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It’s rare outside Vienna that concertgoers might hear two hometown orchestras in two historic halls in just one day. And…

richard strauss

Strauss, reflecting on his artistic life, in ‘Metamorphosen’

Richard Strauss’ Metamorphosen, which the Chicago Symphony Orchestra will perform May 15-17, is in many ways a subtle tribute to the German artistry that the composer worshipped. The elegiac opus for 23 solo strings is Strauss’ impassioned response to the desecration of Austro-German culture during World War II.


‘Four Last Songs,’ Strauss’ farewell to life — and love

Richard Strauss didn’t live to hear his Four Last Songs performed, although in a sense it didn’t matter, for the…


The CSO gives its first performances of two 18th-century symphonies

Although the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has performed music by more than a thousand composers over its 123 seasons, it has…


A salute to Charles Ives, an American original

If you drive down any road in rural America — it doesn’t matter in which state — eventually you’ll get…

pulcinella design by Picasso

‘Pulcinella,’ Stravinsky’s ‘discovery of the past’

While the term “neo-classical” serves as highly useful shorthand for describing much of Igor Stravinsky’s output, he himself hated the…


Life, washing away with the ceaseless tide, in Britten’s ‘Peter Grimes’

Benjamin Britten set Peter Grimes, his first major opera, in a small fishing village that could easily be the seaside…


Clear indications of things to come in Beethoven’s First

Beethoven, in his first symphony, reveals clear indications of what is to come — works that changed music and our expectations of what music could be.


How to get to Orchestra Hall? Press ‘Up’

Symphony Center hosts plenty of piano supporters. Front and center, there’s none stronger and more steady than Orchestra Hall’s piano…


Muti on why Verdi’s music transcends time

As part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s observances of Verdi’s bicentennial, Riccardo Muti spoke with CSO program annotator Phillip Huscher about why Verdi’s music will be with us forever.


Composers and the curse of the ninth symphony

Mahler’s Ninth is permeated by reflections on death. But as tempting as it is to read the work as a valedictory, there is no hard evidence that the composer believed it was such.