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Perlman Music Program at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Probably no composer conveys the sensation of paranoia like Shostakovich, whose music often evokes scurrying figures and eerie shadows. During a terrific performance on Saturday evening in the opening program of the Metropolitan Museum's concert season, alumni of the Perlman Music Program deftly illuminated the biting tension of Shostakovich's Two Pieces for Double String Quartet (Op. 11).

The program, founded by the violinist Itzhak Perlman and the arts advocate Toby Perlman, his wife, in 1995, trains talented precollege string players in solo and chamber music and provides performance and mentoring opportunities. Mr. Perlman, a former child prodigy, joined his protégés as soloist in a vivid rendition of "Autumn" and "Winter" from Vivaldi's "Four Seasons." Before each, he read the sonnets Vivaldi wrote as preludes to each movement, suggesting that perhaps the composer should have stuck to his day job.

While sometimes inconsistent in technique and intonation, Mr. Perlman played with a glowing tone and drew from his charges a polished and invigorating performance, enhanced by a buoyant pulse.

The concert also included Brahms's String Sextet No. 1 in B flat. Although this was not as convincing as the other works, there was plenty of fine playing from members of the ensemble, including the violist Juan-Miguel Hernandez, who played the bittersweet theme in the Andante with impassioned poise.

As an encore, the musicians offered an orchestrated version of John Williams's "Air and Simple Gifts," which Mr. Perlman and others performed at President Obama's inauguration.

Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times
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