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The Big Five I: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Part I Purchase Now 

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1891 as part of the local burghers’ relentless pursuit of international recognition for a city growing faster than any in history. Bolstered by the World’s Fair Columbian Exposition in 1893, where America was introduced to Indonesia’s gamelan orchestra, the CSO is among the many cultural institutions founded during this time that continue today. Bill brings together the music of the composers, conductors, and musicians and tells stories of the hall and its patrons who participated in the making of the CSO.

 
Program 1

Opening with a fanfare from Mahler's Symphony No. 5, played during the ultimate height of the CSO's history, we then travel back in time to 1916, to hear the very first recording of Mendelssohn's "Wedding March" from A Midsummer Night's Dream conducted by Frederick Stock, the second music director. Sadly, there are no recordings of the CSO with the founding director, Theodore Thomas. 

Mahler: Symphony No. 5, I (excerpt)
CSO/Solti
Lon 430804
1:34
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Johnson: “Sweet Home Chicago”
Robert Johnson
Sony B000002ADN
1:58
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Mendelssohn: Wedding March fr. Midsummer Night’s Dream
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
4:29
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Wagner, arr. Thomas: Träume fr. Wesendonk Lieder
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
4:11
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Stock: Symphonic Waltz, Op. 8
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
8:41


Liadov: Baba-Yaga, Op. 56
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
2:45
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Brahms: Symphony No. 3, II (excerpt), III
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
7:52
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Reznicek: Overture to Donna Diana
CSO/Stock
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
4:00
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Prokofiev: Scythian Suite, III
CSO/Defauw
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
5:03
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Strauss: Death and Transfiguration (excerpt)
CSO/Defauw
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
7:25
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Wagner: Ride of the Valkyries
CSO/Rodzinski
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
4:05
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Program 2

We again begin with Mahler's Symphony No. 5, third movement, as we hear about Chicago during the early 20th century. The segment then picks up where the last one left off, with Rodzinski, who directed the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for just one year. 

Mahler: Symphony No. 5, III (excerpt)
CSO/Solti
Lon 430804
3:06
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Mendelssohn: Symphony No. 3, Scottish, II
CSO/Rodzinski
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
4:00
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Hindemith: Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber
CSO/Kubelik
Mercury 519202
8:15
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Suk: Meditations on an Ancient Czech Choral, “Holy Wenceslaus”
CSO/Kubelik
CSO telecast
6:49

Mussorgsky, arr. Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition
CSO/Kubelik
CSO 100th Anniversary box set
28:44
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Program 3

This episode sets the tone early for what we will be listening to: the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under Fritz Reiner, a period in the CSO's history exceeded only by the time of Solti. Both men were students of Béla Bartók. Reiner came to Chicago at the same time RCA did, and so there are a wealth of fabulous recordings, some of which we hear on this segment, which consists entirely of RCA recordings. 

Strauss, arr. Reiner: Der Rosenkavalier Waltzes (excerpt)
CSO/Reiner
RCA 68160
2:23
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Wagner: Dawn and Siegfried’s Rhine Journey from Götterdämmerung
CSO/Reiner
RCA 4738
13:15
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Brahms: Concerto for Piano & Orchestra No. 1 in d minor, II
CSO/Reiner; Rubenstein, p.
RCA 63034
13:17
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Strauss: “Was willst du, fremder Mensch?” fr. Elektra
CSO/Reiner; Borkh, s.; Schöffler, bar.
RCA 67900
:49, 21:35
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Strauss, arr. Reiner: Der Rosenkavalier Waltzes (excerpt)
CSO/Reiner
RCA 68160
1:56
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Program 4

After Reiner suffered a heart attack, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra sought a replacement that could match his majesty. They found one in Jean Martinon, who had survived World War II and became a big hit in France after the war's end.  We then close out with Mahler's Symphony No. 2 in c minor, "Resurrection". This displays a member of the CSO family we have not heard yet: the Chicago Symphony Chorus. We hear the majestic fifth movement, and listening to this recording we can almost feel the rafters shaking in Orchestra Hall.

Rimsky-Korsakov: Sheherazade (excerpts)
CSO/Reiner
RCA 68168
1:27
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Martinon: Symphony No. 4, Op. 53, Altitudes (excerpt)
CSO/Martinon
1:18, 11:56

Wagner: Overture fr. Der Fliegende Holländer
CSO/Solti
Lon 460982
11:02
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Bartók: Divertimento for Strings, finale
CSO/Solti
Lon 470516
7:08
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Mahler: Symphony No. 2 in c minor, Resurrection, V (excerpts)
CSO/Solti
Lon 410202
4:51, 13:31
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Program 5

A bit of laughter begins this final segment, accompanying Benny Goodman's clarinet to the tune of "Chicago", with a symphony conducted by Morton Gould. We quickly move from the King of Swing to master trumpeter Adolf "Bud" Herseth, who plays from the third movement of Haydn's Concerto in Eb Major for Trumpet and Orchestra, third movement. 

Fred Fisher:Chicago

 Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Morton Gould, conductor
Benny Goodman, cl.
CSO 100th Anniversary Box Set
2:33


Joseph Haydn: Concerto in Eb Major for Trumpet and Orchestra, III
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, conductor
Bud Herseth, trumpet
DG B000002502
4:38


WA Mozart: Concerto in B-flat Major for Bassoon and Orchestra, II
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, conductor
Willard Elliot, bassoon
DG B000002502
6:19

 

Robert Schumann: Konzertstück in F Major for 4 Horns and Orchestra, Op. 86, I
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Dale Clevenger, Thomas Howell, Norman Schweikert, & Richard Oldberg, horns

DG B000002502
7:34


Ralph Vaughan Williams: Concerto for Bass Tuba and Orchestra in f minor, II
Chicago Symphony Orchestra Daniel Barenboim, conductor
Gordon Jacobs, tuba
DG B000002502

4:32


Giuseppe Verdi: Otello; Act 1
Una vela! Unna vela!

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Chorus, Riccardo Muti, conductor
Aleksandrs Antonenko, tenor; Krassimira Stoyanova, soprano; Barbara Di Castri, mezzo soprano, Carlo Guelfi, baritone, Juan Francisco Gatelli, bass; Michael Spyres, tenor

CSO Resound 9011303
4:12


Hector Berlioz: Symphonie Fantastique
IV: Marche au supplice; V: Songe d’une Nuit du Sabbat

Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, conductor
CSO Resound 9011501
16:31


Giuseppe Verdi: Da Requiem; Sanctus
Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Riccardo Muti, conductor
Barbara Frittoli, soprano; Olga Borodina, mezzo soprano;  Mario Zeffiri, tenor;  Ildar Abdrazakov, bass
CSO Resound 9011008
2:36

 

The Exploring Music streaming website is supported by Mr. & Mrs. William Gardner Brown and the Richard P. and Susan Kiphart Family.  
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