Grant Park Orchestra and Marc-Andre Hamelin | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Grant Park Orchestra and Marc-Andre Hamelin

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Even though Marc-Andre Hamelin tends to program somewhat obscure, frequently ignored virtuoso music, he always makes it worth listening to. He's one of the few pianists today who truly can do virtually anything at the keyboard, and he does it with astonishing ease, stunning phrasing, a gorgeous tone, and an intelligence that puts everything in context. For this concert he'll play Camille Saint-Saens's Fourth Piano Concerto, which starts out with a brooding theme that shifts between the orchestra and soloist; the solo part becomes increasingly virtuosic, full of Lisztian double octaves, fast-crossing hands, and dazzling runs. It isn't the greatest music, but this is a rare opportunity to hear a great pianist--for free. And if you can get close enough to see him play you're in for an extra treat. Also on the program of all French music is Emmanuel Chabrier's lighthearted Dance Slave and Cesar Franck's dramatic, passionate Symphony in D Minor. James Paul conducts. Wed 7/12, 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-7638. Free.

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