Romantic Music at the CSO
It was a tres French weekend for me as I attended the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert on Saturday evening following my cinematic excursion to Paris the previous evening. The Symphony was conducted by Yan Pascal Tortellier who has conducted many leading orchestras throughout the world but hitherto had not conducted the CSO. We were fortunate that lacuna in his resume has been filled and he was both in sync with the orchestra and in full control of the French Romantic compositions that made up the evening's musical fare. In addition the outstanding American Violinist Joshua Bell was present to perform the Bruch Violin Concerto no. 1 in g and the Saint-Saens Introduction & Rondo Capriccioso, op. 28. The evening began with Gabriel Faure's Suite from Pelleas & Melisande, op. 80 that was based on his incidental music for the play by Maurice Maeterlink. This suite includes the famous Sicilienne that is often excerpted and played on its own.
The evening concluded with the great Saint-Saens Symphony no. 3 in c (known as the 'Organ' Symphony as the Organ, played by Henry MacDowell, has a prominent role in the piece). The concert was captivating and the finale well-suited to the Brass section of the CSO. An extra treat was a brief encore played by Joshua Bell: Henri Vieuxtemps' Variations on Yankee Doodle. It was an astounding feat of virtuosity from M. Bell who continues to amaze with his musical skill.