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UMS Concert Program, January 25, 1941: First Annual Chamber Music Festival -- The Musical Art Quartet Of New York

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Season: 1940-1941
Concert: Third
Complete Series: 2816
Lecture Hall, Rackham Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Third Concert 1940-1941 Complete Series 2816
First Annual
Chamber Music Festival
Sascha Jacobsen, First Violin William Hymanson, Viola
Paul Bernard, Second Violin Maria Roemaet-Rosanoff, Violoncello
Saturday Evening, January 25, 1941, at 8:30
Lecture Hall, Rackham Building
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Quartet in D minor (Op. posthumous).....Schubert
Allegro Andante con moto
Scherzo: Allegro molto Presto
La oracion del torero..........Turina
Quartet in F.............Ravel
Allegro moderato (Tres doux) Assez vif (Tres rhythme) Tres lent Vif et agite
The Steinway piano and the Skinner organ are the official concert instruments of the University Musical Society
Quartet in D minor (Op. posthumous) .... Franz Schubert
Bom at Lichtenthal, January 31, 1797; died at Vienna, November 19, 1828.
The quartet in D minor, known as "Death and the Maiden," was composed in the year 1826, just two years before Schubert's death. Like many other works not published during his lifetime it is listed among his posthumous opuses.
The title of the quartet was taken from Schubert's song of the same name. The practice of borrowing themes from his other works was not uncommon with this genius; as a result there is the C-major Fantasy known as "The Wanderer," the A-major piano quintet known as "The Trout," as well as the quartet to be performed on this program.
When employing one of these borrowed themes, Schubert did not ordinarily base all of the movements on the one motive--in other words the theme was not made to function as a "motto." In the case of the quartet, the "Death and the Maiden" theme forms the basis for a set of variations in the second movement. The work as a whole, however, breathes the same ominous atmosphere as the lied whose title it bears. As if to contribute to this same end, the composer cast all four movements in the minor mode (a unique practice indeed) and used a phrase from the "Erl King" as the motive of the second subject in the fourth movement. The baleful atmosphere of death with which Schubert undoubtedly wished to imbue the quartet, prompted him to turn to these lieder for thematic material.
La oracion del torero........Joaquin Turina
Born at Seville, December 9, 1882.
Turina, along with Manuel de Falla, is the leader of the Spanish school of Impressionists. He received his first musical training from the organist and choirmaster of the Seville Cathedral and later studied piano playing with Jose Trago, in Madrid. His knowledge of Impressionism was obtained, however, directly at its source. Settling in Paris in 1905, he studied with Vincent d'Indy and Moritz Moskowski, following which he came into contact with Debussy, Ravel, and Florent Schmitt. The latter three aided him in bringing his style to its full maturity. In 1914 he returned to Madrid where he has continued to live and compose.
His impressionism has neither the intangibility nor ethereality--that tendency to evade the concrete--of Debussy; rather is it based on a fine sensibility, musically and spiritually, that tends to be more sound and more rhythmically objective. His feeling for form is more distinct while his taste is somewhat tempered with a certain flavor of romanticism.
The fantasy for string quartet, "La oracion del torero," was composed in 1925.
Quartet in F..........Maurice Ravel
Born at Ciboure, Basses Pyrenees, March 7, 1875; died at Paris, December 28, 1927.
In spite of Ravel's imaginative and luxuriant orchestral style and his flare and capacity for dramatic expression, he proved, through his quartet in F major, that he could acquit himself with good taste and reserve and at the same time display a certain spontaneity within the narrower range. Fortunately, his classic predilections were in sympathy with the necessary repression of style that this genre requires. In his composition of chamber music, he followed closely the tradition of Gabriel Faure, who, when referring to his own style, said that it embodied "clarity of thought, sobriety and purity of form, sincerity, disdain of big effects." That Ravel attained a reasonable success in his efforts has been conclusively attested by the fact that after nearly forty years of performance his quartet in F major still retains its place, along with those of d'Indy and Debussy, as one of the finest specimens in this exacting medium of expression.
The first movement of the quartet is perfect sonata form; the second movement is a fine example of scherzo, while the last two are a trifle freer in design. The work as a whole comes under the heading of a "motto" quartet--the slow movement having a subsidiary motive that is an echo of the first subject of the first movement, and the second subject of the finale having counterparts in the first and second subjects of the first movement. This was a common device in all of Ravel's chamber works.
Beethoven has been omitted from this series because of the scheduled performance of his great work in C-sharp minor by the Budapest String Quartet in the Choral Union Series.

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