UMS Concert Program, November 8: Sixty-fourth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- Cleveland Symphony Orchestra
Complete Series: 2850
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
CHARLES A. SINK, PRESIDENT
THOR JOHNSON, CONDUCTOR
HARDIN VAN DEURSEN, ACTING CONDUCTOR
Complete Series 28S0
Choral Union Concert Series
CLEVELAND SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
ARTUR RODZINSKI, Conductor
Sunday Evening, November 8, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 . .
Adagio molto; allegro con brio Larghetto Scherzo Allegro molto
"Spirituals" for String Choir and Orchestra .
A Little Bit of Sin
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathetique"
Adagio; allegro non troppo Allegro con grazia Allegro molto vivace
Finale; adagio lamentoso
Note: The Cleveland Orchestra has been heard in the Choral Union Series on previous occasions as follows: March 28, 193S; November 9, 1937; November 7, 1938; and November 9, 1941.
The Steinway piano and the Skinner organ are the official concert instruments of the University Musical Society
A R S
L O N G A
B R E V I S
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 . . Ludwig Van Beethoven
Born December 16, 1770 in Bonn; died March 26, 1827, in Vienna
It would be unsafe to deny that the events of a composer's life might have an effect on the nature of his music. Adventures, vicissitudes of fortune, pride, and health undoubtedly affect the personality; and the personality of a musician will somehow express itself in his music.
On the other hand, it would be equally unsafe to try to trace the character of a given piece of music from the circumstances of a particular event. In the mansion of the mind music occupies a somewhat secluded, self-sufficient suite of rooms, and the messages from the main corridors are sometimes delayed and altered before they arrive there.
These remarks seem pertinent when we consider Beethoven's creation of his Second Symphony. The summer of the year 1802 was an especially depressing one for him. While spending some months at the pleasant village of Heiligenstadt, near Vienna, he became stricken with the certainty that the disturbances of his hearing, which had been worrying him for some time, had progressed beyond the possibility of a cure. He came to the terrible realization that slowly but surely he was becoming totally deaf. Dark thoughts of death filled his mind, and he decided to make his will. A document was found among his effects after his death, many years later, that is usually called by his biographers: "The Heiligenstadt Testament." It is one of the most heart-rending expressions of despair that has ever been penned, and its somewhat crude eloquence makes it doubly touching.
It was during just this despondent time that the master was working on his Second Symphony. This symphony is one of his gayest, most Iighthearted compositions. An unquenchable optimism animates it from the first note to the last. Its two final movements are positively frolicsome. Not even in the Larghetto does Beethoven give himself up to the solemnity with which so many of his slow movements are imbued. It is, instead, a lyric piece of the most smiling suavity, one of the most ingratiating he ever wrote.
No doubt psychologists could suggest explanations for this paradox, but these would not need to be true even if they were ingenious. Musicians will understand-even though laymen find it difficult to do so--if one says that music is just simply music, rain or shine.
The Second Symphony shows little structural advance over the composer's First. The slow introduction is longer and more elaborate, the third movement discards the traditional but no longer appropriate designation, Minuet, and frankly calls itself a Scherzo. However, most of the themes of the entire symphony are more trenchant, more capable of interesting development than those of the earlier work.
"Spirituals" foe String Choir and Orchestra . . Morton Gould Born December 10, 1913, in Richmond Hill, L. I., New York
Morton Gould wrote these "Spirituals" in the first four days of February, 1941. They were first performed at the New York City American Music Festival of 1941, the composer conducting.
Mr. Gould writes that his title, "Spirituals," must not be taken too literally. He has attempted to transfer into symphonic form the emotional idioms of both Negro and White spirituals. The materials used are original with only a few minor exceptions. Here and there the listener will find recognizable motives, and in all probability the general conception will sound familiar, since it has an idiomatic base. The movements are broadly contrasted, ranging from the simple to the intense and dramatic. The titles are self-explanatory.
The composer feels that there are powerful and widely varied emotional forces in our American folk material and has attempted to project some of these with directness and simplicity. He has given his music largely to the string choir, using the rest of the orchestra as a background, and he compares this effect to that of a vocal choir blending with congregational responses and singing out above them.
The notes on the Beethoven Symphony are by Arthur Loesser, and those on the other two numbers are by George Henry Lorett Smith.
Although Morton Gould has been associated with Tin Pan Alley, he approached it after experience with serious music. He began to compose at the age of four, and early developed a prodigious piano technique. He studied the piano with Miss Abby Whiteside, composition with Dr. Vincent Jones, and graduated from New York University at the age of fifteen. Financial pressure forced him to turn toward Broadway and exploit the commercial aspects of music, the theater and the radio. For the past six years he has been conducting a weekly radio program, with a large orchestra, over the Mutual Broadcasting System. His h'ghter compositions and arrangements are given principal place on this program. At present he is musical director for the government defense production, "Keep 'Em Rolling."
Mr. Gould's activities as a composer cover a wide range. He is active in the educational field and his compositions frequently appear on high-school and college programs. He makes appearances as conductor and lecturer, and his works have occasionally appeared on the programs of major orchestras. He has written "Chorale and Fugue in Jazz," "A Lincoln Legend," the "Foster Gallery," a "Cowboy Rhapsody," a "Latin-American Symphonette," three "American Symphonettes," a cantata, a symphony, a piano concerto, and many smaller works. His music is developed from various native idioms, and he has experimented with the use of these idioms in symphonic structure.
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, "Pathetique,"
Op. 74........Peter Ilich Tchaikovsky
Born May 7, 1840, in Votkinsk; died November 6, 1893, in St. Petersburg
Tchaikovsky completed this symphony in 1893, and conducted it himself on October 28 in St. Petersburg. The first American performance was given by the New York Symphony Society on March 16, 1894.
Peter Ilich was gravely disappointed over the fate of his Fifth Symphony. After he had conducted it once in Prague and twice in St. Petersburg, he was forced to conclude that it was a failure. Could it be that he had written himself out, as some people insisted, that nothing remained for him but to repeat and imitate himself How inferior the Fifth Symphony seemed to the Fourth, which had already become established!
The trip to America and the composition of "The Nutcracker," "Iolanthe," and various minor works absorbed him before he was ready to try his luck with another symphony. In the autumn of 1892 he sketched out two movements of a symphony and partly orchestrated them, but then cast the unfinished score aside, calling it "an empty play of sound without real inspiration."
At last, in December, 1892, the whole scheme of a new work uncovered itself in his brain, and he began to compose the Sixth Symphony. Enkindled with so important a new project as a symphony with an "idea" behind it, Tchaikovsky threw himself into his task. The writing of the new score "was like an act of exorcism," reports his brother, Modeste, "by which Peter Ilich cast out all the black spirits that had possessed him for so long."
In February, he described the symphony in a letter to his favorite nephew, Vladimir Davydoff, to whom it was to be dedicated:
On the way to Paris last December the idea for a new sympathy came to me, this time a symphony with a program that will remain an enigma to all. Let them guess for themselves; the symphony will be called! merely "Program Symphony." But the program is indeed permeated with subjectiveness, so much so that not once, but often, while composing it in my mind during my journey, I shed tears. As soon as I got home I began to write out the sketches, and it went so quickly and eagerly that in less than four days the first movement was done, and all the rest clearly outlined in my head. Half of the third movement is ready. Its form will contain much that is new; for instance, the finale will not be a noisy allegro, but, on the contrary, a quite long adagio. You cannot imagine the joy it gives me to know that my day is not yet done, and that I am still capable of work. Of course I may be mistaken, but it doesn't seem so. Please don't tell anyone except Modeste.
After many interruptions the symphony was finally completed in August; and on the twenty-fourth he was able to write to his publisher: "I give you my word of honor that never in my life have I been so contented, so proud, so happy, in the knowledge that I have written a good piece."
Choral Union Concerts
(All concerts will be given at 8:30 p.m.)
Albert Spalding, Violinist......Thursday, November 19
Artur Schnabel, Pianist.......Thursday, December 3
Boston Symphony Orchestra . . . . . . Wednesday, December 9
Serge Koussevitzky, Conductor
Josef Hofmann, Pianist........Monday, January IS
Jascha Heifetz, Violinist.......Tuesday, February 16
Guiomar Novaes, Pianist.........Friday, March S
(Taking the place of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra)
Nelson Eddy, Baritone........Wednesday, March 17
A limited number of tickets for the season or for individual concerts are still available.
Annual "Messiah" Concert
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY announces the annual "Messiah" concert, Sunday afternoon, December 13, at 3:00, in Hill Auditorium.
Marjorie McClung, Soprano Harold Haugh, Tenor
Eileen Law, Contralto John Macdonald, Bass
Palmer Christian, Organist
Mabel Ross Rhead, Pianist
University Symphony Orchestra
University Choral Union Hardin van Deursen, Conductor
Reserved seat tickets, including tax: Main floor, 60 cents; balconies, 30 cents.
Chamber Music Festival
The THIRD ANNUAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, consisting of three concerts, will be given Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening. January 22 and 23, in Rackham Lecture Hall.
The Roth String Quartet
Feri Roth, Violin Julius Shaier, Viola
Rachmael Weinstock, Violin Oliver Edel, Violoncello
Series tickets, including tax: $2.75, $2.20 and $1.10; single concerts, $1.10 and $.55.
SPECIAL CONCERT. Alec Templeton, Pianist, Thursday, February 25. Tickets, including tax: $1.10, 90 cents, and 60 cents.
All tickets now on sale at the offices of the University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.
Mail orders for any of these concerts should include self-addressed stamped envelope, and be mailed to University Musical Society, Charles A. Sink, President, Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan.