Complete Series: 3883
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Assistant Conductor
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conducting
Soloist BYRON JAMS, Pianist
Thursday Evening, May 2, 1974, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
ALL FRENCH PROGRAM Overture and Allegro from the Suite "La Sultane" . . . CouperinMilhaud
?Symphony No. 1 in C major...........Bizet
Allegro vivo Adagio
Allegro vivace Allegro vivace
Concerto No. 5 in F major for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 103 . . SaintSaens
Allegro moderato Andante
"Iberia" ("Images" for Orchestra, No. 8).......Debussy
Available on Columbia Records RCA Red Seal
Eightyfirst Annual May Festival
Complete Concerts 388.
by Glenn D. McGeoch
Overture and Allegro from the Suite "La Sultane" . . CouperinMilhaud
Taken as a whole, the definitive, manifold, and complex art of "Couperin le grand," (16681733) as he was respectfully referred to by his contemporaries, forms a kind of compendium of the activities of French instrumental music in the eighteenth century. It embodies its purest and most characteristic qualities. Climaxing, as did Johann Sebastian Bach, a family of musical distinction famous for over two centuries, Francois Couperin wrote in all of the musical forms known to his period except opera. With his rapidly increasing publications after 1713, his fame as a composer spread throughout Europe. Already recognized as a most distinguished and brilliant performer on the harpsichord, he won further fame in 1716 as the author of a famous technical treatise, L'Art He toucher de clavecin. In all of these capacities, as performer, composer, and author, he influenced many of the great names of his period, especially Johann Sebastian Bach, who adopted his methods, taught his compositions, and used him as a model while composing the French Suites.
Nietzche, who protested so strongly against "romantic disorder--the hodgepodge of tones, with its aspiration after the elevated, the sublime, the involved," would have delighted in Couperin's circumspect workmanship and lack of redundancy. Here is the art he yearned for, "buoyant, fluid art, divinely artificial--that coruscates like a clear flame in a cloudless sky."
The overture and allegro on tonight's program arc the first two movements of ''La Sultane"-"Sonade en quator," a quartet for two violins and two cellos with clavecin continuo, scored for the modern orchestra by Darius Milhaud.
Symphony No. 1 in C major.........Georges Bizet
The miniature symphony on this evening's program will never alter Bizet's position as primarily a composer of dramatic works, or offer any competition to established symphonists. Yet this early work, written when he was but seventeen, has achieved astonishing success in recent years, not only finding its way into concert repertories throughout the world, but also serving as the score for three contemporary ballets. It did not, in fact, reach the public until eighty years after its creation, when on February 26, 1035, it was performed for the first time at Basle under the direction of Felix Weingartner.
Bizet composed the symphony in less than a month, in November of 1855, while a student at the Paris Conservatory. Neither he nor his teacher considered it more than an academic exercise, and throughout his lifetime he forbade its publication. After his death, his widow respected his wishes and for the threequarters of a century the manuscript remained undisturbed among his papers until they were later removed to the library of the Paris Conservatory. Xot one of his biographers seems to have had the slightest idea of its existence. Although there were several references to "my sym?phony" in his voluminous correspondence, these referred to an entirely different work, the "Roma Suite," which today is often designated as his Second Symphony. It was not until 1933 that the eminent French music critic Jean Chantavoine, by a mere stroke of luck, discovered the manuscript. A casual reference to it was made in an article he wrote for the August issue of Le Uinestrel, but there was not the slightest implication that he had discovered anything unusual. It was entirely due to the efforts of the British critic Mr. D. C. Parker that the charming little symphony was finally rescued from oblivion and brought to the attention of Felix Weingartner.
Critics have been patronizing in estimating the value of the work, affirming that it is more of a suite than a symphony, and that it is full of what they indulgently call "youthful defects." If by youthful defects they mean that it contains many eclectic moments they are indeed correct, for one is reminded persistently of Haydn, Mozart, and Mendelssohn, while Beethovenlike scherzo figures and melodic fragments of Schubert, Schumann, and Rossini dart out from its pages. On the other hand, embryonic ideas, that later find such brilliant and glamorous fulfillment in Bizet's more mature works, sound momentarily throughout this symphony. In spite of the moments that probe the memory for their sources rather than engage the ear by their originality, this modest little symphony is much more than a scholastic exercise--it is a technically expert work, demonstrating a surcness of touch and an impeccable sense of style unusual in a youth of seventeen.
Concerto No. 5 in F major
for Piano and Orchestra, Op. 103.....Camille SaintSaexs
No other composer played so great a part in the formation of the modern French school of symphonic writing as Camille SaintSaens; in the field of music in which France was weakest, he served her best. A thorough master of every technical detail of his art, he brought to everything he wrote a mastery of musical means and a skillful technical manipulation. F.ndowed with a pro?digious facility for production and a tremendous talent for the assimilation of musical thought, he was fabulously prolific and equally successful in every department of musical activity. He became a mercurial composer, an indefatigable teacher, a skillful pianist, a brilliant conductor--in which
office he was active until after his eightieth year--an excellent organist, an incomparable improviser, and, besides distinguishing himself as a critic and editor, he was also a recognized poet, a dramatist, and a scientist of sorts. Nature had endowed him not only with a great intellect and talent, but also with a tremendous energy and inexhaustible capacity for work. There was hardly a branch of musical art he left untouched. He wrote piano and organ music, symphonies, symphonic poems, every variety of chamber music, cantatas, oratorios, masses, operas, songs, choral works, incidental music, operettas, ballets, transcriptions, and arrangements with equal ease and sureness. This amazing versatility, however, was the source of his great weakness. SaintSaens gave in his art, not himself, but a rather colorless and spiritless simulacrum of the masters of the past; he possessed the unfortunate faculty of assimilation. He knew all the styles, but he knew them super?ficially and only externally. Lacking in genuine warmth of temperament, in imagination, perception, or genuine depth of sentiment, he made up in part for these major defects by the unquestionable power of intuitive faculty, his natural charm of expression at all times, and his dexterous control of the technical elements of his art.
His works, however, are the product of an epoch in transition, and although not always intrinsic in value, they form so mountainous a bulk that the eye of the musical world turned perforce to France, at a period when she was poor in true musicians; they represented something which was unique in French music of the period--a great classical spirit and a fine breadth of musical culture. His personal tragedy was that although he wrote much, he added not an iota to the further progress of music.
Jean Aubry has made the most just estimate of SaintSaens as an artist: "It would be idle to deny his merits and to look with indifference upon his works, but none of them really forms a part of our emotional life or satisfies the needs of our minds completely. They already appear as respectable and necessary documents in musical history, but not as the living emanations of genius which will retain their vitality in spite of the passing of time and fashions." Chesterian (London, January, 1922).
"Iberia" ("Images" for Orchestra, No. 8).....Claude Debussy
France had no music of a real national character for over a century before the advent of Debussy. While the nationalization of music in France was not the work of Debussy alone, certainly no one approached the expression of so truly a French musical spirit with greater success than he. His style reveals the purest craftsmanship, impeccable taste, and above all a finesse and lucidity in execution.
In our concert halls today, Debussy is definitely out of fashion. Yet among musicians of this generation, his star is in the ascent. They are reevaluating his position in music history at a time when their art is floundering in a welter of experimentation some of which has already led to a complete annihilation of former expressive and formal values. Debussy emerges today as one of music's most original composers and effective liberators. In emphasizing sound for sound's sake, he destroyed the old rhetoric of music and invented a contemporary approach to form. He was the first of the really great moderns who prepared the way for the "atonalists" by introducing chords outside of the key signature, creating a vague feeling of tonality without actually rejecting it. His conscious reaction against Romanticism, and especially Wagner, rejected the grandiose, the epic, and the aggressive and substituted discreet, subtle, and evanescent moods for strong personal emo?tionalism. Preceded by minor composers like Satie. and followed by the major masters of our day-Schonberg, Stravinsky, Webern, Berg--he led music into a new world of enchantment and discovery.
Debussy's music is invariably identified with Impressionistic painting. In truth, they both created similar worlds of vagueness, atmosphere, and vibrant color. The Impressionist painters-Monet, Manet, Degas, and Renoir--who saw the world as a dynamic, constantly changing reality, offer an interesting parallel to Debussy whose music gives the most fleeting existence of immaterial abstract ideas. While they negated all the established rules of painting by reducing evenly colored surfaces to spots and dabs of color, or with abrupt short brush strokes shattered forms into frag?ments, so Debussy, through his unresolved dissonance, sensitive awareness of delicate instrumental combinations, fragmentary themes, flexible and even vague rhythms, forsook established musical forms in the interest of atmosphere. Debussy, in truth, knew very little about the painters. As has been pointed out by Alfred Frankenstein, "The Imagery from Without" in High Fidelity, Sep?tember, 1962, there is no evidence that he found any direct inspiration in their paintings. Nowhere in his extensive writing is there any statement that he was conscious of their existence, far less that he acknowledged any indebtedness to them. The Impressionist painters were all of a generation older than Debussy.
His relationship to the Symbolist movement in literature was much closer. The fluid mysterious imagery of Maeterlinck drew him to the creation of PelUas et Melimnde; Mallarme's "network of illusion," as he referred to poetry, inspired him to compose "Prelude a l'apresmidi d'un faune"; and to the sensuous poetry of Paul Verlaine ("Les Fetes galantes" and "Ariettas oubliees") he added prolonged eloquence in his music.
Iberia was the ancient Greek name for the country known to the Romans as Hispania (Spain). These Spanish sketches abound in abrupt juxtaposition of apparently unrelated and sharply con?trasted ideas, riotous colors, and shifting rhythms. Only in the second section does the placid, reflective atmospheric style of the composer find sustained expression. "Iberia" is divided into the following sections: (1) "Par les rues et par les chemins" ("In the Streets and Byways") ; (2) Lcs Parfums de la nuit" ("Perfumes of the Night") and (3) "Lc Matin d'un jour de fete" ("The Morning of the Feast Day").
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Assistant Conductor
Boris Sokoloff, Manager Joseph H. Santarlasci, Assistant Manager
Norman Carol Conccrtmaster
William de Pasquale Associate Concertmaster
David Arbon Assistant Concertmaster
Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo Barbara de Pasquale Herbert Light Max Miller Ernest L. Goldstein Luis Biava Vera Tarnowsky Larry Grika Cathleen Dalschaert Herold Klein
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Julia Janson Irving Ludwig Jerome Wigler 'irginia Halfmann George Dreyfus Arnold Grossi Louis Lanza Stephane Dalschaert Isadore Schwartz Booker T. Rowe Charles Rex Davyd Booth
Joseph de Pasquale James Fawcett Leonard Mogill Sidney Curtiss Gaetano Molieri Irving Segall Leonard Bogdanoff Charles Griffin Wolfgang Granat Donald R. Clauser Albert Filosa Renard Edwards
William Stokking Winifred Mayes Harry Gorodetzer Lloyd Smith Joseph Druian Bert Phillips Deborah Reeder Christopher Rex George Harpham William Saputelli Marcel Farago Santo Caserta
Roper M. Scott Michael Shahan Neil Courtney Ferdinand Maresh Wilfred Batchcldcr Carl Torello Samuel Gorodetzer F.milio 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. Gisrliotti Donald Montanaro Rauol Querzc 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
Trombones Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breunuint:er M. Dee Stewart Robert S. Harper Bass Trombone
Timpani Gerald Carlyss Michael Bookspan
Michael Bookspan Alan Abel Anthony Orlando William Saputelli
Celesta, Piano and Organ William Smith Marcel Farafio
Jesse C. Taynton
Personnel Manager Mason Jones
Stage Personnel Edward Barnes, Manager Theodore Hauptle James Sweeney
Photo Publicity Adrian Siegel
Albert L. Borkow, Jr.