The latest CSO Resound release features Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a compelling performance of Bruckner’s formidable Ninth Symphony. Left unfinished at the time of the composer’s death in 1896, the immense work unfolds with stirring climaxes, daring chromaticism and harmonic richness. It is perfectly executed by the CSO, long-admired for its Bruckner interpretations. The Orchestra also holds the distinction of presenting the American premiere of Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony in 1904. Muti brings remarkable lyricism to this dramatic work in a performance that embodies the exceptional synergy between the distinguished maestro and the CSO.
With Riccardo Muti scheduled to close the CSO subscription season next week, the orchestra’s in-house label, CSO Resound, has just released its eighth recording with the music director — Anton Bruckner’s Ninth Symphony, recorded live at last season’s final concerts in Orchestra Hall. It is available at Symphony Store and from online outlets including Amazon and ArkivMusic.
Surprisingly, this is Muti’s first recording of Bruckner’s unfinished valedictory. He distills an impressive degree of power, grandeur and lyrical expansion from the score, along with a thoughtful regard for beauty of texture and resilience of contour. The orchestra plays magnificently for its chief, bringing out the mystery of the first and last movements even better than on its classic 1970s recording with Carlo Maria Giulini.
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune, Sharps and flats, June 13, 2017
Muti, with an orchestra that is invariably sublime, shaped the meandering work with total conviction—from the opening sound of horns and the hum of strings, through richly lyrical sections, to sudden storms and then to sudden bits of quiet.
Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times on the final concerts performance
June 25, 2016
Nobility, lyrical feeling and dramatic thrust are keys to Muti’s approach to the Bruckner symphonies…like a quiet and controlled church ritual that suddenly bursts forth in powerful glory.
John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune on the final concerts performance
June 24, 2016