Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Mstislav Rostropovich opened Tuesday night's National Symphony concert with the Air from the Third Suite by Bach, a memorial tribute to Hubert Horatio Humphrey. It is likely that Humphrey would have enjoyed Dvorak's Carnival Overture that came after the Bach much more.
After a rough beginning that included some strange irruptions from the horns, the Dvorak moved into paths of righteousness that flowered in a blazing close.
For years Rostropovich, the cellist, has been playing the Dvorak Concerto under many conductors. How ofter, during those years, may he not have desired the baton in place of the bow? Tuesday night he led a performance of it for a young French cellist, Frederic Ledeon, who last year shared the first prize in the Rostropovich Competition for cellists.
What a feeling it must be for a young Lodeon to play it under the Rostropovich baton. In any case, the young man acquitted himself in the monster work with credit. His tone, though not large, is clear and well tuned, his sense of style and phrasing solidly in place. Not yet 26, all Lodeon needs to do is to let the work broaden and deepen in ways he has well begun.
For the evening's finale, Rostropovich led the Ravel version of Mussorgsky's "Picture at an Exhibition." Shoutssat the end were completely deserved. The subtlest details of scoring were effectively underlined by string choirs with a satin sheen, while the deep brass chorus played with magnificent resonance.