrolling are such strong impressions. One of the lovely things who reaches across all barriers and boundaries.” backwards, skipping, and freezing—suggesting the about this residency is joining such a wonderful chaotic, frenetic quality to the piece, which moves team—the administrative staff and the musicians In another CSO first performance, Maestro Muti leads very fast. themselves. Meeting the musicians has made it the Orchestra in Hindemith’s Symphony in E-flat. so much more personal. It’s not just an orchestra This rarely performed four-movement work was one I wrote the piece when I was living in New York City. performing the work, but individuals. And that’s a of the first pieces the composer wrote after settling I would work during the day and did most of the very unusual position to be in. Usually, an orchestra in the U.S. It opens in a brawny way, with glorious writing at night. And New York is certainly a city is much more anonymous. brass fanfares and themes layered in contrapuntal that does not sleep. While working, I heard a bunch of development, followed by a longer, brooding slow sirens going by, and the pitches and textures sounded Totally relocating to a new city can be quite daunting, movement. The last two movements, played without great. So, I took that sound and put it in a section but I’ve just felt so welcome—not only by the CSO but pause, display sweeping brass in a triumphant finish. where the horns have a slow glissandi and bending, by people in the community. And that outlook in the Muti’s recent performance of this symphony was sustaining tones. It’s interesting how environment neighborhood and city creates a positive environment Vadim Repin hailed as “so brilliant that it was impossible not to be can influence a piece. for creativity. It is a really fertile environment to be swept away” (New York Times). in, so I’m very excited to be here! CSO Tuesday series concerts are sponsored by United Airlines.
  4. 4. 6 B A C K S TA G E FEBRUARY 2 011 c s o.o r g • 312-2 94 - 3 0 0 0 7 & Thursday, February 17, 8:00 Friday, February 18, 8:00 “Leif Ove Andsnes was the Saturday, February 19, 8:00 soloist in a vibrant, brilliant M U T I ANd S N E S performance of Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2…. This was the first time the BR A H M S youthful Norwegian pianist and this veteran Italian maestro had worked together, and they seemed inspired Chicago Symphony Orchestra by each other’s artistry.... Riccardo Muti conductor Mr. Andsnes, an Apollonian Leif Ove Andsnes piano pianist, brought out what Stravinsky Suite from The Fairy’s Kiss could be considered the score’s Varèse Arcana Italianate qualities. He could Brahms Piano Concerto No. 2 not have had a better ally in this than Mr. Muti.” Maestro Muti opens these programs with the Suite from The Fairy’s Kiss, which Stravinsky wrote at the behest of dancer Ida Rubinstein, who wanted a work for —New York Times her company based on the music of Tchaikovsky. Stravinsky, who idolized the composer, used some of Tchaikovsky’s songs and piano miniatures as source material. For the storyline, he chose Hans Christian Andersen’s dark tale The Ice Maiden, which tells the story of a hapless young man, hopelessly doomed by the wicked fairy’s kiss. Varèse described his 20-minute Arcana as a symphonic poem. The explosive work, filled with vivid colors and fierce rhythms, requires a huge orchestra and massive percussion section. To end the program, Maestro Muti and extraordinary pianist Leif Ove Andsnes share the stage for Brahms’ Piano Concerto No. 2. Andsnes comments: I performed it with Maestro Muti several years ago and performed it quite a bit during that season. But it was the first time I had worked with him. This concerto is special, glorious music. There is a completely unique interplay with the piano and orchestra. It is so perfect, so integrated, so seamless. It is a huge piece for the pianist. That’s why I waited so long before performing it. There are some awkward piano parts where passages do not fall very naturally under the hand. But there is also some very fantastic piano Leif Ove Andsnes writing—big chordal sections and also very filigreed parts, seeming to come from nature, in the last movement. Brahms composed it in Italy during a happy time. Although there are some heavy passages, it finishes in a happy way, and it is very much influenced by gypsy music. What struck me about performing with Maestro Muti is how naturally, how beautifully he made everything come together. It came about so effortlessly and seamlessly. There is an amazing charisma there. He shows it through tremendous respect for the score. How he cared so much about the written dynamics. Most of all, the sense of space and spaciousness that he gets in the music. Time stood still. H E A R A N D S N E S I N A S O lO R E C I TA l O N A P R I l 3 Leif Ove Andsnes returns to Orchestra Hall for a solo recital on April 3—his first recital in Chicago since 2005. The program includes Beethoven’s Sonata in C Major (Waldstein) and Sonata in C Minor, Op. 111, Brahms Four Ballades and Schoenbergs Six Little Piano Pieces.
  5. 5. CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA 220 South Michigan Avenue Chicago, IL 60604-2559G RAM M Y ® - N OMI N ATE DOwn Riccardo Muti’s first recording with the CSO!Now available on iTunes and in stores Support the symphony you love! Help maintain our outstanding performances and innovative education and community engagement programs by making a gift to the CSO today! Contact our Development Office at 312-294-3100 or visit Muti’s inaugural season concerts are sponsored by the following donors: Randy and Melvin Berlin, Dean L. and RosemarieBuntrock, Gilchrist Foundation, The Grainger Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. Dietrich M. Gross, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Lane, Alexandra and JohnNichols, Mrs. Robert E. Sargent and the Zell Family Foundation. 312-294-3000 • Cso.orGAdditional support has been provided by: Julie and Roger Baskes, Rhoda Lea and Henry S. Frank, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas C. Heagy,Mr. and Mrs. Sanfred Koltun, Margot and Josef Lakonishok, National Endowment for the Arts, Mr. Richard Tribble and an anonymous donor. Artists, prices, and programs subject to change.