(This is the program provided by the Boston Symphony Orchestra for this concert. You can also view the UMS program).
Hill Auditorium Ann Arbor
Auditorium Aun Arbor
FIFTY-EIGHTH SEASON 1938-1939
Wednesday Evening, December 7
SIXTIETH ANNUAL CHORAL UNION CONCERT SERIES, OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN AUSPICES, UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Boston Symphony Orchestra
[Fifty-eighth Season, 1938-1939] SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
HANSEN, E. LEIBOVICI, J.
KNUDSON, C. MAYER, P.
BRYANT, M. MURRAY, J.
LEFRANC, J. ARTIERES, L.
ELCUS, G. CUNDERSEN, R.
MARIOTTI, V. PINFIELD, C.
ZUNC, M. DIAMOND, 5.
STONESTREET, L. ERKELENS, H.
FOUREL, G. CAUHAPe", J.
Violins lauga, n. kassman, n.
FF.DOROVSKY, P. LEVEEN, P.
BEALE, M. DEL SORDO, R.
MESSINA, S. SEINIGER, S.
VAN WYNBERGEN, C.
SAUVLET, H. CHERKASSKY, P.
RESNIKOFF, V. EISLER, D.
TAPLEY, R. KRIPS, A.
CORODETZKY, L. FIEDLER, B.
GROVER, H. WERNER, II.
A1ERINO, N. CERHARDT, S.
JACOB, R. HUMPHREY, G.
BEDETTI, J. ZICMERA, A.
KUNZE, M. VONDRAK, A.
LANGENDOEN, J. TORTELIER, P.
LEMAIRE, J. MOLEUX, G.
chardon, y. droeghmans, h.
Basses frankel, i.
STOCKBRIDGE, C. WARNKE, J.
CIRARD, H. DUFRESNE, G.
FABRIZIO, E. MARJOLLET, L. ZIMBLER, J.
DELESCLUSE, P. BARWICKI, J.
Flutes laurent, c.
pappoutsakis, j. Piccolo
valkenier, w. macdonald, w.
gebhardt, w. Tuba
CILLET, F. DEVERGIE, J.
lukatsky, j. English Horn
SINGER, J. LANNOYE, M. SHAPIRO, H. KEANEY, P.
Harps zighera, b. caughey, e.
Clarinets i'olatschek, v. valerio, m.
MAGER, G. LAFOSSE, M. VOISIN, R. L. VOISIN, R.
SZULC, R. POLSTER, M.
AIXARD, R. PANENKA, E. LAUS, A.
Contra-Bassoon piller, b.
Trombones raichman, j. hansotte, l. lilleback, w.
Percussion sternburg, s.
Librarian rogers, l. j.
Piano sanromX, j.
Hill Auoitnrtum UntopraUg nf HJtrijigan Atm Arbor
FIFTY-EIGHTH SEASON, 1938-1939
Boston Symphony Orchestra
SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor Richard Burgin, Assistant Conductor
WEDNESDAY EVENING, December 7
with historical and descriptive notes by John N. Burk
The OFFICERS and TRUSTEES of the BOSTON SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, Inc.
Ernest B. Dane.......President
Henry B. Sawyer......Vice-President
Ernest B. Dane.......Treasurer
Allston Burr Henry B. Cabot Ernest B. Dane Alvan T. Fuller Jerome D. Greene N. Penrose Hallowell
M. A. De Wolfe Howe Roger I. Lee Richard C. Paine Henry B. Sawyer Edward A. Taft Bentley W. Warren
G. E. Judd, Manager
C. W. Spalding, Assistant Manager,
THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES of the
Berkshire Symphonic Festival
Invite you to become a subscriber for the 1939 Festival.
Subscription blanks may be secured by writing to the Berkshire Symphonic Festival, Inc., Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
Hill Auottorium MtttntrHttij of Jfttrljtgan Ann Arbor
Boston Symphony Orchestra
FIFTY-EIGHTH SEASON, 1938-1939 SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
WEDNESDAY EVENING, December 7
Haydn................................Symphony in B-flat No. 10
I. Largo; Allegro vivace
III. Menuetto; Allegro; Trio
IV. Finale: Presto
Debussy....................."La Mer," Three Orchestral Sketches
I. De l'aube a midi sur la mer II. Jeux de vagues III. Dialogue du vent et de la mer
Tchaikovsky ................Symphony No. 4 in F minor, Op. 36
I. Andante sostenuto. Moderato con anima in movimento di Valse
II. Andantino in modo di canzona
III. Scherzo pizzicato ostinato: Allegro
IV. Finale: Allegro con fuoco
SYMPHONY IN B-FLAT MAJOR, NO. 102 (No. 9 of the London Series)
By Joseph Haydn Born at Rohrau, Lower Austria, March 31, 1732; died at Vienna, May 31, 1809
This symphony is one of the six which Haydn composed for his second visit to London in 1794 and 1795 -he composed twelve in all for performance by the orchestra of Salomon in the British capital. The symphony was written, according to C. F. Pohl, Haydn's biographer, in 1795, and must accordingly have been performed in that year. Haydn was required by the terms of his agreement with Salomon to write a new work for each of the weekly concerts in the subscription series which that impressario arranged, and the composer was as good as his word. He stipulated (hearing, perhaps, that the British public had late-coming habits) that the new piece should be played always at the beginning of the second part of the programme. When each particular symphony was played it is usually impossible to tell, for the programmes simply state: "New Grand Overture (Symphony)," or "Grand Overture (Symphony) mss." There is every evidence that England took the twelve symphonies to its heart. The concerts were crowded, and another management had only to announce a work of Haydn to be sure of an audience. The Morning Chronicle probably voiced the general opinion when it praised the "agitating modulations" of the symphonies, and the "larmoyant passages" in their slow movements. Everyone was charmed by Haydn's grace and humor, and the arias and choruses of Handel were momentarily overlooked in the interest of those unaccustomed forms to which Haydn had given such abundant life -the symphony and the string quartet. The second of the London symphonies (in D major), and the "Surprise" Symphony were singled out for special favor, and often repeated. Also of the Salomon series were the so-called "Clock," "Drum Roll," and "Military" symphonies.
The symphony is innocent of clarinets. As elsewhere among his final symphonies, Haydn dispenses with the ceremonious portal of a broad coup d'archet. A soft chord suffices to introduce the tender largo, with its gentle syncopated pulsations. The sprightly allegro vivace takes sudden possession of the movement. Speaking of its formal mastery, Professor Tovey puts himself on record as setting this work together with the Symphony in D major (No. 104) and the String Quartet in F, Op. 77, No. 2, as Haydn's "three greatest instrumental works." He points out at length Haydn's success in obtaining that symmetry expected of a symphony in the eighteenth century, while avoiding the
rather barren means of an almost identical recapitulation, to balance j the exposition. "What the orthodox textbooks assume to be Haydn's ! recapitulation is neither more nor less than a true Beethoven coda of I the ripest kind. Where then does the symmetry come in It comes in : at the end of the exposition, which Haydn always rounds off very j neatly in a phrase quietly reproduced at the end of the movement, ; ]ust where it is the last thing you would expect. . . . The only way i to get the benefit of Haydn's or any great composer's sense of form is j to listen naively to the music, with expectation directed mainly to its sense of movement. Nothing in Haydn is difficult to follow, but almost everything is unexpected if you listen closely, and without preconcepj tions." Haydn, the subtle vagrant in modulation, here plies his skill i to the utmost. Near the end of the exposition he drops his ingratiating I ways to establish his new keys with sudden loud chords. They have a j boldness foretelling Beethoven, but none of the provocative challenge J of the master to come. 'Â¦.
The Adagio is in effect the development of a single theme. There is no middle section, no arbitrary sequence of variation patterns, no i break in the general rhythmic scheme of triple time with a constant i accompanying figuration of sixteenth notes; no marked variety in the ; instrumentation, wherein the first violins, doubled by a single flute, usually carry the melody. The charm of the music lies in its delicacy , and variety of detail, in which the device of a duple against a triple rhythm is much used. It is a single melodic unfolding of infinite resource, a mood so enkindled that it need never lapse into formula. This Adagio must have been a favorite with Haydn, for it also appears in a Piano Trio, where the key is F-sharp, a half tone higher than in the symphony. The Trio was dedicated to Haydn's very special friend Mrs. : Schroeter, who, according to Dr. Pohl, fondly cherished this piece.
The Minuet, together with its trio, re-establishes the tonic key. In the second part, the humor which sparkled in the opening movement reasserts itself in triple bass chords.
The Finale, like most finales of Haydn when invention was fully unloosed, is indescribable. W. H. Hadow, in his study of Haydn as a "Croation composer," detects in the opening theme a march tune commonly played in Turopol at rustic weddings. The melodic first phrase of the largo which introduces the symphony, Mr. Hadow finds similar to a Slavonic folk ballad: "Na placi sem stal."
[ COPYRIGHTED 1 Â¦
"THE SEA" (Three Orchestral Sketches; By Claude Debussy
Born at Saint-Germain (Seine-et-Oise), France, August 22, 1862; died at Paris, March 25, 1918
It was in the years 1903-05 that Debussy composed "La Mer." It was first performed at the Concerts Lamoureux in Paris, October 15, 1905. The first performance at the Boston Symphony concerts was on March 2, 1907, Dr. Karl Muck conductor (this was also the first performance in the United States). It was repeated at the concerts of April 20, 1907, March 1, 1913, December 18, 1915, November 16, 1917, January 14, 1921, November 21, 1924, April 27, 1928, October 11, 1929, October 24, 1930, March g, 1934, January 24, 1936, October 9, 1936.
"La Mer" is scored for piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, three bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, two cornets-a-pistons, three trombones, tuba, cymbals, triangle, tam-tam, glockenspiel (or celesta), timpani, bass drum, two harps, and strings.
Debussy made a considerable revision of the score, which was published in 1909.
When Debussy composed "La Mer: Trois Esquisses Symphoniques," he was secure in his fame, the most argued composer in France, and, to his annoyance, the most imitated. "L'Apres-midi d'un Faune" of 1894 and the Nocturnes of 1898 were almost classics, and the first performance of "Pelleas el Melisande" was a recent event (1902). Piano, chamber works, songs were to follow "La Mer" with some regularity; of larger works the three orchestral "Images" were to occupy him for the next six years. "Le Martyr de St. Sebastien" was written in 1911; "Jeux" in 1912.
In a preliminary draft of "La Mer," Debussy labeled the first movement "Mer Belle aux Ties Sanguinaires"; he was attracted probably by the sound of the words, for he was not familiar with Corsican scenery. The title "Jeux de Vagues" he kept; the finale was originally headed "Le Vent fait danser la mer."
There could be no denying Debussy's passion for the sea: he frequently visited the coast resorts, spoke and wrote with constant enthusiasm about "my old friend the sea, always innumerable and beautiful." He often recalled his impressions of the Mediterranean at Cannes, where he spent boyhood days. It is worth noting, however, that Debussy did not seek the seashore while at work upon his "La Mer." His score was with him at Dieppe, in 1904, but most of it was written in Paris, a milieu which he chose, if the report of a chance remark is trustworthy, "because the sight of the sea itself fascinated him to such a degree that it paralyzed his creative faculties." When he went to the country in the summer of 1903, two years before the completion of "La Mer," it was not the shore, but the hills of Burgundy, whence
This draft, dated "Sunday, March 5 at six o'clock in the evening," is in present possession of the Eastman School of Music at Rochester.
he wrote to his friend Andre Messager (September 12): "You may not know that I was destined for a sailor's life and that it was only quite by chance that fate led me in another direction. But I have always retained a passionate love for her [the sea]. You will say that the Ocean does not exactly wash the Burgundian hillsides -and my seascapes might be studio landscapes; but I have an endless store of memories, and to my mind they are worth more than the reality, whose beauty often deadens thought."
The degree of Debussy's deliberate remoteness from reality seems to have confused some of the first critics of "La Mer." Leon Vallas finds a certain significance in the composer's insistence upon a cover design reproducing a wave from a print of Hokusai. His love for Japanese art tempted him to purchases which in his modest student days were a strain upon his purse. His piano piece, "Poissons d'or," of 1907, was named from a piece of lacquer in his possession.
When it was first heard, "La Mer" met with a mixed reception. Leon Vallas (in his "Claude Debussy") carefully examines the early critical opinions of the work, and notes that many of his admirers were disappointed not to hear more of the Debussy to which they had become accustomed. What they did not take into account was that Debussy, "who was always obsessed by a constant desire to renew his art, had been at pains to write an entirely new type of composition. . . . Possibly, too, the carefully studied but very vigorous interpretation of the work which Camille Chevillard had given at the Concerts Lamoureux was not suited to this type of music, which the spirited conductor did not appreciate in the least." The performances under Debussy himself at the Concerts Colonne, January 19 and 26, 1908, were taken at least as authoritative, but opinion was sharply divided, both as to the qualities of the piece and the composer's abilities as a conductor. "On the 19th of January, the battle between the composer's partisans and enemies was particularly lively -cries of bravo were mingled with hisses and abuse. At the conclusion of 'La Mer' the commotion lasted ten minutes; and during the ensuing performance of Bach's Chaconne by Jacques Thibaud, the disturbance began again, and there was such a din that the violinist was obliged to stop playing." The success of "La Mer" in London on February 1, again under the direction of the composer, was very considerable, and without any audible dissenting voice.
It would be hard to think of a score more elusive than "La Mer" to minute analysis. The cyclic unity of the suite is cemented by the recurrence in the last movement of the theme in the first, heard after the introductory measures from the muted trumpet and English horn. A theme for brass, also in the opening sketch, becomes an integral
part of the final peroration. Music to set the imagination aflame, it has induced from the pen of Lawrence Gilman one of his most evocative word pictures:
"Debussy had what Sir Thomas Browne would have called 'a solitary and retired imagination.' So, when he essays to depict in his music such things as dawn and noon at sea, sport of the waves, gales and surges and far horizons, he is less the poet and painter than the spiritual mystic. It is not chiefly of those aspects of winds and waters that he is telling us, but of the changing phases of a sea of dreams, a chimerical sea, a thing of strange visions and stranger voices, of fantastic colors and incalculable winds -a phantasmagoria of the spirit, rife with evanescent shapes and presences that are at times sunlit and dazzling. It is a spectacle perceived as in a trance, vaguely yet rhapsodically. There is a sea which has its shifting and lucent surfaces, which even shimmers and traditionally mocks. But it is a sea that is shut away from too curious an inspection, to whose murmurs or imperious commands not many have wished or needed to pay heed.
"Yet, beneath these elusive and mysterious overtones, the reality of the living sea persists: the immemorial fascination lures and enthralls and terrifies; so that we are almost tempted to fancy that the two are, after all, identical -the ocean that seems an actuality of wet winds and tossing spray and inexorable depths and reaches, and that uncharted and haunted and incredible sea which opens before the magic casements of the dreaming mind."
SYMPHONY IN F MINOR, NO. 4, Op. 36 By Peter Ilitsch Tchaikovsky
Born at Votkinski, in the government of Viatka, Russia, May 7, 1840; died at St. Petersburg, November 6, 1893
The Fourth Symphony, composed in 1877, was first performed by the Russian Musical Society in Moscow, February 22, 1878.
The orchestration includes two flutes and piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, bass drum, cymbals, triangle, and strings.
The year 1877 was a critical one in Tchaikovsky's life. He suffered a serious crisis, and survived it through absorption in his art, through the shaping and completion of his Fourth Symphony.
The dramatic conflict and emotional voice of this symphony and the two that followed somehow demand a programme. It may be worth inquiring to what extent the Fourth Symphony may have been conditioned by his personal life at the time. Tchaikovsky admitted the implication of some sort of programme in the Fourth. He voluntarily gave to the world no clue to any of them, beyond the mere
word "Pathetique" for the last, realizing, as he himself pointed out, the complete failure of words to convey the intense feeling which found its outlet, and its only outlet, in tone. He did indulge in a fanciful attempt at a programme for the Fourth, writing confidentially to Mme. von Meek, in answer to her direct question, and at the end of the same letter disqualified this attempt as inadequate. These paragraphs, nevertheless, are often quoted as the official gospel of the symphony, without Tchaikovsky's postscript of dismissal. It would be a good deal more just to the composer to quote merely a single sentence which he wrote to Taneiev: "Of course my symphony is programme music, but it would be impossible to give the programme in words; it would appear ludicrous and only raise a smile." The programme devolves upon the cyclic brass theme of "inexorable fate" which opens the work and recurs at the end. Again, a fragmentary sketch of a programme for the Fifth Symphony has been recently discovered, in which "fate" is found once more. The word, to most of those who read it, is probably a rather vague abstraction. It would be more to the point to know what it meant to the composer himself. As a matter of fact, the months in which Tchaikovsky worked out this symphony he was intensely unhappy -there was indeed a dread shadow hanging over his life. He uses the word significantly in a letter to Mme. von Meek, acquainting her with his intention to marry a chance admirer whom he scarcely knew and did not love (the reason he gave to his benefactress and confidante was that he could not honorably withdraw from his promise). "We cannot escape our fate," he said in his letter, "and there was something fatalistic about my meeting with this girl." Even if this remark could be considered as something more sincere than an attempt to put a face upon his strange actions before his friend, it is inconceivable that the unfortunate episode (which according to recently published letters was more tragic than has been supposed) could have been identified in Tchaikovsky's mind with this ringing and triumphant theme. Let the psychologists try to figure out the exact relation between the suffering man and his music at this time. It is surely a significant fact that this symphony, growing in the very midst of his trouble, was a
Some connection between the symphony and Tchaikovsky's rash marriage and subsequent collapse is inescapable, as an outline of dates will show. It was in May of 1877 that he became engaged to Antonina Ivanovna Miliukov. In that month, too, he completed his sketches for the symphony. The wedding took place on July 18, and on July 26 Tchaikovsky fled to Kamenko; there was a two weeks' farce of "conjugal" life at their house in Moscow (September 12 to 24), and the distraught composer attempted to catch a fatal cold by standing up to his waist in the frigid waters of the Moskva. Again the composer made a precipitate flight, and never saw his wife again. Barely surviving a nerve crisis which "bordered upon insanity," he was taken by his brother, Anatol, to Switzerland for a complete rest and change. At Kamenko in August, in a condition which made peace of mind impossible, he was yet able to complete the orchestration of the first movement. At Lake Geneva, as soon as he was able to take up his pen, the convalescent worked happily upon the remaining three movements.
saving refuge from it, as Tchaikovsky admits more than once. He never unequivocally associated it with the events of that summer, for his music was to him a thing of unclouded delight always, and the days which gave it birth seemed to him as he looked back (in a letter to Mme. von Meek of January 25, 1878) "a strange dream; something remote, a weird nightmare in which a man bearing my name, my likeness, and my consciousness acted as one acts in dreams: in a meaningless, disconnected, paradoxical way. That was not my sane self, in possession of logical and reasonable will-powers. Everything I then did bore the character of an unhealthy conflict between will and intelligence, which is nothing less than insanity." It was his music, specifically his symphony to which he clung in desperation, that restored his "sane self."
Let those who protest that Tchaikovsky fills his music with his personal troubles examine the facts of his life. Rasped nerves, blank, deadening depression, neurotic fears -these painful sensations assailed Tchaikovsky in his frequent times of stress. He turned from them in horror. They are not within the province of music, nor did he attempt to put them there. The pathological and the musical Tchaikovsky are two different people. The first was mentally sick, pitiably feeble. The second was bold, sure-handed, thoroughgoing, increasingly masterful, eminently sane. It was precisely in the darkest moment in Tchaikovsky's life that there surged up in his imagination the outlines of the Fourth Symphony -music far surpassing anything he had done in brilliance and exultant strength.
On the other hand, Tchaikovsky's music which more than any other is drenched with lamentation, the "Pathetic" Symphony, he wrote during comparatively happy and healthful months, in the comforting sense of having attained his fullest creative powers. Tchaikovsky simply reveled in a poignant style of melody which somehow fully expressed his nature, and was not unconnected with a strain of Byronic melancholy, highly fashionable at the time. Tchaikovsky the dramatist could easily throw himself into a luxury of woe in his music -the more so when outwardly all was well with him. When, on the other hand, trouble reared its head, he found his salvation from a life that was unendurable by losing himself in musical dreams where he was no longer a weakling, but proud and imperious in his own domain. He wrote to Mme. von Meek, August 12, 1877, when, shortly after his marriage and on the verge of a breakdown, he was still at work upon the Fourth Symphony: "There are times in life when one must fortify oneself to endure and create for oneself some kind of joy, however shadowy. Here is a case in point: either live with people and know that you are condemned to every kind of misery,
or escape somewhere and isolate yourself from every possibility of intercourse, which, for the most part, only leads to pain and grief." Tchaikovsky wrote this when the shadow of his marriage was still upon him, the longed-for escape not within his grasp. When he did make that escape, and found virtually complete isolation from his world in a villa at Clarens, where he could gaze across the fair expanse of Lake Geneva, then did he bring his symphony and his opera, "Eugene Oniegen" to their full flowering and conclusion.
Part of this new and safe world was a companion who could still hold him in personal esteem, fortify his belief in himself as an artist, receive with eager interest his confidences on the progress of his scores. Madame Nadejda Filaretovna von Meek could do this and still more. She made possible his retreat and solicitously provided for his every comfort by sending large and frequent cheques. This widow of means, who had befriended the composer early in the same year, was romantically inclined, and, according to her letters until recently withheld, would have welcomed the meeting which Tchaikovsky was forced by her unmistakably affectionate attitude carefully to forbid. He naturally shrank from spoiling their successful and "safe" letter friendship by another possible entanglement such as he had just escaped. On the basis of a constant interchange of letters he was able to pour out confidences on the progress of his symphony -"our symphony," he called it -without restraint. He naturally identified his new score with his devoted friend, whose money and affectionate sympathy had made it possible.
Tchaikovsky went to Italy in November, whence he wrote to his unseen friend in elation about the completion of the symphony. "I may be making a mistake, but it seems to me this Symphony is not a mediocre work, but the best I have done so far. How glad I am that it is ours, and that, hearing it, you will know how much I thought of you with every bar." Mme. von Meek was present at the first performance, given in Moscow by the Russian Musical Society, February 22, 1878. The composer, in Florence, awaited the telegrams of congratulation from his friends.
The Symphony caused no particular stir in Moscow -the critics passed it by, and Tchaikovsky's intimate friends, Nicholas Rubinstein, who conducted it, and Serge Taneiev, wrote him letters picking the work to pieces with devastating candor. But Tchaikovsky was now impregnable in his cheerful belief in his work. The keynote of his state of mind is in this exuberant outburst -one of many -to his friend, from San Remo: "I am in a rose-colored mood. Glad the opera is finished, glad spring is at hand, glad I am well and free, glad to feel safe from unpleasant meetings, but happiest of all to possess in
your friendship, and in my brother's affection, such sure props in life, and to be conscious that I may eventually perfect my art."
The question of the "programme" for this symphony is openly discussed by its composer in letters at this time. To Taneiev, who had protested against the programme implications in the work, Tchaikovsky answered (March 27, 1878), defending it:
"With all that you say as to my Symphony having a programme, I am quite in agreement. But I do not see why this should be a mistake. I am far more afraid of the contrary; I do not wish any symphonic work to emanate from me which has nothing to express, and consists merely of harmonies and a purposeless design of rhythms and modulations. Of course, my Symphony is programme music, but it would be impossible to give the programme in words; it would appear ludicrous and only raise a smile. Ought not this to be the case with a symphony, which is the most lyrical of all musical forms Ought it not to express all those things for which words cannot be found, which nevertheless arise in the heart and clamor for expression Besides, I must tell you that in my simplicity I imagined the plan of my Symphony to be so obvious that everyone would understand its meaning, or at least its leading ideas, without any definite programme. Pray do not imagine I want to swagger before you with profound emotions and lofty ideas. Throughout the work I have made no effort to express any new thought. In reality my work is a reflection of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony; I have not copied his musical contents, only borrowed the central idea. What kind of a programme has this Fifth Symphony, do you think Not only has it a programme, but it is so clear that there cannot be the smallest difference of opinion as to what it means. Much the same lies at the root of my Symphony, and if you have failed to grasp it, it simply proves that I am no Beethoven -on which point I have no doubt whatever. Let me add that there is not a single bar in this Fourth Symphony of mine which I have not truly felt, and which is not an echo of my most intimate spiritual life."
Mme. von Meek had asked him point-blank for the programme of the symphony. His answer, in keeping with the confiding and selfanalytical mood of all of his letters to his friend at this time, is an extraordinary document, which for its proper understanding has a just claim to be quoted in full. The much-quoted analysis cannot fairly stand without the qualifications which precede and follow it.
Florence, February 17th (March 1st), 1878.
"What joy your letter brought me today, dearest Nadia Filaretovnal I am inexpressibly delighted that the symphony pleases you: that, hear The translation ib that of Rosa Newmarch ("The Life and Letters of Peter Hitch Tchaikovsky," by Modeste Tchaikovsky).
SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
Thursday Evening Dec. 8 at 8.30 Museum of Art Toledo
Friday Evening Dec. g at 8.30 Civic Auditorium Cleveland
Saturday Evening Dec. 10 at 8.30 Syria Mosque Pittsburgh
Sunday Afternoon Dec. 11 at 3.00 Syria Mosque Pittsburgh
Thursday Evening Dec. 15 at 8.00 Sanders Theatre Cambridge
Friday Afternoon Dec. 16 at 2.30 Symphony Hall Boston
Saturday Evening Dec. 17 at 8.15 Symphony Hall Boston
THURSDAY Evening Dec. 22 at 8.15 Symphony Hall Boston
Friday Afternoon Dec. 23 at 2.30 Symphony Hall Boston
Monday Evening Dec. 26 at 8.15 Symphony Hall Boston
Tuesday Afternoon Dec. 27 at 3.00 Symphony Hall Boston
Friday Afternoon Dec. 30 at 2.30 Symphony Hall Boston
Saturday Evening Dec. 31 at 8.15 Symphony Hall Boston
ing it, you felt just as I did while writing it, and that my music found its way to your heart.
"You ask if in composing this symphony I had a special programme in view. To such questions regarding my symphonic works I generally answer: nothing of the kind. In reality it is very difficult to answer this question. How interpret those vague feelings which pass through one during the composition of an instrumental work, without reference to any definite subject It is a purely lyrical process. A kind of musical shriving of the soul, in which there is an encrustation of material which flows forth again in notes, just as the lyrical poet pours himself out in verse. The difference consists in the fact that music possesses far richer means of expression, and is a more subtle medium in which to translate the thousand shifting moments in the mood of a soul. Generally speaking, the germ of a future composition comes suddenly and unexpectedly. If the soil is ready -that is to say, if the disposition for work is there -it takes root with extraordinary force and rapidity, shoots up through the earth, puts forth branches, leaves, and, finally, blossoms. I cannot define the creative process in any other way than by this simile. The great difficulty is that the germ must appear at a favorable moment, the rest goes of itself. It would be vain to try to put into words that immeasurable sense of bliss which comes over me directly a new idea awakens in me and begins to assume a definite form. I forget everything and behave like a madman. Everything within me starts pulsing and quivering; hardly have I begun the sketch ere one thought follows another. In the midst of this magic process it frequently happens that some external interruption wakes me from my somnambulistic state: a ring at the bell, the entrance of my servant, the striking of the clock, reminding me that it is time to "leave off. Dreadful, indeed, are such interruptions. Sometimes they break the thread of inspiration for a considerable time, so that I have to seek it again -often in vain. In such cases cool headwork and technical knowledge have to come to my aid. Even in the works of the greatest master we find such moments, when the organic sequence fails and a skilful join has to be made, so that the parts appear as a completely welded whole. But it cannot be avoided. If that condition of mind and soul, which we call inspiration, lasted long without intermission, no artist could survive it. The strings would break and the instrument be shattered into fragments. It is already a great thing if the main ideas and general outline of a work come without any racking of brains, as the result of that supernatural and inexplicable force we call inspiration.
"However, I have wandered from the point without answering your question. Our symphony has a programme. That is to say, it is possible to express its contents in words, and I will tell you -and you alone -the meaning of the entire work and of its separate movements. Naturally I can only do so as regards its general features.
"The introduction is the germ, the leading idea of the whole work.
"This is Fate, that inevitable force which checks our aspirations towards happiness ere they reach the goal, which watches jealously lest our peace and bliss should be complete and cloudless -a force which, like the sword of Damocles, hangs perpetually over our heads
and is always embittering the soul. This force is inescapable and invincible. There is no other course but to submit and inwardly lament.
"The sense of hopeless despair grows stronger and more poignant. Is it not better to turn from reality and lose ourselves in dreams O joy! A sweet and tender dream enfolds me. A bright and serene presence leads me on. How fairl How remotely now is heard the first theme of the Allegro! Deeper and deeper the soul is sunk in dreams. All that was dark and joyless is forgotten.
"Here is happiness!
"It is but a dream, Fate awakens us roughly. So all life is but a continual alternation between grim truth and fleeting dreams of happiness. There is no haven. The waves drive us hither and thither, until the sea engulfs us. This is, approximately, the programme of the first movement.
"The second movement expresses another phase of suffering. Now it is the melancholy which steals over us when at evening we sit indoors alone, weary of work, while the book we have picked up for relaxation slips unheeded from our fingers. A long procession of old memories goes by. How sad to think how much is already past and gone! And yet these recollections of youth are sweet. We regret the past, although we have neither courage nor desire to start a new life. We are rather weary of existence. We would fain rest awhile and look back, recalling many things. There were moments when young blood pulsed warm through our veins and life gave all we asked. There were also moments of sorrow, irreparable loss. All this has receded so far into the past. How sad, yet sweet to lose ourselves therein!
"In the third movement no definite feelings find expression. Here we have only capricious arabesques, intangible forms, which come into a man's head when he has been drinking wine and his nerves are rather excited. His mood is neither joyful nor sad. He thinks of nothing in particular. His fancy is free to follow its own flight, and it designs the strangest patterns. Suddenly memory calls up the picture of a tipsy peasant and a street song. From afar come the sounds of a military band. These are the kind of confused images which pass through our brains as we fall asleep. They have no connection with actuality, but are simply wild, strange, and bizarre.
"The fourth movement. If you can find no reasons for happiness in yourself, look at others. Go to the people. See how they can enjoy life and give themselves up entirely to festivity. A rustic holiday is depicted. Hardly have we had time to forget ourselves in the spectacle of other people's pleasure, when indefatigable Fate reminds us once more of its presence. Others pay no heed to us. They do not spare us a glance, nor stop to observe that we are lonely and sad. How merry, how glad they all are! All their feelings are so inconsequent, so simple. And will you still say that all the world is immersed in sorrow Happiness does exist, simple and unspoilt. Be glad in others' gladness. This makes life possible.
"I can tell you no more, dear friend, about the symphony. Naturally my description is not very clear or satisfactory. But there lies the peculiarity of instrumental music; we cannot analyse it. 'Where words leave off, music begins,' as Heine has said.
"It is growing late. I will not tell you anything about Florence in this letter. Only one thing -that I shall always keep a happy memory of this place.
"P.S. -Just as I was putting my letter into the envelope I began to read it again, and to feel misgivings as to the confused and incomplete programme which I am sending you. For the first time in my life I have attempted to put my musical thoughts and forms into words and phrases. I have not been very successful. I was horribly out of spirits all the time I was composing this symphony last winter, and this is a true echo of my feelings at the time. But only an echo. How is it possible to reproduce it in clear and definite language I do not know. I have already forgotten a good deal. Only the general impression of my passionate and sorrowful experiences has remained. I am very, very anxious to know what my friends in Moscow say of my work."
SCHOOL OF MUSIC
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Visiting Lecturers NADIA BOULANGER.....1939
ERWIN BODKY, Harpsichordist 1938-39
MINNA FRANZISKA HOLL, Director
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Boston Symphony Orchestra
SERGE KOUSSEVITZKY, Conductor
Also Sprach Zarathustra .........................................Strauss
Apollon Musagete -Ballet .....................................Stravinsky
Bolero ........................................................... Ravel
Classical Symphony .............................................Prokofieff
Concerto No. 2 (Jasclia Heifetz, Soloist) ........................Prokofieff
Concerto No: 12 -Larghetto ......................................Handel
Damnation of Faust: Minuet -Waltz -Rakoczy March ............Berlioz
Daphnis et Chloe -Suite No. 2......................................Ravel
filegie (Violoncello solo: Jean Bedetti) .............................Faur6
Friihlingsstimmen -Waltzes (Voices of Spring) ..................Strauss
Gymnop4die No. 1....................................Erik Satie-Debussy
"Khovanstchina" Prelude ....................................Moussorgsky
La Valse ...........................................................Ravel
"Lieutenant Kije" Suite ........................................Prokoflefl
Love for Three Oranges -Scherzo and March......................Prokofieff
Ma Mere L'Oye (Mother Goose) ....................................Ravel
Passion According to Saint Matthew (Three Albums) .................Bach
Petrouchka Suite ..............................................Stravinsky
Pictures at an Exhibition ..............................Moussorgsky-Ravel
Pohjola's Daughter ...............................................Sibelius
"Romeo and Juliet," Overture-Fantasia .......................Tchaikovsky
Rosamunde -Ballet Music ......................................Schubert
"Swanwhite" ("The Maiden with Roses") ........................Sibelius
Symphony No. 2 in D major ......................................Sibelius
Symphony No. 4 in A major ("Italian") ......................Mendelssohn
Symphony No. 4 in F minor .................................Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 5 ..................................................Sibelius
Symphony No. 6 in B minor ("Pathetique") ..................Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 6 in F major ("Pastoral") .....................Beethoven
Symphony No. 6 in G major ("Surprise") ..........................Haydn
Symphony No. 8 in F major ....................................Beethoven
Symphony No. 8 in B minor ("Unfinished") .....................Schubert
"The Enchanted Lake" .............................................Liadov
Wiener Blut -Waltzes (Vienna Blood) ...........................Strauss
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