Luxuriant sounds from Chicago

Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra come to Baden-Baden

The elite American orchestra, heard on countless recordings under celebrated conductors and admired by experts for its balanced brass sound: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be paying a visit to the Festival Hall Baden-Baden on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at 7:00 P.M. Principal Conductor Riccardo Muti will be leading the concert – as he did in 1998 when the orchestra visited for the first time – conducting works by Hindemith, Elgar, and Mussorgsky, including the famous Pictures at an Exhibition.

Muti has little patience for such extravagances as extreme rubato, artificial dynamic fluctuations, and provocatively slow tempos. After all, the Italian maestro is known for his faithfulness to the score and is regarded as an uncompromising perfectionist who is passionate about focusing on the essential: giving a true and faithful account of the music. “I always use the authentic version of the score,” he says. Muti, more than any other conductor of his generation, represents an Italian conducting tradition that hearkens back directly to Arturo Toscanini – in fact, together with the composer Bruno Bettinelli, his principal teachers at the Milan Conservatory were Toscanini pupils Antonio Votto and Guido Cantelli. “Many of my colleagues talk about how happy they are simply being there on the conductor’s podium. I am happy when the musicians and I succeed in serving the composer and conveying something to our listeners. It’s a question of honesty.”

Muti studied piano, composition, and conducting in his home city of Naples as well as in Milan. His international career began after winning the celebrated Guido Cantelli Competition in 1967, and he was appointed artistic director of Maggio Musicale Fiorentino the following year. Then one success quickly followed upon another: he was invited to the Salzburg Festival by Herbert von Karajan in 1971, made his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1972, was named successor to Otto Klemperer at London’s Philharmonia Orchestra, and served as music director of the Teatro alla Scala for many years.

At the Festival Hall Baden-Baden, Muti and “his” orchestra will be presenting a program that includes Paul Hindemith’s Konzertmusik for Brass and String Orchestra, Op. 50 (“Sinfonia concertante”), followed by the concert overture In the South by Edward Elgar. Elgar wrote the work in the Italian town of Alassio – an atmospheric new discovery that highlights Muti’s commitment to performing little-known works of the repertoire. We will then be immersed in the world of Nikolai Gogol’s tale, brimming with devils and demons, in Modest Mussorgsky’s tone poem Night on Bald Mountain, which was inspired by Gogol’s St. John’s Eve. The main work on the evening’s program will be Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition which, thanks to Maurice Ravel’s orchestration, grew to be the most popular work of Russian instrumental music.

Picture: Todd Rosenberg Photography

Director Riccardo Muti Orchestra Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Wednesday 25 Jan 2017 19:00 H

Riccardo Muti & Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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