I'm sorry, sorry, sorry for letting almost ten days go by without a post. Before I explain what's kept me away, go check out Chicago Classical Music, a new blog featuring lots of commentary from some of the administrative types who keep the mid-size institutions here afloat and alive. Don't expect anything especially racy or scoop-worthy, but plenty of earnestness.
By way of transition, Nick Yasillo, who runs the Norton Building series, has a forum post on Isabel Mundry's Nocturno, which the CSO premiered last week. Nick liked it, which says a lot, since it's been said that he allows very little contemporary music on his series. Mundry spaces the ensemble all over the stage, with a small group over in a corner at stage left. Pairs of woodwinds and brass are separated from each other at stage right and in the middle, with a small choir of violins in a row in front. They all talk back and forth in brief little angular gestures, which almost seem to be in a random order. The quiet Nocturno seemed more a collection of these small segments than an actual work, in its 20 minutes, but their quietness keeps you listening to hear what's coming next. Then you're surprised when it's something unexpected. Still, something resembling a clearer structure would've been welcome. Oh, and Radu Lupu and Daniel Barenboim played Mozart, both at that concert and Sunday afternoon.
The Takacs Quartet played in Mandel Hall Friday, with their customary smoothness. Except in the Second Bartok Quartet, which they tore apart.
Now for this week, which features Alfred Brendel with the CSO, a performance by Duo Diorama (violinist Minghuan Xu and ferociously talented pianist Winston Choi) on Friday at DePaul U., a composer-portrait concert by David Smooke on Saturday, and, perhaps, the Percussion Plus Project on Sunday, playing a new work by August Read Thomas for mezzo and percussion.
Senteri Selvaggi - AC/DC (Cantaloupe)
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra - Concertos for Orchestra (Bartok, Lutoslawski) (Telarc)