You may recall that last summer, I posted several videos I took from Chicago of a rehearsal of the Grant Park Orchestra, which puts on a series of classical music concerts during the summer. As I wrote at the time, "The Grant Park Orchestra is no slapdash group. Basically, it's the second major orchestra in the city, right behind the Chicago Symphony Orchestra -- but not very far behind. It's largely made up of members of the Chicago Civic Orchestra that plays for the Lyric Opera of Chicago." It's actually affiliated with the CSO as sort of an adjunct.
Well, as it happens, that Chicago Civic Orchestra celebrated their 100th anniversary this past Sunday, March 29. Needless-to-say, they had a gala concert planned, and of course had to cancel it. Instead, they put on a Virtual 100th Anniversary Gala, which they streamed online..
The orchestra itself didn't perform the full virtual concert itself -- I suspect that that would have been far too much of a challenge. But they did perform the opening of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony, which they had planned to perform at the intended gala at Orchestra Hall -- because it was played at their very first concert 100 years earlier. It was done the same as these other orchestral videos, which members performing their parts to a click track, and then edited together -- and done so in a very creative, entertaining way.
The full virtual 100th anniversary concert lasts 35 minutes. For the remainder, the organization commissioned seven short world premieres specifically for the virtual concert. To be clear, these are not performed by the orchestra, but appear to be synthesizer performances or computerized by the composers themselves. (Mixed in with an audience applause track after each...) They are all very modern, and some some of them quite weird for my taste. If you don't want to listen to all of them all the way through, the most accessible are two pieces that start around the 24:00 mark. The first is Civic 100 by Josh Fink, followed by Reverse Forward by Liza Sobel. It's all introduced by the Chicago Civic Orchestra's music director Ken-David Masur.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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