Stories » Marlboro Music Festival closes 68th season / Rutland Herald

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Marlboro Music Festival closes 68th season / Rutland Herald

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"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose," usually translated as "the more things change, the more they stay the same," commonly attributed to Voltaire, was actually penned by French critic, journalist and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr (1808-1890). The famous maxim applies perfectly to Marlboro Music Festival, which closed its 68th season last weekend. Despite just announcing its fifth change in artistic direction in all those years the final season's concerts, last Saturday and Sunday, reflected the founding spirit of Vermont's most revered, and one of the country's most respected music institutions.

Emblematic was Sunday's closing performance of Beethoven's "Choral Fantasy," Op. 80, for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, a tradition beginning in 1957 with co-founder Rudolf Serkin as piano soloist (recently changed to every other year). Appropriately, artistic director Mitsuko Uchida was the piano soloist delivering Beethoven's unique mix of passion, joy and grandeur, while Leon Fleisher conducted the Marlboro Music Festival Orchestra and Chorus. Fleisher, now 90, first came to Marlboro as a pianist in 1959, Uchida in 1974.