Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sir Georg, Interstellar Idol

We went to Lincoln Park, among other places, on Sunday. This statue used to be near the entrance to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, facing toward downtown, and away from the conservatory in the background. I took this picture of the statue about three years ago.

When we arrived this time, I thought, “Something’s missing.” But what? The glassy conservatory was there. The nearby entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo – our destination – was there. The field and the still-lush beds of flowers were there. So was the view of downtown, fairly prominent to the south.

Where was Sir Georg? That’s who the statue honored, the late Georg Solti, music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for many years. It was gone. Someone up and took it away. I starting dreaming up a story about space aliens who had inadvertently found the voice of God in radio transmissions of music from Earth, and who build ships for the express purpose of taking music-related effigies back to their homeworld to use as devotional objects; Sir Georg was a big find.

The pedestrian truth, I later discovered, is that the statue was moved last year to Grant Park, to a spot now called Solti Gardens. Closer to Orchestra Hall – I mean Symphony Center. (There’s another place whose name should not have been changed. I’d rather go to a hall than a center any day.)

The same Grant Park Association press release that told me about the moving of the statue to Solti Gardens also included this intriguing line: “The new Solti Gardens, with landscaping to be completed over the next twelve months, was made possible by funds raised through Lollapalooza, the rock festival held earlier this summer in Grant Park.”

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