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UMS Concert Program, May 4, 1974: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Concert: Fourth
Complete Series: 3885
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor
William Smith, Assistant Conductor
Soloist BEVERLY SILLS, Soprano
Saturday Evening, May 4, 1974, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium. Axx Arbor. Michigan
Five Pieces for Small Orchestra, Op. 42 Moderato Andante Largo Moderato Allegretto
Symphony No. 88 in G major
Adagio; allegro Largo
Menuetto: allegretto Allegro con spirito
Motet, "Exsultate, jubilate," K. 165
Exsultate, jubilate Fulget arnica dies
Tu virginum corona Alleluja
Beverly Sills
"Depuis le jour," from Louise ....
Final Scene from Anna Bolena.....
Miss Sills
??Roman Festivals.......
Available on Columbia Records RCA Red Seal
Charpentier Donizetti
Fourth Concert
Eightyfirst Annual May Festival
Complete Concerts ,885
Glenn D. McGeoch
Five Pieces for Small Orchestra, Op. 42 . . . . Dmitri Shostakovich
(1906 )
The Five Pieces, written by Shostakovich at the age of twentynine, were never mentioned or listed among his major works, until Ivan Martynov, in a monograph (1947) referred to them as "Five Fragments for Orchestra, 1935 manuscript, op. 42." A conflict, which had begun to appear between the composer's natural, but advanced expression, and the Soviet official sanction came to a climax in 1934 when he produced his "avant guarde" opera Lady Macbeth of Mzensk. He was accused of "deliberate musical affectation" and of writing "unSoviet, eccentric music, founded upon formalistic ideas of bourgeois musical conceptions." Responding to this official castigation, he wrote a series of short, neoclassic, understated works, typical of the Five Pieces on tonight's program. Mr. Ormandy performed them for the first time outside of the Soviet Union. Their lucid, simple, chamberlike style offers a vivid contrast to the orchestral complexity and extensive range of the major works, by which the world knows Shostakovich today.
The First Piece (moderato, 24) is quiet and transparent, and features all the single woodwinds (piccolo, oboe, English horn, high and bass clarinets, bassoon and contrabassoon) with two horns and harp. The Second (andante, 24) balances woodwinds (flute, oboe, high and bass clarinets, bassoon) and brasses (two horns, trumpet, trombone, tuba) in addition to contrabass and harp. It is on a higher dynamic and rhythmic level than the first. Three strongly plucked contrabass notes end the section. Trie Third (largo, 44) is confined to muted strings and harps, kept on a continuous pianissimo level, with a bass line of three tones anchored on the tone G (GF, GBflatG). The Fourth (moderato, C) oboe, clarinet and bassoon dominate, with horn at the beginning and end, when strings are added. A single tone sounded twice signals a diminutive canon for bassoon, clarinet, and oboe in this order, interrupted, before completion, by a pianissimo chord in muted strings. A .?light echo of the canon is heard in augmentation (notes double the value of the original theme), by the violins. The horn returns with a brief recurrence of its initial statement. The Fifth (allegretto, 34) is more rhythmically, melodicallv. and harmonically typical of the composer. The drum, flute, clarinets, bass clarinet, violin and contrabass are employed in this temporarily restrained style of a composer who ultimately attained one of the "most dazzling reputations in twentiethcentury music."
Symphony No. 88 in G major.........Joseph Haydn
In the seventyseven years of his life, Haydn had witnessed and helped to shape the great classic tradition in musical composition, and had lived to see his formal and serene classic world sink under the surging tide of Romanticism. He, himself, however, played no part in, nor reflected in his art, that period of deep unrest at the end of the eighteenth century that resulted in the literary and philosophical insurrection of which Goethe in Germany and Rousseau in France were representative. Beethoven had caught this spirit in his "Eroica" symphony (1805) and the "Appassionata" sonata (1S06). But Haydn heard only the faintest echoes of these great works which tore at the very roots of musical expression and rent the whole fabric of musical forms. With his death, disappeared the even tenor and calm serenity of existence so beautifully symbolized by his own life and so confidently expressed in his music. With Haydn died the classical tradition in music.
Haydn systematized musical forms and secularized expression. Xot only did he realize the unique powers of music as an art in itself and evolve and codify new forms, but he achieved the glorification of the natural music which exists in the hearts of the people, by elevating its essentially healthy and vigorous qualities into the realm of art. It is beyond controversy that, of the great masters of the German genius epoch, Haydn was the first to make himself intelligible to the masses. He spoke a musical language that appealed with the same directness to the skilled artist as to the merest layman. He disseminated his art among all. He was its true secularizcr; he brought it to earth.
In his music, every thought takes on a grace of form. With a unity of the whole, there is a lucidity in detail, a neatness and elegance, and a perfect ease and clearness in the exposition of his ideas. He is introspective, and his music is never too subjective. He does not indulge in the "luxury of grief"; there is no passionate striving for the unobtainable here. Haydn's one theme in art is the joy and beauty of the moment; he saw things simply, and he recorded his impressions with honesty, frankness, and great economy of means.
In 1761, Haydn was appointed ViceKapellmeister at the court of Prince Paul Anton Esterhazy at Eisenstadt. About a year after he was established, however. Prince Paul died and was succeeded by his even more musically dedicated brother, Nicolaus, who encouraged Haydn's desire to re?organize the existing small orchestra into a more disciplined and professional group.
"My Prince," wrote Haydn to his friend Griesinger, "was satisfied with my labors; I received applause; as director of the orchestra, I could make experiments, observe the results of them, per?ceive that which was weak, then rectify it, add, or take away. I was cut off from the world; no one in my vicinity knew me, or could make me go wrong, or annoy me; so I was forced to become original."
In this Utopian situation, with constant encouragement from his patron, Haydn continued for almost a half century to produce that great body of compositions which brought not only immortality to him, but also everlasting glory and respect to the name of Esterhazy.
The Gmajor Symphony on tonight's program was written about 1786, seven years before the composition of the twelve mature "Salomon" symphonies. Although it is a short and naive work among Haydn's great symphonies, it is by no means an early or immature one. Haydn had been in the services of his patron, Prince Esterhazy, for twentyfive years, and was fiftyfour years of age at the time of its composition. Xowhere does he reveal more ingenious invention, more economy of means, and greater effect than he does in this delightful little work.
Exsultate, jubilate........Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
In November of 1772, Mozart, then seventeen years of age, arrived in Milan, Italy, to finish his opera Lucio Silla. The continued success of the opera after its premiere on December 26 inspired Mozart to create for one of its principal singers, the male soprano Venanzio Rauzzini, a motet "Exsultate, jubilate," accompanied by strings, oboes, horns, and organ. The work was performed by him in the church of Theatines, Milan, January 17, 1773.
By temperament, taste, and training, Mozart followed the rococo gallant manner of his great Italian predecessors, Alessandro Scarlatti, Caldara, Porpora, and others. Into his religious work he carried, as did they, the transparency and charm of the Italian operatic style. To the purist, works like the "Exsultate, jubilate" may indicate a lack of religious sincerity in Mozart, a degradation of ecclesiastical composition and a vulgar mixture of styles. A large part of the church music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was thus censured and condemned by nineteenthcentury critics. Pergolesi's Stabal Mater, the masses and litanies, the motets of the Italians, as well as the religious works of Haydn and Mozart, were considered inappropriate and unliturgical. Absence of austerity was taken for lack of respect by those critics who in their incredible seriousness failed to sense the childlike piety, the humanity, and directness of those works, or to realize that these composers were writing in the style and reflecting the taste of their period, for in such artists religious feelings and artistic impulse were one and the same thing. If music like Mozart's "Exsultate. jubilate," Pergolesi's Slabat Mater, or Haydn's Creation are to be excluded from the church, then, as Einstein points out, so should the circular panels of Botticelli depicting the infant Christ sur?rounded by Florentine angels.
"Depuis le jour" from Louise.......Gustave Charpentier
Charpentier's opera Louise was produced lor the first time, February 2, 1900, at the Opera Comique, Paris. The composer wrote the text, many of its situations having been derived from his own experiences when he lived in an attic in Montmartre.
The story concerns itself with Louise, the daughter of a French working man, who loves and is loved by Julien, a young poet. The parents do not regard him favorably, and they refuse their consent to a marriage. In spite of this obstacle, Julien continues his pursuit of Louise, who, in?toxicated partly by love and partly by the vista of the joy and the gay bohemianism of the city that the companionship with Julien will bring her, leaves the drab life of her parents' home and casts her lot with the poet.
"Depuis le jour" is sung by Louise at the opening of the third act of the opera as she stands with her lover, Julien, in the garden of the little house on the Butte de Montmartre. It is the expres?sion of a single exalted mood, at once delicate and impassioned.
The text, freely translated from the French, is as follows:
"From the day I gave myself to love, I seem to be dreaming under a magic sky. My soul still thrills to your first kiss. Life has become a thing of beauty and I am happy as love covers me protectingly with his wings. Joy sings in the garden of my heart. All around me is laughter, light, and happiness. I still tremble with ecstasy at the memory of that first day of love."
Final Scene from Anna Bolcna.......Gaetano Donizetti
In the foreword to his book on Donizetti, Herbert Weinstock writes that his special interest in this composer dates from a performance of his tragic opera Anna Bolena which he heard at La Scala in Milan, Italy, in 1958. Referring to it as one of the most profoundly moving operatic experiences
of his life, he states that "Donizetti was a musicodramatic creator of far greater importance than any of my earlier contacts with other of his operas had led me to believe." The opera composers of Donizetti's time had the greatest knowledge of and respect for the unique expressive potentialities of the human voice. "Their wonderful sense for the beauty of the voice," wrote Paul Henry Lang, "gave their melodies that broad elastic, flexible, freely arching line which is the birthright of the lyric stage. The soul of this melody is in love with the reality of the human voice, and while it shares of this love, it also fires it with passion and exuberance." (Paul Henry Lang, Music in Western Civilization (New York: W. W. .Norton & Co., Inc. 1941) p. 837.)
Donizetti's opera Anna Bolena, produced at the Teatro Carano in Milano, December 26, 1830, was the composer's first signal success. The excerpt on tonight's program comprises the final scene as Anna is led to execution. She is accompanied by a chorus of lamenting women, her lover Percy, her brother Rochefort, Hervey, the captain of the guards, and her page Smeaton. In this concert version they are omitted. Their short interjection of grief and guilt are of little significance and lend nothing to the dramatic or musical continuity of the scene. In the operas of this genre, where the voice reigns supreme, there are often repetitions of the text, and the words broken into syllables in the interest of the ornamentation of the vocal line. The following, therefore, is a condensation, rather than a literal translation of the text:
Anna, her mind deranged, enters from the prison addressing her weeping ladiesinwaiting. Recitative: Why do you weep (piangete voi). This is my wedding day--The King awaits me--the altar is decked with flowers--quickly my white robe--a wreath of roses for my hair. Percy will never know the King forbade it. Who spoke of Percy He is coming, railing against me--I will not see him. Save me from my misery, do not let me die deserted--no, no, no,--you smile Percy! oh joy!
Aria: "Take me hack to my childhood (Al dolec gttidarmi) to the planetrees and the quiet stream--restore one day of my youth." (Sound of drums, as the guards enter led by Captain Hervey.) "In such a time of madness, what is my fate" (Enter other prisoners, Percy, Rochefort, and Smeaton--for a moment she recognizes them) "My brother, and you Percy! are you to die with me" (She recalls a song Smeaton sang, while playing his harp in Act I.) "Smeaton, why do you not tune your harp--who broke the strings that gave a gentle sound like the sigh of my broken heart-listen! Heaven grant me rest (Cielo, a miei lunghi)." INote the resemblance to the melody "Home Sweet Home" written by the English composer Bishop for his opera Clari (1823) and no doubt familiar to Donizetti I (Cannon shots and sound of bells heralding the new queen Jane Seymour.) "Sounds of rejoicing--what is it--tell me where I am--Silence--stop--nothing is lacking but the shedding of ray blood." (She sinks into the arms of her women. In a final outburst she denounces her rival and the King (Coppia iniqua), but in the face of death, relents.) "Let me go to my grave with forgiveness on my lips, and may this win me mercy in the eyes of God." (She is led off with the other prisoners to the block as the curtain slowly falls.)
Symphonic Poem: "Roman Festivals"......Ottorino Respighi
"Roman Festivals" is the third of a cycle of three symphonic poems, written by Respighi, commemorating the city of Rome. The first, "The Fountains of Rome," written in 1916, sought to create for the listener a tonal impression of four of the city's famous fountains seen as different times of the day. Eight years later, in 1924, he produced "Trie Pines of Rome," in which he aimed to recall the centuryold trees which so characteristically dominate the Roman landscape. In 192S, he composed the "Roman Festivals," the last and, musically speaking, perhaps the least impressive of the three, which, he writes, "is meant to summon up visions and evocations of Roman fetes by means of the maximum of orchestral sonority and color." As a study in startling and complex in?strumentation, it is stunningly effective.
The following programmatic explanation is printed in the score:
I. Circenses (Games in the Circus Maximus): A threatening sky hangs over the Circus Maximus; it is the people's holiday. "Hail Nero!" The iron doors are unbolted; the strains of religious song and the howling of wild beasts float on the air. The crowd rises in agitation. Unperturbed, the song of the martyrs develops, conquers and then is lost in the tumult.
II. Guibileo (The Jubilee): The pilgrims trail along the highway, praying. From the summit of Mount Mario, there finally appears to ardent eyes and gasping souls the Holy City: "Rome! Rome!" A hymn of praise bursts forth. The churches ring out their reply.
III. L'Ottobrata (The October Harvest Festivals): The October Festivals in the Roman "Castelli," covered with vines; echoes of the hunt, tinkling bells and songs of love. Then, in the tender evenfall, there arises a romantic serenade.
IV. La Bejana (The Epiphany): The night before Epiphany in the Piazza Navena. A character?istic rhythm of trumpets dominates the frantic clamor. From time to time, above the swelling noise, float rustic motives, saltarello cadences, the strains of a barrel organ from a booth and the appeal of the "barker," the harsh song of the intoxicated and the lively storneUo, in which is expressed the popular feeling: Lassatcce passa! semo Romani!"--"We are Romans, let us pass."

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