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If Louis Armstrong is your dish, and you can't stand anything slow, sweet, or classical, then the program at the Fine Arts Theatre this week is not for you. But if you prefer your pre-exam cobwebs lulled and soothed away instead of blared and swung away, you'll find a pleasant two hours of relaxation in store for you there.
You can sit back in your seat and miss very little by closing your eyes. A lot of very good Beethoven will wash around you, interspersed with some less masterful music which will but whet your appetite for more Beethoven. From time to time grown-ups and children will chatter in a very unintelligible language which is probably Russian. If plot or foreign photography interests you, open an eye every now and then to get the continuity, for there are a few more complications to this scenario than most European classical productions boast.
For your open-eye moments, concentrate on the child actors, almost all of whom are remarkable for unaffected acting and outstanding musical talent. Without makeup and without tears, they become alive strictly on their own ability. The story concerns two young boys, one eleven, one twelve, whose genius for violin playing makes them a joy to their Russian teacher. Both are to enter a nation-wide musical competition, but the elder boy arouses the ire of the professor through a prank and is banished from the studio. In a grim and gloomy mood at his misfortune, he composes an original cadenza to Beethoven's concerto which is such a masterpiece that when his younger pal plays it in the competition finals, both are justly acclaimed as the coming miracle men of music.
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