Review: Grant Park musicians take weather delay in stride

Posted on: June 18, 2013

In Monday’s (6/17) Chicago Tribune, John von Rhein writes that last Wednesday’s season-opening Grant Park Music Festival concert had to be cancelled for the first time in its 79-year history, following a “mammoth thunderstorm that … shut down all city recreational facilities.…  Fortunately clear skies prevailed on Friday evening, and the only distractions were the usual obbligato intrusions of sirens, helicopters and stentorian birds. An estimated 9,000 listeners descended on the park grounds to catch an inviting program featuring … the 1938 cantata Sergei Prokofiev drew from his soundtrack to the Sergei Eisenstein film Alexander Nevsky. It’s a score ideally suited for outdoor performance, a splashy piece of Soviet wartime cheerleading dressed up as historical drama.… This is poster music painted in bright, primary colors on a broad canvas. [Principal Conductor Carlos] Kalmar kept it pressing forward with a cinematic sense of drama.” Also on the program were Copland’s Billy The Kid ballet suite, enhanced by “the vigor and snap Kalmar’s able instrumentalists brought to Copland’s dislocated rhythms,” and Barber’s Medea’s Meditation and Dance of Vengeance, notable, von Rhein writes, for a “lyrical first section with real intensity…. A tempting Grant Park season awaits, our fickle summer weather notwithstanding.”

Posted June 18, 2013