UMS Concert Program, November 10: Sixty-eighth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- The Cleveland Orchestra
Complete Series: 2934
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
CHARLES A. SINK, PRESIDENT HARD1N" VAN DEURSEN, CONDUCTOR
Third Concert 1946-1947 Complete Serie3 2934
Choral Union Concert Series
THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA
GEORGE SZELL, Conductor
Sunday Evening, November 10, at 7:00 Hill Auditorimu, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Â¦'VySehrad," Symphonic Poem No. 1,
from the cycle, "My Country".......Smetana
Three Sea Interludes from the opera,
"Peter Grimes,1' Op. 33.........Britten
"Don Juan," Tone Poem (after Lenau), Op. 20 ... Strauss
Symphony in C major, No. 7 ....... Schubert
Andante; allegro ma non troppo Andante con moto Scherzo: allegro vivace; trio Finale: allegro vivace
Note.--The Cleveland Orchestra has been heard in the Choral Union Series on previous occasions ,-is follows: March 28, 1935; November 9, 1937; November 7, 1938; November 9, 1941; November 8. 1942. Artur Rodzinski, conductor; November 7. 1943. Erich Leindorf. conductor; November 12. 1944, George Szell, guest conductor; and Nov. 11, 1945, Erich Lcinsdorf, conductor.
The Steinway piano, furnished through the courtesy of Grinnell Brothers, is the official concert instrument of the University Musical Society
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
By George H. L. Smith
"VySehrad," Symphonic Poem No. 1 from the Cycle,
"My Country"........Bedrich Smetana
Born March 2, 1824, in Leitomischl, Bohemia; died May 12, 1884, in Prague Smetana wrote a cycle of six symphonic poems under the general title of Ma Vlasl between 1874 and 1879. Vysehrad, first of the series, was completed in 1874 and performed for the first time in January, 1875 at a Philharmonic concert in Prague, Ludwig Slansky, conductor.
Vysehrad is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, three trombones and tuba, tympani, cymbals, two harps, and strings. The entire cycle is dedicated to the city of Prague.
Vysehrad, the subject of the opening symphonic poem of Smetami's cycle, My Country, is an ancient citadel on the bank of the River Moldau in Prague. As early as the eighth century, it was the stronghold of the storied Princess Libussa.
Smetana thus described the subject matter of his poem on the fly leaf of the score:
"At sight of the famed fortress Vysehrad, the poet recalls the sounds of Lumir's
varyto in the past. Vysehrad rises up before his eyes in its former glory, crowned with
gold-decked shrines and the edifices of the Premslide princes and kings, rich in warlike
"The brave knights assemble in the castle courts, to the sound of cymbals and trumpets, for the festal tourney; here are drawn up beneath the reflected rays of the sun rows of warriors in rich, glittering armour, ready for victorious contests; Vysehrad trembles with splendid hymns of praise and the jubilations of the knights, glad in their victory.
"Whilst contemplating the past glory of the sublime dwelling of princes, the poet sees also its downfall. Unchained passion overthrows the mighty towers in bitter strife, lays waste the glorious sanctuaries and proud princely halls. Instead of inspiring songs and jubilant hymns, Vysehrad is become dumb, a deserted monument of past glory; from its ruins resounds the echo of the long-silent song of the singer-prince Lumir through the mournful stillness!"
Three Sea Interludes from the Opera, "Peter Grimes,"
Op. 33..........Benjamin Britten
Born November 22, 1913, Lowestoft, Suffolk, England
Benjamin Britten was commissioned to compose the opera, Peter Grimes, by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in 1941. He completed his score in February, 1945, and dedicated it "to the memory of Natalie Koussevitzky." The libretto by Montagu Slater is based on the narrative poem, The Borough, by George Crabbe (1754-1832), completed in 1810.
The first performance of Peter Grimes took place at Sadler's Wells Theatre in London on June 7, 1945. Orchestral Interludes from the opera were first heard in concert performance at the Cheltenham Festival on June 13, 1945, when the composer conducted the London Philharmonic Orchestra. Music of Peter Grimes was heard for the first time in the United States when Serge Koussevitzky performed the Passacaglia and Four Sea Interludes at a Boston Symphony concert in Boston on March 1, 1945.
Mr. Britten has described the origin of PeUr Grimes in the Introduction to a booklet on the opera: "For most of my life I have lived closely in touch with the sea. My parent's house in Lowestoft directly faced the sea, and my life as a child was coloured by the fierce storms that sometimes drove ships on to our coast and ate away whole stretches of the neighbouring cliffs. In writing 'Peter Grimes', I wanted to express my awareness of the perpetual struggle of men and women whose livelihood depends on the sea -difficult though it is to treat such a universal subject in theatrical form."
There are six interludes in the opera; the first of these, "Dawn," connects the prologue and the first act. The music introduces the scene on the village street at the quay. Fishermen are preparing for their morning's work, folding and cleaning nets, baiting lines, and mending sails in the cold, gray morning light.
The interlude entitled "Sunday Morning" serves as the introduction to the first scene of Act II -again the village street, but on a brilliant Sunday morning with church bells ringing.
The orchestral description of the "Storm" links Scenes I and II of Act 1. The storm has been gathering during the first scene, and it rises to full intensity in the interlude and the scene to follow, which takes place inside "The Boar." Wind and rain rage through the streets and beat upon the tavern door and windows.
"Don Juan," Tone Poem (After Nicolaus Lenau),
Op. 20..........Richard Strauss
Born June 11, 1864, in Munich
Don Juan was written in 1887 and 1888 at Munich. The first performance took place on November 11, 1889, in the Weimar Opera House, the composer conducting the Grand Ducal Court Orchestra. The American premiere was at a Boston Symphony concert, Artur Nikisch conducting, on October 31, 1891.
The score was published in 1890 with a dedication "to my dear friend Ludwig Thuillc." These instruments arc used: three flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, two clarinets, two bassoons and contra-bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones and tuba, tympani, cymbals, triangle, bells, harp and the usual strings.
Don Juan was the earliest of Strauss' tone poems to make a general success. The twenty-five-year-old conductor of the Grand Ducal Court Orchestra at Weimar had already declared himself as a composer for orchestra with a "Symphony" -Aus Ilalicn -and a "Tone Poem" -Macbeth -but in Don Juan he exhibited a musical bent that audiences of 1889 could hardly consider other than radical.
Whatever their intellectual reservations, however, Strauss' hearers were soon swept off their feet by the dazzling orchestral virtuosity, the headlong musical flights of a new style so masterfully accomplished. Strauss was five times recalled after the first performance, and a repetition was demanded. "A most unheard-of success" was the honest verdict of the staunch Brahmsian, Hans von Bulow, who wrote to Strauss a year later, after conducting the Berlin premiere: "Your most grandiose Don Juan has taken me captive." Hanslick alone upheld the fading banner of the Brahms camp against so dangerous an onslaught. He reported that the young anti-Brahmsian "had a great talent for false music, for the musically ugly," and complained of the "tumult of dazzling color daubs."
Symphony No. 7 in C major......Franz Schubert
Born January 31, 1797, in Lichtenthal, near Vienna; died November 17, 1828, in Vienna
Schubert wrote this symphony in 1828. Felix Mendelssohn conducted what was probably the first performance at the Leipsic Gcwandhaus on March 21, 1839. The New York Philharmonic Society introduced the symphony to America on January 11. 1851.
The score requires flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns and trumpets in pairs, three trombones, tympani and strings.
Schubert offered the score of this last Symphony in C to the Gesellschajt der Musikjreunde in Vienna. The parts were copied and distributed to the players for trial in rehearsal, but the symphony was soon laid aside because the Society found it too long and too difficult. It is said that Schubert advised the substitution of his earlier Symphony in C -his Sixth. A month after the composer's death -on December 14, 1828 -a Symphony in C was performed in Vienna. Whether this was the Sixth or the great, and unperformed, "C major" can only be conjectured, but the weight of scholarship inclines toward the earlier work. It is certain, at least, that Schubert never heard his ultimate score and that it remained unknown until Schumann found the manuscript among a pile of Schubert's works in the possession of Franz's brother Ferdinand Schubert in Vienna. Schumann dispatched a copied score to Mendelssohn in Leipsic, who performed it, probably for the first time, at the Gewandhaus on March 21, 1839. The work was enthusiastically received and there were three repetitions the following season, albeit with cuts.
Schubert composed in the mighty shadow of Beethoven and died when the 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 masterpiece.
SALVATORE BACCALONI, Basso Buffo of the Metropolitan Opera--Thursday, December 5 at 8:30
Tickets (Inc. tax): $1.50 -1.00 -80
MESSIAH--Two Concerts: Saturday, 8:30, and Sunday, 3:00, December 14 and 15.
Tickets (Inc. tax): 70 -60--40
Chamber Music Festival
BUDAPEST STRING QUARTET
January 24 and 25, Friday Evening, Saturday Afternoon and Evening
Lecture Hall--Rackham Building Tickets (3 Concerts): $3.60 -3.00--1.80
Choral Union Series
Yehudi Menuhin, Violinist......Tuesday, November 19
Icelandic Singers........Monday, November 25
Sigurdur Thordarson, Conductor
Boston Symphony Orchestra.....Monday, December 9
Serge Koussevitzky, Conductor
Vladimir Horowitz, Pianist......Friday, January 17
Detroit Symphony Orchestra......Monday, February 17
Karl Krueger, Conductor
Lotte Lehmann, Soprano.....Wednesday, February 26
Chicago Symphony Orchestra......Sunday, March 16
Desire Defauw, Conductor
For tickets or for further information, please address: Charles A. Sink, President, University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.