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UMS Concert Program, March 27, 1949: Seventieth Annual Choral Union Concert Series -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 1948-1949
Concert: Tenth
Complete Series: 3000
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Tenth Concert 1948-1949 Complete Series 3000
Seventieth Annual
Choral Union Concert Series
Sunday Evening, March 2 7, 1949, at 7:00
PROGRAM Overture to "Luisa Miller".........Verdi
Symphony No. 92 in G major ("Oxford").....Haydn
Adagio, allegro spiritoso Adagio
Menuetto Presto
Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a . . . Beahms
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36.....Beethoven
Adagio molto, allegro con brio Larghetto Scherzo
Allegro molto
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra uses Ihe Baldwin piano, and records exclusively jor R.C.A. Víctor.
Note.--The University Musical Society has prescnted the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on previous occasions as follows: Choral Union Series, Theodore Thomas, conductor (8); in thirty-one Hay Kestivals (1905-1935 inclusive), and in the Choral Union Series, Nov. 2, 1936 and Nov. 30. 1941, Frederick Stock, conductor; Mar. 19, 1945, Jan. 31, 1946, and Mar. 16, 1947, Désiré Defauw, conductor; and Oct. 26, 1947, Artur Rodzinski, conductor.
PROGRAM NOTES by Félix Borowski
Overture to "Luisa Miller".......Giuseppe Verdi
Lotñsa Miller, melodrama trágico, in three acts, belonging to Verdi's middle period, was written to oblige the composer's friend and librettist Salvatore Cammarano, who had been inspired by Schiller's play, "Kabale und Liebe," written in 1784.
The overture (Allegro, C major) is based almost entirely on the therae which opens it, and which Verdi used for the opening of the third act, where it is sung by the chorus and Luisa in the section beginning "Come in un giorno solo." There, however, it occurs in 34 time, while the overture subject is in 44.
Symphony in G major ("Oxford").....Joseph Haydn
In the year 1791 Joseph Haydn made the first of two visits to England, visits which, as he himself declared, went far to increase his fame. Among the most influential of the English musicians who paid court to the great man was Dr. Burney. This personage proposed Haydn to the authorities of the University of Oxford as an illustrious representative of art, to whom an honorary degree of Doctor of Music raight fitly be presented. The suggestion was acted upon and Haydn was offered and accepted the degree, honoris causa. It was in order to be present at the conferring of this degree, and to take part in the musical portion of the festivities that the composer set out for Oxford. The journey, according to his own notebook, cost him six guineas, "and," continued Haydn, "I had to pay one and a half guineas for the bell peáis at Oxforth [sic] when I received the Doctor's degree and a half a guinea for the robe." The master arrived at Oxford July 6, 1791.
On July 6th the first of three concerts given to celébrate the presence of the distinguished visitor was held in the Sheldonian Theater--a building designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the model of the Marcellus Theater at Rome, and capable of accommodating some 4,000 people. The principie performance, however, was the second. At it there were generally interpreted the works that were crowned, and it was for this concert that Haydn brought with him that G-major composition which has become generally known as the "Oxford" symphony.
There can be no doubt of the success of the symphony. "A more wonderful composition," said the Morning Chronicle of July 11, "never was heard. The applause given to Haydn, who conducted this admirable effort of his genius, was enthusiastic; but the merit of the work, in the opinión of all musicians present, exceeded all praise."
Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Op. 56a . Johannes Brahms
Brahms completed these variations in 1873 at Tutzing, on Lake Starnberg, in Upper Bavaria, and they were produced at a Philharmonic concert at Vienna, November 2 in the same year, under the direction of Otto Dessoff. The work had also been written by the Germán master for two pianos, and it was this edition that carne to publication first (November, 1873), the orchestral versión not having been brought out until January, 1874.
The theme of the composition is the Chórale St. Antoni, which Brahms--according to the title of this work--evidently believed to be by Joseph Haydn. There is, however, no reason to be certain that the subject of the variations really was the original work of Haydn. It forms the second of four movements of a Divertimento written for two oboes, two horns, three bassoons and serpent. On the title page of the Divertimento, the manuscript of which is in the State Library at Berlin, there stands the inscription, "Divertimento mit dem Chórale St. Antoni." This composition by Haydn, as well as an Andante from a symphony, had been shown to Brahms by Cari Ferdinand Pohl in the autumn of 1870. In the eighteenth century the divertimento was a composition written for various instruments, wind or string or both combined, or sometimes for the clavier alone. It differed from the trio, quartet, etc., in generally containing a larger number of movements--often six, seven, or eight-and in the inclusión of dance and march sections. Haydn composed a large number of these pieces, many of which still remain in manuscript.
The first performance in America of Brahms' Variations on a Theme by Haydn was given at a Philharmonic concert, Brooklyn, April 11, 1874, under the direction of Theodore Thomas.
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 36 . . Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven's second symphony was written about the latter part of the year 1802. It was a year of bitter misery for the composer, but there is no hint of melancholy in his music. In 1801 Beethoven's deafness had become alarming. He tried physician after physician, with negative results, and so great was his suffering that there were moments in which he contemplated suicide.
The first performance of the second symphony took place at the Theater an der Wien, Vienna, April 5, 1803. At that time concerts were considerably longer than they are now. The first as well as the second symphony figured on Beethoven's program, and there were in addition the whole oratorio, "The Mount of Olives," and the C-minor concertó for piano. The rehearsal for this concert had been arduous, and its results left Beethoven in a mood of bitter discontent. The members of the orchestra, too, became restive under the composer's mordant criticisms, and an atmosphere of hostile resentment prevailed. Prince Lichnowsky, who had been present since the beginning of the rehearsal at eight o'clock in the morning, made efforts to pour the oil of diplomacy upon the troubled waters. He ordered large baskets of bread and butter, cold meat and wine brought in. "He invited in a friendly manner everyone to partake," wrote Ries in his Biographischen Notizen über L. van Beethoven (1838), "and all helped themselves with both hands. As a result everybody grew goodhumored. Then the prince demanded that the whole oratorio should be rehearsed again, so that it would go well at night, and that the first work of this kind which Beethoven had produced might be performed publicly in a manner worthy of the composer."
It would seem that the new symphony did not make a profound impression upon the connoisseurs. There was a short review of the concert in the Allgenieine musikalische Zeitung, but although reference was made to the oratorio, not a word was devoted to the symphony. The work was published in the orchestral parts in March, 1804, with a dedication to Prince Lichnowsky. The score was not issued until sixteen years later. Beethoven arranged his symphony as a trio for piano, violin and violóncello, and this he published in 1806. The autograph score of the symphony is lost. Cipriani Potter, who spent some months in Beethoven's company in 1S17, stated that the master made no fewer than three complete scores of the work before he could please himself. Not one of these has survived.
MAY 5, 6, 7, 8, 1949

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