show review: Rush Hour Concerts – Ravinia in Chicago (7-7-15)

150707-St James Cathedral, Ravinia Steans music Rush hour concert:Photo by Drumnmike
150707-St James Cathedral, Ravinia Steans music Rush hour concert:Photo by Drumnmike

One of the wonderful things about living in Chicago, especially in the summer (because let’s be real, that’s the only smart time to be living in Chicago) are the concerts that happen.  Started 6 years ago the Rush Hour concert series presents a free half hour concert starting at 5:45 pm CST every Tuesday from June – August. My Aunt and Uncle invited us but unfortunately had to bow out.  Kathryn & I still thought it’d be fun to attend.

I arrived shortly before 5 to a mixed crowd of folks standing outside the door.  Some were homeless and others looked like they were waiting for the concert.  After waiting til 5:05 I decided to go in and check out what was going on. There was a door lady greeting and directing people for the event. I told her that some people outside thought they weren’t opened yet so they didn’t know that they could come in.  She told me to tell them it was OK to come in since she couldn’t leave. I went outside to give the good news, then gave her the thumbs up when I came back in on my way to the lecture on the other side of the foyer.

The talk featured 2 musicians from the performance discussing the musical program they were attending for the summer (Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute), their plans for the future, etc.  Decent talk but I had to meet Kathryn.  I went back to the door lady and she mentioned “oh you know those people were waiting for the meal downstairs, and they just weren’t ready yet”.  oops.. I apologized, she told me it was no big deal, but now I know.

150707 - st james cathedral  - Piano Quartet:Photo by Drumnmike
150707 – st james cathedral – Piano Quartet:Photo by Drumnmike

The performance started promptly at 5:45 and was over just as soon as it started.  It featured members of Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute, musicians who have or are finishing their bachelors degree and are continuing their musical studies. The Steans Music Institute is an intense summer program they attend and their rehearsals were outside of their regular training for the group. The quartet consisted of a violin, viola, cello and piano. They played 2 songs by Gabriel Faure (1845-1924), Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op 45: I. Allegro molto moderato and II. Scherzo: Allergo molto. This was my first exposure to Faure but the songs were played beautifully and with ease, not giving off any impression they were new to this.

150707- St James Cathedral - Piano Quintet:Photo by Drumnmike
150707- St James Cathedral – Piano Quintet:Photo by Drumnmike

Next the quintet, consisting of 2 violins, viola, cello and piano played a piece  by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897): Piano Quintet in F Minor, Op. 34 – I. Allegro Non Troppo. This song is stunning and leads to a gorgeous climactic ending with the piano and strings playing off each other. The song shifted between intense to dreamy and back to dramatic.

It was a lovely performance in a beautiful space and I hope we can attend more of these before the summer ends. Come say Hi if you make it out.

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