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UMS Concert Program, May 3, 1973: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Concert: Second
Complete Series: 3827
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Assistant Conductor
Thursday Evening, May 3, 1973, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
?Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.........Brahms
Allegro ma non troppo
Andante moderato
Allegro giocoso
Allegro energico e passionato
"A Hero's Life," Op. 40...........Strauss
The Hero
The Hero's Adversaries The Hero's Helpmate The Hero's Battlefield The Hero's Works of Peace
The Hero's Release from the World and the Fulfillment of his Life Norman Carol, Solo Violin
Available on Columbia Records RCA Red Seal
Second Concert 80th Annual May Festival Complete Programs 3827
by Glenn D. McGeoch
Symphony No. 4 in E minor, Op. 98.........Brahms
Even as Beethoven before him, Brahms was essentially of a hearty and vigorous mind. Standing abreast of such vital spirits as Carlyle and Browning, he met the challenge of his age and triumphed in hs art. By the exercise of a clear intelligence and a strong critical faculty he was able to temper the tendency toward emotional excess and to avoid the pitfalls of utter despair into which his contemporaries were invariably led. Although Brahms experienced frustration no less than Tchaikovsky, his was another kind of tragedy-the tragedy of a man born out of his time. He suffered from the changes in taste and perception that inevitably come with the passing of time, disillusioned with the state of the world but not defeated by it. He shared with Wagner, another contemporary, a serious purpose and noble intention. Each in his own manner sought the expression of the sublime, each tried to strengthen the flaccid spirit of the age by sounding a note of courage and hopefulness. Brahms' major works speak in exalted and lofty accents. It is no accident that the real Brahms is serious and contemplative, that his music is a true expression of an artist at grips with the artistic and structural problems of his time. His particular disenchantment, however, did not affect the power and sureness of his artistic impulse. With grief he saw the ideals of Beethoven dissolve in a welter of cheap emotionalism. He saw the classic dignity of that art degraded by an infiltration of tawdry programmatic effects and innocuous imitation and witnessed finally its subjugation to poetry and the dramatic play. All of this he opposed with his own grand style--profoundly moving, noble, and dignified. No master ever displayed a more inexorable selfdiscipline or held his art in higher respect, always painstaking in the devotion he put into his work and undaunted in his search for perfection. The excellence he sought "dwelt among rocks hardly accessible, and he wore his heart out trying to reach it."
While the Third Symphony at once took hold of the musical world, the Fourth remained misunderstood, perhaps for the reason that it is the most personal and profound of all, and, next to the First, the mightiest. Incomprehensible though it seems today, even the sworn followers of Brahms had difficulty in understanding it. Max Kalbeck positively entreated Brahms to withhold the work from the public and so save himself an inevitable and conspicuous failure. Edward Hanslick, after a first hearing of it in a performance for two pianos declared with a heavy sigh, when the first movement was over and everyone remained silent, "You know, I had the feeling that two enormously clever people were arguing with each other." To Elizabeth von Herzogenberg, his close friend and sincere critic, there were certain pages she "could hardly make out at all," and concerning them she wrote to Brahms, "You have had to have recourse for the first time to certain secret chambers of your soul."
It is hard to understand such criticism today as we hear the pale autumnal elegiac first move?ment with its gentle, almost hesitant theme. Still less would it apply to the quiet andante with its firm and exalted rhythms, and its darkhucd romantic melancholy. The misgivings of his friends, however, transmitted themselves to Brahms, for again he wrote to Elizabeth von Herzogenberg, "If persons like Hanslick and you do not like my music, whom will it please" So uncertain was he finally of the success of the work that he threatened to recall it after a rehearsal. The first public performance, however, took place at Meiningen, October 25, 1S8S, with Brahms himself conducting.
The Fourth Symphony was the last of his orchestral compositions that Brahms was permitted to hear. After his return to Vienna from Carlsbad where he had received treatment for an incurable disease, he attended his last concert in March, 1897, at which his Fourth Symphony was performed. Miss Florence May describes in Life of Brahms (London, Edward Arnold, 1905) the dramatic occasion of his last performance in public:
"The Fourth Symphony had never become a favorite work in Vienna. Today, however, a storm of applause broke out at the end of the first movement, not to be quieted until the composer, coming to the front of the 'artist's' box in which he was seated, showed himself to the audience. The demonstration was renewed after the second and third movements, and an extraordinary scene followed the conclusion of the work. The applauding, shouting house, its gaze riveted on the figure standing in the balcony, so familiar, and yet in present aspect so strange, seemed unable to let him go. Tears ran down his cheeks as he stood there, shrunken in form, with lined countenance, strained expression, white hair hanging lank, and through the audience there was a feeling as of a stifled sob, for each knew that they were saying farewell. Another outburst of applause, and yet another; one more acknowledgement from the master, and Brahms and his Vienna had parted forever."
The following analysis is taken from Karl Geiringer's excellent work on Brahms: Brahms, His Life and Works. Trans, by H. B. Wciner and Bernard Maill. (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1936.)
"This last symphonic work of the master is more stringent and more compact than the previous three. More than ever before was Brahms' mind directed towards the past. He found a wealth of inspiration in preclassical music, which revealed peculiar possibilities of enriching his musical language. The principal theme of the first movement is largely characteristic of the whole work. Distinctive of the "later Brahms" is the art with which an ample farflung theme is developed from a motive of only two notes; and no less so is the assurance with which the imitation of the theme in the woodwind is employed as an accompaniment to the theme itself. Again, the clear and passionless tranquil'ty of this idea, equally remote from pain and joy, is characteristic of this period of his work. The movement has no motto, like those of the first three Symphonies. On the one hand the logical progression of ideas in this piece is so compelling that there is no need of a closer
linking of the different sections by a special expedient; on the other hand, the Symphony possesses, in the 'Finale,' a movement of such iron resolution and concentration that a similar formation in the first movement had to be avoided. The Andante moderate) with its four monumental introductory bars, allotted to the horns and woodwinds, leads off in the ancient Phrygian mode. Slowly the warm and fragrant E major makes itself heard. Notwithstanding its wonderfully tender songtheme intro?duced by the cellos, this whole movement seems to lie, as it were, under the shadows of an in?evitable fate. A sturdy, highspirited Allegro giocoso follows. A sturdy gaiety reigns supreme, and the orchestration is broader and more plastic, more calculated to secure massive effects. The master supplemented the scoring of both the preceding movements by the addition of piccolo flute, counterbassoon, and a third kettledrum. The Fitiale is the crowning glory of the whole work. Just as Brahms took leave of his chamber music, so, too, he bade farewell to his symphonic creations with a movement in variations. These are of the type which he employed in the Finale of his Haydn Variations, i.e., the Chaconne or Passacaglia. A simple theme of eight bars which is repeated thirtyone times, in the lower, middle, and upper voices, without a single modulation of transitional passage, provides the framework of this movement."
"Ein Heldenleben" ("A Hero's Life"), Op. 40......Strauss
After the advent of Richard Wagner and Johannes Brahms, German music began to falter and lose its direction. By the end of the nineteenth century it was confounded by multitudinous trends, most of them having been conditioned by the dictates of the past. The romantic movement had persisted longer in music than in any of the other arts, still making in the early years of the twentieth century, as Ernest Newman so colorfully writes, "an occasional effectual effort to raise its old head, ludicrous now with its faded garlands of flowers overhanging the wrinkled cheeks." Romanticism had long since outlived itself; yet for composers like Strauss, and Rachmaninoff (Friday night concert), its fascination proved too strong to be completely resisted. Rachmaninoff embraced it to the end of his life with filial affection; and, although Strauss, in his early sojourn in this dying world, seemed at first to "behave toward it like a graceless, irreverent urchin in a cathedral," he soon fell under its spell. The undercurrent of weariness and disgust, of satiety and disillusion, that runs through his work links him today spiritually, mentally, and psychologically with the great romanticists of the past rather than with the modernists. Like them, he had his roots in the same soil that nurtured Wagner, Byron, Goethe, Leopardi, and Tchaikovsky. Only Richard Strauss (18641949) seemed to have found a sure path into the new century with the creation of all of his symphonic tone poems. In them he transformed the enlarged orchestra, inherited from Berlioz, Liszt, and Wagner, into a dazzling ensemble capable of the most prodigious virtuosity. Through it he displayed an apparently inexhaustible fertility of mind. None of his con?temporaries possessed his orchestral mastery. Believing that music could express not only inner states of mind but outward appearances of reality, he surcharged his works with incisive, erratic rhythms and tense, impetuous themes that, in a moment, would sweep through the whole gamut of the scale. He filled his scores with realistic sound effects created by extending the available instruments beyond their expressive limitations, introducing unheardof combinations. In general, he created a "Gothic abundance" that bewildered and shocked the public. He became, like Wagner before him, the enfant terrible of his time. Each successive tone poem--"Macbeth" (1887); "Don Juan" (1888); "Tod und Verklarung" (1889); "Till Eulenspiegel" (1895); "Also Sprach Zarathustra" (1896); "Don Quixote" (1897); "Ein Heldenleben" (1898)--attempted to increase the descriptive powers of music beyond the mere evocation of elementary emotions. He was accused in his attempts, as was Schbnberg a few years later, of coldblooded calculation which, said his critics, took the place of artistic impulse. The problems he set before the musical world at the beginning of this century seem almost elementary today. Tonal effects which sounded irredeemably cacophonous then, to contemporary ears now in many instances seem commonplace, every daring feat of orchestration which in its day seemed impossible, ultimately became a matter of routine practice. After the performance of Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps" (1913), the onetime exceptional harmony, erratic melody, and queer instrumentation of Strauss had "left the itch of novelty behind." In his own words, "I was considered a rebel. I have lived long enough to find myself a classic."
Strauss is no longer considered an innovator of any true significance. But let it be said that, from the first, he manifested an extraordinary mastery of technical procedure, that he is one of the few composers of our century who has shown himself capable of creating on a monumental scale and of approaching the epic conception. His work as a whole is greater than any of its constituent parts and, in this sense, he possessed an architectonic quality of mind that is impressive. There are in his greatest works a nervous energy and exuberance, a vitality and fertility of intention, and a technique of handling the orchestra that is admittedly unsurpassed. He has again and again shown his power to create beauty of rare freshness, although he most tragically failed in the complete realization of his highest potential. For this, the present generation will never forgive him. His un?pardonable sin was that he promised nothing for the future; he offered no challenge, as did Stravinsky and Schonberg, to the composers of our day.
Strauss began the composition of "Ein Heldenleben" at Munich, August 2, 1898, and finished it at Berlin, December 27 of the same year. Its first performance, under his direction, took place at FrankfortontheMain, March 3, 1899. The work was dedicated to Wilhelm Mengelberg and the Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam.
In "Ein Heldenleben" the true powers of Strauss are displayed. In the greatness of its general conception, in the fine sense of form that controls the vast design, and in the skill with which the themes are made, in this or that metamorphosis, to play organic parts in the development of the work, it stands at the head of all the symphonic poems we know. Its exciting episodes, the richness of its instrumentation, its high peaks of emotional intensity, and its infinite contrasts satisfy completely the demands of the modern ear for color, movement, and strength.
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Assistant Conductor
Boris Sokoloff, Manager Joseph H. Santarlasci, Assistant Manager
Norman Carol Concertmaster
William de Pasquale Associate Concertmaster
Herbert Light Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo David Arben Barbara de Pasquale Max Miller Ernest L. Goldstein Herbert Light Luis Biava Larry Grika Cathlcen Dalschaert Vera Tarnowsky
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Julia Janson Isadore Schwartz Jerome VViglcr Xorman Black Irving Ludwig George Dreyfus Louis Lanza Stephane Dalschaert Arnold Grossi Booker T. Rowe Herold Klein Virginia Halfmann Charles Rex
Josef de Pasquale James Fawcett Leonard Mogill Gabriel Braverman Sidney Curtiss Gaetano Molicri Leonard Bogdanoff Charles Griffin Wolfgang Granat Irvin Segall Donald R. Clauser Renard Edwards
Violoncellos Samuel Mayes Winifred Mayes
On leave t Deceased
Harry Gorodetzer Francis de Pasqualet Lloyd Smith Joseph Druian William Saputelli Barbara Haffncr Bert Phillips George Harpham Marcel Farago Santo Caserto
Roger M. Scott Michael Shahan Neil Courtney Ferdinand Maresh Wilfred Batchcldcr Carl Torello Samuel Gorodetzer Emilio Gravagno Curtis Burris
Murray W. Panitz Kenneth E. Scutt Kenton F. Terry John C. Krell, Piccolo
John de Lancie Stevens Hewitt Charles M. Morris Louis Rosenblatt, English Horn
Anthony M. Gigliotti Donald Montanaro R:ioul Querze Ronald Reuben, Bass Clarinet
Bassoons Bernard Garfield John Shamlian Adelchi Louis Angelucci Robert J. Pfeuffer, Contra Bassoon
Mason Jones Xolan Miller Glenn Janson John Simonelli Herbert Pierson Kendall Betts
Trumpets Gilbert Johnson Donald E. McComas Seymour Rosenfeld Samuel Krauss
Trombones Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breuninger M. Dee Stewart Robert S. Harper, Bass Trombone
Paul Krzywicki
Timpani Gerald Carlyss Michael Bookspan
Michael Bookspan Alan Abel Anthony Orlando William Saputelli
Celesta, Piano, Organ William Smith Marcel Farago
Marilyn Costello
Margarita Csonka
Jesse C. Taynton
Anthony Ciccarelli
Personnel Manager Mason Jones
Stage Personnel Edward Barnes, Manager Theodore Hauptle James Sweeney
Photo Publicity Adrian Siegel
Broadcast Recording
Albert L. Borkow, Jr.
The Philadelphia Orchestra has participated in the May Festival annually since 1936, Mr. Ormandy conducting since 1937.

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