Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The National Symphony has played the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto countless times, but not as they played it Tuesday night. Isaac Stern, who played Tuesday night, has not performed the piece for eight or 10 years, and only recently took it out and worked it all over again. And Mstislav Rostropovich was in charge of what turned into one of the grandest performances of the cencerto ever heard in this town.
It was filled with, of all things, poetry. There was intimacy in the chamber-music quality of the finale and delicacy as conductor and soloist looked at each other not only in the great drives that dot the work but in the subtlest exchanges. These two men speak English together, they speak Russian together, they speak music together.
The concerto was loaded with animated rubatos that prevented the slightest hint of routine. Stern's tone was all gold and silver, fiery at times and in the slow movement, pure velvet under the previous metal. On Friday all these musicians are going to goes the way last night went, it will be a landmark.
Before the Tchaikovsky, Rostropovich filled the Kennedy Center with the delicate fragrance of The Walk to the Paradise Garden by Delius.
Earlier in the evening Rostropovich repeated three of the works from the previous evening's celebration of Aaron Copland's 77th birthday. He began with the Happy Birthday Greeting, then El Salon Mexico, and wound up the first half of the concert with the suite from "The Tender Land," with the Paul Hill Chorale singing. The concert will be repeated tonight.