UMS Concert Program, October 23, 1969: Orchestra Of L'accademia Di Santa Cecilia, Rome -- Fernando Previtali
Complete Series: 3663
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
ORCHESTRA OF L'ACCADEMIA Dl SANTA CECILIA, ROME
FERNANDO PREVITALI, Conductor
Thursday Evening, October 23, 1969, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Dedicated to the United Nations on the eve of the twentyfourth anniversary of its founding.
Overture to The Siege of Corinth..........Rossini
Symphony No. 3 in A Minor, Op. 56 ("Scotch") .... Mendelssohn
Andante con moto; allegro un poco agitato Vivace non troppo Adagio
Allegro vivacissimo; allegro maestoso assai (played without pause)
Symphonic Suite from the Ballet La Follia d'Orlando . . Goffredo Petrassi
Introduction Dance of Astolfo Warrior Dance
Ma Mere L'Oye Suite (Mother Goose Suite).......Ravel
Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty
Hop o' My Thumb
Laideronnctte, Empress of the Pagodas
Beauty and the Beast Converse
The Fairy Garden (Awakening of Sleeping Beauty)
Overture to Vespri Siciliani (The Sicilian Vespers)......Verdi
Third Concert Ninetyfirst Annual Choral Union Series Complete Programs 3663
by PAUL AFFELDER
Overture to The Siege of Corinth......Gioacchino Rossini
The history of Rossini's opera The Siege of Corinth is strange, if not atypical for this composer. The work began life as Maometto II (Mahomet II), which had an unsuccessful production in Naples in 1820. Two years later, the composer made some revisions in the score, and offered it first in Venice, then at La Scala in Milan, though it was not particularly well received in either place. Finally, he rewrote the opera with a French libretto, called it Le Siege de Corinthe, and scored a triumph with it at the Paris Opera in 1826. Thereafter, it made its way successfully throughout Europe, and was sung not only in French but in German and, as L'Assedio di Corinto, in Italian.
The story of the opera, which takes place during the war between Greece and Turkey, concerns a Greek girl who chooses to share death with her father, the Governor of Corinth, rather than wed her nation's conqueror, the Turkish Sultan Mahomet II, with whom she had fallen in love before she discovered his identity.
Even stranger than the history of the opera is that of its overture. In its original form, Maometto II had no overture of its own. This was written for the Venetian production of 1822, then carried over as the curtainraiser for Le Sihge de Corinthe. The overture begins, however, with a brief Allegro vivace which Rossini lifted bodily from the overture to his 1819 opera Bianca e Falliero. This leads to an Andante of melancholy character, a Marcia lugubre greca. The melody of this Greek Funeral March, it turns out, was borrowed by Rossini, without so much as a "byyourleave," from Simon Mayr, Bavarianborn composer of Italian operas, who had been Donizetti's teacher in Bergamo; but later research revealed that Mayr had himself borrowed the tune from one of the Psalm paraphrases by Benedetto Marcello. From this point on in the overture, the music proceeds more according to the familiar Rossinian formula: the tempo accelerates to Allegro assai, and we hear some lively, dramatic, and tuneful music, including one of those famous Rossini crescendos. The work concludes with some of the same terse chords with which it began.
Symphony No. 3 in A minor, Op. 56 ("Scotch") . Felix MendelssohnBartholdy
The history of the Scotch Symphony begins in the spring of 1829, when the twentyyearold Mendelssohn paid his first visit to the British Isles. After making a highly successful concert debut in London in May, he and his friend Karl Klingemann set out for a trip through Scotland. In Edinburgh they witnessed the annual competition of Highland pipers and visited the ruins of Holyrood Palace, where Mary, Queen of Scots, lived, loved, and was crowned. In a letter to his sister Fanny, Mendelssohn wrote that in the chapel of the palace he believed he had found the beginning of his Scotch Symphony. The sixteen measures of music that he sketched out in the letter were to form the opening of the introduction to the symphony's first movement.
Not long after his return from Great Britain, Mendelssohn was off on an extended trip to Italy during the fall and winter of 183031. It was in Rome and Naples that he worked on the sketches of the Scotch Symphony and started another composition in this form--the Italian Symphony. He finished the latter--published as the Symphony No. 4--in 1833, but the Scotch Symhony--published as No. 3--was not ready until nine years later. It was completed on January 20, 1842, and Mendelssohn conducted its premiere with the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig on March 3 of that year.
Though Mendelssohn himself referred to this symphony as the Scotch or Scottish, he was always wary about attaching descriptive titles to his compositions. By the time the score was ready for publication in 1843. he had removed the name. This does not alter the fact, however, that the symphony contains a number of characteristic Scottish tunes and rhythms. Nevertheless, when he first heard the Scotch Symphony. Robert Schumann mistook it for the Italian, and said that it evoked such a beautiful picture of Italy that it compensated the hearer who had never been there.
The Scotch Symphony is in four movements which are intended to be played without pauses between them. It begins with a slow introduction. Andante con moto, which already suggests the main theme of the ensuing principal section of the movement, a lilting Allegro
im poco agitato. The second movement--the scherzo, though it is not so marked--is a lightfooted Vivace non troppo with a marked Scottish flavor. There follows a songful Adagio, and the symphony concludes with another decidedly Scottish movement that begins with a marchlike Allegro vivacissimo and switches near the end to a majestically swaying Allegro maestoso assai.
Mendelssohn scored the Scotch Symphony for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, four horns, two trumpets, kettledrums and strings. After its first performance in England on June 13, 1842, he was invited to visit and play for Queen Victoria who, in turn, sang for him. At that time, he obtained her permission to dedicate the symphony to her, declaring that "the English name would suit the Scottish piece charmingly."
Symphonic Suite from the Ballet La Follia d'Orlando . . Goffredo Petrassi
Goffredo Petrassi, one of the leading contemporary Italian composers, did not begin the formal study of music until he was twentyone. Though he spent his early years as a choir?boy, he was later obliged to earn a living as an assistant in a music shop. This, however, only served further to whet his appetite for a career as a creative musician. He enrolled in the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome, receiving the diploma in composition in 1932 and that in organ the following year. Almost immediately after graduation, he began to attract international attention with his orchestral, chamber, and choral music, most of it written along neoclassic or neobaroque lines. Though he was not a pupil of the composer, conductor, and pianist Alfredo Casella, Petrassi was profoundly influenced by him. His early choir experience also had an effect upon his vocal music.
The Symphonic Suite on this program is derived from the music Petrassi composed in 194243 for the ballet La Follia d'Orlando (The Madness of Orlando). This work, first produced at La Scala, Milan, on April 12, 1947, included recitatives sung by a solo baritone. Its plot was based on Ariosto's version of the legend of Orlando--or Roland--the knight who served Charlemagne with such heroism but who, when he discovered that the woman he loved, the proud Queen of Cathay, had fallen in love with a Saracen youth and married him. became for a time a violent, destructive madman.
Ma Mere l'Oye Suite (Mother Goose Suite).....Maurice Ravel
Ravel first wrote the Mother Goose Suite for the piano--four hands, in 1908. He later orchestrated the set for a ballet in 1912. The first section is slow and tender and only twenty measures long. The second part carries the quotation from Perrault: "He believed he would easily find the path by means of bread crumbs which he scattered wherever he had passed. But he was very much surprised to learn the birds had come and eaten everything up." Ravel uses the third section to interweave strains of Oriental sounds, which were new to France at the time (brought there via the great international exhibitions of the 1880's). The Conver?sation between Beauty and the Beast alternates between a delicate waltz and descriptive "growls." The Fairy Garden is the final apotheosis: the awakening of Sleeping Beauty. The ending is happy, brilliant, and festive.
Overture to Vespri Siciliani (The Sicilian Vespers) . . . Giuseppe Verdi
In February 1852, Verdi signed a contract to write an opera to be presented during the Great Exposition in Paris in 1855. The libretto, written by Scribe and Duveyrier, caused the composer a great deal of trouble, not only because there were certain scenes which did not suit him but mainly because the subject they ultimately chose was The Sicilian Vespers, the story of the French occupation of Sicily in the thirteenth century and the ultimate liberation of the island through the massacre of the invaders. This could scarcely be called an appropri?ate subject for an Italian composer who was writing his first opera for French consumption.
Nevertheless, after many difficulties and delays, Les Vepres Siciliennes--it was originally presented in French--was completed in the fall of 1854, and had its premiere at the Paris Opera on June 13, 1855. Despite its controversial libretto, the opera achieved an immediate success, and enjoyed fifty consecutive performances.
Vespri Siciliani is heard rather infrequently today, but its strongly dramatic overture, which ranks among Verdi's finest curtainraisers, still holds its place on concert programs.
1969 --INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATIONS --1970
CHORAL UNION SERIES
Hill Auditorium ROYAL CHORAL SOCIETY AND PLAYERS . . Tuesday, November 4
Program: Coronation Anthem.................Handel
Eryri (composed for the investiture of Prince Charles, 1969).....Hoddinott
Mass in C major..............Beethoven
OSIPOV BALALAIKA ORCHESTRA (with stars of the
Bolshoi Opera and Russian Dancers) . . . Thursday, November 13
NHK SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA, JAPAN . . . Tuesday, November 25
Hiroyuki Iwaki, Conducting JOAN SUTHERLAND, Soprano, with
RICHARD BONYNGE, Pianist.....Friday, January 30
VLADIMIR ASHKENAZY, Pianist......Monday, February 9
"BARBER OF SEVILLE" (Rossini)--
Canadian Opera Company......Saturday, February 14
ANDRES SEGOVIA, Classical Guitarist .... Thursday, February 19 Single Concert Tickets: $7.00--$6.50--$6.00--$5.00--$3.50--$2.50
(A few remaining tickets at $6.50--$3.50 and $2.50)
Hill Auditorium JOSE LIMON DANCE COMPANY.....Saturday, November 1
Program: La Malinche--music by Norman Lloyd
The Moor's Pavane--music by Henry Purcell
The Exiles--music by Arnold Schonberg
The Winged--incidental music by Hank Johnson
NIKOLAIS DANCE COMPANY.....Wednesday, January 21
DANZAS VENEZUELA........Tuesday, February 17
ROYAL WINNIPEG BALLET......2:30, Sunday, March IS
Lecturedemonstrations, October 31 and January 20, respectively. Admission $1.00. (As part of a 3day residency presented with the support of the Michigan State Council for the Arts.)
BUDAYA TROUPE........Saturday, November 8
Indonesian dancers and gamelan orchestra. Tickets: $3.00--$2.50--$2.00--$1.50
CHAMBER ARTS SERIES
Rackham Auditorium PRAGUE CHAMBER ORCHESTRA.....Monday, November 10
Program: Bach Sinfonia in Eflat; Haydn Symphony in D; Beethoven "Prometheus" Overture; and Vorisek Symphony in D.
FRANCO GULLI, violinist, and
ENRICA CAVALLO, Pianist (duo from Italy) . Monday, November 17
NEW YORK PRO MUSIC A.......Monday, January 12
MUSIC FROM MARLBORO.......Wednesday, January 28
JEANPIERRE RAMPAL, Flute, and
ROBERT VEYRONLACROIX, Keyboard . . Thursday, February 5 PHAKAVALI MUSICIANS AND DANCERS, from Bangkok Monday, March 2 Single Concert Tickets: A limited number available at $5.00 and $4.00 All programs begin at 8:30 unless otherwise indicated.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
BURTON MEMORIAL TOWER, ANN ARBOR, MICHIGAN 48104