In the 6/13 and 6/15 editions of the Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein reviews concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in its Dvorak Festival directed by Mark Elder, a British conductor “who appears to have this music in his blood, if not by heritage then by artistic adoption.” On Thursday, Elder led “warmly sympathetic readings” of In Nature’s Realm, the Cello Concerto, and the Symphony No. 8. Making her CSO debut was cellist Alisa Weilerstein, of whom von Rhein writes, “Her tone is huge and deep, and she has a wonderfully pliable way of shaping the singing lyricism. The 27-year-old cellist spanned the full emotional range from poignancy to ebullience, bringing out an abundance of sentiment while avoiding sentimentality.” On Saturday, Elder was a “verbally astute tour guide” in a program including Dvorák’s late symphonic poem The Midday Witch, the CSO’s first performance of his Symphony No. 3, and the String Quintet in E-Flat (“American”), performed by the Emerson String Quartet and violist Paul Neubauer. The Dvorak Festival runs through June 20.

Posted June 15, 2009