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Magical sounds of a 1725 Stradivarius

On Sept. 11, at more or less 7:30 p.m., there was something of a laissez faire attitude in the nonmusical part of the evening exemplified by the less-than-punctilious starting time, but I would guess that such deviations in scheduling are a purposeful part of the Piatigorsky Foundations intent in taking classical music to unconventional sites, groups and ethnically and economically challenged groups that might not otherwise be likely to hear classical music live. The team that found itself in Vermont this weekend was comprised of Evan Drachman, cellist (grandson of Piatigorsky and the brains behind the foundation) and Jeffrey Grossman, pianist. Last Thursday the group played at the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michaels College. Drachman is a formidable technician and he makes his grandfathers celloa 1725 Stradivariusproduce truly magical sounds of a richness that matches the darker original varnish on the instrument. His playing of the three programmed pieces a Haydn concerto, Kol Nidrei, Op. 47 by Bruch, and the Tchaikovsky Variations on a Rococo Theme Op. 33 was filled with a great warmth, especially the Adagio movement of the Haydn, and the Kol Nidrei. It was clear that he was devoted to his music from the sounds and musical sense that he drew from the sounds. He was well partnered by Grossman, whose playing of the newly-acquired Steinway from about 1915, a seven-foot grand with a brilliance in its voicing. He provided sound commensurate with the fact that he replaced an orchestra in his accompanying, and matched Drachman perfectly throughout the evening. The evening was rounded out by Drachmans answering questions about the foundation and its purpose, as well as delighting the audience with stories about his grandfather, the cello and his grandfather and the cello together. It was a delightful evening, all in all. Briefly noted: The annual Made in Vermont Tour by the VSO under the baton of Music Director Jaime Laredo will take place between Sept. 25 and Oct. 5. The concerts will have works by Gershwin, Grieg and Vivaldi, and a world premiere by Pierre Jalbert. Tickets through the Flynn Box Office or online at www.vso.org. Burlington resident Dan Wolfe observes and critiques the local arts scene for the Times Sentinel. His column appears weekly.

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