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The members of the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra well deserved the long ovation they received after this concert last night. Starting off enthusiastically with Haydn's Symphony No. 88, they combined with the Glee Club and Choral Society in a vigorous playing of the Bach Magnificat, and capped the evening with a rousing, rafter-knocking performance of the Fifth Symphony of Dmitri Shostakovitch. The Orchestra members proved that inspired, as they were last night, they can do a fine job with a difficult program.
Russell Stanger, the orchestra's new conductor, obviously deserved much of the credit for the players' inspiration. He produced some fine sounds from the group; his interpretations of the Haydn and back were sound, while the Shostakovitch was often exciting.
The performance of the Magnificat was the most consistently enjoyable event of the evening. The soloists: Eleanor Davis, Eunice Albert, Paul Tibbets, and Hughes Cuenod were all excellent although Cuenod faltered somewhat in high passages. The alto section was rather weak, but the chorus as a whole sang precisely and well. Their singing showed thorough preparation.
Several individual performances in the Magnificat deserve especial mention. Daniel Pinkham's playing of the harpsichord continue was very line, while, despite a few precarious moments, Gerard Gouguen negotiated the high trumpet part quite successfully. The most satisfying section for me was the aria for alto, "Esurientes implevit bonis." Miss Albert's singing and the flute playing of Howard Brown and Norton Gettes were outstanding.
The only time when the orchestra seemd to bog down was in the second, movement of the Haydn. It was taken quite slowly and the orchestra was unable to sustain the notes successfully. But all in all old-time Orchestra patrons had quite a few pleasant surprises last night.
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