This smartly programmed concert lines up four fairly brief works by Stravinsky, Ravel, and Szymanowski, beginning with Stravinsky's Fireworks--a bravura showpiece from 1908 whose innovations foreshadow the shocking leaps in The Rite of Spring, Petrushka, and The Firebird. Those innovations--different instruments playing the melody slightly out of sync, a flurry of gleaming textures--and a theft from Dukas' The Sorcerer's Apprentice fly by in under four minutes. Nikolaj Znaider, a favorite of music director Daniel Barenboim, has a bell-clear sound that cuts cleanly through an orchestra; he'll perform Szymanowski's increasingly popular Violin Concerto no. 1. His acerbic approach to the ironic early-20th-century repertoire is perfectly suited to a work that casts a jaundiced eye on the padded Romantic-era concerti, making its points by juxtaposing different sections of the orchestra rather than through volume or pyrotechnics. Two soft-edged ballet suites by Ravel, from Mother Goose and Daphnis and Chloe, complete the program. Andrew Davis conducts, filling in for an ailing Barenboim. $17-$110. Sunday, September 12, 3 PM, and Tuesday, September 14, 7:30 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Sheila Rock.