“Glass’ wonderfully ingenious use of every instrument on the stage was thrilling, and out of the ordinary, and driven by the sort of elaborate rhythmic patterns and repetitions that signaled this work could only be a ‘Glass-work,’ while also being infused with a subtle streak of dreamy, modern romanticism, rich theatricality and a hypnotic unpredictability.” — WTTW.com
“Glass returns to some of those early hypnotic, repetitive devices intermixing them with newer elements to create an intoxicating, sometimes breathless kaleidoscopic swirl of overlapping sound and texture.” — Chicago Sun-Times
“Hymn for Everyone is undoubtedly greater than the sum of its parts. Its controlled release of emotion, meted out tactfully by Muti ... gestures to something far deeper than what glimmers on its surface.” — Chicago Tribune
“Muti infuses the debut performance of Hymn for Everyone with smoldering intensity and nuanced drama.” — Chicago Sun-Times
“Raimi’s orchestral writing roils with colorful, anxious activity, eruptive outbursts and angry ostinatos of metallic percussion.” — Chicago Tribune
“This is a riveting new work, played with immense virtuosity by the orchestra.” — WTTW.com on Raimi’s Three Lisel Mueller settings
Chicago has long been a welcoming home to the working composer, with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the heart of the musical life they found in the city. The three American composers whose music is performed on this recording all have important ties to the CSO, from Philip Glass’ formative years as a student listener in Orchestra Hall in the 1950s, to Jessie Montgomery, who is the Orchestra’s Mead Composer-in-Residence today, and Max Raimi, who is both a prolific composer and a longtime member of the CSO’s viola section.
The works by Montgomery and Raimi were both their first CSO commissions, and these are their world premiere performances. Montgomery’s Hymn for Everyone is a meditation for orchestra that speaks to the significance of her emergence in today’s cultural climate through its reflection on the personal and collective challenges of the spring of 2021. In it, a hymn-like melody traverses different orchestral choirs to poignant effect. For each poem in Raimi’s Three Lisel Mueller Settings, he selects an admired colleague to enter into a dialogue with the soloist, mezzo-soprano Elizabeth DeShong.
This highlights the talents of Principal Clarinet Stephen Williamson in a frenetic waltz, Principal Bassoon Keith Buncke in a tragic elegy and Principal Bass Alexander Hanna in a metaphor for hope, with soaring, song-like phrases that transcend standard conceptions of the instrument’s expressive possibilities.
Glass’ Symphony No. 11 is part of the symphonic tradition that captivated him as a student. Each movement has its own unique character — the first bold and driving, the second crowned by a slowly unfolding melody and the third a barrage of cascading energy and racing percussion.
For Glass in the ’50s, it was Fritz Reiner. Now Riccardo Muti champions the compositional voices of the age with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “It takes courage,” says Glass of the CSO’s legacy of performing contemporary music, “and that courage becomes a tradition.”
ABOUT THE CSO: A musical force in Chicago and around the world, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of the finest international orchestras. Its expansive catalog of recordings has earned 63 Grammy Awards.
CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN COMPOSERS
JESSIE MONTGOMERY Hymn for Everyone
MAX RAIMI Three Lisel Mueller Settings
PHILIP GLASS Symphony No. 11
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Riccardo Muti conductor
Elizabeth DeShong mezzo-soprano
Producer, editing and mixing: David Frost
Recording engineer: Charlie Post
Mastering & Dolby Atmos mixing: Silas Brown, Legacy Sound
Recorded: March 2018 (Raimi), February 2022 (Glass) and April 2022 (Montgomery) live at Orchestra Hall, Chicago
Released: June 16, 2023
This recording was made possible through the generous support of the TAWANI Foundation.