Despite his late taking up of Mahler, the symphonies of Bruckner were central to Daniel Barenboim’s conducting repertoire early on, and in fact, he recorded the CSO’s first full cycle of those works back in the 1970s, a cycle successful enough to convince then-music-director Sir Georg Solti to record his own admittedly far superior cycle with the orchestra. The Bruckner Ninth, his last, it is a magnificent though unfinished work that serves as an appropriate metaphor for Barenboim’s entire tenure as CSO music director: there has been much beauty, to be sure, but there is also ambiguity and much left unfulfilled as he conducts his second-to-last concert in that position. An encore performance of Boulez’s “Notations” I-IV and VII opens the concert, the only one of the three final Barenboim “farewell” concerts with tickets left unsold at press time. (Dennis Polkow)
June 16 at Orchestra Hall.