In 2013, Riccardo Muti last conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 (Rhenish), which they will revisit this season Nov. 7, 9 and 12. Lawrence A. Johnson, writing for the Chicago Classical Review, gave the performance a rave review:
“The qualities that have made Muti’s performances with the orchestra so successful both technically and interpretively seem to be taking on an even more natural and responsive element in recent weeks. The buoyant and delightful performance of the Rhenish symphony — Muti’s first Schumann symphony performance since becoming music director — certainly shows this partnership at a peak.
“Schumann tragically would be committed to the asylum just three years after the premiere of this, his Third Symphony, but there are no clouds on the horizon in this sunny work.
“The performance had all the Muti trademarks — fire and firm momentum without ever feeling overdriven, and a warm yet taut lyricism with notably burnished string playing. From the grand opening bars, Muti’s Schumann had weight and heft yet was characteristically light on its feet. The historical tut-tutting about Schumann’s thick scoring seemed irrelevant with Muti eliciting striking transparency throughout.
“The scherzo was all rolling good humor with more dynamic detailing than usually heard, and the fourth movement’s evocation of Cologne Cathedral dark and evocative. The final movement can seem a bit of an anticlimax but here Muti brought out its wry off-kilter cheer winningly.”
TOP: Riccardo Muti and the CSO perform Schumann’s Symphony No. 3 during their 2014 European Tour. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography