UMS Concert Program, January 12, 1961: The Robert Shaw Chorale And Orchestra --
Complete Series: 3307
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1960 Eighty-second Season 1961
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Charles A. Sink, President Gail W. Rector, Executive Director Lester McCoy, Conductor
Third Concert Fifteenth Annual Extra Series Complete Series 3307
The Robert Shaw Chorale and Orchestra
Robert Shaw, Conductor
Thursday Evening, January 12, 1961, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied.......J. S. Bach
(1685-1750) Motet for Double Chorus, Instruments, and Organ
The Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross......Haydn
"My God, why hast Thou forsaken me" "I thirst" "It is fulfilled" The Earthquake
Solo Quartet, Chorus, and String Orchestra
(1605-1674) Soloists, Chorus, String Orchestra, and Organ
A Ceremony of Carols.......Benjamin Britten
2. Wolcum Yole!
3. There Is no Rose of Such Vertu 4a. That Yonge Child
S. As Dew in Aprille
6. This Little Babe
8. In Freezing Winter Night
9. Spring Carol 10. Deo gracias
Soloists, Chorus, and Harp
RCA Victor Records Steinvjay Piano
he University Musical Society has presented the Shaw Chorale on four pi
The Steinivay is the official piano of the University Musical Society.
Note.--The University Musical Society has presented the Shaw Chorale on four previous occasions since 1952.
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Singet dem Herrn ein neues Lied . . . Johann Sebastian Bach
Bach's motet "Sing unto the Lord a new song" should really be called a concerto for two choruses. Like an instrumental concerto, it has three movements, each with its own character and inventiveness in combining or contrasting the choral forces. The first and third movements are similar: each opens with a joyful antiphonal statement and culminates in an exuberant fugue. A sustained, chorale-like second movement connects them, like an arch between two rising pillars.
The two fugues are among the most wonderful which Bach wrote. Inspired by the affirmative and lively texts, the music seems literally to depict the "dance" of the spirit in the first movement, and the never-ending "breath" of life in the Finale. The two choirs are not only contrasted in the second movement: they sing completely different texts, one verses from Psalm 103, the other a commentary upon it by an unknown author.
Recent research assumes this motet to have been composed for the New Year service in 1727. Bach used in his choruses only a small number of boys and young men, and he performed his motets, whenever possible, with supporting instruments. The human voice was, to him, an unparalleled "instrument," and he gave to it melodies of great scope and length and inner musical logic. His music is compounded of complexity and simplicity, of unceasing motion and timeless rest, of unbounded faith in the Spirit, and determination that the Flesh praise and honor its Creator.
The Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross . . Franz Joseph Haydn
One of the mysteries of the musical world is the current neglect of Haydn's beau?tiful Seven Last Words. It was greeted with acclaim in its first performance, and proved so popular a work that within ten years of its composition it was performed even in the United States, in 1793. Haydn wrote it first for instruments, then, later, because of the lasting impression it made on its hearers, and because many people wanted to perform it, he arranged it variously for string quartet, piano, and for chorus, solo quartet, and orchestra.
The impulse to add the choral parts was a natural one. The text is implicit in the music: some listeners had observed that they could hear in the instrumental version exactly the words which the music meant to express. Haydn found it possible to add voices without making any significant change in the instrumental parts.
The story of the inception of the work is a fascinating one. Haydn himself wrote about it, in 1801, as follows:
"About fifteen years ago I was requested by a canon of Cadiz to compose instru?mental music on The Seven Last Words oj Our Saviour on the Cross. It was customary at the Cathedral of Cadiz to produce an oratorio every year during Lent, the effect of the performance being not a little enhanced by the following circumstances. The walls, windows, and pillars of the church were hung with black cloth, and only one large lamp hanging from the center of the roof broke the solemn obscurity. At midday the doors were closed and the ceremony began. After a short service the bishop ascended the pulpit, pronounced the first of the seven words (or sentences) and delivered a discourse thereon. This ended, he left the pulpit and prostrated himself before the altar. The pause was filled with music. The bishop then in like manner pronounced the second word, then the third, and so on, the orchestra following on the conclusion of each discourse. My composition was subject to these conditions, and it was no easy matter to compose seven adagios to last ten minutes each, and succeed one another without fatiguing the listeners; indeed, I found it quite impossible to confine myself within the appointed limits." W. W. Norton
When Haydn made the choral arrangement, he had his friend Baron von Swicten prepare the German text; first a statement by the chorus of the "word," then a reflection Haydn, A Creative Life in Music by Karl Gcirinfier
or meditation on the meaning of this message. For this performance, Mr. Shaw has made a new English translation, and has chosen to perform the orchestral introduction and movements IV, V, VI, and VIII.
The music throughout is incomparable Haydn. The dark, brooding nature of the introduction, with its nervous energy and then fateful pauses, its diminished chords, syncopations, and chromaticism, sets the stage for the momentous drama. These musical elements recur again and again in the music, and are intensified by fleeting moments of most unearthly peace, as the soprano solo in "It is fulfilled." The final chorus, not one of the "words," depicts the earthquake, with furious rumblings in the orchestra and cries from the chorus. The work ends on this note of despair and bitterness, with no promise of future happiness, no hint that on the third day will occur the miracle of Easter, the miracle of eternal life which Haydn celebrated so lovingly in other works.
As choirmaster at the Church of S. Apollinare in Rome, Giacomo Carissimi was alive to all the influences which were changing music from the relative calm of the Renaissance to the vigorous drama of the Baroque period. Unfortunately much of his music has been lost, but of his four surviving oratorios, Jephthah is most certainly the masterpiece. Sharing many characteristics of style with seventeenth-century opera, Carissimi's oratorios aim at a vivid presentation of biblical events, employing soloists, commentary and action choruses, orchestra, and all the new dramatic forms, notably recitative and aria.
In Jephthah, Carissimi found a subject almost perfect for his form. Calling for two central characters (Jephthah and his daughter), and Historicus (narrators who recite the Biblical words), the story tells of triumphant war, of a father's love for his daughter, and his inconsolable grief when he learns that he must sacrifice her for his victory. The terse Biblical narrative found in Judges II, verses 29 through 38, is ex?panded in the battle and homecoming scenes. There are moments of great dramatic power: the chromatic "moaning" of the vanquished after the battle, the great song of victory, Jcphthah's "alas" at the sight of his daughter, and the entire last aria and chorus. The ornamented melody of the maiden's cry, with its echo, and the rich descend?ing lines of the chorus express heartfelt grief.
A Ceremony of Carols.......Benjamin Britten
Benjamin Britten is one of the most gifted of contemporary composers. His operas Peter Crimes, Albert Herring, and Cloriana (composed for the coronation of Elizabeth II), and his oratorios, songs, and folk-song arrangements all show his wonderful gift for writing melodies that are truly vocal. He is somehow able to combine a long singing line with modern harmonies and rhythms in a language which is always expressive, which constantly surprises the ear with fresh sounds.
A delightful collection of old English poems forms the text for A Ceremony of Carols. Songs of spring and winter, of love and philosophy tell the story of the birth of the Christ-child in a manner at once humorous, tender and forceful. Most of them are of unknown authorship; a few are written in a medieval style by later poets.
Britten's setting captures the antique flavor and charming innocence of the poems. He uses genuine plain-chant for his opening and closing chorus, and other carols are set with a conscious use of sixteenth-century musical idioms. In his skillful handling of imitation, ostinato and modes, Britten betrays his great knowledge of, and affinity to, the "golden age of English choral music."
The combination of harp and voices is time-honored and lovely, unaccountably neglected in recent years. The original version was for boys' voices, also characteristic of early religious music. This adaptation for mixed chorus was made by Julius Harrison, English composer and friend of Mr. Britten, with the approval of the composer.
1960 UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY CONCERTS 1961
Chamber Music Festival
Three Concerts in Rackhcim Auditorium
THE VIENNA OCTET
Friday, February 17, 8:30 p.m.
Divertimento in G...........Michael Haydn
Divertimento No. 10 in F, K. 247.........Mozart
Septet in E-flat major, Op. 20.........Beethoven
Saturday, February 18, 8:30 p.m.
Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115........Brahms
Divertimento No. IS in B-flat, K. 287........Mozart
Sunday, February 19, 2:30 p.m.
Allegro giusto from Octet........Franz Tischhauser
Divertimento No. 17 in D major, K. 334.......Mozart
Octet in F major, Op. 166...........Schubert
Season Tickets: $4.00 and $3.00 Single Concerts: $2.00 and $1.50
BUDAPEST STRING QUARTET
Sunday, March 26, 2:30 p.m.
Special All-Beethoven Program in Rackham Auditorium Tickets: $2.00 and $1.50 -on sale beginning February 10.
in Hill Auditorium
Warsaw Philharmonic......Wednesday, January 18
Witold Rowicki, Music Director--Wanda Wilkomirska, Soloist
Program: Overture to The Bartered Bride......Smetana
Violin Concerto No. 1.......Szymanowski
Symphony No. 1 in C minor.......Brahms
Henryk Szeryng, Violinist......Tuesday, February 14
Brian Sullivan, Tenor.......Tuesday, February 28
Dallas Symphony Orchestra......Friday, March 10
Paul Kletzki, Music Director
Toronto Symphony Orchestra.....Wednesday, March 15
Walter Susskind, Music Director
Zino Francescatti, Violinist.......Tuesday, March 21
Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam . . . Sunday, April 23
Sixty-eighth Annual May Festival
Philadelphia Orchestra (6 concerts).....May 4, 5, 6, 7
Season Tickets: $15.00, $12.00, $10.00, $8.00 Single concert tickets on sale beginning March IS.
For tickets or information address: University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.
University Musical Society