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Knows what he's doing and can still do it

By Leslie Kandell
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
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Tanglewood's Friday concert -- Dvorak's Cello Concerto and Schumann's Spring Symphony, both core standards -- was led by the august and honor-laden Kurt Masur, so you'd expect to love every minute, which, in the Dvorak, I did not. I didn't mind cellist Lynn Harrell's small conception of the piece: not everyone has to fling themselves about like Yo-Yo. It was the lackluster orchestral reading, with dinks and ragged attacks like in Ozawa's final days, that made me wonder if 84 is too advanced an age for a conductor. (Pictured are Harrell, left, and Masur.)

But wait, there's more! The Schumann, not performed here for about 20 years, was as good as I've ever heard. Lyrical, precise, imposing -- with an aha moment! Masur -- we note -- is a soloist, and when he can be the virtuoso on his orchestral instrument, he makes it sing. Come back, maestro, but don't bother bringing anyone with you!

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