Music: Play It Again, Ludwig

Summer festivals cling depressingly to Top 40 programs of classics

Nothing LikeItI Under the Stars," boasts this year's Ravinia Festival, the summer home of the Chicago Symphony. On the contrary, there is too much like it. When it comes to programming, major American orchestras apparently operate on the principle that what their audiences don't know will scare them away. The depressing result is coast-to-coast classical Top 40, a play-it-safe season of interchangeable concerts that is as stultifying as the humidity on an August dog day.

Those with a hankering to hear, say, Beethoven's Seventh Symphony...

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