Music Reviews

Sibelius scores sparkle at Grant Park

Sibelius scores sparkle at Grant Park

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The year 2015 marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jean Sibelius (1865 – 1956). To mark this milestone, the Grant Park Music Festival placed a trio of Sibelius compositions in a performance held last Tuesday night at the South Shore Cultural Center. The concert featured 20th and(…)

Review: Leo Fall operetta falls short

Review: Leo Fall operetta falls short

Where: Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St. When: through Aug. 2 Tickets: chicagofolksoperetta.org By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Leo Fall (1873 – 1925) was one of the great composers of operettas. He got his early training at the Vienna Conservatory and once worked as a violinist in Franz Lehár’s orchestra. He wrote his first(…)

Review: Summer music at two Hyde Park landmarks

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Laura Spelman Rockefeller Memorial Carillon in Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago is the world’s second largest musical instrument. The largest is its sister carillon (also named for Laura Spelman Rockefeller) at the Riverside Church in New York City. This year, the University of Chicago marks half(…)

Review: Grant Park Music Festival weathers the storms

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Weather was certainly an annoying factor during the first week of the 2015 Grant Park Music Festival. The mid-week opening night was cool and looked to be rainy, which kept some people away even though the evening remained dry. On the other hand, the first Saturday night performance of(…)

Super music of the supernatural

Super music of the supernatural

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Riccardo Muti, the current and tenth music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, is back in Chicago to bring the CSO’s 2014 – 15 season to a close. Last week he led the orchestra in stirring renditions of music by Alexander Scriabin and Piotr Tchaikovsky. Saturday night’s concert opened(…)

Two successful seasons brought to a close in Hyde Park

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic When you can see summer coming without resort to squinting, you also know that the music season is coming to a close. Two performing groups with strong Hyde Park support, Baroque Band and the Chicago Ensemble, have both given their final performances of the 2014-15 season and both were(…)

Salonen sizzles at Symphony Center

Salonen sizzles at Symphony Center

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Esa-Pekka Salonen concluded his three weeks at Symphony Center with a concert at the end of May consisting of works by Debussy, Ravel and Messiaen. The Finnish conductor led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a riveting performance of some great French compositions. First on the program was the flute(…)

The wonderful dreamworld of Pelléas et Mélisande

The wonderful dreamworld of Pelléas et Mélisande

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Debussy’s “Pelléas et Mélisande” is one of the 20th century’s landmark scores, an ethereal setting of Maurice Maeterlinck’s symbolist play of the same name. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra tapped Esa-Pekka Salonen to conduct their first-ever complete performance of the opera, and the results were spectacular. In outline, the story is a(…)