Riccardo Muti brings a changed Chicago Symphony to Orange County

Oct 10, 2017 68

BY: PAUL HODGINS

“Describe the Chicago Symphony’s sound.” It was an innocent enough request, but it carried a hidden inference, and Riccardo Muti pounced on it like a cat bagging an unsuspecting sparrow. “Of course, at one time it was renowned for its famous brass, but that comment seems to neglect the rest of the orchestra,” said the symphony’s 76-year-old music director, who will put his ensemble through its paces on Monday, Oct. 16 at Segerstrom Concert Hall in a program of Schubert, Schumann and Mozart that opens the Philharmonic Society’s 2017-18 season. “Besides, the sound of an orchestra doesn’t remain the same. And it is the work of the music director to give direction to the sound. Every conductor has his own concept.”

Chicago’s hometown orchestra, founded in 1891, has long been considered one of the world’s best in large part because of the musical vision, tastes and strong personalities of the men who have led it. Muti’s predecessors in the role of music director include some of the giants of the 20th-century conducting world: Artur Rodziński, Fritz Reiner, Sir George Solti, Daniel Barenboim. Frequently recorded through the years, the Chicago Symphony was known in the mid- and late 20th century for its warm, robust sonic quality. The “Chicago sound” had a lot to do with its famous brass section, whose rich sonorities and cumulative virtuosity were often praised by critics and audiences.

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SOURCE: http://www.ocregister.com

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