The Chicago Symphony Orchestra's long-serving principal horn, Dale Clevenger, gave his last performance with the orchestra yesterday evening. He has been a member of the Chicago SO for 47 years and served under all the music directors from Jean Martinon in 1966 to Riccardo Muti, the current incumbent. Muti referred to him as 'one of the greats' and 70 horn-playing colleagues treated him to a surprise performance of part of Mahler's Fifth Symphony during which his CSO colleagues offered this tribute.
Following yesterday's concert – which featured Haydn's Maria Theresa Symphony (No 48), Martinů's Oboe Concerto and Scriabin's The Divine Poem, conducted by Muti – Clevenger was presented with the Theodore Thomas medallion which is given to all retiring members of the CSO (Thomas was the Chicago SO's first music director, 1890-1905).
On disc, Clevenger can be heard in the Mozart horn concertos (Hungaroton with the Franz Liszt CO, and DG – No 3 with Abbado and the CSO), the Serenade for tenor, horn and strings (with Robert Tear and Carlo Maria Giulini and the CSO – DG), 'Morgenlich leuchtend' from Die Meistersinger (arranged for horn and orchestra with Daniel Barenboim and the CSO – Teldec), the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Chicago colleagues (conducted by Giulini on the CSO's own label) and he leads the horn quartet in Barenboim's very fine DG recording of Schumann's Konzertstück. And, of course, on numerous symphonic and orchestral recordings under Solti, Haitink, Barenboim, Abbado and many other great conductors.