Performance Friday, October 5, 2012 | 8 PM

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
For their final performance at Carnegie Hall this season, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra open with Dvořák’s Fifth Symphony before launching into two spectacular Italian works. While Respighi’s Feste romane depicts four different Eternal City festivals with vibrant orchestral color and sparkling rhythmic energy, Martucci’s Notturno is a heart-wrenching adagio, bittersweet and beautiful.


  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra
    Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor


  • DVOŘÁK Symphony No. 5
  • MARTUCCI Notturno
  • RESPIGHI Feste romane



    Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) is consistently hailed as one of today's leading orchestras. In the 2010-2011 season-the orchestra's 120th-Riccardo Muti began his tenure as the CSO's 10th music director.

    Throughout its history, the CSO has enjoyed leadership from an illustrious list of music directors, beginning with Theodore Thomas, who founded the orchestra in 1891, followed by Frederick Stock, Désiré Defauw, Artur Rodzinski, Rafael Kubelík, Fritz Reiner, Jean Martinon, Sir Georg Solti, and Daniel Barenboim. From 2006 to 2010, Bernard Haitink led the orchestra as principal conductor, the first in CSO history. Pierre Boulez, who was appointed principal guest conductor in 1995, has served as the Helen Regenstein Conductor Emeritus since 2006.

    The CSO performs well over 150 concerts each year at Symphony Center and at the Ravinia Festival, where it is in residence each summer. The ensemble has embarked on 38 overseas tours since Sir Georg Solti led the first European tour in 1971, most recently visiting Italy and Russia in spring 2012, making that trip the 29th tour to Europe and second to Russia. The CSO has traveled to the Far East six times, as well as once each to Australia and South America.

    Recording has been a significant part of the CSO's history since 1916, and in 2007 the orchestra launched its own record label, CSO Resound. CSO recordings have earned 62 Grammy Awards from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, most recently in 2011 for Best Classical Album and Best Choral Performance for Verdi's Requiem, conducted by Riccardo Muti.

    In 2007, the CSO returned to the national airwaves with its self-produced weekly broadcast series, which is syndicated to more than 300 markets nationwide on the WFMT Radio Network as well as on Visit for more information.

    Riccardo Muti

    Born in Naples, Italy, Riccardo Muti first came to the attention of critics and the public in 1967, when he won the Guido Cantelli Competition for conductors in Milan. In 1971, Mr. Muti was invited by Herbert von Karajan to conduct at the Salzburg Festival, the first of many occasions which led to the celebration of 40 years of splendid collaboration with this glorious Austrian festival. Mr. Muti has served as music director of international institutions that include the Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Philharmonia Orchestra of London, The Philadelphia Orchestra, and Teatro alla Scala. In 2004, Mr. Muti founded the Luigi Cherubini Youth Orchestra, which consists of young musicians selected from throughout Italy.

    Over the course of his extraordinary career, Riccardo Muti has conducted the world's most important orchestras, including the Berliner Philharmoniker, the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. He made his debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at the Ravinia Festival in July 1973, and began his tenure as the CSO's 10th music director in September 2010. He won his first two Grammy Awards for his recording of Verdi's Messa da Requiem with the CSO and Chorus.

    Innumerable honors have been bestowed on Mr. Muti. He received the decoration of Officer of the Legion of Honor from French President Nicolas Sarkozy in a private ceremony held at the Élysée Palace, and was also was made an honorary Knight Commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in Britain. In 2011, he was awarded Spain's Prince of Asturias Prize, and was named an honorary member of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and an honorary director for life at the Rome Opera; he is also the recipient of the 2011 Birgit Nilsson Prize. In May 2012, he was awarded the highest papal honor: the Knight of the Grand Cross First Class of the Order of St. Gregory the Great by Pope Benedict XVI, as well as the McKim Medal from the American Academy in Rome.

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Respighi's Feste romane, La Befana
Philadelphia Orchestra | Riccardo Muti, Conductor

At a Glance

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK  Symphony No. 5 in F Major, Op. 76

The first important work of Dvořák's maturity, the F-Major Symphony was the composer's most significant product of 1875. For a work saddled with such a convoluted numbering history—Dvořák's first four symphonies were never published during his lifetime—the music itself is a marvel of natural, unfussy expression and clarity of form. The entire symphony reveals remarkable assurance and control, suggesting that the speed of its composition was the result of certainty, not haste.

GIUSEPPE MARTUCCI  Notturno, Op. 70, No. 1

Although he grew up during the great age of Verdi and died when Puccini was at the peak of his success, Martucci is the rare Italian composer of his generation who never wrote an opera. An accomplished pianist, conductor, and composer, Martucci wrote music for piano throughout his career, including the Nocturne in G-flat Major, which he later orchestrated. As an example of the Italian gift for natural singing melody and for simple, direct expression, it is without peer.


The third panel in Respighi's so-called "Roman triptych," (The Fountains of Rome and The Pines of Rome were the other two), Feste romane is the most spectacular of the three. It avoids the danger inherent in writing sequels by approaching its subject from a fresh point of view. After the landscape painting and scenic splendors of Fountainsand Pines, Feste romane aims for something bigger and more dramatic—it is almost cinematic in its effect, with panoramic crowd scenes, action sequences, and sudden close-ups. Feste romane is a formidable example of sophisticated orchestration and spot-on tone painting.

Program Notes
This performance is part of Great American Orchestras I.