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Top U.S. Orchestras 2009: Pierre Boulez and the Lion’s Roar Pummel Chicago (2009.02.28)


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MP3: Edgard Varese – Ionisation

If we’re keeping score — like in the Olympics — I’d say Cleveland Orchestra still leads. But that’s not at all the fault of Maestro Pierre Boulez — nor his Chicago Symphony players — but the pieces themselves. It was a night billed as daring, repertoire-bending modernism. Neoclassical Stravinsky is no longer a thing one loathes and physically berates with fistfights or catcalls, but it sure doesn’t have you quit the hall humming.

However, if you wanted to see a full squadron of 15 men and women take the stage with an arsenal of percussive aural projectiles – you couldn’t have picked a better night.

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