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UMS Concert Program, December 5, 1972: Austral String Quartet --

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Concert: Fourth
Complete Series: 3799
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Tuesday Evening, December 5, 1972, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Quartet No. 9.............Felix Werder
Strophe Antistrophe Metastrophe Katastrophe
Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110......Dmitri Shostakovich
Allegro molto Allegretto Largo Largo
String Quartet Music, No. 8........Peter Sculthorpe
Con dolore, dolcissimo
Risoluto, molto lento, risoluto Con dolore, semplice Preciso, molto, lento, preciso Con dolore, dolcissimo
Quartet in G major, K. 387...........Mozart
Allegro vivace assai Menuetto, allegro Andante cantabile Molto allegro
Decca, E.M.E., World Record Club, and Festival Records The next concert in the Chamber Music series is the Bartok String Quartet on January 17, 1973
Fourth Concert Tenth Annual Chamber Arts Series Complete Programs 3799
Quartet No. 9.............Felix Werder
Felix Werder is part of Australia's important and valuable windfall from the miseries of a troubled and divisive Europe. Born in 1922, the son of a Jewish cantor in Berlin, he left Germany with his family in 1934 to escape Nazi persecution, went to school in London, and arrived in Australia in 1941 when he was in his late teens. With patience, tenacity, and an enormous capacity for hard work he has since become a prominent figure in Australian music as lecturer, newspaper critic (in Melbourne, where he lives) and, above all, as a prolific and forceful composer. When Werder reached Australia its homegrown composition was, despite the courageous pioneering of Margaret Sutherland and one or two other musicians, still largely in a backward neocolonial phase, reflecting either the manners of midnineteenthcentury Europe or the paler varities of early twentiethcentury English music. Antill's "Corroboree" had yet to be heard; and most of the other composers who have since given substance to Australian music were cither at school or still struggling to attract some attention. To this depressed and limited environment Werder brought an awareness of some of the fundamental shifts of European music in the twentieth century: his father was per?sonally acquainted with Arnold Schoenberg and the members of his circle. Werder himself was steeped in the sounds of the late Romanticism of central Europe, and his earlier works reflect this. His discovery of Bartok helped him to give muscular and vital articulation to musical impulses that might have become sluggish under the weight of AustroGerman tradition. No doubt Werder would have found his own way eventually to the expression of his own quickwitted, vigorous, and fiercely logical personality: Bartok simply helped him to find his way out of the morasses of a supersaturated romanticism with greater speed and certainty.
Quartet No. 9 (Melbourne, 1968) is the work in which Werder believes he has finally found a balanced solution to his problem of opposing these contrasting musical concepts. It makes a more systematic, but not surprisingly, a proportionately smaller use of free sound patterns than the earlier works of the same genre--the wind quintet Apostrophe '63, and the orchestral piece, The Laocoon. Nevertheless, the effect of the contrast with the rhythmically energetic contrapuntal writing is marked. Most of the free sound blocks act as resting points almost as if they were the natural outcome of the contrapuntal section preceding them. Then a new section begins, and proceeds in the same manner.
Although Werder uses the opening three note motive to articulate the growth of these sections, the character of the counterpoint is much freer than his earlier obsessive thematic style derived from Bartok. But whether the music is tightly structured or freely composed, thematically con?ceived, or providing a textural effect, Werder still thinks of his quartet as a kind of dramatic fourvoice conversation which expresses the "agony of today." In fact he justifies some of the free elements of his style by saying "it is precisely this pollution of the occasional soundblock which is meaningful to my communication." In performance the movements are joined to make the work continuous. Since the last three movements are organically derived from the long first movement, the casual listener will find it difficult to perceive the divisions.
Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110......Dmitri Shostakovich
The Quartet No. 8 was composed by Shostakovich in 1960, during a visit to Dresden, Eastern Germany, and the sight of the destruction wrought by the Second World War in that once beautiful city seems to have freshened the composer's memories of his own country's sufferings. Dedicated to the memory of those who fell in the fight against Nazism, it is altogether a retrospective contem?plation--in sorrow alternating with wrath--of the ravages of that war.
Punctuated by many quotations from the composer's earlier works and dominated everywhere by a motif of the four notes which form the German transliteration of his personal monogram; the two Russian letters which stand respectively for "D" and for the sound spelled "Sh" in English, become DSCH in German, the letter H in German musical nomenclature denoting what is B natural in English. Shostakovich had obviously developed a strong liking for this musical figure which he also used in other works.
The five movements lead into one another without break in such a way that the whole work seems to be rather a set of fantasy variations or elaborations upon a basic idea than a sequence of five separate movements. The first Largo, beginning at once with the "monogram" theme, forms a kind of prelude in contrapuntal texture, deeply mournful in expression. Then a longdrawn Gsharp --enharmonically carried over from the Aflat of the Cminor scale-leads to the terrifying fury of the Allegro violto in Gsharp minor. Although a new principal theme is here featured at the beginning, the monogram theme soon appears. This music breaks off as abruptly as it had begun, at the height of breathless, discordant excitement; there is only a moment's rest before a new version of the monogram theme ushers in the Allegrelto, a scherzolike movement with predominant waltz rhythms and half sad, half sardonic undertones.
Here again, as after the first movement, a low, sustained note links this movement to the following one, essentially in Csharp minor, partly rccitutivic, partly hymnic. At the beginning we seem to hear the sustained note growing into the drone of an enemy bomber, punctuated suddenly by sharp gun fire. This soon subsides, giving way to the strains of an old revolutionary song "Crushed by the weight of bondage." Another short burst of gun fire, one fleeting reappearance of the monogram theme in the lower instruments, a quotation from the Tenth symphony, and then the cello harks back to the composer's early manhood, singing an air from the opera Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk of 1934. After a last reawakening of the gun fire, the monogram theme takes over for the last movement, a slow fugue in Cminor which revives a good deal of the thematic and harmonic treatment from the opening movement and then concludes the work in softest pianissimo in a mood more resigned than reconciled.
String Quartet Music, No. 8........Peter Sculthorpe
Peter Sculthorpe was born in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia, in 1929. After a period at the Melbourne University Conscrvatorium of Music, he studied at Wadham College, Oxford. Now a Lecturer with the Department of Music at the University of Sydney, he teaches composition as well as ethnomusicology which includes the music of the Australian aborigines.
Writing music continuously since 1938, Peter Sculthorpe has produced compositions covering most musical forms, except fullscale opera. While in England, Sculthorpe wrote for theater and also devised an electronic score for a controversial production of King Lear. Earlier experiments in this field had been made in 195758, with taped music concrete for animated film. Apart from these experiments, the composer has written music for a number of films, both feature and docu?mentary.
During the past few years most of Peter Sculthorpe's work have been influenced, in one way or another, by the traditional music of Asia. In this work the basic ideas stem from both the ricepounding music, ketwigan of Bali, and the popular songplay, arja. This music, however, serves as a starting point only, although the work docs retain the basic simplicity of Balinese folkidiom.
The work is in five movements, the first and last being almost entirely for solo cello. These shorter movements, together with the third movement, are written in a spatiotemporal notation in order to create a feeling of improvisation, and also to form a contrast with the strict metres, in the second and fourth movements, of the quicker ketwigan sections. The actual metrical patterns in these, extremely limited in the number of notes employed, are characteristically Indonesian. These two movements, in fact, seem to have a static, ritualistic quality that is very much in keeping with the ideals of Asian music, and not unrelated in the West, to present day popmusic. The scarcity of climaxes, and the work's symmetrical shape which could never function as an intense dramatic structure, are indicative of a compositional aim which has obsessed Sculthorpe. He has consistently tried "to purge the European heroic gesture" from his music.
Quartet in G major, K. 387......Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The G major quartet, K. 387, is the first of Mozart's great set of six string quartets, composed between the end of 1782 and the beginning of 1785 and dedicated to Joseph Haydn.
The first movement opens with a principal theme which is suave and amiable, not without a hint of thoughtful introspection which makes itself felt again and again throughout the movement, down to the pianissimo conclusion. The second subject and its subsidiary themes are more gay and sprightly; the development begins with the first subject which trails away in recitative fashion several times before a steadier pace is regained.
The Menuet (also in G major), here preceding the slow movement, shows thoughtfulness almost more openly than the first movement. It contains a surprising amount of intricate contrapuntal work; only its second theme group, in D major, is lighter in texture and mood. Its Trio (middle part) is in Mozart's most serious and personal Gminor vein. The third movement, in C major, is one of Mozart's great slow movements, calm and comforting and yet tinged with infinite longing which sometimes breaks through to the surface in darker moments.
The Finale, in G major, shows for the first time the mature fruits of the impact of J. S. Bach's work which had been the most momentous musical event in Mozart's life after he settled in Vienna in 1781. The first and second subjects proper arc in fugato texture, while the transition and con?clusion sections are free and lighthearted Mozart; the development section, which uses the some?what strict first subject, is immediately followed by the free transition section in bright C major, and when the second subject then carries on the recapitulation, symmetry is restored by the first subject being combined with it in a more intricate contrapuntal texture which in itself constitutes a new climax. In the concluding section the easygoing spirits are restored, whereupon a Coda brings a short "stretto" complication upon the first subject and finally a piano conclusion which remains serious and thoughtful.
"Cosi Fan Tutte," Mozart's opera......Friday, January 12
(8:00, Power Center)
Saturday, January 13 (3:00 and 8:00, Power Center)
Bartok String Quartet........Wednesday, January 17
(8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Haydn: Quartet in D major, Op. 76, Xo. 5; Bartok: Quartet No. 2, Op. 17 (1917) ; Schumann: Quartet in A major, Op. 41, No. 3
Ko Iwasaki, Cellist.........Wednesday, January 24
(8:30, Hill Auditorium) Michael Lorimer, Guitarist........Saturday, January 2 7
(8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater .... Thursday, Friday, and Saturday,
February 1, 2 and 3
(8:00, Power Center) Carlos Montoya, Guitarist........Tuesday, February 6
(8:30, Rackham Auditorium) George Shirley, Tenor.........Sunday, February 11
(2:30, Hill Auditorium) Lado, Yugoslav Folk Ensemble.......Monday, February 12
(8:00, Power Center) Marcel Marceau, Pantomimist......Saturday, February 17
(8:00, Power Center)
Sunday, February 18
(3:00 and 8:00, Power Center)
Claudio Arrau, Pianist.........Friday, February 23
(8:30, Hill Auditorium) Philidor Trio...........Sunday, February 25
(2:30, Rackham Auditorium) Saeko Ichinohe Dance Company from Japan . . . Monday, February 26
(8:30, Rackham Auditorium)
... Sold out
Four Concerts -May 2, 3, 4, and S, 1973 THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA at all concerts,
Eugene Ormandy, Musical Director
the University Choral Union -Thor Johnson, Guest Conductor Soloists: Rudolf Serkin, Jessye Norman, Van Cliburn, Isaac Stern
May 2: ALLBEETHOVEN--Overture to "Leonore" No. 3; Concerto No. 4 for Piano and Orchestra, Mr. Serkin, soloist; Symphony No. 3 ("Eroica").
May 3: Brahms: Symphony No. 4 in E minor; Strauss: "Ein Heldenleben," Op. 98
May 4: Verdi: "Stabat Mater" and "Te Deum," University Choral Union; La Montaine: Songs of the Rose of Sharon; Wagner: "Du bist der Lenz" from Die Walkiire, and "Dich teure Halle" from Tannhdiiser, Miss Norman, soprano soloist; Rachmaninoff: Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra, Mr. Cliburn, soloist.
May 5: Wagner: Prelude to Parsifal; Beethoven: Romance No. 1 for Violin and Orchestra; Mozart: Concerto No. 1, K. 207, for Violin and Orchestra, Mr. Stern, soloist; Tchaikovsky, Symphony No. 4, in F minor.
Brochures available in the lobby; series ticket orders now being accepted.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan Phone 6653717

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