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Conductor Charles Dutoit and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in a program of Gabriel Faure's Requiem, Op. 48, Richard Wagner's Good Friday Music from the opera Parsifal and Arthur Honegger's Symphony N
There could not have been a more perfect Easter Weekend program than that which was presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with the esteemed conductor Charles Dutoit at the podium with the superb Chicago Symphony Chorus under the direction of Duain Wolfe. Wagner's Good Friday Music from Parsifal brought forth a finely crafted reading of Wagner's superlative music that charts the emotive spiritual journey of a young knight grown to maturity in his search for the Holy Grail. The more restless and war-torn Symphony No. 3 (Liturgique) from 20th century French composer Arthur Honegger seemed stripped right from the weekend's headlines, with North Korea's threatened nuclear tests and the possibility of war-like retaliation from the U.S. and the barely settled fumes of U.S. bombs over Syria still lingering in the air. Dutoit's handling of this epic piece was a testament to his use of restraint in building tension through use of tonal color and texture to create a heightened sense of drama. The long, slow second movement, De proudness clamavi: Adagio, became the central heartbeat of this absorbing piece and set the stage for the finale, which begins with the unrelenting march of war and ends in a peaceful benediction.This was Charles Dutoit and the CSO at their best with their masterful display of contrast.