Chicago Symphony Orchestra
'… So this fine account, recorded live in Chicago last year, is most welcome, as well as once again refuting the fond old insular notion that to understand Elgar you have to be English. Gil Shaham plays with a wonderfully pure, true, expressive tone, and phrases like a master...'
'Gil Shaham and David Zinman respond on an exceptional level to the intensity and urgency of Elgar's big concerto, relishing their informed give-and-take and emphasizing momentum and substance while absolutely avoiding anything that might smack of indulgence... it is exceptionally persuasive, and the recorded sound itself conveys both its warmth and its vigor superbly.'
'Shaham’s playing on this album is so supremely gorgeous, better than on any other I’ve heard… The balances are exquisite, revealing details I never knew were there. This album also has the richest, most vibrant, balanced sound you’re likely to get … The flow and form [3rd movement] are complete, and the long cadenza at the end is worth the entire recording… as Shaham turns in the most exquisite, rapturous, technically perfect, and (may I say) exotically beautiful cadenza (with the widest-ranged, most awesome portamento) I’ve ever heard in this music.'
American Record Guide
Now in its second century, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra enjoys an enviable position in the music world with performances greeted by enthusiastic audiences both at home and abroad. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s distinguished history began in 1891 when Theodore Thomas, then the leading conductor in America and a recognized music pioneer, was invited to establish a symphony orchestra in Chicago. Thomas served as music director until his death in 1905 and was succeeded by Frederick Stock. Stock was music director for 37 years and, during that time, he led the Orchestra in its first commercial recording in 1916. Since that first recording, the Orchestra has amassed a discography numbering more than 900. Furthermore, these recordings have garnered more Grammy Awards than any other orchestra in the world. Two of the world’s most celebrated conductors assumed titled positions with the CSO in the 2006–2007 season. Eminent Dutch conductor Bernard Haitink was named the Orchestra’s Principal Conductor, and renowned French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez furthers his long-standing relationship with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as its Conductor Emeritus. Distinguished conductors to have held positions with the Orchestra include Fritz Reiner (1954–1964), Sir Georg Solti (1969–1991) and Daniel Barenboim (1991–2006). In May 2008, the CSO announced the appointment of Riccardo Muti as its tenth music director; he begins a five-year contract in September 2010. In 2007, the Orchestra launched its own record label, CSO Resound, for CD and digital download releases. The debut offering was Mahler’s Symphony No. 3, conducted by CSO Principal Conductor Bernard Haitink. Subsequent releases include Bruckner’s Symphony No. 7 and Mahler’s Symphony No. 6 with Haitink, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 5 with Myung-Whun Chung, and Traditions and Transformations: Sounds of Silk Road Chicago, which features the CSO, Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.