In Thursday’s (7/9) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes, “Much as many longtime concertgoers would object, we all must accept the fact that electronic technology is turning classical music into an experience as much visual as aural, as has long been the case with pop music. That much was clear at the opening concert of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s summer residency at the Ravinia Festival on Tuesday night. The pavilion is now outfitted with two large video screens designed to make it easier for patrons at the rear and sides of the seating area, along with those at the front of the lawns, to view the musicians as they perform. … I found this maiden voyage a mixed blessing. The cameras managed to be at the right places at the right time—most of the time—in a program that held Mendelssohn’s Symphony No. 1 and the Brahms Second Piano Concerto. It was good to see, as well as hear, the interaction of the principal woodwinds in the symphony and the lovely lyrical dialogue between [pianist Yefim] Bronfman and cellist Kenneth Olsen in the Andante movement of the Brahms concerto. Unlike surtitles at the opera, however, you can’t easily tune out the screens if you’re sitting near the front of the pavilion. … We shall see as the season progresses how well this added video component serves the public and the musicians, not to mention the music itself.” Ravinia Music Director James Conlon led the concert.

Posted July 9, 2009