Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, who is music director of the Minnesota Orchestra, is guest conductor this week of the National Symphony's concerts. He has built his program out of three major works each or which has been a staple of the repertoire almost from the moment of its first performance.
The three are the "Freischuetz" Overture by Weber, the Second Symphony by Beethoven, and the Fifth Symphony of Shostakovich. Skrowaczewski conducted each work with a large measure of fidelity to what the composer wrote. To that measure, he added personal touches that encouraged the music to sound fresh and unfettered.
The Weber Overture opened with unusual deliberation, calling to mind some of the more ominous scenes that follow in the opera.
The Beethoven symphony was a delight from beginning to end. National Symphony audiences have had the unusual pleasure of hearing, in successive weeks, two of the least often played Beethoven symphonies, the Fourth and Second. In the latter, the visiting conductor took a relaxed view of the music, something entirely in accord with its basic pulse and its presaging of a later Beethoven not yet fully uncovered. The slow movement was particulary satisfying.
So was the slow movement of the Shostakovich, that crown of the whole with its halo of sound for a close. Again tempos were deliberate, which is all to the good in this music. The orchestra's response to the visitor was admirable in all ways.