Kelly Clarkson gives her all last month in Florida. She did the same at Nissan Pavilion.
Kelly Clarkson gives her all last month in Florida. She did the same at Nissan Pavilion. (By Richard Graulich -- Palm Beach Post Via Ap)

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Saturday, July 8, 2006

NSO and Itzhak Perlman

The season's first National Symphony Orchestra concert at Wolf Trap showed that there is no such thing as a surfeit of Mozart, despite all of this year's celebrations of the 250th anniversary of his birth. The reason was superstar violinist Itzhak Perlman, who not only played but also conducted Thursday night at the Filene Center.

The all-Mozart program fell neatly into two halves. Perlman opened with two movements for violin and orchestra: the Adagio in E, K. 261, and the Rondo in C, K. 373. He played with almost impossible sweetness of tone and a delicacy that nevertheless carried to the capacity audience. Perlman's playfully puckish delight in K. 373 was especially pleasing.

Perlman then led Symphony No. 40 with deliberate tempos and very warm strings. Keeping this G Minor masterpiece dark but not tragic, he made it almost a serenade for strings, downplaying the other instruments.

The second half of the concert opened with a speedy, sparkling "Marriage of Figaro" Overture. The orchestra, although too large for Mozart, sounded bright and bracing under Perlman's enthusiastic direction.

Mozart's final symphony, No. 41 in C ("Jupiter"), got a celebratory treatment, with prominent timpani and ringing trumpets. The strongly rhythmic approach still emphasized strings -- the cellos in the second movement were especially good -- but Perlman let the whole orchestra sing out in a speedy, intense finale.

The NSO players sounded pleasurably relaxed, regaling the audience with warmth, clarity and abundant charm.

-- Mark J. Estren

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson has in just a few years graduated from the little screen all the way to the biggest rock rooms. And the original American Idol didn't make it this far on her voice alone. Clarkson's headlining show at Nissan Pavilion on Thursday proved her personality is big enough to fill any stage or screen.

On the job, Clarkson oozes an exuberance that most grown-ups don't exude anywhere, let alone in the workplace. She put everything she's got into every song, whether going through the incredibly crafted pop hits from her last CD -- "Behind These Hazel Eyes," "Walk Away," "Breakaway" -- to an extended version of "Go," an unreleased tune that serves as a soundtrack for a new Ford Motor Co. commercial.

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© 2006 The Washington Post Company

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