It's easy to forget that many familiar melodies originally had lyrics, which is why it took musicologists so long to discover that The Beatles filled their first five singles with the words from Eine kleine Nachtmusik. Sing along with the symphony with this GrouponLive deal to see a Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra concert at Pick-Staiger Hall. For $40, you get one ticket for best-available main-floor seating (an $80 value). Doors open 30 minutes before showtime. Choose between the following performances:
- "Nordic Romance” on Sunday, April 21, at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
- “Bernstein and Schubert” on Friday, May 24, at 7:30 p.m. Doors open at 7 p.m.
In celebration of the onset of spring, the ensemble explores folk-oriented works from Norway and Finland. Edvard Grieg supplies two of the evening’s arrangements. First comes Two Lyrical Pieces, a brace of miniature works from a larger collection of 66 compositions. Both are transcribed from their original forms as solo piano pieces into flourishing bouquets of sound for the full orchestra. Next is the Holberg Suite, whose five movements take their inspiration from 18th-century dances and 20th-century jingles that fell through a time hole. The first movement trots along with wistful strings, starting a minor journey that concludes with the regal unity of the final section. A nine-piece group tackles the original version of Sibelius’s En Saga, a tone poem that swiftly morphs from a brooding introduction to a triumphant squall. Violinist David Perry closes out the concert with a performance of Johan Svendsen’s Romance for Violin and Strings, its notes woozy with yearning and heartache.
"Bernstein and Schubert"
The orchestra finishes its season with a pair of venerated symphonies. Cultural giant Leonard Bernstein’s Symphony no. 1 follows the Biblical story of Jeremiah, chronicling his prophesizing and persecution with gravity-laden themes. Soprano Susan Lorette Dunn aids the ensemble with sung passages from the Book of Lamentations. Franz Schubert's Symphony no. 9, dubbed The Great by musicologists and The Greatest by Schubert's mom, acts as the capstone both to Schubert’s career and the season with majestic grandeur.
When the Chicago Philharmonic was founded in 1988, it was a tightly knit ensemble consisting entirely of principals from the Lyric Opera Orchestra. Since then, it has blossomed into a collective of more than 200 professional Chicagoland musicians. But despite the increased size and bow-tie budget, the players have lost none of their precision or dynamic nature, prompting the Chicago Tribune to herald the group as “one of the finest symphonic orchestras.”