Civic Orchestra of Chicago | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Civic Orchestra of Chicago

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For over eight decades the Civic Orchestra has been the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's training ensemble, recruiting dozens of instrumentalists every year from leading music schools and putting them under the tutelage of CSO musicians and maestros such as Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, and Pinchas Zukerman. For next Monday's concert the guest conductor is Roberto Abbado, a fascinatingly versatile Italian up-and-comer (and nephew of Claudio Abbado, the other candidate for the CSO directorship that went to Barenboim). Fittingly, he's put an Italian accent on the program by including a pair of chamber orchestra pieces, one by Ferruccio Busoni and the other by Luciano Berio. Upon his mother's death in 1909 Busoni wrote his hyperromantic Berceuse elegiaque and subtitled it The Man's Lullaby at His Mother's Coffin; Berio's Requies (1983-'84) is also a eulogy, this one dedicated to the composer's wife. Civic members will be joined by other conservatory students to undertake a reading of Brahms's Fourth Symphony--it's a repertory standard, of course, and one of the hardest to get right. Its monumental architecture and the astonishing series of variations in its finale provide a technical challenge, and its predominantly tragic feel is difficult to maintain. But I expect Abbado and the Civic will do it justice. Monday, April 14, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan; 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114.

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