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Classical Tue Jul 01 2014
By Elliot Mandel
All of a sudden it's the middle of summer and the weather is consistently warm. Head outside with a picnic and plenty of wine and listen to some big ol' classics.
Ravinia: Chicago Symphony Orchestra plays New World
Dvořák's Ninth Symphony is a perfect match for the CSO's famous brass section and rich strings. The "New World Symphony" — written in 1893 while the composer was living in the U.S. — may or may not have been influenced by Native American and African American music, though it somehow sounds quintessentially American. The extended English horn solo is worth the price alone. Pianist Dejan Lazić performs Chopin's lush and stormy Piano Concerto No. 2 in f minor. Stravinsky's Suite from The Firebird rounds out a program of large-scale symphonic music. Krzysztof Urbanski conducts. Pavilion tickets start at $25; lawn is $10. Thursday, July 10, 8pm. 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.
A former child prodigy who rocketed to international fame, Japanese American violinist Midori has remained among the word's elite violinists. She'll perform one of the cornerstones of violin repertoire, Tchaikovsky's infectious Violin Concerto in D Major. Completing the Russian-themed program is Prokofiev's Suite from Romeo and Juliet. Conductor Susanna Mälkki makes her Ravinia debut having impressed the CSO's downtown audience in several appearances since 2011. Pavilion tickets start at $25; lawn is $15. Wednesday, July 16, 8pm. 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park.
Grant Park Music Festival with Stephen Hough
Folk influences abound in this GPMF concert. Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, subtitled "Pastoral," seems to be a perfect symphony for summer in Chicago this year: sunny/stormy/sunny/stormy, etc. The Sixth instantly transports any audience to the countryside, making Millennium Park's mix of urban and nature a fitting environment. Dvořák's music always seems to contain a nod to his Czech background while rising to the heights of stirring Romantic music. Pianist Stephen Hough makes a too-rare stop in Chicago to perform Dvořák's too-rarely heard Piano Concerto. Grab a pilsner and enjoy the Pritzker Pavilion's excellent outdoor sound. Admission is free. Friday, July 18, 6:30pm. Saturday, July 19, 7:30pm. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park.
Grant Park Music Festival with Christian Tetzlaff
Édouard Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole falls squarely in the tradition of French composers writing Spanish-themed music (see Bizet's opera about bullfighters singing in French). Orientalism aside, the Symphonie demands precision and flare which German violinist Christian Tetzlaff will undoubtedly provide in waves. The program includes real Spanish composer Cristóbal Halffter's Tiento, scored for "large orchestra." Admission is free. Wednesday, July 30, 6:30pm. Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Chicago.
Programs, artists, and prices subject to change. Tickets subject to availability.