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Massive Tanglewood crowd spills over into parking spaces for Frank, Ax, Ma trio / Berkshire Eagle

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If Tanglewood had two Ozawa Halls with adjoining lawns, it would probably have filled both sets of facilities with the massive crowd that showed up for its Schubert concert Thursday night, spilling over into parking spaces seldom if ever used before for an Ozawa Hall concert. Schubert? Did somebody mention Schubert? The main attraction, of course, wasn't the composer. Think Yo-Yo Ma. Then think Yo-Yo Ma again. He played in the two principal pieces, and two more unlike performances would be hard to imagine. He also ignited a wild ovation merely by his first entrance, and an ever wilder one at the concert's end.

With Emanuel Ax, his frequent partner and the organizer of the "Schubert's Summer Journey" series, at the piano, Ma first toyed with the "Arpeggione" Sonata (so named for the obsolete stringed instrument for which it was originally written). The cellist darted this way and that, teased melodies and stretched tempos and rhythms like rubber bands, never settling down in any unified conception. A great show, but it was almost as if he was bored with the piece - which he has a right to be, considering the dozens of times he must have played it. Ax was the firm rock from which the cellist launched his flights. When violinist Pamela Frank joined the two men for the Piano Trio No. 2 at the end, everything changed. Long absent from Tanglewood because of illness, she returned as a wonderful artist in her own right and an utterly natural chamber-music partner. Theirs was a deeply considered performance of a darkly mysterious work.  PHOTO: HILARY SCOTT

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