UMS Concert Program, November 8, 1953: Eighth Annual Extra Concert Series -- The Cleveland Orchestra
Complete Series: 3115
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
DIAMOND JUBILEE SEASON
Charles A. Sink, President Thor Johnson, Guest Conductor
Lester McCoy, Associate Conductor
Second Concert 1953-19S4 Complete Series 3115
Extra Concert Series
THE CLEVELAND ORCHESTRA GEORGE SZELL, Conductor
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan Sunday Evening, November 8, 1953, at 8:30
Overture, "The Roman Carnival," Op. 9.....Berlioz
"Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune" (After the
Eclogue of Stephane Mallarme)......Debussy
Variations for Orchestra on a Theme by Paganini, Op. 26 . Blacher
Symphony No. 7 in C major........Schubert
Andante; allegro ma non troppo Andante con moto Scherzo: allegro vivace; trio Finale: allegro vivace
Note--The University Musical Society has presented the Cleveland Orchestra on previous occa?sions as follows: Mar. 28, 193S; Nov. 9, 1937; Nov. 7, 1938; Nov. 9, 1941; Nov. 8, 1942, Artur Rodzinski, conductor; Nov. 7, 1943, Erich Leinsdorf, conductor; Nov. 12, 1944, George Szell, guest conductor; Nov. 11. 1945, Erich Leinsdorf, conductor; Nov. 10, 1946; Nov. 9, 1947; Nov. 7, 1948; Nov. 6, 1949; Nov. 5, 1950; Nov. 4, 1951. and Nov. 9, 1952, George Szcll, conductor.
The Steinway is the official piano of the University Musical Society.
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
PROGRAM NOTES By George H. L. Smith
Overture, "The Roman Carnival," Op. 9 . . . Hector Berlioz
"Scores have their destiny, like books and dramas, roses and thistles," wrote Berlioz in his Memoirs. He was referring to his overture, the "Roman Carnival," which, unlike the ill-fated opera from which it was derived, was successful from its first performance. Berlioz could be virtually certain of creating a sensation whenever he conducted the overture. As he traveled about Europe, leading orchestras in city after city, he found excerpts from the Damnation of Faust and Romeo and Juliet par?ticularly useful, but it was the overture that called forth the greatest enthusiasm. "It exploded like a mass of fireworks," he wrote of a performance in Vienna, "and was encored by a noise of feet and hands never heard except in Vienna."
The overture opens with a brilliant announcement of the theme of the saltarello (Allegro assai con juoco, A major, 6-8). The English horn then sings Benvenuto's love song, "0 Teresa, vous que j'aime," from the first act of the opera (Andante sostenuto, C major, 3-4). The theme is developed in counterpoint. An acceleration of tempo with chromatic passages for the woodwind leads into the main body of the overture (Allegro vivace, A major, 6-8). The theme of the saltarello, announced by the strings, sweeps along with increasing abandon, its rhythm continuing even while the bassoons recall the melody of Benvenuto's love song.
"Prelude a l'apres-midi d'un faune" (After the
Eclogue of Stephane Mallarme) .... Claude Debussy
It was in the first full flowering of Debussy's art that he penned the tenuous measures of his Prelude a Vapres-midi d'un faune. While he was molding its exquisite contours, recognition gradually came to him. La Damoiselle Elue was conducted by Gabriel Marie at a Societe Nationale concert on April 8, 1893, and the String Quartet was presented at a concert of the same organization on December 29 by a quartet led by Eugene Ysaye. Debussy was already seeking the fancies of which the illusive Melisande was made, and before the prelude was completed he had begun to record his nocturnal impressions of clouds, of festivals, and of sirens.
The prelude was to be performed in Brussels as the climax of an all-Debussy program planned by Ysaye to introduce the music of the young Frenchman to the Belgian public. The quartet, two songs, and La Damoiselle Elue were announced, and a Prelude, Interlude, et Paraphrase Finale pour Vapres-midi d'un jaune. The latter work was withdrawn by the composer, and when it was finally ready for a premiere at the concerts of the Sociiti Nationale it was but a prelude, stripped of the second and third parts which had not progressed beyond the fragmentary shape of sketches. Debussy's original intention can only be inferred. Mallarme wished his verse to be recited as a monologue by an actor, and Debussy's announced scheme would seem to leave place for such a declamation. It is not known whether Debussy incorporated the sketches for the projected Interlude and Paraphrase Finale in the prelude, but it is probable that he considered the prelude so complete in itself that further music or words would be superfluous.
These instruments are used: three flutes, two oboes and English horn, two clari?nets, two bassoons, four horns, two harps, antique cymbals, and strings.
Variations for Orchestra on a Theme
by Paganini, Op. 26.......Boris Blacher
Boris Blacher chooses the theme of the last of Paganini's Twenty-four Caprices for Violin Solo, Opus 1, as the subject of his variations. This is the same theme that Rachmaninoff used for his Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini for Piano and Orches?tra, Op. 43. Brahms also employed it for his Variations on a Theme oj Paganini, for piano.
The celebrated theme is announced by the solo violin in its original key of A minor (Quasi presto, 2-4). The orchestra enters with a flowing scale in A minor and introduces the first of the sixteen variations with a powerful chord; fragments of the theme are used with swift descending scales in the woodwind instruments which are soon inverted. The second variation is an oboe solo. The third, in 6-8 time, marked "jerocc," is based on a curiously syncopated theme given to the higher strings and clarinets, with staccato punctuations of horns and bassoons; other instruments join and there is a brilliant working out of rhythmic figures. Scales, such as introduced the first variation, sweep across the texture as it comes to a stormy close with a full cadence in A minor. The 2-4 time signature is restored in the fourth variation, which is in slower tempo and is played by strings alone. Cellos have the theme pizzicato and the higher strings supply atmospheric harmonics. The tempo increases in the scherzo-like fifth variation, which is very brief, like it predecessor. Woodwind instruments repeat a characteristic motive and a running figure is given to the clarinets. The rhythmic sixth variation is omitted in these performances. The seventh makes further use of running scales. The theme is given to violins and trumpet. Both the scale-like figures and theme are then inverted. The eighth variation is given to the pizzicato strings, 5-8. Clarinets and flutes join in the quiet trio, 7-S, and horns in the return of the opening bars. The reappearance of the trio is cut short by a pause. The ninth variation i given to the full orchestra. Variation X (Andante, 4-4) opens with a flute solo which is continued by clarinet. The eleventh variation (Allegretto, 2-4) generates a shimmering texture with curiously shifting harmonies. The twelfth is a development of one of the main figures of the theme. The thirteenth is a canon for wind instru?ments. Violas announce the theme of the fourteenth, later taken up by the violins. The fifteenth is rhythmic in intent (4-4, 5-4), the fundamental pulse being maintained even during the contrasting section given to the solo clarinet. This headlong propulsion leads directly into the final variation (Prestissimo, 2-4) which is in the character of a wild dance and proceeds to a vertiginous climax.
The scoring is for three flutes and piccolo, two oboes and English horn, three clarinets and bass clarinet, three bassoons and contrabassoon, four horns, three trum?pets, three trombones and tuba, timpani, and strings.
At fifty Boris Blacher has become one of the foremost German composers. Al?though he is associated with Berlin, where he has lived for thirty years, he is neither of German parentage nor German birth. His father and mother were Russians and he still speaks with a slight Russian accent. He was born in China, and he attended various schools in the Far East. He is now director of the Hochscliule jiir Musik in Berlin.
Symphony in C major, No. 7......Franz Schubert
Schubert composed in the mighty shadow of Beethoven and died when the revo?lutionary genius was only eighteen months in the grave. Beethoven was an over?powering 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.
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. 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.
The score requires flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, horns, and trumpets in pairs, three trombones, tympani, and strings.
dePaur's Infantry Chorus .... Tuesday, November 24 Leonard dePaur, Conductor
Guard Republican Band of Paris . . . Monday, November 30 Francois-Jtjlien Brun, Conductor
Chicago Symphony Orchestra .... Sunday, December 13 Fritz Reiner, Conductor
Marian Anderson, Contralto.....Sunday, January 10
Toronto Symphony Orchestra . . . Wednesday, February 10 Sis Ernest MacMiixan, Conductor
Paul Badura-Skoda, Pianist .... Wednesday, February 17 George London, Bass......Sunday, February 28
Boston Pops Tour Orchestra .... Thursday, March 4 Arthur Fiedler, Conductor
Elena Nikolaidi, Contralto......Friday, March 12
Myra Hess, Pianist.......Wednesday, March 17
First Concert: Saturday, December 5, 8:30 p.m.
Repeat Concert: Sunday, December 6, 2:30 p.m.
Maud Nosler, Soprano Walter Fredericks, Tenor
Carol Smith, Contralto Norman Scott, Bass
University Choral Union and Orchestra
Mary McCall Stubbins, Organist
Lester McCoy, Conductor
Tickets (either performance): 70 cents and 50 cents
Chamber Music Festival
Griller String Quartet:
Friday, February 19, 8:30 p.m. Sunday, February 21, 2:30 p.m.
Reginald Kell Players:
Saturday, February 20, 8:30 p.m.
Season Tickets: $3.50 and $2.50 Single Concerts: $1.75 and $1.25
For tickets or for further information, please address: Charles A. Sink, President, University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.