UMS Concert Program, November 7: Sixty-fifth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- The Cleveland Orchestra
Complete Series: 2869
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
CHARLES A. SINK, PRESIDENT THOR JOHNSON, CONDUCTOR
HARDEST VAN DEURSEN, ACTING CONDUCTOR
Complete Series 2869
Choral Union Concert Series
THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA
ERICH LEINSDORF, Conductor
Sunday Evening, November 7, at 9:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Chorale, "O Haupt, voll Blut und Wunden"
(Transcribed for orchestra by Erich Leinsdorf)
Symphony in C major, No. 7 .
Andante; allegro ma non troppo Andante con moto Scherzo Finale
Siegfried's Rhine Journey from "Gotterdammerung" .
"Porgy and Bess": A Symphonic Picture .
(Arranged by Robert Russell Bennett)
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; November 9, 1941; and November 8, 1942.
The Steinway piano, furnished through the courtesy of Grinnell Brothers, is the official concert instrument of the University Musical Society
A R S
L O N G A
B R E V I S
Chorale, "O Haupt, voll Blut und Wunden" . Johann Sebastian Bach Born March 21, 1685, in Eisenach; died July 28, 17S0, in Leipzig.
(Transcribed for orchestra by Erich Leinsdorf)
Bach's St. Matthew Passion, in which this chorale is found, was written in 1729 at Leipzig. Mr. Leinsdorf prepared his transcription in 1942, using not the simple form of the chorale but the more elaborate version that Bach wrote as a chorale-prelude for organ under the title "Herzlich thut mich verlangen."
The chorale, "O Haupt, voll Blut and Wunden" is known as the "Passion Chorale." Bach used the melody no less than five times with different texts in his St. Matthew Passion, and it appears again and again in his vocal and instrumental works. It was used in a madrigal by Hassler (1564-1612) with the words, "My Peace of Mind Is Shattered by the Charms of Tender Maiden," and congregations have sung it times without number. Bach employed the chorale in his Passions as a hymn in which the congregation offered its pious comment upon the action. He was seldom more inspired than in his harmonizations of the traditional chorale tunes--tunes of wonderful simplicity.
Professor Archibald T. Davison has described the origin of the chorale as follows:
The chorale lay at the very centre of German Protestant musical thought; and for the congregation it had an appeal which was rooted, in part, in the origins oi' the form itself. Arising from the need of a representative Protestant hymn, the chorale was destined to bear somewhat the same relation to Protestant music that plainsong had borne to the musical art of the Roman Catholic Church. Poets of the new religion were quick to write their hymns, but the music was a more difficult matter. In the end, Luther was forced to draw on three sources for material to supplement the melodies supplied by contemporary composers. These three sources were plainsong, altered to suit the requirements of the Protestant hymn; German folksong; and the melodies of madrigals or other part-music.
Symphony in C major, No. 7......Franz Schubert
Born January 31, 1797, in Lichtenthal, near Vienna; died November 17, 1828, in Vienna.
Schubert had reached the mature age of thirty-one when he wrote this symphony, and within the year his spirit was to pass forever from a world which realized its debt to him only after his tragic death. Although the symphony is called his Seventh, it is actually his final and crowning work in the symphonic form--the tenth to come from his pen.
Always a prolific composer, he turned out music swiftly when the mood was upon him, forgot it as quickly in the enthusiasm of creating fresh works from an apparently inexhaustible inspiration. His First Symphony in D major, was composed in his sixteenth year, when he was a pupil at the Konvict--the Viennese Imperial Choir School. His Second, in B-flat major, was written a year later, 1814-1815; and his Third, again in D major, was completed in 1815. He was nineteen when on April 27, 1816, he dried the ink on the remarkable pages of his "Tragic" Symphony, No. 4, in C minor. This same year saw the completion of the Fifth Symphony in B-flat major which, like the Sixth in C major, is scored for small orchestra without trumpets and drums.
Of these early symphonies only the last three hold recurring places in the symphonic repertory. A symphony in E, completely outlined in 1821, was left unfinished. Although this score was later completed by other hands and performed in Vienna by Felix Weingartner in the season of 1934-35, it has not succeeded in finding its way into the orchestral repertory. A legendary "Gastein" symphony, mentioned in Schubert's letters, has never been found.
Schubert composed in the mighty shadow of Beethoven, and died when that revolutionary genius was only eighteen months in the grave. Beethoven was an overpowering influence, and there can be no doubting the impression he made upon Schubert. But in no way did he weaken the younger man's individuality; there is no page in Schubert's mature works that is not utterly original. The power of Schubert's genius becomes almost terrifying when we think of him in his actual time, keeping pace with Beethoven, and capping the whole period of the classical symphony with a worthy and imposing work.
His "last great symphony, the C major," Paul Henry Lang calls it in his Music in Western Civilization, "not only Schubert's last, but the last mighty classical symphony which, like a bastion, guards the exit of the hallowed precincts of the greatest era of orchestral music." Professor Lang waxes warm as he describes these monumental movements: "What magnificent and truly symphonic elan, what a wealth of pictures drawn from the heroic-capricious, utterly classic, symphonic theme! The little development within the exposition--a genuinely Beethovenian touch--where the powerful trombones announce the coming storm while the woodwinds chirp in happy abandonment, impressed every German composer in the nineteenth century. The andante is a most complicated composite movement utilizing a plethora of material with an assuredness that makes it appear as simple as a song, and the scherzo is a worthy counterpart of the boldest of Beethoven's, although most of its melodies are popular Viennese tunes blended with the symphonic pregnancy of the chief motif in a manner that leaves one speechless. The finale of this symphony moved Schumann to comment on its 'heavenly length': 'How refreshing is this feeling of overflowing wealth!'"
Siegfried's Rhine Journey from "Gotterdammerung" . Richard Wagner Born May 22, 1813, in Leipzig; died February 13, 1883, in Venice.
Siegfried's Rhine Journey is an orchestral interlude which separates the prologue to "Gotterdammerung" (Twilight of the Gods), from the drama itself. The man who knows no fear--the hero, Siegfried--has won his trophy, has wakened Briinhilde from her sleep amid the magic flames, and has lived with her in blissful companionship. Though no longer a Valkyrie, Briinhilde has taught him many secrets of the gods in return for love and constancy. About to go forth to new adventures, Siegfried gives Briinhilde his ring, and she reciprocates by giving him her charger, Grane, and her Valkyrie's shield. As he descends the mountain slope, she watches him from the rock where they have parted. From the valley of the Rhine comes the call of Siegfried's horn, mingled in the music with murmurs of the river, the wail of the Rhine daughters lamenting their stolen gold, flickering reminiscences of the magic fire scene, and the bold Rbinegold fanfare.
"Porgy and Bess": A Symphonic Picture . . . George Gershwin
Born September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York;
died July 12, 1937, in Hollywood, California.
(Arranged by Robert Russell Bennett)
Gershwin's Negro folk opera, "Porgy and Bess," based on the play, "Porgy" by DuBose and Dorothy Heyward, was first produced by the New York Theatre Guild at the Colonial Theatre, Boston, in September, 1935. Robert Russell Bennett prepared his "Symphonic Picture" on music of the opera, in 1942; the first performance was by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Fritz Reiner, conductor, on February 5, 1943.
The young American composer, Robert Russell Bennett, an intimate friend of the late George Gershwin, was commissioned to prepare this symphonic arrangement of "Porgy and Bess" by Fritz Reiner.
"Dr. Reiner selected the portions of the opera he wanted to be included, and also set their sequence," writes Mr. Bennett. "He also expressed his ideas as to instrumentation, wishing to make generous use of saxophones and banjo, and to dispense with Gershwin's pet instrument, the piano.
"I proceeded not only to follow Dr. Reiner's ideas faithfully, but also to remain completely loyal to George's harmonic and orchestral intentions. In other words, although carrying out Dr. Reiner's approach, I have been careful to do what I knew--after many years of association with Gershwin--Gershwin would like as a symphonic version of his music."
The "Symphonic Picture" draws on various parts of the opera in the following sequence:
Opening, Act III "Bess, You Is My Woman Now"
Opening, Act I The Picnic Party
"Summertime" "There's a Steamboat That's
"I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'" Leavin' Soon for New York"
Storm Music "It Ain't Necessarily So"
Finale--"O, Lawd, I'm on My Way"
Choral Union Concerts
Marian Anderson, Contralto......Monday, November IS
Yehudi Menuhin, Violinist......Tuesday, November 23
Claudio Arrau, Pianist........Friday, December 3
Boston Symphony Orchestra.....Wednesday, December 8
Serge Koussevitzky, Conductor
Don Cossack Chorus........Tuesday, December 14
Serge Jaroff, Conductor
Artur Rubinstein, Pianist.......Tuesday, January 18
Marjorie Lawrence, Soprano . . . Sunday (3:00 p.m.), January 30
Mischa Elman, Violinist.......Thursday, February 10
Ezio Pinza, Bass..........Monday, March 6
A limited number of tickets for the season or for individual concerts are still available.
Annual "Messiah" Concert
The annual performance of Handel's "Messiah" will be given Sunday afternoon, December 19, at 3:00 p.m., in Hill Auditorium.
Agnes Davis, Soprano . William Miller, Tenor
Lillian Knowles, Contralto Wellington Ezekiel, Bass
University Choral Union Special "Messiah" Orchestra
Palmer Christian, Organist Hardin Van Deursen, Conductor
Reserved seat tickets, including tax: main floor, 60 cents; first balcony, 50 cents; and second balcony, 30 cents.
Chamber Music Festival
The FOURTH ANNUAL CHAMBER MUSIC FESTIVAL, consisting of three concerts, will be given Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening, January 21 and 22, in Rackham Lecture Hall.
The Roth String Quartet
Feri Roth, Violin Julius Shaier, Viola
Michael Kuttner, Violin Oliver Edel, Violoncello
Series tickets, including tax: $2.75, $2.00 and $1.10; single concerts, $1.10 and $.55.
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