THE MUSIC BOX

The Harvard University Orchestra (Pierian Sodality of 1808) will top off a successful season tonight in its annual concert at Paine Hall, conducted by Malcolm Holmes. Including eighteenth-century classics and products of Harvard College, the program opens with Gretry's Overture to "Le Magnifique," and Haydn's superb "Drum Roll" Symphony. The Mozart Serenata Notturna for string orchestra, string quartet, and tympani which follows, will have the expert collaboration of the Stradivarius String Quartet, and Buxtehude's organ Chaconne in E minor will have the collaboration of Malcolm Holmes, who has transcribed the work for orchestra. Closing the program are two works by Harvard musicians, Jan LaRue's Concertino for Clarinet and Orchestra, with the composer as soloist, and Professor Ballantine's Variations on "Mary Had a Little Lamb." Jan LaRue, a music concentrator, graduated from Harvard last year and is now on a fellowship at Princeton, where the Concertino was written. Professor Ballantine's by now popular and well-known Variations on "Mary Had a Little Lamb" take the familiar nursery-rhyme and cleverly bandy it about in the style of composers like Schubert, Tchaikowski, MacDowell, and Wagner. . . .

The common report on the two new recordings of the "Eroica" is unfortunately true. Toscanini's performance on Victor, exciting as it is, suffers dreadfully from the poor acoustics of the NBC studio, where it was recorded during the Beethoven cycle last year. The studio is probably more satisfactory for radio broadcasting than a concert-hall, as it is arranged so that every note comes over with perfect clarity. But for a permanent recording, one wants resonance as well as clarity, and the tone in this album is so flat and dead as to make the set very unpleasant. In the Walter recording, by Columbia, on the other hand, the tone is full and rich. And while the performance is fairly conventional, it does not surge ahead the way Toscanini's does. Except for an annoying slackness in the tempo of the scherzo, it is first-rate, making this set the one to buy.