Complete Series: 3463
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1964 Eighty-sixth Season 1965
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Charles A. Sink, President Gail W. Rector, Executive Director Lester McCoy, Conductor
Fifth Program Nineteenth Annual Extra Series Complete Series 3463
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
SIXTEN EHRLING, Conductor
Sunday Afternoon, February 28, 1965, at 2:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROGRAM Prelude and Quadruple Fugue.......Hovhaness
Symphony No. 1 in E minor........Sibelius
Andante ma non troppo; allegro energico (1865-196S)
Finale, quasi una fantasia
Commemorating the hundredth anniversary of his birth
Symphony No. 1, Op. 10........Shostakovich
Allegretto Allegro Lento
The Stcinway is the official piano oj The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Prelude and Quadruple Fugue for Orchestra .... Alan Hovhaness
Hovhaness, born of Armenian and Scottish parentage, tried his musical wings in many different ways until he discovered the idiom which he now employs. It was at the Armenian Church in Boston that he found delight in the beauties of the old chants and songs of his paternal ancestry. It was through this medium that he found the musical expression that he has explored with singular success.
The composer found his spiritual language in composition at an extremely early age. His formal studies were at the New England Conservatory of Music, and at the Berkshire Music Center under Bohuslav Martinu. Hovhaness is an unusually prolific writer. Nearly all of the music he composed before 1940 fell into disfavor with its creator, who thereupon destroyed it. Nevertheless, his list of compositions since then is more than one hundred.
The particular genius of Hovhaness is that while he has taken color from the liturgical and dance music of his Armenian forebears, he has not sought expression in folklore or any archaic expression. His ideas are personal and original, but are built within the especial frame?work of rhythm and counterpoint of the Western world and the still spirituality of Byzantine religiosity. There is color in his music, but it is not sensual.
Of his Prelude and Quadruple Fugue, Donald Ferguson wrote in his annotation for the Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra program of March 21, 1958:
"The short Prelude, with strings only, is based on a theme of Oriental modal character. There is a curious accompaniment, pizzicato and glissando, in the basses. The first two subjects of the Fugue are stated Allegro by the strings; the third and fourth are respectively Pin mosso and Presto. The 34 time is changed to 44 for the lively Coda. All four themes of course will appear simultaneously. The first two undergo considerable change of character as the speed increases."
Symphony No. 1 in E minor........Jean Sibelius
The year which saw the birth of Jean Sibelius was a portentous one. The War Between the States had just been concluded and the sorry spectacle of the Reconstruction was under way. There was, nevertheless, a light in the sky which was bound to become brighter through the passing of the years. The Romantic era in music was drawing to its close and the first faint glimmerings of a new order in music were to be sensed, rather than actually experienced.
Sibelius, who was to become the greatest of latter-day symphonists, was in process of his development during these times. We sense it in his music, which was at times reflective of Tchaikovsky, but which spoke undeniably in the language of the New Man.
The composer was thirty-four years old when he wrote his first symphony in 1899. Like many early symphonies, the E-minor reflects the influence of preceding masters. The work, at the same time, reveals the immense promise of a rugged individualism which was to set Sibelius apart from the majority of the composers of his day. The rich romantic vein, explored before by great composers, is delved anew and with magic results by the dour Finn.
The symphony opens on a note of great and compelling beauty, with the clarinet singing a melody of haunting appeal in the introduction. It is a song which is to assume great importance later in the work. The main theme is brought forward in strings and is developed with other material to a mighty climax for full orchestra, with the tympani roaring in thunderous tones. The second main theme is sung by the flute against the violin, viola, and harp. The movement ends with an impressive statement in brass.
Gentle and lovely nostalgia characterizes the second movement. Woodwinds, violins, and cellos sing of this longing, with a new melody growing out of bassoons and other woodwinds. A third theme, with horns accompanied by harp, is introduced.
A violent figure by three tympani forms the basis of the third movement. This feeling of brusquerie is maintained till the trio, which is contrastingly gentle. The great drums take over for the finale.
The opening subject of the final movement is derived from the clarinet song of the symphony's introduction, now assuming a tragic nature. The entire movement is marked by terrific surges of tone. The symphony ends in a tidal wave of orchestral fury.
In his ninety-second year, Sibelius stood as a landmark upon which both past and present fixed their measure. There is little argument as to his standing as the foremost, if not the greatest symphonist of the Twentieth Century. This was not because he blazed any especially defined pathways (indeed it is doubtful if anyone could imitate him with success) so much as that he stood as a living proof of the inexhaustible resources of music.
Without making any definite break with tradition, he succeeded in expressing himself inde?pendently and with enormous power. He appeared to stand with a foot in past and future, like a colossus astride the stream of creative impulse. He no more depended on the idiom of Brahms and Tchaikovsky than he did on Prokofieff or Stravinsky. His music bears no mark of the archaic or the ultra modern. In effect, he was uniquely himself, a musical genius sui generis whose like we may not encounter again.
Basically, his music is nationalistic, but in its more extensive connotation is universal in its application. In it may be felt the spirit of patriotism by any and all men. The brooding atmos-
phere of Finnish lakes and fens could as well apply to the Michigan water wonderland and to the cypress glooms of the Great Okefenokee Swamp.
And so, his appeal is without boundaries. He survived an era of blind hero worship in which his music was in grave danger of being played to extinction. Today, its inclusion in a symphony concert is a matter of moment. One will recognize the idiom of the past, but only as clothing for new and unexpected loveliness and majesty.
The First Symphony, which ushered in the new century, brought with it a wealth of thematic material which he exploited with uncanny insight into the exact use of the instru?mental media. The rather melancholy theme given to the clarinet in the opening bars is an instance in point.
And even though he does "take his own time" in telling his story, he never bores his listeners in the telling. The symphony has the tremendous sweep of saga, carried along on a tide of extraordinary vitality and inspiration and is peopled with heroic things.
The Sibelius love of nature is expressed in the most adroit use of woodwinds. In his hands (the great thunder of the kettledrums becomes a true expression of song. The symphony is an unusually human document in every regard. The spiritual serenity that is inherent in his music, even when the tides of sound become overwhelming, is something that is gravely needed in our generation.
Sibelius' music has been distinguished by its quasi-folk character. He has not borrowed to any considerable degree from the music of the people, even though he exposed himself freely to it at various times.
The patriotic quality of his music, its inescapably "Finnish" character, is an elusive thing, being a matter of spirit rather than of content. There is a feeling of spaciousness about it, and a brooding wintry mood in much of it which one associates in the mind with the Northern land?scape, bounded by the grey expanse of "rude and tumbling seas."
Symphony No. 1, Op. 10.......Dimitri Shostakovich
Shostakovich, as much as any other living Russian, was the complete product of his time. He was only eleven years old when the Revolution occurred. Thus, his entire productive life lay under the domination of the Soviet cultural monstrosity. He had the rather grim distinction of having been the first to be spread-eagled by the peculiarly Communist "Ideological Platform" of the Russian Association of Proletarian Musicians. During his career he has been made ridicu?lous repeatedly by the activities of the Soviet intelligence, much like a monkey on a stick. He ?lias shinned up and down the ladder of favor with comparable agility.
If one is seeking for a basic flaw in totalitarian thinking, the case of Shostakovich will serve admirably. The First Symphony was the spontaneous expression of a youthful creative mind which would have, without interference, developed into one of the masters of composition and originality. That he never progressed much beyond that first fine effort is one of the great misfortunes of modern music.
Shostakovich was nineteen when he composed the first symphony in 1925, probably as a thesis for his final examinations at the Leningrad Conservatory. It was given its first perform?ance on May 12, 1926. by the Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra under Nikolai Malko. The composer experienced a genuine triumph. Everyone involved, including the great Glazounoff, was amazed at the orchestral command exercised by the young composer. The effect was a ?lasting one, for even after the lapse of 33 years, the work still delights with its freshness and spontaneity. There are, as in most youthful efforts, some evidences of the classroom and the adulation of young minds for the great composers.
One may detect a bit of Tchaikovsky if one is on the alert, and the influence of Prokofieff is unmistakable at times. However, the personality of the composer is reflected in the music and sets it apart as a worthy contribution to the art of music.
The symphony is cast upon classical lines and is marked by its abrupt changes of rhythm and magnificent outbursts of animal spirits. The use of melody is comparable to that of the excellent Prokofieff himelf. There is a long and delicate introduction, distinguished by the inspired use of the muted trumpets, to open the first movement. The first subject, frequently forecast in the introduction, is the clarinet theme which is passed along to the violins and eventually establishes the basic key of F minor.
It is in this second theme that a trace of Tchaikovskian sentiment may be detected. It is especially evident in the flute against plucked strings.
The scherzo uses the piano for the first time as an orchestral instrument in place of the harp. Its use gives the symphony a highly individual cast. The familiar mood of Shostakovich here becomes apparent in a vein of effervescent jocularity and a peculiar sort of refreshing impertinence.
The lento is a melancholy work in which the solo oboe plays a leading role. The instrument is given the lyrical first melody. The second melody, in muted trumpet, is somewhat in the manner of a dead march.
The finale takes on a boisterous character, filled with wild contrasts. It is by turns tranquil and dramatic, swiftly paced and tenderly gentle. The music ends in a mood of quasi-savagery with a high-speed presto.
6, 7, 8, 9,
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA AT ALL CONCERTS
THURSDAY, MAY 6, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor LEONTYNE PRICE, Soprano
PROGRAM Overture to Dcr Freisciutz.....Weber
Symphony No. 4 in B-fiat major,
Concert aria, "Delia mia fiamma . . . Mozart "Ernani involami" from Ernani .... Verdi
Leontyne Price Suite from "The Firebird" .... Stravinsky
FRIDAY, MAY 7, 8:30 P.M.
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
JANICE HARSANYI, Soprano
MAUREEN FORRESTER, Contralto
MURRAY DICKIE, Tenor
ANSHEL BRUSILOW, Violin
JOSEPH de PASQUALE, Viola
PROGRAM Overture to II Seraglio......Mozakt
Spring Symphony--for Chorus, Soprano,
Contralto, Tenor, and Youth Chorus . Britten University Choral Union, Youth Chorus,
and Soloists Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major for
Violin and Viola, K. 364.....Mozart
SATURDAY, MAY 8, 2:30 P.M.
WILLIAM SMITH, Conductor SAMUEL MAYES, Violoncello
PROGRAM Suite from the opera Alcina .... Handel
"Schelomo"--Hebrew Rhapsody for
Violoncello and Orchestra.....Bloch
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88 . Dvorak
SATURDAY, MAY 8, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor CESARE SIEPI, Bass-Baritone
PROGRAM Symphony No. 30 in D major, K. 202 . Mozart
Concert aria, "Per quests bella mano" . Mozart
Es ist genug.......Mendelssohn
Three Don Quichotte Songs.....Ravel
Pictures at an Exhibition . Moussorgsky-Ravel
SUNDAY, MAY 9, 2:30 P.M.
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
MAUREEN FORRESTER, Contralto
MURRAY DICKIE, Tenor
PROGRAM Les Amants magnifiques......Jolivet
Poeme de l'amour et de la mer . . Chausson Maureen Forrester
University Choral Union, Youth Chorus, and Murray Dickie
SUNDAY, MAY 9, 8:30 P.M.
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conductor SVIATOSLAV RICHTER, Pianist
PROGRAM Overture to Egmont......Beethoven
Concerto in A minor, Op. 16, for Piano and Orchestra.........Grieg
Symphony No. 5, Op. 47 ... Shostakovich
Season tickets: $25.00--$20.00--$16.00--$12.00--$9.00
(Beginning tomorrow, any remaining tickets will be placed on sale for single concerts). Prices $5.00 (sold out)--$4.50--$4.00--$3.50--$3.00--$2.50--$1.50
Rosalyn Tureck, Pianist........Monday, March 1
Robert Merrill, Baritone........Friday, March 12
National Ballet of Canada.......Saturday, April 3
Marian Anderson, Contralto......Wednesday, April 14
For tickets and information, address UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY, Burton Tower