In Saturday’s (6/6) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “The Chicago Symphony Orchestra succeeded in infusing the opening concert of its ambitious three-week Dvorak Festival with an exciting sense of occasion. Prominent on the guest list Thursday at Orchestra Hall were Dvorak’s great- and great-great-grandsons along with a host of dignitaries including the Czech Republic’s ambassador to the U.S., the Czech consul general in Chicago, the former U.S. ambassador to the Czech Republic, and consuls general and honorary consuls from 15 other nations. But it was Antonin Dvorak’s music that drove the inaugural event, and that was in the thoroughly capable hands of Mark Elder, the British conductor who will preside over all the orchestral concerts. … The two works on the first half, the ‘Scherzo capriccioso’ and Violin Concerto, don’t turn up all that often at these concerts, although both figured in the CSO’s opening season in 1891-92, and the orchestra gave the concerto its U.S. premiere. … Dvorak’s Symphony No. 7, which ended the concert, was fresh, firmly paced and intelligently shaped, although the dramatic tensions could have been drawn even tighter.” The CSO performs Dvorak June 10 and 11 during the League’s National Conference in Chicago.

Posted June 8, 2009