Daniel Barenboim | Harris Theater | Classical | Chicago Reader

Daniel Barenboim All Ages Critic's Choice Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., Dec. 18, 7:30 p.m. 2008

Last month pianist and conductor Daniel Barenboim returned to the U.S. for the first time since leaving his post as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2006, and his appearance here comes at the end of a four-city tour that also includes a performance of two-piano chamber music in Boston with James Levine, a stint conducting a Wagner opera at the Met, recitals in New York and Philadelphia, and several concerts in celebration of Elliott Carter’s 100th birthday—which will feature the world premiere of Interventions, a piano concerto Carter has written for him. That’d be a lot for anyone to have on his plate, but at 66 Barenboim is still such a formidable musical mind that his solo performance here needn’t suffer from that overload. Tonight’s all-Liszt program duplicates the contents of last year’s Live at La Scala (Warner Classics & Jazz), a recording that’s sometimes marred by a painfully bright instrument, especially during the otherwise peaceful Tre Sonetti del Petrarca and the fiery tone poem Apres une Lecture du Dante. That piano aside, Barenboim’s rendition of St. Francois d’Assise: La Predication aux Oiseaux, a piece that asserts Liszt’s position as a critical link between romanticism and impressionism, is full of beautiful shimmering effects, well-shaped phrases, and clear voicings. The program concludes with Liszt paraphrases from three Verdi operas: Aida, Il Trovatore, and Rigoletto. —Barbara Yaross

Price: $68-$120

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