Riccardo Muti, Cavaliere di Gran Croce OMRI (born July 28, 1941) is an Italian conductor. In May 2008 he was appointed the 10th music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, effective with the 2010-11 season.With Philadelphia, his recordings include the first Beethoven Symphony Cycle made for compact disc, the symphonies of Johannes Brahms and Alexander Scriabin, selected works of Tchaikovsky and Sergei Prokofiev, as well as less-known works of composers such as Giacomo Puccini and Ferruccio Busoni.
For this 2017 CSO-Resound release, Riccardo Muti and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra present Anton Bruckner's unfinished Symphony No. 9 in D minor in a monumental performance that impresses with its marmoreal weight, poignant lyricism, and brutal volatility. Not widely known for his few Bruckner recordings, Muti nonetheless delivers this symphony with the passion and sensitivity of an experienced Brucknerian, and possibly because he hasn't recorded it before, this live rendition of the Ninth seems like an attempt to make up for lost time. Muti's intensity and the orchestra's ferocious power combine to make a memorable reading that may remind listeners of performances by such greats as Günter Wand, Eugen Jochum, and particularly Carlo Maria Giulini, whose recordings of the Ninth are recognized benchmarks. While Muti only performs the three completed movements, and eschews any attempted reconstructions of the surviving Finale sketches, the performance has a genuine feeling of wholeness, and the Adagio particularly has the grandeur and pathos that make it feel like a convincing ending, albeit one that the composer did not intend.
"Muti's Beethoven Fifth is fleet, fluid, and transparent. He shows his usual attention to details, and offers many individual touches. I especially enjoyed the horn crescendo in bar 34 of the Allegro con brio. It's not indicated in my ancient Eulenberg score but makes perfect sense in its context. …Muti achieves a clarity and rhythmic definition found only in the finest interpretations…The playing of the Philadelphia Orchestra is nothing short of spectacular. The fast string triplets from measure 132 in the final movement are not only accurate but beautifully played with full tone.
Cherubini’s major sacred works are generally quite marvelous. The two Requiems have a distinguished history on disc. Toscanini recorded the C minor, Markevitch the D minor, and my colleague David Vernier praised the recent release of the C minor piece on Carus. They are both truly excellent: grave and austere, but also dynamic, moving, and well worth hearing. The same is certainly true of the large-scale Masses: the Missa solemnis in D minor and E major and the Mass in F are especially memorable. Their grandeur never strains for effect and is always leavened with the composer’s Italian lyricism. Cherubini may not have been well-treated by history, but he knew what he was doing.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra has long been renowned for the sound of its brass section. This CD features the symphony's brass in a selection of pieces that span almost 250 years, including some works originally written for brass and some transcriptions of works for keyboard, orchestra, or band. It's a diverse and appealing program that effectively shows off the players' virtuosity and should interest any fans of brass.