UMS Concert Program, March 18, 1948: Sixty-ninth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Complete Series: 2974
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
CHARLES A. SINK, PRESIDENT THOR JOHNSON, GUEST CONDUCTOR
LESTER MCCOY, ASSOCIATE CONDUCTOR
Tenth Concert 1947-1948 Complete Series 2974
Choral Union Concert Series
CINCINNATI SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor
Thursday Evening, March 18, 1948, at 7:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Concerto Grosso in D minor.........Vivaldi
(Freely transcribed by Vittorio Giannini)
Allegro (non troppo), adagio, allegro energico Largo Allegro
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.......Brahms
Allegro non troppo Andante moderato Allegro giocoso Allegro energico e passionato
Molto moderato , Vivace
The White Peacock...........Griffes
Symphonic Poem, "The Pines of Rome".....Respighi
The Pines of the Villa Borghese The Pines near a Catacomb The Pines of the Janiculum The Pines of the Appian Way
The Baldwin is the official piano of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Note.--The University Musical Society has presented the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra on previous occasions as follows: March 24, 1903, Frank van der Stucken, conductor; February 17, 1915, Ernst Kunwald. conductor; and December 5, 1933, Eugene Goossens, conductor.
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Concerto Grosso in D minor.....Vivaldi (1675-1741)
(Freely transcribed by Vittorio Giannini)
Vivaldi lived and worked during a period of transition. It is worth noting that he was a priest by calling--known on account of the color of his hair as the "Red-Priest." An obscure ailment excused him from his priestly duties and thus enabled him to devote the greater part of his time to the creation of music. His output was prodigious. He composed approximately forty operas and oratorios, all of them long forgotten, and numerous instrumental works including the violin concertos and concerto grossos on which his fame rests. The great bulk of his work appears to be unedited.
Many of Vivaldi's works carry titles which, as historians point out, are expressive rather than descriptive. "L'estro armonico" (Harmonious Inspiration) for example, is the title of a group of twelve works of which the Concerto Grosso in D minor, to be played at this concert, is No. 11. This is the famous Vivaldi concerto grosso and has been transcribed many times. The transcription by Vittorio Giannini, the American composer, has been described by him as a "free arrangement for full orchestra rather than as a re-orchestration." This concerto was originally written for two violin solos, violoncello obbligato, strings, and continuo, according to the specifications of the Etienne Rover edition, 1710. It follows the conventional pattern of three movements, the first and last fast, with a contrasting middle slow movement, here in 12-8 siciliano time. The opening movement in due course leads into a lively fugue. The last is a typical energetic finale.
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98 . Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
Each one of Brahms' four symphonies stands fourth as a highly individualized composition. The Gothic grandeur of the First, the idyllic serenity of the Second, the .epic lyricism of the Third, all presage the elegiac unity of Brahms' Fourth Symphony. Though the symphony is not tragic, and though Brahms was too great an artist not to afford the relief of contrast, the prevailing color is gray, the dominant spirit is that of resignation.
The symphony was composed in the summers of 1S84 and 1885 at Murzzuschlag in Styria, and given its first performance at Meiningen, October 25, 1885. It was r subject of anxiety to Brahms, who was over fifty when he began it. "I am not at all eager to write a bad number Four," he wrote to Clara Schumann, and that loyal friend, after reading the completed score replied, "Surely it must go down with the audience even if they neither understand nor are able to follow the passacaglia form."
Brahms' qualms were not altogether unfounded, for early performances of the Fourth Symphony brought forth a flood of criticism, and even worse, polite applause. There were some daring departures in the work, and Hugo Wolf even found fault with the use of E minor as a key for the symphony.
The Fourth's appeal grew steadily, however, and Brahms lived to sec it acclaimed. Six months before his death he attended a performance of the symphony in Vienna and was given a vociferous ovation which he took standing in the artists' box. This was the last public performance he attended.
The symphony's most unorthodox proceedings occur in the last movement, the giant passacaglia referred to by Clara Schumann. The use of this ancient dance form, which in this case consists of an eight-bar theme and thirty-two variations, comes as no surprise after a study of the score. As a matter of fact, Brahms leads the listener to it almost imperceptibly from the symphony's simple, halting beginning.
The first three movements, Allegro non Iroppo, Andante moderato, and Allegro giocoso contain the germs of and almost foretell the intricate doings that follow. The last movement is conceded by musicians to be one of the great pieces of symphonic writing, a fact which need not overwhelm the layman at all, for Clara Schumann said of it, "One need not be a musician, thank Heaven, to come under the spell."
Suite Provenqale......Darius Milhaud (1892)
Much of Milhaud's music is associated with southern France--with Provence. The present Suite was composed in the summer of 1936, and played at a concert of modern music in Venice. It was conducted by the composer. The Suite made the rounds of European capitals, and has also been played by many American orchestras. In it, noted the annotator of the Saint Louis programs, the composer utilized many "popular folk-airs of the Eighteenth Century. Some of them are by Campra, who was born in Aix-en-Provence, like me." The Smt-e consists of eight very brief pieces.
1. Animato. The first begins briskly, on a straightforward folk-tune in the major. It is polytonal, being erected on a pedal-point.
2. Molto moderato. This is a march-like movement, quickening to vivace.
3. Moderato. Another lively dance-tune, interrupted briefly before the end by some slow measures.
4. Vivace. A vivacious dance in triple rhythm.
5. Moderato. The tune is announced by trumpets, after which the whole orchestra joins in.
6. Vivace. This one is staccato and dry, and in very vivacious tempo.
7. Lento. A brief, slow movement, with a plaintive theme which, after an introduction is sung by English horn, trombones, horns and strings.
3. Vivace. The largest movement of the Suite is the Finale. It is lively and brilliant throughout.
The White Peacock . . Charles Tomxison Griffes (1884-1920)
Charles T. Griffes was born at Elmira, New York on September 17, 1884 and died in New York City on April 8, 1920. He was an individual and resourceful composer, and although his early works show a marked German influence, his mature writings, after having passed through a tinting of French Impressionism, emerged freshly developed in a more personal idiom. At the time of his death, he had just begun to come into his own as a composer of recognized merit.
The White Peacock is a tone poem based on a poem of the same name by the too-little known Scotch poet, William Sharp. It is a feast of delicate sense impressions, frail hues, fragrance that vanishes at the moment of awareness, a study in white and pale blues. Rarely has a composer translated from word to tone with such perfection as Griffes. He has achieved a piece of music of pure impressionism, contrived to lure the listener to a land of day dreams.
Mysteriously the music begins, with a questioning call of the oboe--and an answer by the flute, as if invoking the spirits of the garden. Instantly the spell is cast, and the real world fades and "Here, as the breath, the soul of this beauty, moveth in silence, and dreamlike, and slowly, The White Peacock." Delicately suggestive is the spread chord with which the theme sweeps in, the slight thrusting movement of the dotted eighth note followed by the sixteenth, and the unhurried 5-4 meter picturing the strutting bird. The main motive is definitely reminiscent of the Pavanne, an ancient ceremonial dance said to have been named for the peacock. A languorous song is wafted by the flutes, perhaps from the gardens. The music glows, but always with subdued colors.
Symphonic Poem, "The Pines of Rome" . Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936)
The Symphonic poem, The Pines oj Rome, was composed in 1924 and performed for the first time at the Augusteum in 1925. While in his preceding work, The Fountains oj Rome, the composer sought to reproduce, by means of tone, an impression of nature, in The Pines oj Rome he used nature as a point of departure in order to recall memories and visions. The century-old trees which dominate so characteristically the Roman landscape become testimony for the principal events in Roman life.
The Pines oj Rome, which is in four connected sections (like The Fountains oj Rome), is based upon this program, printed as preface to the score.
1. The Pines of the Villa Borghese (Allegretto vivace, 2-8). Children are at play in the pine-grove of the Villa Borghese, dancing the Italian equivalent of Ring Around A-Rosy, mimicking marching soldiers and battles, twittering and shrieking like swallows at evening, and they disappear. Suddenly the scene changes to-2. The Pines Near a Catacomb (Lento 4-4, beginning with muted and divided strings and muted horns, (p). We see the shadows of the pines which overhang the entrance to a catacomb. From the depths rises a chant which re-echos solemnly, sonorously, like a hymn, and is then mysteriously silenced.
3. The Pines oj the Janiculum (Lento 4-4, piano cadenza, clarinet solo). There is a thrill in the air. The full moon reveals the profile of the pines of Gianicolo's Hill. A nightingale sings (represented by a gramophone record of a nightingale's song heard from the orchestra).
4. The Pines oj the Appian Way (Tempo di marcia). Misty dawn on the Appian Way. The tragic country is guarded by solitary pines. Indistinctly, incessantly, the rhythm of innumerable steps. To the poet's phantasy appears a vision of past glories; trumpets blare, and the army of the consul advances brilliantly in the grandeur of newly risen sun toward the sacred way, mounting in triumph the Capitoline Hill.
The feature of this score is its use of a gramophone record, probably the first instance of the sort in symphonic music. The bird's song occurs at the end of the movement. It is introduced by the clarinet melody heard at the beginning of the section.
APRIL 29, 30 and MAY 1, 2, 1948
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA AT ALL CONCERTS
BIDU SAYAO, Soprano VIRGINIA MacWATTERS, Soprano ANNE BOLLINGER, Soprano CLOE ELMO, Contralto NELL TANGEMAN, Contralto DAVID LLOYD, Tenor LEONARD WARREN, Baritone JAMES PEASE, Baritone MISCHA ELMAN, Violinist
WILLIAM KINCAID, Flutist LEON FLEISHER, Pianist EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor ALEXANDER HILSBERG, Conductor THOR JOHNSON, Conductor MARGUERITE HOOD, Conductor PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION FESTIVAL YOUTH CHORUS
THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 8:30 Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Soloist: Bidu Sayao, Soprano
Toccata and Fugue in D minor . Bach-Ormandy "Non so piu" lfrom "Marriage of "Voi che sapete" Figaro" . . . Moiakt King of Thule aria and "Jewel Song" from "Faust" .... Gounod Bidu Sayao
Symphony No. 3 in F major . . . Brahmg Xhapope (Negro Song) . . . Villa-Lobos
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