2 0 1 3 / 1 4 SEASON H I GHL I GHT
23
The temptation to read tragic meaning into Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s
Sixth Symphony is as old as the music itself. The composer himself
suggested to his nephew that this new symphony embodied “such
a program that will remain a mystery to everyone—let them guess.”
The only clues left us are the title,
Pathétique, and the music’s
slight traces of mourning rituals (the trombones quote a Russian
Orthodox chant for the dead).
Tchaikovsky’s sudden death from cholera within nine days of
the symphony’s premiere enhanced public perception of the
music’s somber qualities. After a memorial performance in St.
Petersburg just days after the composer’s passing, the Russian
Musical Gazette
deemed it “a sort of swan song, a presentiment of
imminent death.”
Yet for all its gloomy circumstances, the score itself is among
Tchaikovsky’s most inspired creations, drawing tears and
passionate applause from audiences today just as it did at its first
performance. A very low bassoon solo emerges from the silence to
swell into a soaring principal theme—one of Tchaikovsky’s greatest
melodies—then fades to the quietest pianissimo
only to return in
a thrilling climax.
The inner movements provide a much needed contrast from the
first’s drama. A famously elusive waltz in 5/4 time leads into a
brilliant march, shot through with foreboding melancholy. A
despairing cry launches the finale, and an outpouring of melody
darkens and intensifies to a threatening quiet. A composer
famous for grandiose and operatic gestures leaves us with defeat,
disintegration and the fading flutter of a heartbeat.
PERFORMED MAY 1–3
CHRISTOPH VON DOHNÁNYI conductor
Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 6
(Pathétique)
OCTOBER 26
PROKOFIEV AND WALTON
Semyon Bychkov
conductor
Kirill Gerstein
piano
Prokofiev
Piano Concerto No. 2
Walton
Symphony No. 1
Semyon Bychkov conducts two fiery
works by composers early in their careers,
each reflecting a personal crisis. Prokofiev’s
penetrating Second Piano Concerto,
performed by Russian-born Kirill Gerstein,
includes one of the most stunning cadenzas in
the repertoire. Walton’s lush and propulsive
First Symphony reflects his anguish over the
end of his first great love.
DECEMBER 7
BERLIOZ
SYMPHONIE FANTASTIQUE
Stéphane Denève
conductor
James Ehnes
violin
Weber
The Ruler of the Spirits
Overture
Shostakovich
Violin Concerto No. 1
Berlioz
Symphonie fantastique
Shostakovich’s powerful First Violin Concerto,
which was composed in secrecy during
the final years of Stalin’s tyranny, expresses
the fear and fury of a composer suffering
pervasive repression by Soviet authority.
Its phantasmagorical character is more than
matched by Berlioz’s extraordinary
Symphonie
fantastique
, from its sumptuous ball-scene
with a haunting waltz melody to the evil howls
and cackles of its witches’ Sabbath.
MARCH 8
DUTOIT AND DUFOUR
Charles Dutoit
conductor
Mathieu Dufour
flute
Paul Jacobs
organ
Dukas
La Péri
Connesson
Flute Concerto
[CSO Commission, World Premiere]
Saint-Saëns
Symphony No. 3
(Organ)
MARCH 22
MUTI AND UCHIDA
Riccardo Muti
conductor
Mitsuko Uchida
piano
Schumann
Piano Concerto
Schubert
Symphony No. 9
(Great)
The finale of Schubert’s
Great C-Major
Symphony, energetically galloping to
its tightly-sprung rhythm, is among the
most exhilarating in the symphonic
repertoire. Yet amazingly, this landmark
work lay unknown after Schubert’s
death until discovered and championed by
Robert Schumann. Schumann’s own
Piano Concerto is therefore an apt
companion in this program, performed
by the revered Japanese pianist Mitsuko
Uchida.
MAY 31
PROKOFIEV 5
Jaap van Zweden
conductor
Shostakovich
Five Fragments
Britten
Sinfonia da requiem
Prokofiev
Symphony No. 5
SATURDAY
D
5 concerts at 8:00
OCT
26
MAY
31
MAR
8
DEC
7
MAR
22
PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT:
MATHIEU DUFOUR, SEMYON BYCHKOV, KIRILL GERSTEIN, JAMES EHNES, RICCARDO MUTI AND THE CHICAGO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA AND CHORUS
R I CCARDO MUT I
Music Director
26
R I CCARDO MUT I
Music Director
22
OCT BER 19
DEBUSSY LA MER
Susanna Mälkki
conduct r
Leila Josefowicz
viol n
Sibelius
Suite No. 1 from
The Tempest
Stravinsky
Violin C cert
Adès
…but all shall be well
Debussy
La mer
NOVEMBER 23
TILSON THOMAS CONDUCTS
MAHLER 9
Michael Tilson Thom s
cond ctor
Stravinsky
Elegy for J.F.K.
Mahl r
Symphony No. 9
Opening with a faint, pulsing rhythm in the
cellos—possibly an echo of Mahler’s faltering
heartbeat, as conductor Leonard Bernstein
once suggested—Mahler’s last completed
symphony has often been described as his
farewell to life. Indeed, the first movement of
the Ninth Symphony is one of classical music’s
supreme achievements, “the most heavenly
thing Mahler ever wrote” as the composer
Alban Berg recognized.
FEBRUARY 8
MUTI CONDUCTS
SCHUBERT MASS
Riccardo Muti
conductor
Chicago Symphony Chorus
Duain Wolfe
c orus director
Schubert
Overture in the Italian Style
in C Major
Morricone
V ices from th Silence
Schubert
Mas in A-flat Major
Schubert’s Mass in A-flat s one of his most
ambi ious works, mixing mo ent of
mystery and grand ur with the sublime.
The Chicago Sy ph ny C orus join
Riccardo Muti and the CSO for th s
reflective vocal work. Legendary Italian
film composer En io Morricone
responded to the 9/11 atta ks with his
cantata,
Voices from the Silence
, to give voice
“to those innocent victims of violence.”
APRIL 26
MOZAR AND STRAUSS
Sir Mark El er
conductor
Richard Go de
piano
Strauss
Till Eulenspiegel’s Mer y Pranks
Mozart
Piano Concert No. 23
Ives
Symphony No. 2
English conductor Sir Mark Elder leads
Richard Strauss’
Till Eulenspiegel
,
mischievous yet d r work that brilliantly
displays the Chicago Symphony Orchestr ’s
virtuosity. Charles Ives’ wildly unorthodox
Second Symphony is stud ed wit
quotati ns from classical works s well as
popular American s ngs. Cont asti g
with these bold mas erpieces, Richa d Goo e
joins the CSO for Moz rt’ graceful Concerto
in A Major.
MAY 10
LABADIE CONDUCTS BEETHOVEN
Bernard Labadie
conduct r
Marc-André Hamelin
piano
Rigel
Symphony No. 4
Haydn
Piano Concerto in D Major,
Hob. XVIII: 11
Kraus
Sinfonia in E Minor
Beethoven
Symphony No. 1
SATURDAY
C
5 concerts at 8:00
OCT
19
MAY
10
FEB
8
NOV
23
APR
26
PHOTOS CLOCKWISE FROM UPPER LEFT:
CHICAGO SYMPHONY CHORUS, RICHARD G ODE, RICCARDO MUTI, LEILA JOS FOWICZ, SUSANNA MÄLKKI
1...,2-3,4-5,6-7,8-9,10-11,12-13,14-15,16-17,18-19,20-21 24-25,26,28-29,30-31,32-33,34-35,36-37,38-39,40-41,42-43,...50