The 2016-17 season of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra began triumphantly with Riccardo Muti leading the CSO in Mussorgsky’s A Night on Bald Mountain, along with Strauss’ tone poem Don Juan and Bruckner’s monumental Symphony No. 7.
Reviews across the boards were raves. Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein wrote: “Beginning his seventh season as music director, Muti elicited from his orchestra the kind of electric, yet warmly contoured playing that has marked their partnership at its best. It augurs well for the season.” In the Chicago Sun-Times, critic Hedy Weiss declared: “Working in perfect synchrony, [Muti and the CSO] can conjure the most luscious sound, punctuated by quicksilver emotional shifts and a technical polish that invariably generates heat, as opposed to cold precision.” Lawrence A. Johnson of the Chicago Classical Review said, “Even by local standards, the playing of the orchestra was extraordinary, impressive as much for the many characterful solo contributions as much as the high-sheen ensemble cohesion.”