“The sense of pure elation was palpable Thursday evening as members of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra walked onstage to perform their first concert before a live audience in more than 14 months,” writes Hedy Weiss in Friday’s (5/28) WTTW TV (Chicago). “The orchestra, like the audience, was reduced in size…. But their sound was as full and beautiful as ever as they played a meticulously chosen program … that alternately heralded a triumphant return and evoked the emotional turmoil of the pandemic era. The expert conductor for the evening was Michael Mulcahy, a trombonist with the CSO for more than three decades. There could have been no more ideal opener than Aaron Copland’s brief but rousing ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ with its initial blast of timpani … It was followed by Gunther Schuller’s fascinating, intensely difficult … ‘Symphony for Brass and Percussion’ … [and] Samuel Barber’s aptly titled ‘Mutations from Bach’ … followed by ‘Street Song for Symphonic Brass,’ a 1988 piece … by Michael Tilson-Thomas…. Closing the program … was the … Presto barbaro … section of Leonard Bernstein’s film score for ‘On the Waterfront,’ with its memorably brutal evocation of life among New York longshoremen and mobsters.”