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Classical Thu Nov 03 2011
by Elliot Mandel
England, Austria, Mexico, Bolivia—this month's music comes from faraway places. Whether composed by the Viennese demigods of Beethoven and Brahms, or cultivated among indigenous populations of South America, each piece is rooted in its own time but alive and vibrant among contemporary audiences. Old favorites and rare offerings from touring and local artists promise to make for memorable concerts. Go check them out for something different to discuss over turkey and stuffing.
Hear a great concert recently? Have a tip on an upcoming show? Talk about it in the comments.
George Frideric Handel composed a series of suites to be played on a barge as King George I and his royal party partied on the River Thames; ever since, the Water Music has turned up in weddings, movies, TV commercials, and in the introduction to "The Frugal Gourmet" on PBS. Hear the CSO perform the complete version without the distraction of product placement. The program also offers a rare opportunity to hear the Symphony Center organ, a massive structure whose 3,414 pipes wrap around the stage. Organist Richard Paré will perform two Handel organ concertos with the orchestra; Bernard Labadie conducts. Tickets start at $29. November 3, 4, 5, 8pm; November 6, 3pm. Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Conductor Fabio Luisi caused ripples of controversy in the orchestral world this year by accepting the position of principal conductor with New York's Metropolitan Opera and subsequently canceling previous engagements (gasp!). Fortunately for us, his only appearance in Chicago this year is still on, and he will lead the Vienna Symphony in two mighty works from the Viennese Romantic era. The famed Eroica Trio (pictured, above - photo by Nina Choi) will join the orchestra in Beethoven's Triple Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano; the orchestra will conclude with Brahms' Second Symphony, a glorious expression of emotion and triumph. Come for the hype, stay for the really great music. Tickets are $20-$45. November 7, 7:30pm. Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St., Chicago.
The Art Institute presents three imaginative concerts of Latino music. Mexican cellist Carlos Prieto has dedicated his career to Iberian music, and will perform works by Samuel Zyman, Joaquin Gutierrez Heras, and Astor Piazzolla; he will also discuss his book, Adventures of a Cello (Univ. of Texas). Prieto's playing is filled with life, and he speaks of his cello--a 1720 Stradivarius--as if it was his child. Admission is free. November 4, 6pm. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
With a flair for the unexpected, Chicago favorite Baroque Band turns up to perform music from the Jesuit missions of Bolivia. The Jesuits brought their popular music by Bach and Vivaldi to the Chiquitano Indians who transformed it into their own cultural expression still practiced today. Admission is free. November 18, 6pm. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Chicago-based violinist Rachel Barton Pine will appear in a recital of works by Spanish and Latino composers, performing selections from her new album, Capricho Latino (Cedille). The album is a unique presentation of solo violin pieces from composers representing Argentina, Cuba, Panama, Spain, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Concert is free with museum admission. November 27, 2pm. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Few phrases will widen the eyes of music lovers quite like "Complete Beethoven Quartets"—these are words spoken with reverence lest they be taken in vain. The Avalon is one of the Chicago area's premier quartets, and it began this monumental cycle last month to a packed auditorium. The next installment features the early String Quartet, Op. 18, No. 1, and the stormy String Quartet Op. 95. The Avalon Quartet performs once a month through June at the Art Institute. Concert is free with museum admission. November 13, 2pm. Fullerton Hall, Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
Note: Programs, artists, and prices are subject to change. (We'll try to update if we can.)
About the author: Elliot Mandel plays cello, attends lots of concerts, writes reviews, takes pictures, and loves sports. Pass the pumpkin pie.