Review: CSO’s MusicNOW series, honoring Boulez with premieres

Posted on: April 5, 2017

“The impact of the late Pierre Boulez on the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has been profound in many areas,” writes John von Rhein in Wednesday’s (4/5) Chicago Tribune. “For roughly two decades of annual residencies beginning in 1991 and ending with his death in January 2016 … the great French composer and conductor served as the towering conscience of modernism at the CSO and in the city…. Boulez’s legacy lives on in the spirit of risk-taking adventure that marks the CSO’s MusicNOW contemporary music series…. Three of the modernist master’s most important works served as the bookends and centerpiece of the MusicNOW tribute to Boulez presented by CSO musicians and guests Monday night…. The set of 12 ‘Notations’ for solo piano (1945), Boulez’s first important work, made an effective foil for two brief, relatively late Boulez pieces for small ensemble, ‘Derive I’ and ‘Memoriale’ … among his most accessible, fastidiously crafted, aurally sensuous scores…. Both pieces were splendidly done by the ensembles under MusicNOW principal conductor Cliff Colnot.” Also on the program were the world premieres of Marcos Balter’s shadows of listening for cello and live electronics and Pauline Oliveros’s For Two or Three Instruments, “completed just days before her death” in November 2016.

Posted April 5, 2017