Music Reviews

Compelling composition in clerical garb

Compelling composition in clerical garb

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Hans von Bülow, the 19th century German conductor, pianist and composer, famously declared that Verdi’s Requiem was an “opera in clerical garb.” The same might be said of Janacek’s Glagolitic Mass, although the Slavic nationalism of this towering work is equally present. The Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus, along(…)

South Shore Opera Company presents sizzling concert

South Shore Opera Company presents sizzling concert

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic It was a generous evening of music when the South Shore Opera Company of Chicago presented their free June concert in the spacious Paul Robeson Theater. This gleaming hall is one of the many gorgeous rooms in the South Shore Cultural Center where the SSOCC is an arts and(…)

Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia

Joan Plana speaks several European languages, but his native language, Catalan, is unknown to the average American. He makes himself understood not only in excellent English, but in the language of music. Plana was born and raised in the Lleida province of Catalonia, an autonomous community of Spain. Today this talented baroque violinist is based(…)

One promising beginning and one happy ending

One promising beginning and one happy ending

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic It was an inauspicious evening for the opening of an outdoor festival. It had rained that day, and it remained overcast and gloomy well past dark. Yet the first concert of the 80th season of the Grant Park Music Festival had a decent-sized and enthusiastic crowd – a testament(…)

Shining art from a dark era

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic The Chicago Symphony Orchestra recently completed its three-week festival entitled “Truth to Power.” The performances are of works written in the 1930s and 1940s and the uniting idea is that though this period of history was fraught with peril “yet in this dark era, Benjamin Britten, Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri(…)

Review: “The Emperor of Atlantis” and “The Clever One”

Where: Merle Reskin Theatre (60 E. Balbo) When: through Jun. 8 Tickets: 312-704-8414 In 1943 two men living under the Nazis completed one-act works of musical theater. One of them died in Auschwitz, the other lived in comfort for almost another 40 years. Chicago Opera Theater is presenting these two pieces in four performances at(…)

Review: “Truth to Power”

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic Where: Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan When: through Jun. 8 Tickets: 312-294-3000 The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is in the midst of its three week festival entitled “Truth to Power.” The performances are of works written in the 30s and 40s and the uniting idea is that though this period(…)

Mischievous Medieval Minstrels at the top of the Logan Center

By M.L. RANTALA Classical Music Critic It can be fun and fascinating to learn about something just as it coalesces into being. Sunday night the newly formed University of Chicago Medieval Minstrelsy gave their first concert and I was there at the ground floor. And by ground floor I mean the penthouse of the university’s(…)