Complete Series: 3315
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1960 Eighty-second Season 1961
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Charles A. Sink, President Gail VV. Rector, Executive Director Lester McCoy, Conductor
Tenth Concert Eighty-second Annual Choral Union Series Complete Series 33IS
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
WALTER SUSSKIND, Conductor
Guest Artist: ILONA KOMBRINK, Soprano
Wednesday Evening, March 15, 1961, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture, "The Consecration of the House," Op. 124 . . Beethoven
Poeme de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19.....Chausson
Symphonic Ode.........John Weinzweig
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 70......Dvorak
Allegro maestoso Poco adagio
Scherzo: vivace; pro meno mosso Finale: allegro
The Steinway is the official piano of the University Musical Society. ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Overture, "The Consecration of the House,"
Op. 124........Ludwig van Beethoven
The story of this overture casts a few sidelights on Beethoven's "Journey to Parnassus." It begins, really, with the Ruins of Athens, a festival play by Kotzebue commissioned for the opening of a theatre at Budapest in 1812. Beethoven contributed incidental pieces, including a light overture--"a little recreation piece" he called it in retrospect. At that time opera was almost outside his line of vision. As Paul Baker sagely observed, "Beethoven was not a simple but a critical observer ... he weighed and measured when he was expected merely to accept and illustrate"; and it was the heroic figure, rather than some individual, dramatically torn between temperament and circumstance, which captured his musical imagination. This heroic figure, since Beethoven's genius tended increasingly to abstraction, became in his latest works a statement of faith; and the evolution may be traced through a succession of overtures-music in which dramatic themes have been released from the compulsion of events "on stage," and even the symphonic treatment of opposing themes can be dispensed with.
Die Weihe des Houses brings this process to a climax. The overture was composed as part of an adaptation of the Ruins of Athens for the ceremonial opening of the Josephstadter Theatre in 1822. Its resemblance to the Ninth Symphony is at once apparent: both works provide "the end and crown" of a life's work in contrasting forms; they appeared on the same program at the symphony's premiere.
Several features of this "exceptionally solemn and spiritual piece of music" gain added interest down the perspective of years. Trombones arc used in the majestic introduction but, characteristically, are then discarded. For Beethoven they belonged to the department of special effects. At once serious and festive, the overture makes its ringing declaration in the key of G--a matter of importance for this composer who felt acutely about keys and their relations (for him C major and C minor were more closely allied than the theorists would have us believe). When woodwinds declare the slow-pacing melody which later swells into a veritable anthem, we are attending a kind of ritual: Beethoven is aware of the strength which he not only possesses but is able to impart to others. One last point deserves mention. The composer several times referred to this work as the "Overture in Handel's Style." He must have realized that the motif on which the whole of the Allegro is built derives from five notes correspond?ing to those of the words 'is the king of . . .' in the phrase, 'He is the King of Glory,' in the chorus, 'Lift up your heads,' in Handel's Messiah.
Poeme de l'amour et de la mer, Op. 19 . . . Ernest Chausson
Ernest Chausson (1855-99) was a healthy, wealthy, happily married man who won the genuine affection of those he most admired; yet his creative life was cast in the minor mood. A yearning for the unattainable, and eloquent sighs for the passing of love, mark the best of his music and dictate his choice of poems for songs. In vain have critics and biographers sought for evidence of secret sorrows or unending regrets. The composer, commenting on his own melancholy, was inclined to lay the blame-if such were needed--on early readings of Balzac and Stendhal. "In the situation in which I had the good fortune to be" (he wrote) "books full of wit and finesse can be very dangerous. In a clearly defined situation the straightest, the least cautious and the least clever way of life is actually the cleverest and the safest." These words of wisdom are reflected in his music which for the most part seeks to define an intuition or sentiment with perfect clarity.
Strange that the Poem o) Love and the Sea is heard so seldom! It shares with the famous Poeme for Violin and Orchestra a place among the stars of Impressionism, and may have provided a springboard for some other major works--notably the Swan of Tuoncla. For a first performance at Brussels, Feb. 21, 1893, Chausson suggested that each song be given a subtitle. Boucher's poem he considered "hermetic," and "it is true that one must at least understand the general meaning which bears a Carriere-like imprint." Here is the outline:
I. La Fleur des Eaux
Pressentiment--Rencontre--l'Adieu Interlude II. La Mort dc l'Amour
On this occasion the composer provided a piano accompaniment for the singer, Desire Demest, omitting the orchestral interlude, which (he wrote) "I would be too much afraid to play." Chausson was not unlike Brahms in his relish of understate?ments. It would have been too obvious to ask just how one transfers the lonely elo?quence of an English horn to a keyboard.
A full scale performance of the work, given at Paris some time later, fell victim to the animosity of critics who associated Chausson with Cesar Franck's circle. Unkind-ness verged upon sheer brutality in the case of the writer for Figaro, who apparently could not endure to the end, for he made no mention of "the last song, which Chausson had modestly entitled Epilogue. It is none other than the famous Le Temps des Lilacs, to-day the most frequently performed of all his songs."
Miss llona Kombrink, of Toronto, appeared previously in Ann Arbor under the auspices of the University Musical Society at the 1959 May Festival, as soloist in Handel's oratorio, Solomon.
Symphonic Ode.........John Weinzweig
John Weinzweig's Symphonic Ode was commissioned under a Canada Council grant by the Saskatoon Symphony; which meant writing for saxophones instead of horns (John was happy about that, being a saxophone player himself). It meant scoring so that the first flute could play piccolo, and figuring on few violas and no English horn. In this form the work was first heard in Saskatoon, March 22, 1959, directed by the composer. Other performances under precisely these conditions seemed unlikely; besides, the Symphonic Ode had elements in it which favored a larger group. So changes were made in the score resulting in a transformation of orchestral sound.
Mr. Weinzweig describes the work as "an extended movement of compressed sym?phonic proportions. The generating material appears as a dialogue of short motives over a passacaglia bass that erupts suddenly into a tutti exclamation. The principal theme is then declared, in impassioned mood, by violins, propelled by an ostinato bass with brass interjections. This theme reappears twice again, once inverted and the other time played backward. In between is a complex of themes and moods expressing a variety of temperaments, carried by such devices as canon, fugal and concerto tech?niques." The basic structure turns out to be that of a rondo with variations on an original theme (note the fugal exposition of a waltz for brass instruments).
John Weinzweig was chairman of the International Conference of Composers in Stratford last summer where his Wine of Peace was a notable success at the closing orchestral concert. Other of his works are: The Edge of the World, an orchestral piece based on Eskimo themes and To These Lands over Yonder, a choral work. Mr. Weinzweig has recently been awarded commissions from the American Wind Sym?phony of Pittsburgh and the Canada Council.
Symphony No. 2 in D minor, Op. 70 .... Antonin Dvorak
Dvorak wrote to a friend in the early spring of 188S, "Everywhere I go I can think of nothing else but my work, which must be such as to shake the world, and with God's help it will do so." He had been greatly encouraged by recent successes in England. When the Albert Hall Choral Society engaged him to conduct his Stabat Mater, twelve thousand people attended the concert. In the same year (1884) Dvorak was elected an honorary member of the London Philharmonic Society and com?missioned to write a new symphony.
With this noble Symphony in D minor, Dvorak made his most serious bid for a place among the immortals. In it he acknowledges a debt to Brahms and Wagner without departing very far from the structure and spiritual content of Beethoven. The music is tragic rather than genial, and whatever nationalistic overtones are sounded, they are quickly absorbed into the universally descriptive character of the piece.
All works on tonight's program are being performed for the first time in this series of Ann Arbor concerts (1879-1961).
MAY 4, 5, 6, 7, 1961
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA AT ALL CONCERTS PROGRAMS
THURSDAY, MAY 4, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor BIRGIT NILSSON, Soprano
All-Wanner Program Overture to Die M ctstcrstngcr Elsa's Dream, from Lohengrin Prelude to Act I, and Love-Death, from
Tristan and Isolde Excerpts from Die Cdttcrdiimmcrung:
SieRfried's Rhine Journey
Sicfifried's Death and Funeral Music
FRIDAY, MAY 5, 8:30 P.M.
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor
UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
and Boy Choir
"JOAN OF ARC AT THE STAKE"
Dramatic oratorio--music by Arthur Honegger;
poem by Paul Claudel.
Joan of Arc.....VERA ZORINA
Brother Dominic .... HUGH NORTON JANICE HARSANYI, Soprano
FRANCES GREER, Soprano
MARY MacKENZIE, Mezzo-soprano
DAVID LLOYD, Tenor
ARA BERBERIAN, Bass
Other speakers: Nancy Heusel,
Jerrold Sandier, and Marvin Diskin
SATURDAY, MAY 6, 2:30 P.M.
WILLIAM SMITH, Conductor
AARON COPLAND, Guest Conductor
ANSHEl BRUSILOW, Violinist
LORNE MUNROE, Cellist
Overture to Colas Brcugnon . . Kabalevsky Orchestral Variations .... Copland
Conducted by the composer Concerto in A minor, Op. 102 . . Brahms
Anshel Brusilow and Lorne Munroe Suite, from The Tender Land . . Copland
Conducted by the composer Suite No. 2 from the Ballet, Daphnis
SATURDAY, MAY 6, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor ROBERT NOEHREN, Organist JOHN BROWNING, Pianist
"Toccata Festiva" (or Organ and
Symphoy No. 7......Piston
Concerto No. 2 in D minor, for Piano
and Orchestra .... MacDowell
Rhapsody in Blue.....Gershwin
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 2:30 P.M.
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor
UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
JANICE HARSANYI, Soprano
MARY MacKENZIE, Mezzo-soprano
DAVID UOYD, Tenor WILLIAM WARFIELD, Baritone
ELIJAH, a dramatic oratorio for Chorus, Soloists, and Orchestra,
University Choral Union and Soloists
SUNDAY, MAY 7, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor EUGENE ISTOMIN, Pianist
All-Rachmaninofl Program Vocalise, Op. 34, No. 14
Concerto NTo. 2 in C minor Moderato
Adagio sostenuto Allegro scherzando
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27 Largo; allegro moderato AlleRro molto Adagio
Zino Francescatti, Violinist......Tuesday, March 21
Program: Sonata No. 1...........Handel
Andante and Allegro, from Sonata in C minor
(for violin alone).........Bach
Sonata, Op. 94 bis........Prokofieff
Budapest Quartet (Rackham Auditorium) 2:30 . Sunday, March 26 Concertgebouw Orchestua of Amsterdam (Extra Series) Sunday, April 23
1961-1962 CHORAL UNION SERIES and EXTRA CONCERT SERIES--orders for season tickets accepted and filed in sequence beginning May 8, at which time the list of concerts will be available.
For tickets or information, address:
University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower.