Rozhdestvensky delivers ‘authoritative’ Shostakovich

17 February 2016

“Gennady Rozhdestvensky is the gift that keeps on giving to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and his audience” (The Chicago Tribune).

After receiving the Staatskapelle Dresden’s 2016 International Shostakovich Prize, in January this year Gennady Rozhdestvensky returned to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for the first time in 17 years to conduct Shostakovich’s first and last symphonies. These performances were Critic’s Choice in The Chicago Classical Review:

“Rozhdestvensky’s lifetime with this music brought a reading of seamless facility and understated control, the conductor finding a depth and eloquence rarely plumbed in this early work. One had the sense of no interpretive mediator at all and that one was hearing this music in all its brash energy and tragic moments emerge with no special pleading.” It was “one of the great concerts of recent years”.

The Chicago Tribune remarked that, “his age was irrelevant, given the vibrancy, commitment and burning eloquence of the performances he elicited”. It continues, “they admire and enjoy playing for him, and it shows. The orchestra members paid him the respect of remaining in their seats during the ovations, despite his having gestured for them to share in the lengthy applause.”

This week, the Maestro concludes his extended residency at the Chicago Symphony, having stepped in for an indisposed Riccardo Muti for four further performances of a programme including Sibelius, Mozart, Pärt and Tchaikovsky:

“There were no vocalists or dancers on stage at Symphony Centre… yet everything played by the CSO seemed to sing, and to move with a grace, delicacy and rapturous quirkiness under the baton of the great Russian conductor, Gennady Rozhdestvensky” (The Chicago Sun Times).

The first concert “resulted in an extended standing ovation from the audience- all grateful for Rozhdestvensky’s extended stay in Chicago” (Le Corso del Destino). It was an “evocative performance delivered by Rozhdestvensky and the musicians, Rozhdestvensky’s direction was never less than idiomatic, conveying a lilting grace in the Waltz and bringing vital energy to the very Russian theme of the finale” (The Chicago Classical Review).

The CSO have delivered “playing of a quality and insight that this towering musician so naturally inspires in symphony players everywhere” (The Chicago Tribune). The concerts were “...nothing short of marvellous, even by the CSO’s standards” (The Chicago Maroon).

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