20

SUNDAY

Of all the stringed instruments in classical repertoire, the viola is perhaps the most misunderstood and underappreciated. With a range lost somewhere in the no man’s land between the violin’s high soprano and the cello’s mellow tenor, the viola lacks a distinct tonal niche. Tonight’s concert by the New York Philharmonic features an innovative work that should give the viola repertoire a huge boost. The mystic Russian composer Sofia Gubaidulina’s Two Paths: Music for Two Solo Violas and Symphony Orchestra, performed by NYP violists Cynthia Phelps and Rebecca Young, is a newly commissioned dramatic piece based on Martha and Mary of the Gospel of St. John. Like in Hector Berlioz’s pictoral symphony Harold in Italy, the soloists assume the protagonists’ voices and interact with the orchestra. Kurt Masur conducts the program, which also includes Sergey Prokofiev’s Symphony No. 1 and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7, at 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. $15-$75. (202) 467-4600. (Amy Domingues)