The radio series “From the CSO’s Archives: Maestro’s Choice,” featuring archival Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances and commercial recordings and broadcast on Tuesday nights, has been extended again — this time, through Sept. 15.
Curated by Music Director Riccardo Muti, the Tuesday-night series was launched April 7 in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. “Maestro’s Choice,” which airs at 8 p.m. (Central), supplements the CSO’s Sunday-night nationally syndicated broadcasts on WFMT-FM (98.7). Along with the over-the-air broadcasts, the “Maestro’s Choice” series will be streamed on wfmt.com and on the WFMT app, and will be available on CSO Radio.
The additional programs are:
July 7, Bernard Haitink conducts Shostakovich’s Fourth: Former Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink leads the orchestra and chorus in Poulenc’s radiant Gloria, followed by the Grammy Award-winning 2008 CSO Resound release of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony. Longtime Principal Trombone Jay Friedman opens the program, conducting the CSO Brass in an arrangement of Walton’s march, Crown Imperial.
July 14, great guest soloists with the CSO: Italian violinist Zino Francescatti solos in Ravel’s Tzigane in a 1966 performance with Jean Martinon on the podium, followed by a 1963 performance with Andrés Segovia in Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s First Guitar Concerto, led by Walter Hendl, the Ravinia Festival’s first artistic director. Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester joins Martinon and the CSO for a 1968 performance of Chausson’s Poem of Love and the Sea. The program concludes with a 1977 performance featuring future CSO music director Daniel Barenboim as soloist in Brahms’ Second Piano Concerto, led by Principal Guest Conductor Carlo Maria Giulini.
July 21, Riccardo Muti conducts Verdi’s Requiem: The CSO’s 10th music director opens this program leading the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Verdi’s Overture to I vespri siciliani. The program concludes with the multiple Grammy Award-winning CSO Resound recording of Verdi’s Requiem, featuring the Chicago Symphony Chorus and a roster of internationally acclaimed soloists, including soprano Barbara Frittoli, mezzo-soprano Olga Borodina, tenor Mario Zeffiri and bass Ildar Abdrazakov.
July 28, Pierre Boulez conducts Messiaen and Janáček: This colorful program features multiple performances led by legendary conductor Pierre Boulez, whose celebrated artistic collaboration with the CSO lasted for more than 40 years. Featured soloists include Larry Combs, longtime CSO principal clarinet, in Debussy’s First Rhapsody and Belgian bass-baritone José van Dam in one of Mahler’s most evocative songs from the Rückert Lieder. The orchestra’s cello section is featured in Boulez’s own Messagesquisse, and the program concludes with Janáček’s Glagolitic Mass, with organist David Schrader and the Chicago Symphony Chorus.
Aug. 4, Fritz Reiner conducts Wagner, Bartók and Tchaikovsky: The CSO’s sixth music director is featured in this program that includes archival performances from the 1950s. It opens with two works by Wagner: the Prelude to Lohengrin and the Good Friday Spell from Parsifal and continues with American violinist Yehudi Menuhin, a frequent CSO soloist for nearly 40 years, in Bartók’s Second Violin Concerto, concluding with Tchaikovsky’s Fourth Symphony.
Aug. 11, Chicago Symphony Chorus in Mozart, Schubert and Beethoven: The Chicago Symphony Chorus, under the direction of Margaret Hillis and Duain Wolfe, is the focus in a program that includes multiple works from the Classical era. The program opens with former music director Rafael Kubelík leading Mozart’s festive Coronation Mass and is followed by performances led by ninth music director Daniel Barenboim, including two works by Schubert, Wolf’s choral arrangement of his dramatic song Der Feuerreiter and Beethoven’s oratorio Christ on the Mount of Olives.
Aug. 18, Bernard Haitink conducts Mahler’s Sixth: The CSO’s principal conductor from 2006 until 2010 leads a performance of Mahler’s Sixth Symphony, recorded in October 2007 for CSO Resound. The program opens with Sharav’s Legend of Herlen, featuring the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma, from the Grammy Award-winning recording Traditions and Transformations, also released on CSO Resound.
Aug. 25, Riccardo Muti conducts Bruckner’s Ninth: Theodore Thomas, the CSO’s founder and first music director, conducted the ensemble in the U.S. premiere of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony in February 1904. In June 2016, Muti continued that tradition, leading the CSO in the composer’s unfinished work, later released on CSO Resound. This program also includes the intermezzo from Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, along with other works to be announced.
Sept. 1, the CSO in Strauss, Schumann and Beethoven: Three CSO music directors — Frederick Stock, Fritz Reiner and Jean Martinon, along with Principal Guest Conductor Pierre Boulez — are featured in works by Strauss, Schumann and Brahms. A 1966 performance of Beethoven’s Emperor Concerto concludes the program with Russian pianist Emil Gilels as soloist and Martinon on the podium.
Sept. 8, Riccardo Muti conducts Berlioz’s Lélio: CSO Resound recordings with the Chicago Symphony Chorus are highlighted on this program, opening with Lélio, Berlioz’s sequel to his Symphonie fantastique with award-winning actor Gérard Depardieu as the narrator. Selections from Verdi’s Nabucco and Boito’s Mefistofele, under Riccardo Muti’s baton, complete the program.
Sept. 15, Pierre Boulez and Bernard Haitink: CSO Resound recordings are featured in this program that opens with Assistant Principal Trumpet Mark Ridenour conducting the CSO Brass in an arrangement of Bach’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. Pierre Boulez, the orchestra’s Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus from 2006 to 2016, takes the podium in a 2009 performance of Stravinsky’s one-act neoclassical ballet Pulcinella, with vocal soloists Roxana Constantinescu, Nicholas Phan, and Kyle Ketelsen. Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink leads Strauss’ Ein Heldenleben to conclude the program.
A link to full program information is available here.
WFMT’s Kerry Frumkin hosts the Maestro’s Choice broadcasts, adding commentary for featured selections. The nationally syndicated CSO Radio Broadcast Series continues to air weekly on Sundays at 8 p.m. (CDT) in Chicago on WFMT-FM (98.7), and via streaming on wfmt.com and the WFMT app. From the CSO’s Archives: Maestro’s Choice programs are prepared with special support from Frank Villella, director of the Rosenthal Archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association.