The concert given by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra in Sanders last Friday night was disappointing. The only part of the program that was musically acceptable was Frances Steiner's playing of the Saint-Saens Violoncello Concerto, Opus 55. Her tone was usually warm and clear, and the technically difficult passages were executed with a degree of ease. Unfortunately, soloist and orchestra did not always pay sufficient attention to each other.
The remainder of the program--Beethoven's First Leonore, Debussy's Danses Sacrees et Profanes, Brahms' First Symphony--was full of moments that made it difficult for a person with a taste for grotesque humor to keep from laughing aloud. The trouble lay primarily in three things--the terrible out-of-tuneness of the strings, the lifelessness of the playing, and the lack of intensity and precision in Attilio Poto's conducting. Each contributed to the others.
At the resulting level of performance, such difficult music, particularly the Brahms, was hardly recognizable and should not have been attempted.