“More than 12 years had passed since Daniel Barenboim last stood before the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. But Thursday evening, the celebrated conductor made a triumphant—and long overdue—return, leading the first in a set of three concerts with the orchestra in Orchestra Hall,” writes Kyle MacMillan in Friday’s (11/2) Chicago Sun-Times. “Serving as music director from 1991 through 2006, Barenboim … now serves as general music director of the Berlin State Opera and Staatskapelle Berlin…. He was not afraid to make interpretative shifts across a group of performances of the same program. That kind of immediacy was vividly on view Thursday evening in an enthralling, sweeping take on Bedřich Smetana’s beloved 80-minute cycle of six symphonic poems, ‘Má vlast (My Country).’ … Barenboim [brought] a relaxed delicacy to the quiet sections and kineticism and punch to the more muscular moments. The result was … thrillingly organic and alive…. Barenboim placed the first violins and double-basses on the left, the second violins on the right and the violas and cellos in the middle [producing] a stereophonic sound that nicely befitted this work. The audience greeted the work’s conclusion with cheers and a sustained standing ovation.”

Posted November 5, 2018