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Chicago Symphony Orchestra


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Before Alexander Scriabin took his love for theosophy and mysticism and developed it midway in his career into a style that's been called "impressionist atonality," the Russian composer and pianist was under the heavy spell of Chopin and Liszt. His early works for piano solo are modeled after Chopin down to their titles; his first piano concerto, written in 1897 at age 24, also owes a debt to the Polish romanticist in its athleticism, lyricism, and improvisatory feel. But the concerto, in F-sharp minor, is by no means totally derivative, although the perception that it is has relegated it to the fringe of concerto repertoire; it has a harmonic flavor all its own, and in many ways it's bolder than the often-performed concerti by Rachmaninoff, who was a contemporary (and friend) of Scriabin's. It'll receive its belated CSO premiere this week, with the Russian-born Scriabin specialist Dmitri Bashkirov playing under the baton of Daniel Barenboim. Also making its CSO debut is the Canzona for Orchestra by Polish avant-gardist Tadeusz Baird. Completed in 1980, shortly before Baird's death, the single-movement canzona is supposedly typical of his judicious use of serialistic techniques to evoke emotion; its existential, tragic outlook is exemplified by the final single note that dissolves into nothingness. Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony rounds out the bill. Friday and Saturday, 8 PM, and Tuesday, 7:30 PM (with a preconcert conversation at 6:30), Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

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