The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music reviews: Muti conquers Chicago, Eschenbach wows DC

October 3, 2010

By Jacob Stockinger

The return of James Levine to the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the opening of the Metropolitan Opera’s spectacular new “Ring” cycle with him conducting wasn’t the only classical music news made this past week. (See yesterday’s post.)

This weekend, in Washington, D.C., 70-year-old conductor Christoph Eschenbach (below) made his successful debut as the new music director of the National Symphony Orchestra.

National Public Radio did a fascinating background piece on him, a one-time mute, Saturday morning:

Here’s a link:

And here in Anne Midgette’s review in The Washington Post, along with an on-line addendum, she made:

Closer to home, 69-year-old Italian maestro Riccardo Muti (below) kicked off his inaugural season as music director and conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The concert drew rave reviews from a quite a number of critics, including those in Chicago and those from out of town.

Here is a sampling:,CST-NWS-cso25web.article,CST-FTR-cso20.article

Makes me want to go to Chicago to heart Muti live. How about you?


We’re in luck in Madison.

Actually in Wisconsin.

Actually across the U.S.

Later this month Wisconsin Public Television will broadcast another concert by Muti.

Here are the details: At 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 27, PBS‘ “Great Performances” will broadcast “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Riccardo Muti Inaugural.” And according to the press release: This fall, the big news in classical music is Riccardo Muti’s arrival as the 10th music director of the renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra. “GREAT PERFORMANCES “joins the inaugural excitement with the telecast of the CSO’s October 14 concert featuring Paul Hindemith’s “Concert Music for String Orchestra and Brass,” as well as the world premiere of Bernard Rands’ “Danza Petrificada,” a CSO commission inspired by the words of Mexican poet Octavio Paz.

A passionate proponent of the music of Luigi Cherubini (below) — the Italian composer revered by Beethoven and the mentor of Berlioz — Muti will mark the 250th anniversary of the composer’s birth with a performance of “Cherubini’s Requiem in C Minor.”

Get out your datebooks and pencils.

It sure sounds like a not-miss event.

Did any of you hear Muti’s first concerts?

What did you think?

Did he live up to the hype?

Are the critics right?

The Ear wants to hear.

Posted in Classical music

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