Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Andre Kostelanetz is a master of the kind of program he led the National Symphony Orchestra through at the Kennedy Center Thursday. Its theme was fairy tales and exotic places, its music colorful. It kept the orchestra's percussionists, harpists and keyboard specialists busy, and it provided more than the usual number of splashy climaxes.
kostelanetz knows just how to get the most out of this music. He tends to leave the details to the individual instrumentalist and to concentrate his energies on the shape and direction of the total musical landscape. This works very well. The musical sounds lose, but the total picture is well defined.
There were two pieces new to the NSO on the program. Excerpts from the music to the ballet "The Prince of the Pagodas," a 1957 work by Benjamin Britten, flaunted its orientalness in a barrage of xylophones and bells. It sounds like eminently usable dance music but is not the greatest concert fare.
"Rubaiyat" by Hovhaness is Omar Khayyam's poem set for narrator, orchestra and solo accordion. Douglas Fairbanks Jr. declaimed the romantic text roundly, and accordionist Carmen Carrozza did a splendid job with the cliches of the Near East-inspired music.
Soprano Irene Gubrud had the French idiom of Ravel's "Sheherazade" nicely in hand, and the program was rounded out with Ibert's "Ports of Call," some Brahms Hungarian Dances and the Enesco "Romanian Rhapsody" No. 1.