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Lake Champlain Festival brings out the big guns for opener / Rutland Herald

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Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival brought out the big guns to open its ninth summer season. Legendary pianist Leon Fleisher and Vermont's own violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson were featured in Sunday afternoon's pretty spectacular opening concert at the Elley- Long Music Center.

Laredo led the major work - and major success - of the program: Johannes Brahms' String Sextet in G Major No. 2, Op. 36. The sound was rich and the music expressive as violinists Laredo and Soovin Kim (festival founder and coartistic director), violists Hisn-Yun Huang and Misha Amory, and cellists Robinson and Christopher Constanza played their hearts out. Still, the most exquisite performance Sunday was Fleisher's intimate and profound delivery of Egon Petri's arrangement of J.S. Bach's "Sheep May Safely Graze" from Cantata BWV 208. At 89, Fleisher's place as one of the great pianists of the 20th century was clear, not only with his conveying the depth of this incredible music, but also with his unusual ability to voice the contrapuntal lines articulately and expressively. It was simply profound.

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