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UMS Concert Program, March 17, 1916: Choral Union Series -- Josef Stransky

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Season: 1915-1916
Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Ann Arbor, Mich. Friday Evening, March 17, 1916
' " _ AT EIGHT
1. Beethoven........................Overture, "Leonore No. 3"
2. Mozart.....................Aria, "II mio tesore intante," from
"Don Giovanni"
3. Liszt.......................Symphonic Poem, "Les Preludes"
4. Verdi......................Aria, "Celeste Aida," from "Aida"
5. Tchaikovsky.............Symphony No. 5, in E Minor, Op. 64
I. Andante, Allegro con anima.
II. Andante cantabile.
III. Valse, Allegro moderato.
IV. Finale: Andante maestoso. Allegro vivace, Moderato assai
e molto maestoso.
FELIX F. LEIFELS, Manager THE STEINWAY is the Official Piano of The Philharmonic Society
Overture, "Leonore," No. 3...........................Ludwig von Beethoven
(Born at Bonn, December 16, 1770; died at Vienna, March 26, 1S27)
Beethoven's opera "Fidelio" was first performed in Vienna, November 22, 1805. The composer panted to. call it "Leonore," but his managers insisted on "Fidelio," to avoid 'confusion with a play being performed at the time. Beethoven wrote four overtures--the one generally used at performances is in E major and has no thematic connection with the opera. The other three are known as the "Leonore" overtures, of which No. 3 is the finest. It contains the whole drama in miniature, including the trumpet call announcing the arrival of Pizarro, which is to bring the drama to a happy conclusion.
Aria, from "Don Giovanni" ("II mio tesoro intanto")........W. A. Mozakt
(Born at Salzburg, January 27, 1756; died at Vienna, December 5, 1791)
This aria is sung by Don Ottavio in the second act of Mozart's greatest opera, produced at Prague, October 29, 1787. ,
"Hasten to my beloved, and console her! seek to assuage her grief. Tell her I will vindicate her--my sword is hers, nothing shall turn me from my purpose."
Symphonic Poem No. 3, "The Preludes".........................Franz Liszt
(Born at Raiding, near Oedenburg. Hungary, October 22, 1811; died at Bayreuth, July 31, 1886)
This work was composed at Weimar about 1850 and performed first in that city in 1854. It was not published till two years later. The most popular of all Liszt's orchestral works, Liszt himself once laughingly referred to it as "Garden music." Its poetical basis is the following passage, condensed from Lamartine's "Meditations Poetiques":
"What is life but a series of preludes to that unknown song whose initial solemn note is tolled by Death The enchanted dawn of every life is love'; but where is the destiny on whose first delicious joys some storm does not break--a. storm whose deadly blast disperses youth's illusions, whose fatal bolt consumes, its altar. And what soul thus cruelly bruised, when the tempest rolls away, seeks not to rest its memories in the calm of rural life Yet man allows himself not long to taste the kindly quiet which first attracted him to Nature's lap; but when the trumpet gives the signal he hastens to danger's post, whatever be the fight which draws him to its lists; that in the strife he may once more regain full knowledge of himself and all his strength." --(Translated by Huneker.)
Alfred Heuss, a German commentator, divides the poem into five parts whichhe entitles as follows: First part--The prelude to the work itself-Man, a Mortal Being; second part--Happiness in Love; third part--The Storms of Life; fourth part--The Flight "Back to Nature"; fifth part--To the Combat as Volunteer.
Aria, "Celeste Aida".........................................Giuseppe Verdi
(Born near Busseto, Italy, October 10, 1813; died at Milan, January 27, 1901)
This aria is sung at the very beginning of the opera ("Aida" was first produced at Cairo, Egypt, December 24, 1871), by Radames--who hopes to be
appointed general-in-chief of the Egyptian army. He is in love with a slave, an Ethiopian princess, Aida.
"If I should be chosen general I would lay my laurels at Aida's feet! Heavenly Aida, radiant in beauty thou art queen of my life--thou art worthy of a throne next "the Sun itself!"
Symphony No. S, Opus 64, in E Minor.............Peter Iottch Tchaikovsky
(Born at Votkinsk, Russia, May 7, 1840; died at Petrograd, November 6, 1893)
I. Andante (common time), Allegro con anima (6-8 time, E minor); II. Andante cantabile (12-8 time, D major) ; III. Valse, Allegro moderato (3-4 time, A major); IV. Finale: Andante maestoso (common time, E major), Allegro vivace (alia breve-time, E minor), Moderato assai e molto maestoso (common time, E major).
The Fifth Symphony was composed in 1888'and had its first performance in November of that year, conducted by the composer. It was not very well received, and this discouraged the composer, who wrote to Nadeshda von Meek that he had concluded it was a failure. Later on it began to be appreciated and is now second only to the Pathetique in popularity.
This symphony has one principal theme, common to all four movements; this is an introduction to'the first movement proper--played by two clarinets in unison, accompanied only by bassoons and the lower strings.
The second movement is marked "con alcuna licenza" (with some freedom) in addition to the "andante." And as if the composer was fearful of the conductor not taking liberty enough he has marked over fifty nuances of tempo in the'course of the movement. As the movement works up to a tremendous dramatic climax the theme common to the four movements is thrillingly shouted, as it were, by the trumpets.
The third movement, a waltz, is marked "dolce con grazia" (sweetly and with grace). The waltz melody is first played by violins, later by clarinet and bassoon, and then occurs a peculiar syncopated melody, first a bassoon solo, then by all the wood-wind. As the gayety dies away the theme of the symphony is played softly by clarinets and bassoons.
The finale opens with .the theme of the symphony, played in major; this dies away and the finale proper begins--a lough Cossack-like melody, with chords in the violins, all played with a down bow. The "coda" brings the theme of the symphony and ends with the theme of the first movement, in major, and with full blare of trumpets.
Mr. Ernest Newman's comment on this symphony is extremely illuminative:
"The gloomy, mysterious opening theme suggests the leaden, deliberate tread of fate. The allegro, after experimenting in many moods, ends mournfully and almost wearily. The beauty of the andante is twice broken in upon by the first sombre theme. The third movement--the waltz--is never really gay; there is always the suggestion of impending fate in it; while at times the scale passages for the strings give it an eerie, ghostly character. At the end of this also there comes the heavy, muffled tread of the veiled figure that is suggested by the opening theme. Finally, the last movement shows us, as it were, the emotional transformation of this theme. In the major instead of in the minor, it is no longer a symbol of weariness and foreboding, but -bold, vigorous, emphatic, self-confident--a change from clouds to sunshine, from defeat to triumph."
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