It’s no surprise to Chicago drivers that the Kennedy and Dan Ryan Expressways are routinely ranked as among America’s most congested roads. So for the commuter crawling along these stretches of I-90/94, here is a balm for frazzled nerves. Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 (second movement) and Ravel’s Pavane for a Dead Princess kick off the journey, offering graceful homages to Baroque-era dances. Selections by Debussy, Dvorak, Vaughan Williams and Wagner are lyrical odes to nature, while the waltz from Tchaikovsky’s Serenade for Strings features “one of his best melodies,” according to Phillip Huscher, the CSO's program-book annotator.
Mozart’s E-flat Major Horn Concerto and Beethoven’s Third Piano Concerto, second movement, have a quiet nobility, impervious to gridlock. The Chicago Symphony Chorus is featured in radiant excerpts by Bach and Barber. Finally, Lou Harrison wrote his Pipa Concerto as a delicate showpiece for Wu Man, a virtuoso of the pipa, or Chinese lute. Its sound offers a nod to the Chinatown neighborhood, which can be seen from the Dan Ryan Expressway.