Chicago Symphony Orchestra With Thomas Quasthoff | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Chicago Symphony Orchestra With Thomas Quasthoff 

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A superb interpreter of German art song, bass-baritone Thomas Quasthoff has an extensive vocal range and the ability to change color and mood to express the full meaning of every word. He's performed with all the world's major orchestras and has been collaborating regularly with Daniel Barenboim since making his CSO debut in Brahms's A German Requiem in 1999. Their 2005 recording of Schubert's Winterreise delivers a spellbinding portrait of a brokenhearted man. Barenboim's playing is excellent, and Quasthoff is haunting as he shifts from tender sweetness to grief, from barely audible to full and rich. This program brings them together for Mahler's Kindertotenlieder, based on 5 of the more than 400 poems written by Friedrich Ruckert after two of his children died within 16 days of each other. The father speaks on the day following the deaths, of sorrow, guilt, disbelief, and transcendence--all fertile material for Mahler, whose settings capture the subtlest nuances of feeling. Each song creates an entirely different musical and emotional reality, from the childlike simplicity of the third to the full-scale storm of the fifth. In keeping with the funeral theme, the concert also includes Mozart's Masonic Funeral Music and the funeral music for Siegfried from Wagner's GotterdŠmmerung, along with the world premiere of Augusta Read Thomas's Astral Canticle. The same program will be performed on Thursday, June 1. Fri 6/2, 8 PM, Orchestra Hall, Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan, 312-294-3000 or 800-223-7114, $17-$114.

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