Complete Series: 3382
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1962 Eighty-fourth Season 1963
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Charles A. Sink, President Gail VV. Rector, Executive Director Lester McCoy, Conductor
Ninth Concert Eighty-fourth Annual Choral Union Series Complete Series 3382
The Toronto Symphony Orchestra
WALTER SUSSKIND, Conductor Guest Artist: ANNIE FISCHER, Pianist
Tuesday Evening, March 12, 1963, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to "Leonore," No. 3.......Beethoven
Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra......Bartok
Adagio religioso Allegro vivace
Annie Fischer, Pianist
Symphony No. 4 in G major, Op. 88......Dvorak
Allegro con brio Adagio
Allegretto grazioso; molto vivace Allegro ma non troppo
The University Musical Society has presented the Toronto Symphony Orchestra on three previous occasions: February 10, 1954; February 22, 1956, and March 15, 1961.
The Steinway is the official piano of the University Musical Society. ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Overture to "Leonore," No. 3 .... Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven's only opera, Fidelio, or "Wedded Love," has been called a companion piece to the "Eroica" Symphony, but the comparison might better have been made with its third overture, since in it the dramatic content of the play--with its crisis--is sum?marized in musical terms. The Lady Leonore, under whose name the work was first produced in Vienna, had been the subject of operas by Cherubini and Mehul, but it remained for Beethoven to raise her story to epic heights. With secondary incidents this was the tale: determined to rescue her husband Florestan from a political prison, where he is threatened with death, Leonore applies for work at the gaol, helps to dig a grave for him, and at last saves his life.
The music may properly be listened to as a tone poem. The first figure, a long held G followed by a descending scale, foreshadows Florestan's aria, which later sounds in its proper key of A-flat (memories of a loving wife and a vain fight for truth). The Allegro serves to build up excitement until suddenly a trumpet sounds from a distant watch tower. Rescuing forces have arrived, just in time to avert a sacrificial death of Leonore. Afterwards a beautiful slow melody expresses gratitude and relief as Florestan and his wife embrace.
Since 1952 Pierre Mercure has prepared musical programs for the CBC's French TV network. Few Canadians have been so well initiated into the composer's craft. After studies in Montreal with Claude Champagne, M. Mercure went on to Paris, to Nadia Boulenger and to Luigi Dallapiccola, whose originality as a modern composer is matched by a scholarly zeal in preparing older masterworks for present day performance.
"In 1957," writes Pierre Mercure, "a fellowship of the Royal Society of Canada enabled me to return to Paris and devote all my time to composing. It was during this time that I received a commission from the Vancouver International Festival to write Triptych, and it was premiered in July, 1959, by the Vancouver Festival Orchestra, conducted by Walter Susskind.
"Triptych is in three parts. The first movement is a slow and peaceful introduction. The second is a fast and rhythmic Allegro. The last movement is the same as the first, but played backwards.
"This three-part form, and the resemblance between the two outside movements suggested to me the title, Triptych, usually applied to a painting framed by two side panels related to each other.
"It is scored for large symphony orchestras, and is an abstract work, of a remote tonal nature, using the sound possibilities of the various sections of the orchestra."
Concerto No. 3 for Piano and Orchestra .... Bela Bartok
During the summer of 1945, Bela Bartok, his lifework still incomplete, was striving to finish at least one of two large-scale compositions. He was sixty-four years of age, in every sense an alien in America, and, against a background of enduring pain, his fiery creative spirit challenged the encroachment of mortal illness. First there was to be a viola concerto for William Primrose, then a piano concerto--number three in the series. Only the latter came near completion; this, perhaps, because he feared for his wife's future. The work is dedicated to her. In its tremendous sweep and directness of musical statement it dares the world to underestimate or forget his genius, or to neglect his family.
What was it that made Bartok's music for so long difficult of access, his life that of a troubled pianeer As a pure musician he has been likened to Mozart, so detached from all outward circumstances did his art seem. All his days a student of peasant music in Hungary, Bartok's destiny was probably decided by Dohnanyi, who suggested that he go to the Budapest Academy instead of to Vienna to study. The old Magyar music meant more to his developing mind than European classics. Instead of writing Western music, with harmonic and rhythmic colorations from folk tunes and dances, he employed medieval Church modes and a pentatonic scale system. What he did, during a lifetime
of experiment, was to impose the order and logic necessary for large scale musical works on this unfamiliar material. In the process of his own musical instincts all the intellectual processes of a modern man were in turn modified. Bela Bartok has given us something very much like a fresh musical language.
In the last piano concerto he has taken great care to avoid misunderstanding. That this was to be a final statement is witnessed by the Hungarian word vege, meaning the end, written on the last bar of his sketch copy. Nowhere else has it a place in his manuscripts. With, apparently, both wide acceptance and self-expression as motives, he offers a brilliant virtuoso concerto in conversational form, though the music does indeed go back into the mists of time for its substance.
The extraordinary vitality of the initial theme, with its springing, elastic rhythms, sets a style from which there is really no deviation. Although there are echoes through?out the work of certain recent composers, and the first movement develops with some?thing of the roll and sweep of Rachmaninoff, gradually it becomes plain that Bartok is still essentially free of classical harmony, that his highly original use of counterpoint is purposely rhythmic and melodic in effect. This, together with the robustly primitive nature of his tunes, gives to the whole first movement a shimmer of the most intense brilliance.
The Adagio religioso introduces a Choral for the solo piano which, in its curious gathering insistence, provides an otherworldly background for what has been called the night music of birds and insects. It seems that in his younger days Bartok explored much of his native land, seeking early and late the germinal accents, the subtle variations in folklore which were to give its whole character to the body of his finished work. Some?times he would stay out-of-doors most of the summer's night, fascinated by the sounds of nature. When Choral returns it is sung with added intensity by the woodwinds. The finale, a fiery Rondo, introduces some magnificent fugal writing, and the piano con?cludes with a display of incomparable power.
Symphony No. 4 in G major, Op. 88.....Anton Dvorak
Like Tchaikovsky's Sixth this would seem to be a program symphony without a program. After some introductory measures which hint at what is to follow, we hear a simple, buoyant little flute tune. This is contrasted with a serious almost ecclesiastical theme. Presently we have the suggestion of rural sounds, village piety, and an impression of sunlight and celebration. Indeed, it is not hard to find pictures and a story in every bar. In its later appearance the opening theme is anything but pious and builds up to notes of brassy triumph, while developments of the little flute tune toward the end of the movement are altogether surprising.
The slow movement has been called a "tone poem of Czech village life described by a highly sensitive man." Again there is a hint of piety leading to expressions of warmest sentiment. Mr. Alec Robertson found "a touch of pain in the opening harmonies that become pronounced later on." He then discovers a village green, a festival, the local band, and a ceremony; but is puzzled by what is unquestionably a "pain-laden climax." Dr. Sourek, noticing an affinity between the opening and "In An Old Castle," third of the Poetic Pictures, Op. 8, devised a program complete with noble knights and ladies. Certainly the music is replete with contrasts and, at a certain point, dramatizes grief-with an outcry from the brass, followed by sympathetic strings. There seems to be a withdrawal, doubts expressed by three short descending notes on several instruments, then we are returned to a distinctly rural scene. This remarkable movement derives its material almost entirely from the opening phrases.
Faced with the light and lovely accents of the Scherzo, critical comment fails. Here is a sweet song with pathos forever at the edges of its sweetness, suggested, as in so many earlier works, by descending chromatic notes. The middle section, with its synco?pations, is so near to heartbreak that one thinks of Tchaikovsky.
To close, we have a Theme and Variations. The theme, preceded by solemn trum?pets, is rather like the flute tune of Movement 1, but by no means identical. From now on the whole thing is social, public, even a bit pompous--the sort of musical expression (marked by a kind of roughness in which the horns should not take themselves too seriously) that Elgar carried to its natural limits. Note the village band with its thunder and reiteration. A singing melody in the lower strings, with rustic comments from the flute assures us that as part of all this clatter there are really quite nice refined voices and tender sentiments. Throughout, this work surely reveals the wonderfully endowed but essentially simple personality of its creator.
1962 UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY PRESENTATIONS 1963
Biegit Nilsson, Soprano........Monday, March 18
Program: Divinites du Styx...........Gluck
In dem Schattcn meiner Locken
Anakreon's Grab I ... Hugo Wolf
Mignon--Kenst du das Land
Ich hab in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen J
Zueignung; Fruendliche Vision; Caecilie R. Strauss
Saev, saev, susa; Demanten paa Marssnoen; Svarta rosor . Sibelius
Og jeg vil ha mig en hjaertens kjaer
Jeg elsker dig t.....Grieg
En svane J
Intet aer som vaentans tider.....Peterson Berger
Pace, pace (La Forza del destino).......Verdi
Vissi d'arte (Tosca)..........Puccini
San Francisco Ballet........Friday, March 22
Program: Variations ...........Glazounow
Julian Bream, Guitarist and Lutenist . . . (2:30) Sunday, March 31
Program: Works for Lute by Francis Cutting, John Dowland, and William Byrd. Works for Guitar by Henry Purcejl, Cimarosa, Bach, Villa-Lobos and Albeniz.
Tickets: $2.50 and $2.00
Ann Arbor May Festival
Philadelphia Orchestra in six concerts .... May 9, 10, 11, 12
THURSDAY, MAY 9 ,8:30. EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor; E. POWER BIGGS, Organist. "Music for the Royal Fireworks" (Handel-Harty); Poulenc's Organ Concerto in G minor; Excerpts from "Lulu" (Berg); and "Organ" Symphony No. 3 in C minor (Saint-Saens).
FRIDAY, MAY 10, 8:30. THOR JOHNSON, Conductor; GRANT JOHANNESEN, Pianist. UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION, "Te Deum" (Verdi); Variations for Piano and Orchestra (Riegger); "Still Are New Worlds" (Ross Lee Finney) EDWIN G. BURROWS, narrator; "Wanderer" Fantasia (Schubert-Liszt).
SATURDAY, MAY 11, 2:30. WILLIAM SMITH, Conductor. Duet-Concertante for Clarinet and Bassoon (Strauss) Gigliotti and Garfield, soloists; Haydn Variations (Brahms); Fantastic Symphony (Berlioz).
SATURDAY, MAY 11, 8:30. EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor; ISAAC STERN, Violinist. Mendelssohn and Prokofieff (No. 1) Concertos; Trumpet Voluntary (Purcell), Gilbert Johnson, soloist; and Brahms' Symphony No. 2.
SUNDAY, MAY 12, 2:30. THOR JOHNSON, Conductor. UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION, Haydn's "Creation." Soloists: ADELE ADDISON, Soprano; JOHN McCOLLUM, Tenor; DONALD BELL, Bass.
SUNDAY, MAY 12, 8:30. EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor; RUDOLF AND PETER SERKIN, Pianists. Mozart Concerto No. 10 for Two Pianos; Beethoven Concerto No. 4; Mozart "Haffner" Symphony; Buxtehude's Passacaglia.
Series Tickets: $20.00--$16.00--$13.00--$10.00--$8.00
Beginning March 15 any remaining tickets will be placed on sale for single concerts at $4.00--$3.50--$3.00--$2.25--1.50.
For tickets and information, address: University Musical Society, Burton Memorial Tower