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UMS Concert Program, March 16, 1947: Sixty-eighth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 1946-1947
Concert: Tenth
Complete Series: 2948
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tenth Concert 1946-1947 Complete Series 2948
Sixty-Eighth Annual
Choral Union Concert Series
Sunday Evening, March 16, 1947, at 7:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro"......Mozart
Symphony in E-flat major.........Haydn
Adagio, vivace assai Adagio
Menuetto, allegretto Vivace
Chorale and Variations in B minor ("Three Chorales
for Orchestra")...........Franck
(Transcribed for orchestra by Desire Defauw)
"Alborada del gracioso"..........Ravel
Symphony No. 5 in E minor "From the
New World"), Op. 95.........Dvorak
Adagio, allegro molto Largo
Allegro con fuoco
Note.--The University Musical Society has presented the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on previous occasions as follows: Choral Union Series, Theodore Thomas, Conductor (7); in thirty-one May Festivals (1905-1935 inclusive) and in Choral Union Series (November 2, 1936 and November 30, 1941), Frederick Stock, conductor; and March 19, 1945, and January 31, 1946, Desire Defauw, conductor.
PROGRAM NOTES by Felix Borowski
Overture to "The Marriage of Figaro" . . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
It was Mozart himself who suggested to Lorenzo da Ponte a libretto on Beaumarchais' "Le Mariage de Figaro," which had been produced at Paris in 1784 and had made a great sensation. In the autumn of 1785 Mozart began work upon the music, and we know that he labored with feverish eagerness upon it. He could not even take time to write to his father, and in order to give his freshest inspiration to the opera, he devoted all his mornings to its composition, and put off all his pupils to the afternoon. It was, however, characteristic of Mozart that the opera was finished--that is, the overture was completed--only the day before the production, which took place May 1, 1786. Before this, all kinds and manners of conspiracies and intrigues had to be contended with. The production was a triumph for the composer. The theater was packed, and so many of the arias and pieces were encored that the performance was dragged out far beyond its ordinary length. Even the emperor was moved to interpose in the matter of encores, for after the first performance any repetition of a song was forbidden on the ground of sparing the artists and conductor.
The overture is scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums and strings. The construction requires but little explanation. The overture is written in abridged sonata form, the development section being omitted. The principal theme begins at once with the lively figure in the first violins (Presto, D major, 2-2 time). The second theme is in A major.
Symphony, E-fiat Major.........Joseph Haydn
This symphony (numbered 99 in Breitkopf and Hartel's new summation of Haydn's symphonies) apparently was composed at Vienna in 1793 and taken with him to London for the concerts to be given during his second visit to the English metropolis the following year. This visit was the result of a triumphal sojourn in London in 1791, when Haydn had been received with unprecedented homage and enthusiasm. His engagement for both appearances had been brought about by Johann Peter Salomon, a German violinist, who, having been attached to the orchestra of Prince Henry of Prussia in Germany, had retired to London when in 1780, the Prince had disbanded his orchestra, and there he occupied himself as an impresario as well as a performer of chamber music.
Salomon's concerts were given in the Hanover Square Rooms--not a large hall, for the room was not more than ninety-five feet long and thirty-five feet broad--about the size of the ground foyer of Orchestra Hall, Chicago. The orchestra which was put at Haydn's disposal numbered some forty performers on ordinary occasions, but extensive enough for the size of the hall and the scoring peculiar to symphonies at the end of the 18th century. The organization, according to the custom of that time, was directed by Haydn, who sat at a pianoforte, not conducting in the modern sense, but striking chords from the score in front of him when the orchestra became uncertain in its time or attack. The concertmaster also took a share in the direction, for, standing in the midst of the violins, he occasionally beat time with his bow, or stamped with his foot. It was only in 1820, when Ludwig Spohr, visited England, that a baton was used in that country for the first time.
Haydn carried in his heart a special affection for this E-flat major symphony. A remarkable circumstance in regard to the symphony is the inclusion of the clarinet in its instrumentation. Only six of Haydn's 104 symphonies made use of the clarinet, and all six were for English production. Although the clarinet had come into existence as an improvement of the chalumeau made by the two Denners of Nuremberg at the end of the 17th century, it did not come into general use until the end of the following century.
The scoring of the E-flat major symphony is for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums and strings.
Chorale and Variations in B Minor ("Three Chorales
for Orchestra")..........Cesar Franck
"The last years of Franck's life," wrote his friend and pupil, Vincent d'Indy, "brought to light four masterpieces which will always stand out clear and luminous in the history of French music: the Violin Sonata, composed for Eugene and Theophile Ysaye; the Symphony in D minor; the String Quartet, and, lastly, the three Chorales for organ, which were his swan songs."
The Chorale in B minor, that which is performed in Mr. Defauw's transcription on this occasion, is the second of "Trois Chorals" which were composed in the autumn of 1890. Franck was a desperately sick man when this music was set down. In May of the year in which the works were written, he was on his way to the house of his pupil, Paul Brand, when he was struck in the side by the pole of an omnibus. He continued on his way, and famted on arriving at Brand's house, but refused medical treatment when he became conscious. Pleurisy set in, and improper treatment brought forth complications. Even when suffering great pain, Franck wished to go to the Church--Sainte-CIotilde--of which he was organist, in order to write down the combinations of stops for the Three Chorales. "The Chorales, the last prayer of this sincere believer," wrote d'Indy, "were lying on his death-bed when the priest of the basilica which so often had echoed to his serene improvisations came, at his express desire, to bring him the last consolations of the Church."
The composition is scored for three flutes, one oboe, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, double bassoon, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, two tubas, two harps, kettledrums and strings.
"Alborada del gracioso".........Maurice Ravel
Ravel conceived his "Alborada del Gracioso" originally for pianoforte. It forms the fourth number of a set of pieces entitled "Miroirs," which was published in 1906.
"Miroirs" was produced at the same time as Debussy's "Images," and Ravel was accused by Debussy's admirers of having appropriated, not only a similar title for his music, but even a similar musical style. "Miroirs" was played for the first time at a concert of the Societe Nationale de Musique, given in the Salle Erard, Paris, at the beginning of 1906. Ricardo Vines, a pianist who was the most active propagandist for the works of the young French School, was the interpreter. Of the five pieces that made up the set of "Miroirs," "Alborada del Gracioso" evoked the largest measure of enthusiasm from the listeners, who insisted upon a repetition of it. In later years Ravel made an orchestral version of two of the movements--"Une Barque sur l'Ocean," which was arranged in 1908, and "Alborara del Gracioso," which was given its new form in 1912. This orchestral version of the latter piece was performed at a Pasdeloup Concert, Paris, May 17, 1917. The first performance in America of "Alborada del Gracioso" was at a concert of the Boston Orchestral Club, given in Jordan Hall, Boston, February 6, 1921. Georges Longy conducted the work and, as it was still unpublished, from manuscript. The orchestral transcription was published in 1923.
When Ravel's "Alborada del Gracioso" was performed for the first time at Paris there was speculation as to the significance of the title. In his La Musique franfaise d'aujourd'hui (Paris, 1916) G. Jean Aubry declared that the work is "an aubade (i.e., morning serenade) of the gracioso--the word is untranslatable; something like a jester full of finesse, a wit always aroused and an irony always ready; something like Figaro." This description coincided with that of Ravel's biographer, Roland-Manuel, who wrote of "Alborada del Gracioso" as "that prestigeous Alborada, in which is exalted the waggish liveliness of a caricatured Spain." The reviewer for Le Guide Musical, discussing the first performance, translated the title as "le Bouffon gracieux."
Symphony No. 5, E Minor, "From the New World," . . Anton Dvorak
In October, 1892, Dvorak came to America to take up the position of director of the National Conservatory in New York. The master, who, Huneker wrote, was known affectionately to his associates as "Old Borax," finally settled in 337 East Seventeenth Street, and it was there that he composed the "New World" symphony as well as the quintet, Opus 97, and the "American" string quartet, Opus 96. Some of the scoring of the symphony was done, however, not in New York but at Spillville, Iowa, a village largely settled by Bohemians, where during the summer vacations Dvorak, together with his wife and six children, were visitors, that village having been recommended to him by Josef J. Kovafik, who had been born at Spillville, but who taught in the National Conservatory at the time Dvorak directed it.
It will be of interest at this point to set forth Dvorak's attitude to negro music in general. "I am satisfied," he wrote in a statement just before the production of the "New World" symphony, "that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the negro melodies. These can be the foundation of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. When first I came here I was impressed with this idea, and it has developed into a settled conviction. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are American. They are the folk-songs of America, and your composers must turn to them. All the great musicians have borrowed from the songs of the common people. Beethoven's most charming scherzo is based upon what might now be considered a skillfully handled Negro melody. I have myself gone to the simple, half-forgotten tunes of the Bohemian peasants for bints in my most serious work. Only in this way can a musician express the true sentiment of a people. He gets into touch with the common humanity of a country. In the negro melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music. They are pathetic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, bold, merry, gay, gracious or what you will. It is music that suits itself to any mood or any purpose. There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot find a thematic source here."
The symphony, "From the New World," was produced for the first time at a concert of the Philharmonic Society of New York, December IS, 1893.
MAY 8, 9, 10, 11, 1947
Eugene Ormondy, Conductor Soloist: Helen Traubel, Soprano
All-Wagner Program Overture to "Die Meistersinger" Aria, "War es so schmahlich" from "Die Walkflre"
Helen Traubel Prelude and Licbestod from "Tristan and Isolde"
Excerpts from "Gotterdimmerung" Siegfried's Rhine Journey Siegfried's Death and Funeral Music Immolation and Closing Scene Miss Traubel
FRIDAY, MAY 9, 8:30 Hardin Van Deursen, Conductor
Soloists: Regina Resnik, Soprano Anna Kaskas, Contralto Frederick Jogel, Tenor John Gurney, Bass University Choral Union
Missa Solemnis in D, Op. 123 . . . Bzxthovzm Quartet, Chorus, and Orchestra
SATURDAY, MAY 10, 2:30
Alexander Hilsberg and Marguerite Hood,
Soloist: Isaac Stern, Violinist Youth Chorus
Symphony No. 4 in A major . . Mzndzlssohn
Song Cycle from the Masters
Youth Chorus
Concerto No. 1 for Violin and
Isaac Stzsn
SATURDAY, MAY 10, 8:30
Eugene Ormondy, Conductor
Soloist: Ezio Pinzo, Bass
Ballet Suite, "The Good-Humored
"Qui sdegno non s'accende" from
"Magic Flute"........Mozakt
"Non piu andrai" from "Marriage of
Eno Pinza
Symphony No. 2........Creston
Monologue, Farewell and Death, from
"Boris Godounoff" .... Mousboroeky
Mr. Pinza Suite from "The Fire-Bird" . . . Stravinsky
SUNDAY, MAY 11. 2:30
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
Soloist: Robert Casadesus, Pianist
Passacaglia and Fugue in C
Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major
Robert Casadesus Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 75 . BaAHUs
SUNDAY, MAY 11, 8:30
Alexander Hilsbero and Hordin Van Deursen,
Conductors Soloist: Ferrucclo Tagliavini, Tenor
University Choral Union
Overture "Russian and Ludmilla" . . Glinka
"E lucevan le stelle" from "Tosca" . . FuccxNX
"Le RSve" from "Manon" .... Massenzt
FERRucao Tagliavini
Water Music......Handel-Ormandy
"Prendi l'anel ti dono" from
"0 Paradiso" from "L'Africana" . Meyzrbezk Mr. Tagliavini
Rapsodie Espagnole........Ravzl
"Te Deum"...........Vibdi
University Choral Union
For tickets or for further information, please address: Charles A. Sink, President, University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.

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