If, like so many modern music lovers, you are still wondering whether or not Shostakovich is largely a hack despite a handful of appealing scores, the 1962 Symphony No. 13, “Baba Yar,” named after a nearly forgotten village near Kiev where Nazis massacred Jews in 1941, is a great place to start. This was the piece that convinced late CSO music director Sir Georg Solti to explore select scores of the composer late in his life after a career of ignoring most of them, and the Solti/CSO recording, complete with the Yevtushenko poems that inspired the work read by Anthony Hopkins, is a powerful testament to the work as well as to the evils of tyranny and anti-Semitism. If the recent revealing James Conlon/CSO performance of Symphony No. 13 is any indication, this should be a special performance indeed, with bass Paata Burchuladze and men of the spectacular Chicago Symphony Chorus being brought in, rather than dumping the women of the CSO chorus for a non-equity substandard choral substitute as Ravinia shamelessly did recently for the Mahler Third. Pianist Joyce Yang performs the Second Piano Concerto of Prokofiev, who lived in Chicago for a time, believe it or not, as an opener. (Dennis Polkow)
July 22 at Ravinia Festival’s Martin Theatre, Lake-Cook and Green Bay Rds., Highland Park, (847) 266-5100. 7:30pm. $10-$45.