Critic’s Choice

Tue Sep 15, 2015 at 11:43 am

By Lawrence A. Johnson

Riccardo Muti is scheduled to open the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's season Thursday night.
Riccardo Muti is scheduled to open the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s season Thursday night. Photo: Todd Rosenberg

The current contract of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra musicians expired midnight Sunday, and negotiations are continuing Tuesday in an attempt to reach a settlement that will allow the CSO season to open on schedule.

Assuming the two sides come to terms before Thursday night, Chicago’s music season will begin in earnest this week with the kickoff of the CSO’s 125th season.

Even more than in past seasons, Riccardo Muti’s 2015-16 concerts are fixated on standard repertory to an almost reactionary degree. The CSO season opens 8 p.m. Thursday with Muti leading the orchestra in Mozart’s Symphony No. 40, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 and Liszt’s tone poem, From the Cradle to the Grave. A free Millennium Park concert 6:30 p.m. Friday will encore one of Muti’s highlights from past seasons, Mahler’s Symphony No. 1, prefaced by Beethoven’s Leonore Overture No. 3. The gala concert 7 p.m. Saturday offers a more imaginative lineup with the Mussorgsky/Ravel Pictures at an Exhibition prefaced by Elgar’s In the South and John Corigliano’s Campane di Ravello.; 312-204-3000.

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