CSO Releases New Recording by Riccardo Muti

Mike Lawson • News • August 29, 2016

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The Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) releases its seventh recording with Music Director Riccardo Muti on its own CSO Resound label—Schoenberg: Kol Nidre and Shostakovich: Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti—in the United States via retail and online outlets on September 30, 2016. The new release becomes available internationally on October 7, 2016. The recording is also available now for advance orders on Amazon, iTunes and ArkivMusic.

Schoenberg: Kol Nidre and Shostakovich: Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti features a pair of lesser-known vocal works by two of the 20th century’s most innovative and distinguished composers. The works were recorded live in Orchestra Hall in March and June 2012, respectively. Arnold Schoenberg’s Kol Nidre features Muti leading the CSO and the Chicago Symphony Chorus with interpreter of Jewish music Alberto Mizrahi as the narrator. Acclaimed Russian bass Ildar Abdrazakov is featured as soloist in Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti.

On the Shostakovich, the late critic Andrew Patner, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times, praised Abdrazakov for his “vocal placement, refinement and native command of the language,” going on to say that his performance “assured that the 11 songs were delivered with real poetry.” John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune added that “the music breathes a stark simplicity and gloomy foreboding typical of [Shostakovich’s] last works, along with an immense expressive power.”

       Arnold Schoenberg composed his Kol Nidre in 1938 at the request of Rabbi Jakob Sonderling of the Los Angeles–based Fairfax Temple. The Kol Nidre is a statement of faith associated with the eve of Yom Kippur—the Day of Atonement, the most solemn of Jewish holidays. Receiving its world premiere only a month after the astonishing anti-Semitic events of Kristallnacht in Nazi Germany, Schoenberg’s Kol Nidre is a striking liturgical work in which a rabbi engages in reverent dialogue with the chorus.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s Suite on Verses of Michelangelo Buonarroti was composed in 1974 for bass and piano. At the urging of colleagues, the composer went on to set the work for full orchestra. Shostakovich regarded the suite in its final iteration to be his last symphony; he died on August 9, 1975, before the orchestral version of the work could be premiered. Written in part to mark the fifth centenary of Michelangelo’s birth, the suite features settings of 11 poems by the great Italian artist and writer on topics ranging from love and creativity to death and exile. Shostakovich’s dark, spare settings of these verses underscore the gravity of the suite’s heavier themes, which were of personal relevance to the dying composer who had lived nearly his entire life under Soviet rule. The brooding solo bass lines are matched in power and intensity by the prominent trumpet theme, which returns throughout the work.

The CSO’s music director position is endowed in perpetuity by a generous gift from the Zell Family Foundation.




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