Photo: Anne Ryan
This is the third and final week of Riccardo Muti’s busy summer residency and the final week of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s 2012-13 season. As we have come to expect, Muti has been leading extraordinary performances with the CSO, including a rare and wonderful foray into Wagner last week.
One of the most fascinating aspects of the transition from the first week of Muti’s June residency, which featured principal horn Dale Clevenger struggling with the high horn parts of the Haydn “Maria Theresa” Symphony, to last week’s concerts, which featured assistant principal horn Daniel Gingrich taking over the horn calls for “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” was that Clevenger decided to retire a couple of weeks early in unannounced last appearances. Read the rest of this entry »
Rudolf Buchbinder/Photo: Marco Borggreve
Riccardo Muti’s distaste for Wagner is widely known, but even he cannot ignore the fact that the influential composer that devotees refer to as simply “The Master” had his 200th birthday on May 22.
As such, Muti is performing two orchestral interludes of Wagner at this week’s concerts, “Siegfried’s Rhine Journey,” performed as part of the Rivers Festival, and recently added to the announced program, “Siegfried’s Funeral March.”
Thankfully, Muti has a higher opinion of Bruckner, the composer of whom it is often said that if Wagner were to have written symphonies, they would have sounded like Bruckner. Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: Todd Rosenberg
That Riccardo Muti is one of Scriabin’s greatest champions is no surprise: his recordings of the complete symphonies and tone poems of Scriabin when he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra stand as one of his most significant recording projects and Muti remains unparalleled in this repertoire.
Performing Scriabin’s Third Symphony, “The Divine Poem,” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is one of the most anticipated performances of the 2012-13 season, which Muti returns to this week to conclude with three weeks of concerts.
Even more curious is Muti’s first foray into the music of Martinu, a composer he has never conducted before. This week’s performances of the Martinu Oboe Concerto is the outgrowth of Muti wanting to perform a work with Chicago Symphony principal oboist Eugene Izotov, “a great oboe player,” says Muti, and the Martinu Oboe Concerto was Izotov’s choice. “So, I expand my repertoire,” says Muti. Read the rest of this entry »
It has been twenty-three years since drummer Danny Seraphine has been part of the group Chicago, which he co-founded in 1967 with the late Terry Kath and Walt Parazaider as the Big Thing. (The three had also previously worked together in Jimmy Ford and the Executives and the Missing Links.)
By the time of the group’s first album, a double LP, the band became Chicago Transit Authority, shortened to Chicago by the second album when the real CTA threatened to sue. Ironically, Chicago Transit Authority had moved to Los Angeles before becoming a success and Seraphine’s new band is called California Transit Authority. Read the rest of this entry »
Chance the Rapper’s sophomore digi-release lets folks know he’s more than just “people with ideas.” He’s an emotive writer, a funny dude and a talented musician. And for what it’s worth, his new disc, “Acid Rap,” trumps most anything Chicago’s offered in the last few years. But what he’s left behind since issuing “#10Day” last year is a dynamic sense of composition. Lyrically, there’s no fall off—although Chance does break out that weird strangled croak a bit more often—but musically, the dusty sense of wonder’s been usurped. Everything’s slickly done and well produced. So, for those expecting thirteen tracks of De La Soul-inspired beats, it’s not here in the same volume. What Chance has replaced all that with is just about as entrancing, though. Beats are smooth, guests are plentiful—perhaps a bit too much—and the MC reflects on what he’s accomplished. Read the rest of this entry »
The excursion boat Theodore Roosevelt heads east under the State Street bridge in 1910/Photo: The Lost Panoramas (CityFilesPress.com)
By Dennis Polkow
City on a river. Chicago is many things, but whatever qualities that make Chicago Chicago exist in no small part because it is a city on a river, albeit a river by and large taken for granted.
For many of us, our own placement as a city on a river is something we forget about until we are inconvenienced by having to go over a bridge or have to wait for a bridge that a boat is passing through or that is undergoing construction.
“The Chicago River is the city’s defining characteristic because it is what built the city,” says Martha Gilmer, vice president for artistic planning and audience development at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the curator of the CSO’s month-long Rivers Festival which runs May 9-June 9. “The river has taken a second place to our lakefront, but Mayor Daley—and now Rahm Emanuel—is very interested in the development of the Chicago River.” Read the rest of this entry »
Photo: John Mourlas
By Dave Cantor
Black-clad freaks, gather. We’re here today eulogizing Oyarsa and its untimely demise. The metal duo still had so much to explore. But Noah Coleman has seen fit to take his guitar to the unknown wilds of northern Idaho, where the only thing outnumbering trees and mountains are militia men, dedicated to wresting freedom from some invisible tyrant—some secret Muslim.
The death rattle, its fits and shivers, has made seeking perspective on Oyarsa’s final Chicago performance from musicians sharing the bill a healing thing—one that can’t replace what Chicago’s losing, but can serve as a coda to the band’s truncated career. Read the rest of this entry »
Phto: Aatish Puniani
Every Sunday, DJs Esteban La Groue and Dave Mata lug a sizable chunk of their record collection, packed in a dozen or so crates and backpacks, to The Owl in Logan Square. They are the Impala Sound Champions, spinning six hours of vinyl, including soul, boogie, rap classics, reggae and rock ‘n’ roll. On a Friday or Saturday night, their selection would have any dance floor packed and sweaty. Sundays bring a more relaxed atmosphere, but not without a healthy dance floor.
Last month marked the first night in a new monthly mixtape series wherein Impala Sound Champions is featuring DJs from other cities. Prior to their guest appearance, each DJ compiles a two-sided mixtape cassette to be duplicated and given away to twenty early attendees. DJ Akalepse made the voyage from Brooklyn for the premiere of his mixtape “Stop the World/Truth and Soul,” which featured cover art by Chicago graffiti artist Slang. While the tape granted some lucky patrons a little piece of DJ Akalepse to keep here in Chicago, they also copped a small original illustration by the artist famed for his El train mural honoring the life of Mayor Harold Washington when he passed back in 1987. Read the rest of this entry »
2013 is the bicentennial of both Wagner and Verdi. Whereas Verdi will be getting numerous salutes from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, oddly enough, Wagner, whose influence spread across the continent and even influenced Verdi himself, is getting quite little by comparison, particularly odd given that the CSO is considered by many to be the greatest Wagnerian orchestra in the world.
The biggest Wagner salute comes this week from Finnish conductor-composer Esa-Pekka Salonen, a relative newcomer to Wagner but who like so many contemporary composers, including Pierre Boulez, has been influenced and remains enraptured by the music. Salonen will be conducting two performances of the Prelude and Act II of Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” with German tenor Stefan Vinke as Tristan and soprano Linda Watson as Isolde. Act II includes the most rapturous and sensual music between the lovers. The Prelude will be the subject of a Beyond the Score entry called “The Tristan Effect” with Salonen and the CSO sans the singers. Read the rest of this entry »
By Dave Cantor
Operating under the auspices of psychedelia leaves a yawning gap to fill—anything from hazy electronic explorations to heavy-handed rock workouts might manifest itself on a bill with such a broad purpose as the Hideout-hosted Psych Fest.
Headlining the event’s first evening, Mako Sica skirt most hamfisted attempts to conjure a solid understanding of whatever psych might be. Brent Fuscaldo, one of the band’s guitarists, rattles off a litany of music he and bandmates fawn over—everything from jazz to Afro-pop and back again. But it’s only in the band’s application of its interests does the trio’s inclusion on the bill make sense.
“We never really thought of our band as psychedelic music. … It’s hard to describe what we sound like, so it’s nice to be invited to a festival like this,” Fuscaldo says. “We share something with these bands—our music’s hard to define—but I like bills like that, when [music’s] all over the map. Read the rest of this entry »