Dvorak is best known as an orchestral composer who wrote bright, Czech-influenced “Slavonic Dances,” symphonies, a memorable cello concerto and chamber music, but the Dvorak who wrote the large-scale choral work “Stabat Mater” represents a more introspective and meditative side of the composer, a man who lost three children within the first four years of his marriage. Turning to the famous medieval poem that portrays the grief of Mary at the foot of the cross of Jesus, Dvorak found setting the text with four soloists and a full chorus and orchestra an expression of his grief. It is a work that is rarely performed and has a moving effect on both performers and audiences, despite its length of almost ninety minutes, and should provide an extraordinary showcase for the Grant Park Symphony Orchestra and Chorus along with soprano Jonita Lattimore, mezzo-soprano Alexandra Petersamer, tenor Joseph Kaiser and bass James Westman and conductor Carlos Kalmar. (Dennis Polkow)
August 16 at Pritzker Pavilion.