UMS Concert Program, October 9, 1967: L'orchestre National Francais --
Complete Series: 3586
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
1967 Eighty-ninth Season 1968
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Charles A. Sink, President Gail W. Rector, Executive Director Lester McCoy, Conductor
Second Concert Eighty-ninth Annual Choral Union Series Complete Series 3S86
Forty-second program in the Sesquicentennial Year of The University of Michigan
Directed by Maurice le Roux Eugene Istomin Pianist
Monday Evening, October 9, 1967, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Variations on a Theme by Haydn
(Chorale St. Antonii), Op. 56a.......Brahms
Concerto No. 4 in G major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 58 . Beethoven
Andante con moto Rondo: vivace
Pictures at an Exhibition......Moussorgsky-Ravel
The Gnome Ballet of Chicks in Their Shells
Promenade Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle
The Old Castle Limoges: The Market Place
Promenade The Catacombs
Tuileries: Children Quarreling at Play The Hut on Fowls'Legs
Bydlo--The Polish Oxcart The Great Gate at Kiev
Through the cooperation of the French Broadcasting System, this performance is being broadcast by the University of Michigan station WUOM.
The Orchestra records for Deutsche Grammophone Gesellschaft ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
Variations on a Theme by Haydn
(Chorale St. Antonii), Op. 56a.......Brahms
In his scholarly book Brahms, Walter Niemann describes the Variations: The variations are eight in number and, in accordance with Haydn's manner and spirit, end, not in fugue, but a finale. The piquant five-bar measure of the first period of the theme is preserved throughout all the variations, in homogene?ous and close connection with it. The same is true of the key, B-flat major. It is only in the second, fourth, and eighth variations that it changes to the more sombre key of B-flat minor. Like the Handel "Variations" for piano, the Haydn "Variations" are also "character" variations, sharply contrasted and varied in movement, rhythm, style, colour, and atmosphere.
The first variation, pensive and softly animated (with triplets against quavers), is directly connected with the close of the theme by its soft bell-like echoes. The second, with its Brahmsian dotted progressions in sixths on the clarinets and bassoons, above the pizzicato basses and the ringing "challenge (Anruf)" of the tutti, is more animated, but still subdued, as is indicated by the key of B-flat minor. The third, pensive and full of warm inspiration in its per?fectly tranquil flowing movement, introduces a melodious duet between the two oboes in its first section, accompanied an octave lower by the two bassoons, and in the second part, where it is taken up by the first violin and viola, weaves round it an enchantingly delicate and transparent lace-work in the woodwind. The fourth, with its solo on the oboes and horns in unison, steals by in semiquavers, as sad and gray as a melancholy mist, again in B-flat minor. The fifth goes tittering, laughing, and romping merrily off, in light passages in thirds in a 68 rhythm on the woodwind (with piccolo) against the 34 rhythm of the strings, which starts at the seventh bar. The sixth, with its staccato rhythm, is given a strong, confident colour by the fanfares on the horns and trumpets. The seventh is a Siciliano, breathing a fervent and tender emotion, with the melody given to the flute and viola, in 68 time, Bach-like in character, yet every note of it pure Brahms. Here at last he speaks to our hearts as well. The eighth, in B-flat minor, hurries past, shadowy and phantom-like, with muted strings and soft woodwind, in a thoroughly ghostly and uncanny fashion--a preliminary study on a small scale for the finale in F minor of the F major Symphony. The finale opens, very calm, austere and sustained, as a further series of variations on a basso ostinato of five bars. It is developed with extraordinary ingenuity, works up through con?stant repetitions of the chorale theme, each time in a clearer form and with cumulative intensity, to a brilliant close, with as it were, a dazzling apotheosis of the wind instruments, thrown into relief against rushing scale-like passages, as in the concluding section of the Akademische Festouverture. We may, if we like, see in this basso ostinato the first germ of the mighty finale chaconne on a basso ostinato of the Fourth Symphony.
Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 4
in G major, Op. 58.....Ludwig van Beethoven
On November 3, 1836, Robert Schumann wrote: "This day Mendelssohn played the G-major Concerto of Beethoven with a power and finish that trans?ported us all. I received a pleasure from it such as I have never enjoyed, and I sat in my place without moving a muscle or even breathing--afraid of making the least noise."
This was an important performance of Beethoven's Fourth Concerto, for it served to rescue it from undeserved neglect. Prior to the time Mendelssohn revived it at a Gewandhaus concert in Leipzig, the work had been overshadowed by the less difficult C-minor Concerto and the more imposing Emperor Concerto. More recently, however, the Fourth has been hailed by many knowledgeable people as Beethoven's finest work for piano and orchestra.
It is not known exactly when the G-major Concerto was composed, though most authorities place it in the year 1806. The first performance took place at a
private subscription concert in the home of Beethoven's patron, Prince Lob-kowitz, in Vienna in March 1807. It was first presented in public at the historical concert in the Theater an der Wien on December 22, 1808. At that musical marathon, a small audience sat huddled in overcoats in an unheated hall for four hours to hear first performances of this imposing list of Beethoven compositions: the Fourth Piano Concerto; the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies; the aria Ah, Per-fido!; the Choral Fantasia for piano, chorus, and orchestra; the Sanctus from the Mass in C-minor, and several shorter works. Though it is almost certain that never before or since have so many important works received their premiere on one occasion, it is not surprising that this over-long and under-rehearsed pro?gram, in which Beethoven doubled as conductor and piano soloist, did not come off too successfully.
The Fourth Piano Concerto is undoubtedly less showy than Beethoven's other piano concerti, yet it represents a great advance in this type of composition. It is no longer a dazzling piano solo with orchestral accompaniment but rather a conversation between the soloist and the orchestra. This becomes immediately apparent with the opening of the first movement, Allegro moderato, where the piano announces the principal theme alone, then is answered by the orchestra, which takes it up and continues with the first exposition in the prescribed fashion. Allowing the piano to be heard at the very outset like that was a daring innova?tion that must have caused a lot of eyebrows to be raised.
The idea of a dialogue is carried much further in the second movement, Andante con moto. Here the strings, speaking in dramatic, even belligerent tones, are answered with quiet restraint by the piano. The soloist eventually proves the old adage that you can get more with honey than with vinegar, for, with his continually quiet persuasion, he finally breaks down the angered resistance of the strings, and the movement ends very softly, leading without a break into the cheerful rondo-finale, marked Vivace. Here again, there is considerable interplay between piano and orchestra.
Assisting the solo piano is an orchestra consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, two horns, two trumpets, kettledrums and strings.
Pictures at an Exhibition.....Modeste Moussorgsky
A posthumous exhibition of the paintings of Victor Hartman, an intimate friend of Moussorgsky's . . . who died at the age of thirty-nine, occasioned The Pictures at an Exhibition. Written originally for piano, it was orchestrated by Maurice Ravel at the request of Serge Koussevitzky. The first performance took place in Paris, May 3, 1923; the first in America in Boston, Dec. 3, 1926. Both were conducted by Maestro Koussevitzky.
The music begins with a "Promenade" as the observer wanders through the gallery. The first picture "Gnomes" portrays a grotesque figure with woodwinds and muted brass. The "Promenade" leads to the next picture, "The Old Castle" with a song presented first by the bassoon and then the alto saxophone accom?panied by strings. The "Promenade" takes the viewer to "Tuileries," a park where children gather with their nurses in Paris, usually followed immediately by a painting entitled "Bydlo," a cumbersome farm wagon, drawn by oxen, found in Poland. A minor version of the "Promenade" leads to the "Ballet of the Unhatched Chickens," a sketch Hartman designed for the ballet "Trilby." "Samuel Goldenberg and Schmuyle," the wealthy Polish Jew and his follower, are represented by strings and woodwind for Goldenburg, trumpet for Schmuyle. "Limoge: The Market Place" and "Catacombs" are self-explanatory. In "A Hut on Fowl's Legs," Hartman depicts a clock in the form of the home of Baba-Yaga, a famous witch in Russian legend. Moussorgsky suggests the evil activities of Ba'ba-Yaga such as collecting the bones and bodies of her victims. "The Great Gate at Kiev" was a painting based on Hartman's plans for an enormous gate in the city of Kiev. Brass and bells bring the music to a rousing climax.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
HILL AUDITORIUM EVENTS NOW ON SALE
Harkness Ballet.........Friday, October 13
Program: Night Song; Feast of Ashes; Zealous Variations (Schubert, Op. 83); and Time Out of Mind
Vienna Symphony Orchestra.....Thursday, October 19
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Conductor
Program: Symphony No. 6 in C major........Schitbert
Concerto a ballo.........Alfred Uhl
Symphony No. 5 in C minor.......Beethoven
Olaeta Basque Festival......2:30, Sunday, October 22
Dancers, singers, and instrumentalists combine to provide dances and music of the Basque country--seven provinces on both sides of the Pyrenees, both in Spain and in France
Jose Molina Bailes Espanoles......Friday, October 27
Program of Spanish songs and dances, including folk, classical, and flamenco
"Carmina Burana" (opera by Carl Orff), and
"Divertissement Glazounov" (ballet)--Expo '67
production with Les Ballets Canadiens . (8:00) Sunday, October 29
Christa Ludwig, Mezzo-soprano.....Tuesday, October 31
Program includes songs by Mahler, Schumann, Brahms, Wolf, and Strauss.
Yomiuri Japanese Orchestra......Friday, November 10
Arthur Fiedler, Conductor
Program: Overture to "Semiramide"........Rossnn
Piano Concerto No. 2, F minor, Op. 21......Chopin
Hiro Imamura, Pianist
Symphony, Op. 2S.........Prokofteff
Selections from "West Side Story".......Bernstein
Suite from "Gaiete Parisienne"......Offenbach
Note: All programs begin at 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise indicated.
George Frederick Handel December land 2,8:30; December 3, 2:30
In Hill Auditorium
Elisabeth Mosher, Soprano Waldie Anderson, Tenor
Huguette Tourangeau, Contralto Ara Berberian, Bass
University Choral Union
Members of the Interlochen Arts Academy Orchestra Mary McCall Stubbins, Organist: Marilyn Mason, Harpsichordist
Lester McCoy, Conductor Tickets: $2.50--$2.00--$1.50--$1.00 (On sale October 10).
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY, Burton Tower
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