The Music Box
Sanders Theatre's usual grim atmosphere gave way last night almost enough to permit James Otis to hop off his pedestal and take a seat in the parquet. A rousing, unselfconscious performance by the celebrated Harvard University Band; several ad lib remarks delivered from the podium by director Malcolm Holmes including his introduction of "Wintergreen" as a "New England folk song dating from the seventeenth century"; and an extremely responsive audience who howled with appreciation after each number in true Soldiers Field tradition were responsible for the transformation.
The program was notable for its innovations. Prokotieff's "March, Op. 99," which called for and received a great deal of refinement of interpretation especially by the trumpets made its New England debut, and Milhand's "Suite Francaise" had been played in this country only twice before. Two pleasant surprises were the muted trumpet sole in Morton Gould's "Pavanue," and the brass and reed choir effects in "Prayer of Thanksgiving." One of the high points in the way of intricate original arranging for which the Band is famous, was reached in the "Strike Up The Band" scoring for the clarinets.
Malcolm Holmes and his group have passed an other milestone. Those who view with as much alarm the thought of playing Milbaud and Prokofieff as they would a bull in a china shop should realize that some bulls can step daintily.