Riccardo Muti’s American repertoire

Riccardo Muti’s American repertoire


norman lebrecht

February 27, 2019

Following his extraordinary performance of William Schuman’s  ninth symphony, the Chicago maestro is now planning more.

Chicago has sent us a list of American works – including the Schuman Symphony – that Maestro Muti has performed or is about to perform with the CSO. Next season he will lead a new work by American composer in residence Missy Mazzoli.

Here’s the rep:

ADAMS* many words of love

BATES Alternative Energy

BATES Anthology of Fantastic Zoology

BATES The B-Sides, Five Pieces for Orchestra and Electronica

BENSHOOF Concerto in Three Movements for Piccolo and Orchestra – to be performed in March 2019

COPLAND Lincoln Portrait

CORIGLIANO Campane di Ravello

GERSHWIN An American in Paris

HIGDON Low Brass Concerto

OGONEK All These Lighted Things

RAIMI Three Lisel Mueller Settings

SCHUMAN Symphony No. 9 (Le fosse Ardeatine)

STEPHENSON Bass Trombone Concerto – to be performed in June 2019

WALKER Lyric for Strings

*Samuel Adams



  • We privatize your value says:

    No Peter Mennin, then? Aw, chucks. Would have suited Muti’s style and repertoire, as in https://youtu.be/a4v0Wyrf0N4

    • Michael Cattermole says:

      Or Roy Harris, especially his 3rd Symphony, which incidentally Simon Rattle is conducting next season at London’s Barbican – potentially the best rendition the symphony will have received since Bernstein, though in London’s worst concert venue, which is not so great news.

      • Michael Turner says:

        I heard Rattle perform Harris 3 with the CBSO in the 80s. It was in a fantastic concert along with Copland’s Billy the Kid and the Mathis der Maler Symphony of Hindemith. There must have been another item on the programme but I can’t remember it at the moment.

    • Mennin

      So many greats that won’t be heard live.
      At least we have YouTube.

  • Dennis Polkow says:

    I am a Chicago critic, not an archivist, so there may be other omissions on that list. But this is forgetting Anna Clyne’s “Night Ferry,” which was recorded and released; and that Muti will conduct the CSO premieres of Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3 and William Grant Still’s “Mother and Child” next season as well as a world premiere by Bernard Rands.

    Although it ironically was not performed in Chicago, Muti commissioned Chicago composer Ralph Shapey to write Sinfonie Concertante which Muti premiered while he was music director of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Shapey himself told me that it was the finest performance of any work of his of his entire career. And it is worth noting that this was when then CSO-music director Sir Georg Solti had no composer-in-residence whatsoever and performed so little contemporary music of any kind, American or otherwise, that Shapey publicly called him a colorful expletive.

    • MacroV says:

      Off the top of my head I recall Solti having conducted the following American works in Chicago (many of them premieres).

      Rochberg: Imago Mundi (?)
      Corigliano: Clarinet Concerto (and they took it on tour)
      Carter: Variations for Orchestra
      Del Tredici: Final Alice (world premiere and recording)
      Morton Gould: Flute Concerto
      Gunther Schuller: Flute/Piccolo concerto
      Zwilich: Trombone Concerto

      He also recorded Tippet’s Symphony #4 and premiered Byzantium, and recorded Schoenberg’s Variations and Moses und Aron.

      And IMHO he did modern modern music very well.

      I’m sure there are many others, though admittedly it probably accounted for a small part of his repertoire. But Henry Fogel once offered useful perspective: For a man of Solti’s era, Bartok was still a modern composer (i.e. someone many of whose works were new in Solti’s lifetime, even in his adulthood).

      • Dennis Polkow says:

        Solti had 22 seasons at the CSO with another six as music director emeritus, Muti has had nine. If the above list included all of the non-American contemporary and modern music Muti has done in Chicago, it would be three times as long. And many of those pieces of living composers you mention that Solti did were contemporary in chronology only, not content. Solti had come to prefer far more conservative music by that point and was unapologetic about it: “I am an old man; I had my revolution when I was young, Stravinsky, Schoenberg, Bartok,” he told me. “Let today’s young people do the same.”

        Solti repeatedly and publicly said that he wanted to commission a “major piece” from Boulez after he had reconnected with the CSO late in Solti’s tenure. When that notoriously did not happen, Fogel asked Boulez to write a “birthday fanfare” in honor of Solti that Boulez himself led.

        But most disappointing is that when the CSO became virtually the last major American orchestra to finally have a composer-in-residence, Solti chose John Corigliano because of the success that Solti had had with Corigliano’s Clarinet Concerto, as you mention. But when Corigliano finished his massive Symphony No. 1, Solti wouldn’t do it and it fell to then-CSO music director designate Daniel Barenboim to premiere it.

    • Nat says:

      I’m pretty sure Clyne is a Brit, although possibly now based in the US.

  • boringfileclerk says:

    I am appalled and outraged at the lack of transgendered composers in his repertoire!

  • minacciosa says:

    While one cannot please everyone, a lot of that list is ephemera at best. The Golden Age of American composition goes far deeper than Gershwin and Copland. Frankly, Morton Gould should be programmed as often as those previously mentioned now canonic composers and looking back to Piston, Creston, Persichetti, Schuman, Carpenter, and Hadley, there lies a treasure of memorable and lasting work. Still, nice to see living composers get some airtime.

    • Karl says:

      David Alan Miller puts a lot of Gould on the programs in Albany. We even got to hear (and see) the Tap Dance concerto! Now we are getting to hear many new Torke works.

  • barry guerrero says:

    Didn’t they already do the “Low Brass Concerto” by Higdon? Anyway, with that bunch, it would be a knock-out (as in good!).

    • Stephen Owades says:

      This list from the CSO is described (above) as “a list of American works – including the Schuman Symphony – that Maestro Muti has performed or is about to perform with the CSO.” So works already done are and should be included.

    • barry guerrero says:

      What in the lord’s name is objectionable about my post? I simply asked a question.

  • Rgiarola says:

    So It’s seems that the old sceriffo di Napoles had been conducting more American composers, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

  • Roberto says:

    I guess I am the only one that enjoy Howard Hanson. Nobody mentions him.