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The Power of the Baton--and Bruckner

** 1/2 BEETHOVEN: Piano Concerto No. 4; Choral Fantasy. DVORAK: String Quintet, Opus 77.JANACEK: "Mladi," Suite for Winds. Rudolf Serkin, piano; Marlboro Festival Chorus, Orchestra and Ensembles, Alexander Schneider and Peter Serkin, conductors. Sony Classical

October 15, 2000|DANIEL CARIAGA

Despite inconsistent and sometimes distant sound quality, these performances do not come from the Marlboro Festival's early years (it was founded in 1951) but from 1974 through 1997. They do, however, represent the famous summer musical gathering place's high ideals and lofty standards, conspicuously in the playing of the late Rudolf Serkin, who brings tremendous authority and vitality to the G-major Concerto and the Choral Fantasy, the latter a performance as youthful and exuberant as the pianist's most memorable. The remaining readings from the Vermont institution are also characterized by mellow ensemble maturity--despite the young ages of many of the players--and model instrumental balances.

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