Manfred Honeck conducts the CSO Review - A Wonderful All Mozart Program

I had the pleasure of attending a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert at Symphony Center on Friday afternoon  June 9, 2017, my first afternoon concert.  This was a stand out afternoon for many reasons- the all Mozart program, the conductor, the performers and the pre-concert talk by Carl Grapentine.  I listen to Carl’s “Mornings with Carl” on WFMT regularly and have done so for many years but  (and I can hardly believe this) it was the first time I saw Carl Grapentine in person.


This all Mozart program with conductor Manfred Honeck, Soprano Regula Mühlemann and pianist Paul Lewis is also repeated on Saturday, June 10, 2017 at 8:00 pm and Tuesday, June 13th at 7:30, and is a wonderful opportunity.


Carl Grapentine’s talk quickly brought the important bits, dates, context and some great stories about Mozart and the pieces in this program, which greatly enhanced my enjoyment. This afternoon’s program included Mozart’s works from his early years to the works just before his death.  Long, short, serious and charming, the chosen works included opera and a piano concerto, offering something for everyone.


Mozart’s last two operas intertwine, with “The Magic Flute” being the last of his operas to be performed while, “La clemenza di Tito”, was the last one that was written. The program began with the charming Overture to La clemenza di Tito, K. 621 played magnificently by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


Influenced by his travels to Italy, Mozart wrote Exsultate, jubilate,K in 1791. This motet was written for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini, but is currently performed by women.  In her debut performance with the CSO, Swiss soprano Regula Mühlemann, looking and sounding beautiful, brought the enthusiastic audience to their feet.


But wait - there was more to delight the audience before intermission.  The next work was from 1791, written before Magic Flute, the Mozart, "Piano Concerto No. 27 in B-flat Major, K. 595" Allegro, Larghetto, Allegro, and performed by British pianist Paul Lewis. Once again, the magnificent performance was greeted with a standing ovation.


After intermission, the short piece that was written in 1782 for Mozart’s wedding and first performed by Mozart’s wife, Constanze Weber, "Laudamus te "From Mass in C Minor, K. 427 followed by a work written to be inserted into an opera for a mezzo soprano," Vorrei spiegarvi, oh Dio!",K . 418. Once again, Regula Mühlemann was greeted with enthusiastic applause.



Symphony No. 35 in D Major, K. 385  (Haffner) Allegro con spirito, [Andante], Menuetto, Presto.  The four movements in this work are an innovation.  These movements were described as slow, fast, slow and play as fast as you can.  And the CSO did just that - the wonderful orchestra under the excellent leadership of guest conductor, Manfred Honeck.  A delighted audience stepped out into the gorgeous early summer day.


The Friday afternoon attendees are a very loyal group coming from as far away as Kenosha, WI and it is a great time for visitors to the city to grab tickets as did our seat mates from Austin, Texas.  A shuttle service available from Eden’s Plaza makes attendance at these concerts easy and fun.  Find out more at the fridayshuttle website 



For tickets and more information, visit the CSO website



Photo credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography





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