Complete Series: 3613
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
Tenth Concert Eighty-ninth Annual Choral Union Series Complete Series 3613
Toronto Symphony Orchestra
SEIJI OZAWA, Conductor
Thursday Evening, March 28, 1968, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Prelude and Love-Death, from Tristan and Isolde . . . Wagner
Gli Uccelli ("The Birds")........Respighi
La Colomba (The Dove) La Gallina (The Hen) L'Usignuolo (The Nightingale) II Cuccii (The Cuckoo)
"Don Quixote"--Fantastic Variations on a
Theme of Knightly Character, Op. 35 . . . . R. Strauss Soloists: Peter Schenkman, Cellist; Gerard Kantarjian, Violinist; Stanley Solomon, Violist
The Steinway piano is the official piano of The University Musical Society
ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS
PROGRAM NOTES By John Beckwith
Prelude and Love-Death, from Tristan and Isolde . . Richard Wagner
Tristan and Isolde was conceived by Wagner as an objectification of his platonic but intense love-affair with Mathilde Wesendonck -writer and intellectual, and, like others of his conquests, the wife of an ardent Wagnerian.
The Prelude, probably the most influential musical composition of modern times, epit?omizes the restless chromatic harmony of the whole score . . . unprecedented harmonic groupings, with many appoggiaturas or displaced notes in the chords, constituted Wagner's most powerful new expressive tool. Second only to this device is the sensuous "sheen" of the scoring with its rushing string figures and its mellow, mysterious wind mixtures. The Prelude employs lcitmotives associated in the drama with the love-potion and with the yearning for deliverance by death, felt by both the lovers; in the Love-Death these reappear, the second much developed, the first recalled as a brief cloud crossing the peaceful horizon just before the fall of the curtain.
Gli Ucelli (The Birds)........Ottorino Respighi
Composers have always been fascinated by their feathered rivals, nature's own creative musicians, the birds. The opening Prelude quotes a festive, non-avian piece by the harpsi?chordist Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710). This is employed as opening and closing theme, "framing" some free foreshadowings of the bird-calls to come. The Dove--with its "cooing" muted strings supporting a suave solo oboe line--is based on a piece by the lutenist Jacques Gallot (--1685). The Hen, the best known of the source-works, occurs in Jean Philippe Rameau's second book of pieces for harpsichord, published about 1724. Rameau himself made orchestral and vocal adaptations of some of the other pieces in this same book. His hen is not so broadly slapstick a caricature as here. Respighi adds accents, comic interplay of colors, and a few bars of extension culminating in an unmistakeable rooster-cry which effectively silences the heroine's clucking. The Nightingale derives from an anonymous English piece of the Elizabethan era. Harmonic links and some coloristic touches (the celeste, for example) are more impressionistic than historical in their associations. The same applies to such things as the parts for muted trumpet and harp in The Cuckoo. Here where one might have expected a comic approach wing with that of The Hen, the musical portrait is subdued and even a bit solemn. The source is again Pasquini, whose other theme used already in the Prelude recurs in a brief flourish to conclude the suite.
"Don Quixote"--Fantastic Variations on a
Theme of Knightly Character, Op. 35 .... Richard Strauss
This is probably the best-known of the many musical treatments of the great classic by Miguel de Cervantes, The Life and Achievements of the Renowned Don Quixote de la Mancha (1605). The Strauss Don Quixote is both a tone-poem and a double concerto. Strauss approached the Cervantes tales as a study in sheer story-telling, based on human character, rather than noting their social-criticism elements or their specifically Spanish cultural flavoring. Hence there is practically nothing about this music that denotes it as deliberately evocative of the 16th century on the one hand or of Spain on the other. Instead, at the forefront of the score's unique sonorous world are Don Quixote (the "Knight of the Rueful Countenance"), personified by a solo cello, and his worldly squire Sancho Panza, personified first of all by bass clarinet and tenor tuba but later always by a solo viola. Distinctive themes, as well as instrumental colors, are associated with the two characters, as clearly stated by Strauss in his score.
With Don Quixote Strauss for some reason did not spell out the program in detail in the orchestral score--a fact which led zealous commentators at the turn of the century to invent