Daniel Barenboim may be an erratic conductor, but his interpretative unpredictability, which can nettle orchestra members, often adds freshness and spontaneity to his solo piano performances. It seems that his penchant for experimenting with familiar pieces yields most interesting results when Barenboim is answerable only to himself. And of course his keyboard technique–impressive in his prodigy days and now almost flawless–allows for a smooth execution of his ideas. For this recital, which kicks off the fifth year of his residency as the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s artistic head, Barenboim has put together a program of works he’s performed many times before. Yet we get the feeling that he believes they are ready to be interpreted anew, especially when played back-to-back. Beethoven’s Sonata no. 3 in C Major, Brahms’s Sonata no. 3 in F Minor, and Schoenberg’s Three Pieces are all youthful efforts, each forward thinking and remarkable in its own way. Beethoven was 24 and only beginning to ponder the expressive potential of the pianoforte while writing his third sonata. Brahms was barely 20, yet already weary of old conventions, when he composed his last sonata and moved on to the freer forms of variations and rhapsodies. Schoenberg penned Three Pieces, which ushered in the revolution of atonality and altered modern soundscape, at 35. Monday, 7 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lelli and Masotti, Erato.