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Orchestra delivers solid all-Beethoven program

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BOSTON SYMPHONY

ORCHESTRA

Conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski.

Radu Lupu, piano soloist.

All-Beethoven program.

January 12, Symphony Hall.

By DEBBY LEVINSON

AN ALL-BEETHOVEN PROGRAM is always a treat, but the BSO's selection of Romanian pianist Radu Lupu as soloist made a special afternoon even more spectacular.

Lupu's technique was flawless, and he brought a sensitive touch to the glissandi and trills of the "Allegro con brio" of the Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor. His touch was never overbearing or

ponderous, even in the lower range, and his notes in the higher range sparkled. His performance of the concerto's cadenza was brilliant; Lupu drew out both the passage's storminess and its gentle lyricism.

The third piece of the afternoon, the Symphony No. 3 in E flat, "Eroica," at first lacked the polish of the Piano Concerto -- there were some overly loud horn notes that bordered on the harsh -- but when the orchestra settled down, the piece regained its glorious, thunderous character. The second movement, "Marcia funebre; Adagio assai," was appropriately dark but dragged occasionally. The BSO's joyful, spirited rendition of the brisk-tempoed third movement was a welcome change from the moody, depressing atmosphere of the "Marcia funebre."

The "Leonore" Overture No. 3 opened the concert. The overture is the most popular of four that Beethoven composed for his only opera, Fidelio. While a largely undistinctive work, the overture does have a certain strength to it, a quality visible from its powerful first notes. It was at some times pastoral, at others fierce and elemental, with just a hint of the fury of the composer's Symphony No. 5.

The overture highlighted dynamics, with the BSO skillfully moving from the quietest triple piano to the loudest triple forte. Although his movements were animated, conductor Skrowaczewski failed to draw enough from the orchestra in the more delicate pianissimo sections, but the fortissimo passages and the fiendish glissandi at the close of the piece brought back its original emotion.