The sounds of music

  • From Under the Fig Tree

The other evening, I — along with 1,999 others — crowded the concert hall at the Kennedy Center to hear the internationally renowned pianist, Evgeny Kissin, perform.

Some members of the audience were drawn by the opportunity to see Kissin in person. Others were drawn by the program, which featured a number of works not usually part of his repertoire: sonatas and rhapsodies by Alexander Abramovich Krein, Mikhail Milner and Alexander Moiseveich Veprik, Russian Jewish composers of the interwar years whose compositions are known only to the cognoscenti. And still others came out that chilly wintry night warmed by the prospect of seeing and hearing one of the world’s leading musicians not play, but speak — and in Yiddish, no less.

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