(This is the program provided by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for this concert. You can also view the UMS program).
Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor
FIFTY-FOURTH 4s SEASON .
Tuesday Evening, December 11 at 8:15 o'clock
Fifty-Sixth Annual Choral Union Concert Series, of the University of Michigan Auspices, University Musical Society
ill gfutiitorium Uttibergitp of Jffltcfjigan i3nn
FIFTY-FOURTH SEASON, 1934-1935
Boston Symphony Orchestra
Dr. SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
Richard Burgin, Assistant Conductor
TUESDAY EVENING, December 11, a 8:15
with historical and descriptive notes By Philip Hale and John N. Burk
COPYRIGHT, 1934, BY BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, ItlC.
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Boston Symphony Orchestra
FIFTY-FOURTH SEASON, 1934-1935 Dr. SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
TUESDAY EVENING, December ii, at 8:15 o'clock
Mozart.....Overture to " Marriage of Figaro"
Beethoven . . . . Symphony No. 3 in E-flat major,
Op. 55, " Eroica "
I. ALLEGRO CON BRIO
II. MARCIA FUNEBREI ADAGIO ASSAI
in. scherzo: allegro vivace; trio
iv. finale: allegro molto
Moussorgsky....." Pictures at an Exhibition," Pianoforte Pieces arranged for Orchestra by Maurice Ravel
Promenade -Gnomus -II Vecchio Castello -Tuileries -Bydlo -Ballet of Chicks in their Shells -Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle -Limoges: The Marketplace -Catacombs (Con mortuis in lingua mortua) -The Hut on Fowls' Legs -The Great Gate at Kiev
OVERTURE TO THE OPERA, " THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO "
By Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Born at Salzburg, January 37, 1756; died at Vienna, December 5, 1791
Le Nozze di Figaro: dramma giocoso in quadro atti; poesia di Lorenzo Da Ponte, aggiustata dalla commedia del Beaumarchais, ' Le Mariage de Figaro'; musica di W. A. Mozart," was composed at Vienna in 1786 and produced there on May 1 of the same year.
The overture is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns,' two trumpets, kettledrums, strings. It opens (Presto, D major, 4-4) immediately with the first theme; the first part of it is a running passage of seven measures in eighth notes (strings and bassoons in octaves), and the second part is given for four measures to wind instruments, with a joyous response of seven measures by full orchestra. This theme is repeated. A subsidiary theme follows, and the second theme appears in A major, a gay figure in the violins, with bassoon, afterward flute. There is no free fantasia. There is a long coda.
Mozart saw in the play of Beaumarchais an excellent libretto for an opera. Da Ponte tells the story in his amusing Memoirs: " Talking one day with him [Mozart], he asked me if I could turn Beaumarchais's ' Noces de Figaro ' into an opera. The proposition was to my taste, and the success was immediate and universal. A little before, this piece had been forbidden by the Emperor's command, on account of its immorality. How then to propose it anew Baron Vetzlar offered me with his customary generosity a reasonable price for my libretto, and assured me that he would see to its production at London or in France, if it were refused in Vienna. I did not accept the offer, and I secretly began work. I waited the opportune moment to propose the poem either to the Intendant or, if I had the courage, to the Emperor himself. Martin alone was in my confidence, and he was so generous, out of deference to Mozart, to give me time to finish my piece before I began work on one for him; As fast as I wrote the words, Mozart wrote the music, and it was all finished in six weeks. The lucky star of Mozart willed an opportune moment, and permitted me to carry my manuscript directly to the Emperor.
" ' How's this' said Joseph to me. ' You know that Mozart, remarkable for his instrumental music, has with one exception never written for song, and the exception is not good for much.'
Da Ponte here refers to Baron Wezlar.
" I answered timidly, ' Without the kindness of the Emperor, I should have written only one drama in Vienna.'
" ' True: but I have already forbidden the German company to play this piece " Figaro." '
" ' I know it; but, in turning it into an opera, I have cut out whole scenes, shortened others, and been careful everywhere to omit anything that might shock the conventionalities and good taste; in a word, I have made a work worthy of the theatre honored by his Majesty's protection. As for the music, as far as I can judge, it seems to me a masterpiece.'
" ' All right; I trust to your taste and prudence. Send the score to the copyists.'
" A moment afterward I was at Mozart's. I had not yet told him the good news, when he was ordered to go to the palace with his score. He obeyed, and the Emperor thus heard several morceaux which delighted him. Joseph II. had a very correct taste in music, and in general for everything that is included in the fine arts. The prodigious success of this work throughout the whole world is a proof of it. The music, incredible to relate, did not obtain a unanimous vote of praise. The Viennese composers crushed by it, Rosenberg and Casti especially, never failed to run it down."
Did Da Ponte show himself the courtier when he spoke of the Emperor's " very correct taste in music "
The Analytic Symphony Series
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The Analytic Symphony Series comprises thirty-four volumes covering the most important symphonies of the world's greatest masters. Each volume is presented in playable two-hand piano score, and contains complete analytical notes on the structure and orchestration in addition to critical notes appraising the significance of the composition and its salient points.
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There was a cabal from the start against the production of Mozart's opera. Kelly says in his Reminiscences: " Every one of the opera company took part in the contest. I alone was a stickler for Mozart, and naturally enough, for he had a claim on my warmest wishes. ... Of all the performers in this opera at that time, but one survives -myself. [This was written in 1826.] It was allowed that never was opera stronger cast. I have seen it performed at different periods in other countries, and well too, but no more to compare with its original performance than light is to darkness. All the original performers had the advantage of the instruction of the composer, who transfused into their minds his inspired meaning. I never shall forget his little animated countenance, when lighted up with the glowing rays of genius; it is as impossible to describe it as it would be to paint sunbeams." P. H.
SYMPHONY NO. 3 IN E FLAT, " EROICA," Op. 55 By Ludwig van Beethoven
Born at Bonn, December i6(), 1770; died at Vienna, March 26, 1827
I am not satisfied," said Beethoven to Krumpholz in 1802, "with my works up to the present time. From today I mean to take a new road." This was the critical year of the Heilingstadt Testament, the year also when the composer threw off the mood of tragic despair into which the full realization of his deafness had thrown him, and seized upon the mighty musical project of the " Eroica " Symphony.-)Contemplating the harmless docilities of the First and Second Symphonies, one looks in vain through all of music for a " new road," taken so readily, with so sure and great a stride. Wagner's " Ring," following " Lohengrin," Brahms' First Symphony -these triumphant assertions of will-power were achieved only after years of germination, of accumulated force. With Beethoven, spiritual transformations often came with inexplicable suddenness. Having completed his Second Symphony in the summer of 1802, at Heilingstadt, he simply turned his back upon the polite patterns of Haydn and Mozart. As his notebooks show, he forged his heroic score with a steady onslaught, expanding the inherited form almost beyond recognition, yet preserving its balance and symmetry.
Musicians have never ceased to wonder at the welded and significant organism of the exposition in the first movement, the outpouring invention and wealth of episodes in the working out, the magnificence and freshness of the coda. The unity of purpose, the clarity amid profusion,
Last performed at these concerts October 13, 1933.
+ There are indications that the Eroica was a veritable " rebound " from the Heilingstadt Will. This document is signed October 10. Nottebohm attributes the early sketches of the symphony to October. Ries says that Beethoven began the Eroica at Heilingstadt, and we know that he was back in Vienna in November.
which the Symphony's early critics failed to perceive, extends no less to the Funeral march, the scherzo, the variation finale -forms then all quite apart from symphonic practice. One whose creative forces ran in this wise could well ignore precedent, and extend his score to the unheard of length of three quarters of an hour.
Not fugitive legends, based on the too fertile memories of his friends, but certain definitely established facts surround Beethoven's programmistic intentions regarding the EVoica Symphony. Ries told how in the early spring of 1804, he saw the fair copy upon Beethoven's work table with the word " Buonaparte " at the top, " Luigi van Beethoven " at the bottom, a blank space between; how when he told Beethoven a few weeks later that the " First Consul" had proclaimed himself Emperor, the composer flew into a rage, and tore the title page in two. Schindler confirms this tale, having heard it from Count Moritz Lichnowsky. The manuscript copy (not in Beethoven's script, but freely marked by him) which has come down to posterity and which is now at the Library of the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Vienna, has a different title page. It reads: " Sinfonia Grande -Intitulata Bonaparte -1804 in August -del Sigr. Louis van Beethoven -Sinfonia 3, Op. 55." The words " Intitulata Bonaparte " have been blotted out, but can still be traced. Under his name in lead pencil, now barely discernible, Beethoven has written: " Geschrieben auf Bonaparte." Beethoven wrote to Breitkopf and Hartel, August 26, 1804, offering them " a new grand symphony, really entitled Bonaparte, and in addition to the usual instruments there are specially three obbligato horns. I believe it will interest the musical public. I should like you instead of printing only parts, to publish it in score." f The symphony " written on Bonaparte " was finally published in 1806 as "Sinfonia Eroica, composed to celebrate the memory of a great Man," and dedicated To His Serene Highness, the Prince von Lobkowitz.
The recorded opinions of early performances have been many times quoted for the delight of succeeding generations. Among several private or semi-private performances in Vienna in the year 1805 was one in January, at the house of the banker Herr von Wiirth. A reviewer was present and wrote of it in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zeitung. Whereas he called the First Symphony " a glorious art-creation " with " an extraordinary wealth of lovely ideas treated in the most splen Beethoven is said to have retorted to those who vigorously protested the length of the Eroica: " If I write a symphony an hour long, it will be found short enough! " And so he did, with his Ninth. He must have realized, however, the incapacity of contemporary audiences, when he affixed to the published parts (and later on the score) of the " Eroica": " Since this symphony is longer than an ordinary symphony, it should be performed at the beginning rather than at the end of a concert, either after an overture or an aria, or after a concerto. If it be performed too late, there is the danger that it will not produce on the audience, whose attention will be already wearied by preceding pieces, the effect which the composer purposed in his own mind to attain."
t Nevertheless the parts only were published in 1S06. The printed score did not appear until 1820.
did and graceful style, with coherence, order and clearness reigning throughout," the new symphony was " virtually a daring wild fantasia, of inordinate length and extreme difficulty of execution." The writer found passages of beauty and force, " but," he said, " the work seems often to lose itself in utter confusion." He finally condemned the score as " odd and harsh," and expressed his preference for a symphony by Eberl in the same key. It was at the first public performance, on April 7, that Beethoven, conducting, found himself at odds with the orchestra in the vigorous, syncopated chords of the first movement, and had to begin again. Ries tells how, at a first rehearsal, " which was horrible," he thought the horn had made a false entrance in the famous passage where the composer, indulging an " evil whim" (" bose laune ") introduces the principal theme in the original key against the dominant B flat -A flat of the strings. " I stood beside Beethoven, and thinking that a blunder had been made, I said: ' Can't the damned hornist count -it sounds infamously false! ' I think I came pretty close to receiving a box on the ear. Beethoven did not forgive the slip for a long time." J. N. B.
THE "EROICA," AND MODERN PSYCHOLOGY
It is interesting to compare the re-consideration of the " Eroica" Symphony by two very eminent authorities in their most recent books on Beethoven: Romain Rolland ("Beethoven the Creator") and Ernest Newman (" The Unconscious Beethoven ") .-f Generally speaking, one could hardly find two more entirely opposite ways of approach than that of the idealistic Frenchman who deliberately reads Beethoven's life and character in the noble terms of his music, and the inexorable, truth-tracking Englishman, the destroyer of romantic pedestals, who divides the composer into two parts: " the man " and " the artist " -to the detriment of the former. But when confronted with the music itself, the two critics, drawn by their profound knowledge and common understanding, see curiously eye to eye. Newman translated Rolland's book of 1928 in the following year. Newman's " Essay in Psychology," as he sub-titled it, was published in 1927, and reprinted in 1929. It is probably legitimate to regard their similar conclusions as arrived at independently by two clear-visioned and decidedly independent musicians.
Armed with the psychological insight of their day, the two investigators have attempted to fix the " Eroica " as a creative act, boldly invading the sanctum where the miracle was wrought, and with score and sketches as their evidence, following the gradual or sudden defini Harper and Bros. t Alfred A. Knopf.
tion of the themes, the progress of the whole, step by step. In trying to read the impulses of Beethoven, they have been wise enough not to confuse themselves, as their forebears have done, with futile speculation as to what part Napoleon, Bernadotte, Plato, or Republicanism may have played in the process. Both perceive that part not to have been nearly so important as has always been supposed.
" No one who understands Beethoven," says Newman, " can doubt that at the back of the notes is a train of thought that remotely corre' sponds to what we can call by the crude name of a ' poetic idea.' The work is ' absolute ' music in that its logic is that of the musical faculty per se functioning at its finest; yet assuredly all these affirmations, and doubts and reservations, and bursts of temper and convulsive gestures, and sudden transitions to softer moods are the outcome of a train of thought that ran within the musical one, as a nerve runs in its sheath."
Having thus thrown off the burden of explaining the " poetic idea," Newman is free to examine the functioning of the " musical faculty per se," which he does at length. Rolland feels equally free to rid himself of the intervening shadow of Napoleon:
" Let us brush from our path, first of all, the too simple anthropomorphic explanation that builds on the title -' Bonaparte ' -that Beethoven wrote first of all on the title page and then tore out. In a mind like that of Beethoven, wholly absorbed in itself, its passions, its combats, and its God, the external world counts merely' as a reflection, an echo, a symbol of the interior drama. Moreover, Beethoven is incapable of seeing the life of other beings as it is: his own is too vast; for him it is the measure of everything; he projects it into everything." ... If then Napoleon has come into Beethoven's mind it is after the act, when he searches, in the circle of the living men about him, as in a mirror, for a face that shall give back to his solitude the image of his own omnipresent self. But the first gesture of the supposed model suffices to destroy the illusion violently: and the outraged Beethoven tears out the name of Bonaparte."
Rolland, by his very nature, is committed to an emotional interpretation of the " Eroica," but he differs here from Newman mainly in a greater freedom of imagery. To Rolland, the " Eroica " is the manifestation of the " June prime " and plenitude of the growing Beethoven -that rare moment in the life of a great artist when " out of the furnace of Being is projected the flood of the God, the unknown Self."
" In the earliest pages (of the Sketch-Book) appear tentative sketches for the first, second, and fourth movements of the Eroica; then come four long sketches, each of them with variants, for the first section of the first movement; then a number of short sketches -and all the rest follows. The brain is taken possession of by the inteiior vision; Beethoven never pauses now till the work is finished. But what hammering on the anvil, and what a shower of sparks! " The writer shows how in the first movement the general contours, the " melodic peaks,
the succession of lights and shades, the sequence of the modulations " took form in the mind of the creator, and conditioned the shaping of his themes. Keeping the metaphor of the forger, Rolland traces the shaping of the symphony step by step. For example the rhythmic theme in sixteenth notes in the first movement which, " with a rhythm like a cavalcade, comes into full being from the first and remains fixed in all the sketches."
Of the Funeral March, he says:
" But let us return to the Sketch-Book, and be prepared for a surprise. If ever a melody has seemed inspired, if ever a phrase has seemed to find its appointed line at the first attempt, if any work of art conveys the impression that it could never have been written otherwise, that not a single one of its accents or inflections could be changed, for they are part of it from all eternity, it is the principal motive of this Funeral March. Yet the Sketch-Book shows that Beethoven reached it only by slow stages, painfully, sweating blood and tears. The first sketch for it is commonplace. Beethoven, as Nottebohm shows, has had to conquer the melody bar by bar, -nay, note by note, accent by accent."
Of the scherzo:
" Sometimes, however, it happens that the right idea leaps up within him sooner than he had expected, and in a quite unanticipated shape. These irruptions are particularly frequent during this period 1802-1803, when his being and his style are rapidly changing as the result of the inward shocks that are releasing the new man in him. We have an astounding example of this in the third movement of the Eroica, which he commences as a minuet (M. am Ende Coda fremde St. [Stretta]) which he carries on in this way as far as the trio (a trio in the old style), and beyond. Then, suddenly, his pen gives a leap. He writes Presto! . . . Overboard with the minuet and its formal graces! The inspired rush of the Scherzo has been found! "
As for the Finale, Rolland speaks particularly of the bass theme of four notes upon which it is built:
" This motive actually comes from three earlier works, in the course of which Beethoven had had time to discover its real character. And the very gradation of the three works shows us that at first this character was not recognised by Beethoven.
" Begun as a simple dance and brilliant contredanse in the ballet Prometheus (March 1801), (99) -taken up again as a contredanse at the end of 1801 --then in the Variations, Op. 35 (spring of 1802), it was still, at the time when the Eroica was being written, regarded by Beethoven as a motive for regular variations of the usual classical kind; no doubt when he began this salon work he had in view, as in Prometheus, a sort of final gallop. But as he proceeds to manipulate his theme, throwing all sorts of lights and shadows on it, he comes upon several of its hidden souls, -the elegiac, the funereal, the heroic. When he comes to the largo of the 15th variation he sketches, without being aware of it, a big epic-dramatic scene. In the coda the death of the hero is already announced: an ending on the ordinary lines is impossible! The finale is a fugue with a suggestion of combat about it; the germ of
the symphony is there. Having arrived at his goal, Beethoven returns on his steps; and now he recognises the true nature of the theme with which he had been playing, -those four mighty pillars! And the great builder sees the vast spaces he can cover with it. Then he takes it up again as the base for the last movement of the symphony, in which the variations expand to epic proportions; the contrapuntal treatment weaves it into a cluster of colossal ogival mouldings." . . .
Mr. Newman progresses, in more cool and factual words, to a very similar result. Of the Eroica sketches, he says:
" Here, more than anywhere else, do we get that curious feeling that in his greatest works Beethoven was ' possessed' -the mere human instrument through which a vast musical design realized itself in all its marvellous logic. As we study this Sketch Book we have the conviction that his mind did not proceed from the particular to the whole, but began, in some curious way, with the whole and then worked back to the particular. Apparently, here and elsewhere, he is anxiously seeking for the themes upon which to begin to construct a movement; and every one has heard of the many changes through which a theme would go in the sketch books before Beethoven hit upon the final acceptable form of it. But to assume that it was out of the themes that the movement grew is probably to see the process from the wrong end. From the Sketch Books, we get the impression that in some queer subconscious way the movement possessed him as a whole before he began to think out the details; and the long and painful search for the themes was simply an effort, not to find workable atoms out of which he could consti-uct a musical edifice according to the conventions of symphonic form, but to reduce an already existing nebula, in which that edifice was implicit, to the atom, and then, by the orderly arrangement of these atoms, to make the implicit explicit. This was not Mozart's way. With Mozart the themes are the first things to be thought of: the composer invents these for their own sake, and then manipulates them according partly to his fancy, partly to rule. With Beethoven we feel that the music has gone through the reverse process, that the themes are not the generators of the mass of the music, but are themselves rather the condensation of this. One is reminded of Pascal's profound saying, ' You would not have sought me unless you had already found me.' "
" PICTURES AT AN EXHIBITION "
(Pianoforte Pieces Arranged for Orchestra by Maurice Ravel)
By Modest Petrovitch Moussorgsky
Moussorgsky, born at Karevo, district of Toropeta, in the government of Pskov, on March 28, 1835; died at St. Petersburg on March 28, 1881. Joseph Maurice Ravel, born at Ciboure, Basses-Pyrenees, on March 7, 1875; is now living at Montfortl'Amaury and at Paris
Moussorgsky composed his suite of piano pieces in June, 1874, on the impulse of his friendship for the architect Victor Hartmann, after a posthumous exhibit of the artist's work which immediately
followed his death. " It almost asks for orchestration," wrote A. Eaglefield Hull of the music, some years ago, and indeed no less than four musicians have been tempted to try a hand at the task. Toushmalov (in St. Petersburg, 1891) set eight of the pieces, and in recent years Sir Henry Wood in London, Leondidas Leonardi in Paris, and Maurice Ravel in Paris, have arranged the whole suite. Ravel made his setting in 1923 for Dr. Koussevitzky, at the conductor's suggestion.
Promenade. As preface to the first " picture," and repeated as a link in passing from each to the next, so far as the fifth, is a promenade. It is an admirable self-portrait of the composer, walking from picture to picture, pausing dreamily before one and another in fond memory of the artist. Moussorgsky said that his " own physiognomy peeps out through all the intermezzos," an absorbed and receptive face " nel modo russico." The theme, in a characteristically Russian 11-4 rhythm suggests, it must be said, a rather heavy tread.
Gnomus. There seems reason to dispute Riesemann's description: " the drawing of a dwarf who waddles with awkward steps on his short, bandy legs; the grotesque jumps of the music, and the clumsy, crawling movements with which these are interspersed, are forcibly suggestive." Stassov, writing to Kerzin f in reply to the latter's inquiry explained: " the gnome is a child's plaything, fashioned, after Hartmann's design in wood, for the Christmas tree at the Artist's Club (1869). It is something in the style of the fabled Nutcracker, the nuts being inserted in the gnome's mouth. The gnome accompanies his droll movements with savage shrieks."
Il Vecchio Castello. A troubadour sings a melancholy song before an old tower of the middle ages. Moussorgsky seems to linger over this picture with a particular fascination. (Ravel utilizes the best coloristic possibilities of the saxophone).
Tuileries. Children disputing after their play. An alley in the Tuileries gardens with a swarm of nurses and children. The composer, as likewise in his children's songs, seems to have caught a plaintive intonation in the children's voices, which Ravel scores for the high wood-winds.
Bydlo. " Bydlo " is the Polish word for " cattle." A Polish wagon with enormous wheels comes lumbering along, to the tune of a " folksong in the Aeolian mode, evidently sung by the driver." There is a
One recalls the story of Bernard Shaw, reviewing an exhibition of Alpine landscapes in London, tramping through the galleries in hob-nailed boots.
t Arkady Mikhailovitch Kerzin (1857-1914), as founder and director of the Moscow Circle of Lovers of Russian Music (1896-1912), who were principally concerned with the cause of Moussorgsky's music, received from Stassov a long letter (on January 31, 1903) about the " Pictures at an Exhibition." Stassov told how he had taken advantage of a meeting with Rimsky-Korsakov at a supper arranged in honor of the Hamburg conductor, Fiedler (at Glazounov's house), to discuss the question of the tempi of the " Pictures." " We sat down at the piano, Rimsky-Korsakov played each number over a few times, and then we recalled how our Moussorgsky had played them -remembered, tried them, and finally fixed the right tempi with the aid of the metronome." Their findings were as follows (value of a crotchet): Promenade -104; Gnomus -120; II Vecchio Castello --56 (dotted crotchet); Tuileries -144; Bydlo--88; Ballet --88; The two Jews --48; Limoges --57; The Hut on Fowls' Legs -120 (allegro) and 72 (andante) ; The Gate at Kiev -84.
long crescendo as it approaches -a diminuendo as it disappears in the distance. Calvocoressi finds in the melody " une penetrante poe'sie." (Ravel, again departing from usual channels, uses a tuba solo for his purposes).
Ballet of Chicks in Their Shells. " In 1870," says Stassov, " Hartmann designed the costumes for the staging of the ballet ' Trilby' at the Maryinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg. In the cast were a number of boy and girl pupils of the theatre school, arrayed as canaries. Others were dressed up as eggs."
Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle. Two Polish Jews, the one rich, the other poor. "The two Jews were drawn from life in 1868, and so delighted was Moussorgsky that Hartmann promptly presented him with the picture " (Stassov) . Riesemann calls this number " one of the most amusing caricatures in all music -the two Jews, one rich and comfortable and correspondingly close-fisted, laconic in talk, and slow in movement, the other poor and hungry, restlessly and fussily fidgeting and chatting, but without making the slightest impression on his partner, are musically depicted with a keen eye for characteristic and comic effect. These two types of the Warsaw Ghetto stand plainly before you --you seem to hear the caftan of one of them blown out by the wind, and the flap of the other's ragged fur coat. Moussorgsky's musical power of observation scores a triumph with this unique musical joke; he proves that he can reproduce the ' intonations of human speech' not only for the voice, but also on the piano." (Ravel makes the prosperous Jew speak from the low voiced strings, in unison. His whining neighbor as the voice of a muted trumpet).
Limoges. The Market-place. Market women dispute furiously. " Hartmann spent a fairly long time in the French town in 1866, executing many architectural sketches and genre pictures " (Stassov) .
Catacombs. In this drawing Hartmann portrayed himself, examining the interior of the Catacombs in Paris by the light of a lantern. In the original manuscript, Moussorgsky had written above the Andante in B-minor: " The creative spirit of the dead Hartmann leads me towards skulls, apostrophizes them -the skulls are illuminated gently from within."
(" ' The Catacombs,' with the subtitle ' Sepulchrum romanum,' are invoked by a series of sustained chords, now pp, now ff. Then comes under the title 'Con mortuis in lingua mortua' (sic) a de-rhythmed transformation of the ' Promenade ' theme." -Calvocoressi.)
The Hut on Fowls' Legs. " The drawing showed a clock in the form of Baba-Yaga's, the fantastical witch's hut on the legs of fowls. Moussorgsky added the witch rushing on her way seated on her mortar." To every Russian this episode recalls the verses of Pushkin in his introduction to " Russian and Ludmilla."
The Gate of the Bogatirs at Kiev. " Hartmann's drawing represented his plan for constructing a gate at Kiev, in the old Russian
Mixed ornithology in ballets and descriptive suites is apparently of no consequence.
massive style, with a cupola shaped like a Slavonic helmet." This design was said to be a great favorite of Moussorgsky. Stassov calls his music " a majestic picture in the manner of the ' Slavsya,' and in the style of Glinka's ' Russian ' music."
" Hartmann is bubbling over, just as Boris did," wrote Moussorgsky to his friend Stassov, while at work upon his " Pictures at an Exhibition." " Ideas, melodies, come to me of their own accord, like the roast pigeons in the story --I gorge and gorge and over-eat myself. I can hardly manage to put it down on paper fast enough."
Moussorgsky, so his friends have said, was seldom moved to exuberance over his work -was more often inclined to anxious questionings in such confidences. As a matter of fact, both the subject and the moment were just right to draw forth the very best from Moussorgsky's genius. He was deeply moved by the death of his artist friend, and his muse was at its best when quick, graphic characterization was called for, liberated from such heavy responsibilities as development, extended form, detail of instrumentation.
Within the orbit of Balikirev's circle in the seventies there were, besides musicians, the painter Riepin (whose unflattering portrait of Moussorgsky is familiar), the sculptor, Antolkovsky, and the architect and painter, Victor Hartmann. Hartmann, " to whom," so Riesemann tells us, " Petersburg owes some fine buildings," was a particular friend of Moussorgsky and of Stassov, who as writer endeavored to draw the various arts and artists together. Stassov was abroad at Wiesbaden, when Hartmann died at the age of thirty-nine, and Moussorgsky poured forth his feelings in a long letter. Stassov, returning, immediately arranged an exhibition of Hartmann's watercolors and architectural sketches. Moussorgsky, somewhat after the scheme of Schumann's " Carnival," described the pictures that most appealed to him in a little suite of fragmentary piano pieces, as a sort of affectionate memorial.
Moussorgsky's letter to Stassov is full of self-castigation, bitter rebellion against fate -a truly Russian document which might have been lifted, word for word, from " The Brothers Karamazov."
" My very dear friend, what a terrible blow! " he begins. " Why should a dog, a horse, a rat live on -and creatures like Hartmann must die! " And later: " This is how the wise usually console us blockheads, in such cases: ' He is no more, but what he has done lives and will live.' True -but how many men have the luck to be remembered That is just another way of serving up our self-complacency (with a dash of onion, to bring out the tears). Away with such wisdom! When ' he ' has not lived in vain, but has created -one must be a rascal to revel in the thought that ' he' can create no more. No, one cannot and must not be comforted, there can be and must be no consolation -it is a rotten morality! If Nature is only coquetting with men, I shall have the honour of treating her like a coquette -that is, of trusting her as little as possible, keeping all my senses about me, when she tries to cheat me into taking the sky for a fiddlestick -or ought one rather, like a brave soldier, to charge into the thick of life, have one's fling, and go under What does it all mean In any case the dull old earth is no coquette, but takes every ' King of Nature ' straight into her loathsome embrace, whoever he is -like an old worn-out hag, for whom anyone is good enough, since she has no choice.
"There again --what a fool I am! Why be angry when you cannot change anything Enough, then -the rest is silence. . . ."
There needs only to be added the ironic commentary that while Hartmann's actual work, barring perhaps a building or two in Leningrad, has long since passed into oblivion, his name and a mere musical reflection of perhaps his slightest sketches have been spread across the world a half century later, without the remotest idea of such a result on the part of the composer. And so far as Moussorgsky himself is concerned, it is the way of posterity that this little masterpiece should have lain unnoticed for twelve years, when, five years after his death it was published by Bessel (1886). Even then, the suite was virtually never played, and it fell to the lot of four separate composers to orchestrate it, Ravel at last bringing the music to a general knowledge in this version of 1923.
" Ravel," says Dr. Vladimir Zederbaum, " scoring the Suite by Moussorgsky did not wish to modernize it much, therefore he tried, as far as possible, to keep the size of the orchestra of Rimsky-Korsakov in ' Boris Godunov,' and added some more instruments only in a few movements of the Suite. All instruments are employed in threes; there are some more percussion instruments than those used by RimskyKorsakov; he uses two harps, kettledrums, bass drum, snare drum, celesta, xylophone, glockenspiel, rattle, bells."
The first performance of this orchestration was at a " Koussevitzky Concert" in Paris, May 3, 1923. Dr. Koussevitzky first played the suite at these concerts, November 7, 1924. The most recent performance was January 27, 1933. J. N. B.
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[Fifty-fourth Season, 1934-1935] Dr. SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
THEODOROWICZ, J. HANSEN, E. LEIBOVICI, J. KNUDSON, C. MAYER, P. BRYANT, M. MURRAY, J.
I.EI'RANC, J. ARIIERIS, I..
ELCUS, G. CUNDERSEN, R.
MARIOTTI, V. PINPIELD, C. ZUNG, M. DIAMOND, S. STO.NESTREET, ERKELENS, H.
FOUREL, G. CAUHAI'E, J.
LAUCA, N. KASSMAN, N.
FEDOROVSKY, P LEVEEN, P. BEALE, M. DEL SORDO, R. MESSINA, S. SEINIGER, S.
SAUVLET, H. CHERKASSKY, P.
RESNIKOFF, V. EISLER, D.
TAPLEY, R. KRIPS, A.
GORODETZKY, L. FIEDLER, B. ZIDE, L.
van wvnbercen, c.
DEANE, C. JACOB, R.
(.KOVKR, H. WERNER, H. HUMPHREY, G.
AVIKRINO, N. GERHARDT, S.
BEDFrrr, j. ]
Z1GI1KRA, A. 1
von'urak, a. Flutfs
I.UiKLNT, C. BI.ADI-T, C. AMKRENA, P.
1'ICCOI.O BAITL1.S, A.
vai.kenier, w. gkb1iardt, w.
LANGENDOEN, J. BARTII, C.
LEMAIRE, J. MOLEUX, G.
CILLET, F. Ill'.VERGIE, J.
stanislaus, h. English Horn
valkenier, w. lannoye, m.
zighera, b. cauchey, e.
Piano sanroma, j.
Violoncellos chardon, y. droechmans, h.
STOCKBRIDGE, C. WARNKE, J.
FABRIZIO, E. MARJOLLET, L. ZIMBLER, J.
ludwig, o. frankel, i.
Clarinets i'olatschek, v. valerio, m.
MA7.7.EO, R. Eb Clarinet
Trumpets Â¦mackr, c.
LAFOSSE, M. GRUNDEY, T. VOISIN, R.
Timpani ritter, a. polster, m.
Celesta fiedler, a.
r.IKAKI), H. DUFRESNE, G. JUHT, L.
I.AUS, A. AI.LARD, R.
j'anenka, e. Contra-Bassoon
Trombones raichman, j. hansotte, l. lilleback, w.
STERNBURG, S. WHITE, L.
arcieri, e. Librarian rogers, l. j.