Tuesdays at 8:00 pm
A deep dive into the vast archives of the Chicago Symphony Orchesta.
Prepared with support from the Rosenthal Archives at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and its director Frank Villella, this series was launched in conjunction with the beginning of the Orchestra’s 130th season and focuses on the CSO’s extensive discography, featuring Grammy Award–winning releases as well as recordings highlighting virtually every era in CSO history.
Celebrating Rafael Kubelík
June 29, 2021
On June 29, we honor the birthday of Rafael Kubelík, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s fifth music director from 1950 until 1953. We celebrate with two iconic recordings of music from his homeland: Dvořák’s Ninth Symphony (From the New World) and Smetana’s Má vlast, both recorded in Orchestra Hall by Mercury Records.
Solti Conducts “Fidelio”
June 22, 2021
In May 1979, Sir Georg Solti led the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, along with an all-star cast of soloists, in Beethoven’s Fidelio. Following performances in Orchestra Hall and Carnegie Hall, the work was recorded in Chicago’s Medinah Temple by London Records and was, according to a Decca advertisement, the “first opera recording made by the digital process.”
Celebrating Igor Stravinsky
June 15, 2021
In July 1964, Igor Stravinsky was in town to record his ballet Orpheus with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. To commemorate the composer’s birthday on June 17, we will hear that recording as well as his Song of the Nightingale under Fritz Reiner, The Rite of Spring with Sir Georg Solti, and a suite from The Firebird with Carlo Maria Giulini.
Celebrating Neeme Järvi
June 8, 2021
A frequent guest to Chicago since 1985, Estonian conductor Neeme Järvi celebrates his eighty-fourth birthday on June 7. He has recorded a variety of works with the CSO on the Chandos label, including Hindemith’s Concerto for Orchestra, Kodály’s Peacock Variations, Scriabin’s Poem of Ecstasy, and Schmidt’s rarely performed Second Symphony.
Britten, Elgar and Walton
June 1, 2021
Second music director Frederick Stock led the CSO in the world premieres of Bax’s The Garden of Fand and Walton’s Scapino Overture as well as the U.S. premiere of Elgar’s Violin Concerto, all heard on this broadcast featuring works by English composers. Britten’s Serenade—featuring tenor Robert Tear and longtime principal horn Dale Clevenger—rounds out this program.
May 25, 2021
During his tenure as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s sixth music director, Fritz Reiner recorded an extraordinary array of works, including the first recordings of Hovhaness’s Second Symphony (Mysterious Mountain) and Liebermann’s Concerto for Jazz Band and Orchestra. The CSO also made its first recording of a symphony by Gustav Mahler under Reiner’s baton, the Fourth, with soprano Lisa Della Casa.
Deal with the Devil
May 18, 2021
Deals with the devil have always been a subject of art and classical music is no different. We will hear CSO in different takes on the Goethe’s Faust legend with Wagner’s A Faust Overture, selections from Berlioz’s Damnation of Faust, and Liszt’s A Faust Symphony. The program will open with Liszt’s Mephisto Waltz No. 1 with Fritz Reiner conducting.
Solti Conducts Bach Mass in B Minor
May 11, 2021
Although never performed in his lifetime, Johann Sebastian Bach’s B minor mass was the “summation of his life’s work,” according to Phillip Huscher, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s scholar-in-residence and program annotator. Sir Georg Solti led the work in January 1990, for which founder and longtime chorus director Margaret Hillis and her ensemble received their eighth Grammy Award for Best Performance ...
World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893
May 4, 2021
On May 2, 1893, Theodore Thomas—our founder and first music director—led the Exposition Orchestra (the Chicago Orchestra expanded to 114 players) in the World’s Columbian Exposition’s inaugural concert, which included Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony. The following day, the second concert opened with Beethoven’s Third Symphony, followed by Polish pianist Ignace Paderewski as soloist in Schumann’s Piano Concerto.
A Choral Celebration
April 27, 2021
The Chicago Symphony Chorus is showcased on this program, performing Barber’s Prayers of Kierkegaard, Poulenc’s Gloria, Bruckner’s Helgoland, and—with the Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus Górecki’s a cappella Euentes ibant et flebant. The broadcast concludes with the Chorus’s first release, Prokofiev’s Alexander Nevsky, recorded in March 1959 under the baton of Fritz Reiner.
Legends at the Piano
April 20, 2021
Iconic piano soloists are featured on this program, opening with Van Cliburn in MacDowell’s Second Piano Concerto. Ivo Pogorelich essays Chopin’s second concerto followed by Peter Serkin in Bartók’s first concerto, and Cecile Licad concludes the broadcast with Rachmaninov’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.
Celebrating Victor Aitay
April 13, 2021
A member of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for 50 seasons, Victor Aitay (1921-2012) attended the Franz Liszt Royal Academy in his native Hungary, where Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály and Leo Weiner were on faculty. This program features several of the first-char violin solos Aitay recorded during his tenure as the Orchestra’s concertmaster, including Rimsky-Korsakov’s Sheherazade, as well as the Benedictus ...
Benny Goodman in Nielsen and Weber
April 6, 2021
In the 1960s, legendary clarinetist Benny Goodman performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and recorded concertos by Nielsen and Weber. This program also includes overtures by Weber and Nielsen’s Second Symphony, and a jazzy encore from Goodman, known as the “King of Swing,” performing Fred Fisher’s, “Chicago (That Toddlin’ Town).”
Celebrating Women’s History Month
March 30, 2021
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra celebrates Women’s History Month with a broadcast featuring iconic soloists: violinist Kyung Wha Chung, cellist Jacqueline du Pré, soprano Lucia Popp, and mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade. Works by two former composers-in-residence—Augusta Read Thomas’s . . . words of the sea . . . and Shulamit Ran’s Legends—round out this program.
Bartók and Boulez
March 22, 2021
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra gave the U.S. premiere of Bartók’s Second Piano Concerto in 1939, and two years later, the composer was soloist in the same work in his only appearances with the ensemble. Honoring the birthdays of both Bartók (March 25) and former principal guest conductor Pierre Boulez (March 26), this program continues with The Miraculous Mandarin and the ...
The Song of the Earth
March 16, 2021
Spring is right around the corner! Daniel Barenboim opens this program with Schumann’s Spring Symphony followed by Frederick Stock leading Goldmark’s In Springtime. Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester and English tenor Richard Lewis conclude this broadcast as soloists in Mahler’s symphonic song cycle, Das Lied von der Erde, under the baton of Fritz Reiner.
Musicians of the Orchestra
March 9, 2021
Legendary Chicago Symphony Orchestra soloists take center stage in this program, including violinist Steven Staryk in Massenet’s Meditation from Thaïs, flutist Donald Peck in Debussy’s Prelude to The Afternoon of a Faun, and Arnold Jacobs in Vaughan Williams’s Tuba Concerto. Dale Clevenger and fellow horns are featured in Schumann’s Konzertstück, and the broadcast closes with the string talents of Samuel ...
Ravel and Haitink
March 2, 2021
On this broadcast we celebrate the birthdays of both Maurice Ravel (March 7) and Bernard Haitink (March 4)! When Ravel guest conducted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in January 1928, he led his Le tombeau de Couperin, La valse, and a suite from Daphnis and Chloe. We will hear four CSO music directors lead works by the composer, and Haitink conducts ...
Opera Without Words
February 23, 2021
Five CSO music directors—Daniel Barenboim, Riccardo Muti, Fritz Reiner, Artur Rodzinski, and Sir Georg Solti—lead orchestral excerpts from operas by Beethoven, Copland, Mascagni, Rossini, and Strauss. The program closes with several selections from Wagner’s Ring cycle.
February 16, 2021
The CSO’s tenth music director Riccardo Muti opens this homage to Italy with the overture to Verdi’s I vespri siciliani. Then, Daniel Barenboim leads Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio italien, Sir Georg Solti conducts Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony plus choruses from Verdi’s operas, and Fritz Reiner concludes the tribute with Respighi’s Pines of Rome.
There are no upcoming broadcasts at the moment.