A friend who heard both the Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts in Lucerne in the past few days offered these observations (starting with Chicago):
Unbelievable. I didn't know an orchestra could play so loud. Even from the second balcony. If you were drawing a cartoon, you'd show everyone with their hair streaming backwards from the force. To be fair, Chicago had somewhere between 10 and 15 more players on the stage than Philadelphia, but the sonic power was more than just that. They played a Bernard Rands piece, Strauss Death and Transfiguration (which I thought was boring) and Shostakovich 5th - which knocked everybody's socks off. I guess I would say that it was a difference in intention between the French concept of iron delicacy (Eiffel Tower) and brute force (city of the big shoulders?). Muti was Muti. He seems ageless. Not a gray hair on his beautiful head. His hair - and the rest of him - completely animated. He shamelessly milked the crowd.
Some things never change!