Chicago Symphony Orchestra

Richard Goode is probably the finest American pianist working today. Sure, Murray Perahia, Ursula Oppens, Emmanuel Ax, and Peter Serkin may be better known, but as Goode’s skills have blossomed, so too has his reputation. His interpretations of Beethoven’s sonatas reveal a thoughtful, majestic, yet nonegotistical approach. A top-notch technician, Goode always allows a composer’s personality, if not intentions, to emerge–his playing is natural, unmannered, almost self-effacing. This weekend the New York-based Goode makes his belated Ravinia Festival debut, first in a free solo recital, then joining the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for Mozart’s Piano Concerto in D Minor. The recital’s program should show off Goode’s unforced virtuosity and his touch with the lighter standards in the classical repertoire: it includes assorted mazurkas and other pieces by Chopin as well as capriccios and intermezzi by Brahms. His Mozart on the main stage could be unprissy and revelatory. The CSO, under the baton of Christoph Eschenbach, who kicks off his six-week stay at Ravinia, also performs Elliott Carter’s rare foray into high jinks, the Holiday Overture, and the ubiquitous Fourth Symphony of Tchaikovsky. Friday, 6 PM, Martin Theatre (recital), and 8 PM, Pavilion (CSO concert), Ravinia Festival, Green Bay and Lake Cook Rds., Highland Park; 728-4642.

TED SHEN

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Stuart O’Shields.