On the recent Grammy telecast, pianist Evgeny Kissin looked the stereotype of a prodigy: cherubic, wild-eyed, gawky, and slightly bemused by all the fuss over what's come naturally to him for most of his 20 years. Of the current crop of keyboard wiz kids--from Moscow and elsewhere--Kissin alone has shown an inner fire equal to all the outward pyrotechnics. His talents will be tested in this Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert. Beethoven's Emperor Concerto is a ferocious and majestic tour de force, and its intricate, almost perfect chassis needs the services of a virtuoso of Rudolf Serkin's caliber; Kissin may be worthy. On the bottom half of the bill is another work of majestic sweep, Liszt's Dante Symphony, loosely based on The Divine Comedy and scored for orchestra and women's chorus. This tone-poem is by no means perfect, but it has enough wild bursts of romanticism to make audiences appreciate the undervalued Hungarian composer, who was also a keyboard master--probably the greatest who ever lived. Today, 1:30 PM, Saturday, 8 PM, Tuesday, 7:30 PM (in this last performance works by Wagner and Berlioz will replace the Liszt symphony), Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666 or 435-8122.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Hanya Chiala.