Grant Park Orchestra | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Grant Park Orchestra

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Aaron Copland was born in Brooklyn but discovered his quintessentially American open and spacious sound in Paris, where he studied with Nadia Boulanger. He wrote everything from art songs to ballet scores to symphonic works, among them the infrequently performed but magnificent Quiet City, the first work on this program. Only 11 minutes long, it originally served as incidental music for an experimental 1939 Irwin Shaw play about a city at night and a musician whose trumpet expresses for him what his voice cannot. The play was a complete flop, but in 1940 Copland reworked the music for orchestra with soloists on trumpet and cor anglais, an oboelike instrument. It's mostly serene and a little wistful, and the melancholy trumpet is striking against the warm, shimmering strings. The program also includes Brahms's Violin Concerto, a passionately romantic work with a stunning andante and spectacular third movement. Making his Grant Park debut will be violinist Christian Tetzlaff, who's performed with most of the world's leading orchestras as well as in recitals and as a chamber musician. His recording of the Brahms sonatas is excellent: his sound is sometimes slightly thin, but his playing is intense, sensitive, intelligent, and musical. Also on the program is Malcolm Arnold's boisterous Second Symphony from 1953. James Paul conducts. Wed 7/13, 6:30 PM, Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 100 N. Michigan, 312-742-4763. Free.

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