Orchestras: The Well-Tempered Muzykanty

Their bow tips rise and fall over their nine violins with the discipline of smoothly moving piston rods. Be neath the ping of a pizzicato the big-bellied strings—three violas, three cellos and a bass—growl like well-tuned sports cars. The horns sing out on the curves as the harpsichord taps its deli cate echo in the background.

This carefully tooled engine of mu sic is the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, a group of 22 young, well-tempered muzykanly currently touring the U.S. with a rich repertory that runs from Bach to Bartok. At the wheel is...

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