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Montreal Symphony brilliant at Symphony Center / Chicago Tribune

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Most visiting orchestras can be relied on to pack their most glamorous party pieces as tour baggage, doing so perhaps more to seek audience favor than to make a serious statement about what they are all about musically. The Montreal Symphony Orchestra, which delivered an impressive and often exciting concert Friday night at Symphony Center, is a notable exception to that depressing rule.

What set the program apart was how cannily its components - all reflecting the aesthetic ferment of early 20th century Paris - revealed the deeply ingrained Gallic sensibility of Nagano's orchestra, also how carefully that ensemble has preserved the best stylistic qualities of a heritage Charles Dutoit refined during his 24-year tenure as Nagano's predecessor.

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