Complete Series: 3946
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
THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION Donald Bryant, Director
JOHN PRITCHARD, Conducting
Soloist DONALD BELL, Baritone
Friday Evening, May 2, 1975, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture, "Les FrancsJuges" Op. 3.....
?Fantasia on a Theme of Thomas Tallis ....
Divertimento No. IS in Bflat major, K. 287 ...
Theme and Variations: andante grazioso Menuetto Adagio
Andante; allegro molto
"Belshazzar's Feast" for Baritone, Chorus, and Orchestra
Donald Bell University Choral Union
The Philadelphia Orchestra records exclusively for RCA Red Seal Available on Columbia Records
Vaughan Williams Mozart
Eightysecond Annual May Festival
Complete Concerts 3946
by Richard Freed
Overture, "Les FrancsJuges," Op. 3.......Hector Berlioz
In medieval Westphalia a secret tribunal called the Femgericht (or Vehmgericht) sat in judgment of persons accused of witchcraft and heresy; the defendants were brought before this court blind?folded and manacled, and the only sentence handed down with a verdict of "guilty" was death. This was the setting of the opera libretto by Berlioz's friend Humbert Ferrand, which the composer began setting to music with great enthusiasm in the mid1820s. The undertaking proved abortive when the Opera refused Ferrand's libretto, and, as Berlioz noted, "my music was consigned to a limbo from which it has never emerged. The overture only has been played. I have used and devel?oped some of the best ideas of this opera in subsequent compositions, and the remainder will either be treated the same way or burnt." One of the "subsequent compositions" was the "Symphonie fantastique," in which the "March of the Guards" from the opera was recast to serve as the fourth movement, the "March to the Scaffold."
The Overture to "Les FrancsJuges," Berlioz's first major orchestral work, was composed in 1827 and first performed under Habeneck in the first season of Conservatoire concerts, on May 26, 1828. Berlioz described the opera's plot as "monstrous, colossal, horrible," and these qualities are reflected in the awesome theme for the brass which represents the villainous Olmerick, chief of the dreaded tribunal. The allegro section begins with a fizzing, frenetic theme in the strings, which leads in turn to an impetuous, unexpectedly ingratiating one salvaged from an instrumental quintet Berlioz had written and abandoned before he came to Paris at the age of seventeen. Both of these themes--the latter assuming a heroic mold--are interrupted from time to time by menacing out?bursts of the Olmerick theme in the trombones, and midway through the allegro there is a chilling section comparable, for its time, with the evocation of the Wolf's Glen in Weber's Freischiit:--and pointing ahead to the "Ride to the Abyss" in Berlioz's own Damnation of Faust. "The orchestra here asumes a dual character," Berlioz wrote in his score: "the strings must play in rough and violent style, without covering up the flutes. The flutes and clarinets on the other hand play with a sweet and melancholy expression." Most striking here is the wild and imaginative use of the drums, which grow more and more insistent by subtle degrees until they overwhelm the other instruments and end the episode. Both the Olmerick and "heroic" themes return in the brilliant coda, to be swept away by a glorification of the first allegro theme.
Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis . . . Ralph Vaughan Williams
Thomas Tallis (ca. 15051585), named a Gentleman of the Chapel Royal by Henry VIII, was, according to his epitaph, a "myld and quyet Sort (0 happy Man)." For the Archbishop of Canter?bury's Metrical Psalter of 1567 Tallis composed a set of nine choral pieces illustrating the various modes; the third of these, in the Phrygian mode and set to the words "Why fumeth in fight," was edited by Vaughan Williams in 1906 as No. 92 in the English Hymnal (in which collection the original text is replaced by Addison's "When rising from the bed of death"). Three years later he returned to Tallis' piece and used it as the basis for the work in which, as Frank Howes remarked, he "declared himself to the world as a new force in English music."
Up to that time Vaughan Williams had written very little for orchestra and nothing of major proportions which bore nearly so personal an imprint; the "Tallis Fantasia" constituted his "signing in," and in a real sense remains his quintessentially representative work. In such later compositions as the symphonies and the still toolittleknown Job the qualities disclosed here were elaborated and expanded upon, but this concise and original work was neither superseded nor surpassed as an expression of the composer's individuality, or of the indefinable element that went far beyond his involvement with folk sources in identifying his musical thought as uniquely English.
The "Tallis Fantasia," scored for double string orchestra and solo string quartet, is not a fantasia in the strict Elizabethan sense, not a "free fantasy" in the modern sense, and not a series of variations. It might be described as a sequence of meditations or ruminations on a theme whose very nature evokes an aura of mystical profundity and which stirred the deepest response in Vaughan Williams. The Fantasia is in fact related to several of his other works thematically as well as spiritually. The opening theme is a modification of one he had used in two vocal works of 1905-"Toward the Unknown Region," a choral setting of Walt Whitman's words, and "Bright is the ring of words," the second of the Songs of Travel on texts of Robert Louis Stevenson. Another theme, introduced later in the "Fantasia" as a variant of the one by Tallis, was reused some forty years later as the motif of the Celestian City in the opera The Pilgrim's Progress.
The actual Tallis theme is not stated outright at first, but rather hinted at by the low strings, pizzicati, under a sustained note in the violins and with a responsory effect provided by a swaying chordal figure. When the theme does appear in full, it is given in Tallis' original ninepart har?monization. After some elaboration the two string orchestras assume their antiphonal roles: the larger group, with the solo quartet, makes its comments on portions of the theme, each time answered by the smaller group with the "swaying" figure. At length the solo viola introduces the Pilgrim's Progress theme, which passes through the two orchestras and is then taken up by solo violin and viola. The solo quartet and both orchestras recall various motifs, a brief Adagio passage leads back to the original theme, and a brief coda ends the work on a note of calm resolution.
Divertimento No. IS in Bflat major, K. 287 . . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The attachment of the Countess Antonia Lodron's name to three substantial works she com?missioned from Mozart has earned that lady a certain measure of immortality which no one would begrudge her. The Concerto in F major for three pianos, K. 242, which the Countess and her two daughters performed, and the Divertimentos in F, K. 247, and in Bflat, K. 287, were written within a span of twelve months; the Bflat Divertimento, the most ambitious of these works, was com?pleted on February 1, 1777, just five days after Mozart turned twentyone. The original scoring of both divertimentos was for two violins, viola, double bass, and two horns, but the string com?plement is frequently expanded and, in fact, the Divertimento in Bflat, like the later one in D major, K. 334, is probably better known today from its appearances on orchestral programs than as a chamber work; its character is quite unaltered by the larger body of strings.
The first violin has a prominent role, which Mozart himself was the first to play; his enthusiasm for the work served to override his characteristic lack of enthusiasm for playing the violin, not only in the first performance, but in numerous subsequent ones, both in Salzburg and elsewhere. It was after a performance of K. 287 in Munich, in the late summer of 1777, that he wrote to his father: "I played as though I were the first fiddler in all Europe!" During the following year he played the Divertimento on a number of occasions in Paris and other cities he visited, and his father's letters to him describe several performances of the work in Salzburg during his absence. The early popularity of K. 287 is both understandable, in terms of audience appeal, and eminently well deserved on musical grounds. Alfred Einstein proclaimed the work "a masterpiece sui generis," citing its maturity, its character, and its subtlety as anticipations of Mozart's last Vienna period.
The Divertimento comprises six movements (two of which are omitted in the present per?formance). This performance begins with what is actually the second movement, a set of variations (Andante grazioso) in which the theme, as Einstein observed, "dons six different charactermasks, none of them tragic." Lyrical sweetness predominates in the ensuing Minuet, preparing the listener for the sublime Adagio (Eflat), the most deeply felt section of the work and the one most in the true character of chamber music: the horns are silent throughout this movement, and the first violin's solo prominence is confirmed by a little cadenza at the end. Facets of the mature chambermusic style of Beethoven are discernible here and also in the final Allegro. (A second minuet, which stands between these two movements in the original version, is omitted here.)
The Andante introduction (in G minor) to the final movement is, in Einstein's words, "an exag?geratedly pathetic recitative" to set off the scintillating good humor of the Allegro molto, which is based on a comical popular song in SouthGerman dialect, "D'Bauerin hat d'Katz verlorn, weiss nit wo's is'") ("The peasant girl has lost her cat, and doesn't know where it is"). The comic effect is heightened by a brief reappearance of the recitative just before the spirited conclusion.
Belshazzar's Feast.........William Turner Walton
In the second and third decades of this century two young English composers stimulated a great deal of active interest in the musical world. William Walton's Viola Concerto (1929), Belshazzar's Feast for Baritone, Chorus, and Orchestra (1931), First Symphony (1935), Violin Concerto (1939), and Constant Lambert's Ballet Romeo and Juliet (1926), Rio Grande for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra (1929), Music for Orchestra (1931), Summer's Last Will and Testament, a Masque, for Chorus and Orchestra (1936), and other major works of each raised high expectation among musicians and critics. Walton's name became linked with Lambert's for no other reason than they alone seemed to stand out hopefully in a dearth of creative talent. Actually they represent highly individual and completely independent styles.
After an enthusiastic reception of a performance of Belshazzar's Feast in 1931, Ernest Newman wrote in the London Sunday Times:
"Nothing so full blooded as this, nothing so bursting with a very fury of exultation in the power of modern music, has been produced in this or any other country for a very long time; by the side
of it, Stravinsky's Symphonie de Psaumes is very anemic stuff indeed. Mr. Walton works consistently at a voltage that takes our breath away.
"But it is not mere sound and fury; the astounding thing about it all is the composer's musical control of the pounding, panting engine he has launched. It is difficult to realize that so young a man has so complete a command of his subject, of his craftsmanship, and of himself; it is all new, all individual, yet all so thoroughly competent musically. After this, I should not care to place any theoretical bonds to Mr. Walton's possible development."
Although much of the novelty of the score has evaporated in the past forty years, and we are more aware today of its obvious and external effectiveness, the music still impresses with its drama?tic tension and immediacy. The individuality of Walton's style persists, although it no longer seems to defy tradition even though it sometimes discards it. It is marked by rapid pace, elasticity of thematic treatment, rhythmic displacements and fluctuations, and a complexity of harmony that is often mistaken for polyphonic writing. Today we are perhaps more acutely aware of the crafts?manship and the practicality of Walton's inventiveness than we were when this effective work first shocked us with its seemingly brutal expression. For all its harsh dissonance there is a retention of "key" feeling throughout; for all its apparent complexity of texture, the total effect is achieved without too much elaboration. The epic union of a double chorus, a large orchestra, and two brass bands cannot fail to excite by the sheer impact of its dynamics. This unabashed exploitation of all the resources of volume and sonority has been censured by some critics who point out that, in spite of the sensational effects achieved, there is little evidence of real creative energy. Yet the fact that Walton is able to sustain throughout this work a persistent unyielding pitch of relentless dramatic power attests to the fact that he has unquestioned inventiveness and resourcefulness as a composer.
The epic framework within which he shapes his musical forms and colors into a sonorous structural unity is an assembled text drawn from the Book of Psalms and the Book of Daniel by Osbert Sitwell. The vehemence of the Biblical text amply justifies the character of the music, which is always dramatically appropriate. There is no doubt that this myriad colored music, now restless and sullen, now savage and menacing--sings to us "of old unhappy far off things, and battles long ago."
--Glenn D. McGeoch
The text is as follows:
Thus spake Isaiah:
Thy sons that thou shalt beget
They shall be taken away,
And be eunuchs
In the palace of the King of Babylon Howl ye, howl ye, therefore: For the day of the Lord is at hand!
By the waters of Babylon,
By the waters of Babylon There we sat down: yea, we wept And hanged our harps upon the willows.
For they that wasted us
Required of us mirth ;
They that carried us away captive
Required of us a song.
Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
How shall we sing the Lord's song In a strange land
If I forget thee, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget her cunning.
If I do not remember thee,
Let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth.
Yea, if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief
joyBy the waters of Babylon There we sat down: yea, we wept. 0 daughter of Babylon, who art to be
Happy shall he be that taketh thy children And dasheth them against a stone,
For with violence shall that great city Babylon
be thrown down And shall be found no more at all.
Babylon was a great city,
Her merchandise was of gold and silver,
Of precious stones, of pearls, of fine linen,
Of purple, silk and scarlet,
All manner vessels of ivory,
All manner vessels of most precious wood,
Of brass, iron, and marble,
Cinnamon, odours, and ointments,
Of frankincense, wine, and oil,
Fine flour, wheat, and beasts,
Sheep, horses, chariots, slaves,
And the souls of men.
Belshazzar the King
Made a great feast,
Made a feast to a thousand of his lords, And drank wine before the thousand.
Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, Commanded us to bring the gold and silver
vessels: Yea! the golden vessels, which his father,
Had taken out of the temple that was in Jerusalem.
He commanded us to bring the golden vessels Of the temple of the house of God, That the King, his Princes, his wives, And his concubines might drink therein.
Then the King commanded us: Bring ye the cornet, flute, sackbut, psaltery, And all kinds of music: they drank wine again And then spake the King:
The God of Gold Praise ye
The God of Silver Praise ye
The God of Iron Praise ye
The God of Stone Praise ye
The God of Wood Praise ye
The God of Brass
Thus in Babylon, the mighty city, Belshazzar the King made a great feast, Made a feast to a thousand of his lords And drank wine before the thousand.
Belshazzar whiles he tasted the wine Commanded us to bring the gold and silver
That his Princes, his wives, and his concubines Might rejoice and drink therein.
After they praised their strange gods,
The idols and the devils.
False gods who can neither see nor hear
Called they for the timbrel and the pleasant
To extol the glory of the King. Then they pledged the King before the people, Crying, Thou, 0 King, art King of Kings:
O King, live for ever ....
And in that same hour, as they feasted
Came forth fingers of a man's hand
And the King saw
The part of the hand that wrote.
And this was the writing that was written:
'mene, mene, tekel upiiarsin'
'thou art weighed in the balance
and found wanting.' In that night was Belshazzar the King slain And his Kingdom divided.
Then sing aloud to God our strength: Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. Take a psalm, bring hither the timbrel, Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, Blow up the trumpet in Zion For Babylon is fallen, fallen.
Then sing aloud to God our strength: Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob, While the Kings of the Earth lament And the merchants of the Earth Weep, wail, and rend the raiment. They cry, Alas, Alas, that great city, In one hour is her judgment come.
The trumpeters and pipers are silent, And the harpers have ceased to harp, And the light of a candle shall shine no more.
Then sing aloud to God our strength. Make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob. For Babylon the Great is fallen.
John Pritchard, eminent British conductor, is widely known for his large and varied repertoire encompassing all musical ages. He was musical director of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic from 1956 to 1962 and of the London Philharmonic from 1962 to 1966. He conducted the latter when it became the first Western symphony orchestra to perform in the People's Republic of China. He has conducted several orchestras in the United States including the San Francisco and Pittsburgh, and is making his debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra this season. Tonight marks Mr. Pritchard's Ann Arbor May Festival debut.
Equally at home in the operatic hall, Mr. Pritchard has conducted in major opera houses throughout the world, including the Metropolitan, San Francisco, Chicago Lyric, Naples' San Carlo, Buenos Aires' Teatro Colon, and Covent Garden. In 1952, he conducted the Covent Garden gala celebrating the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1947, Mr. Pritchard began his association with The Glyndebourne Festival in England, where he is now Musical Director, Principal Conductor, and Artistic Counsel.
THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
Donald Bryant, Conductor Nancy Hodge, Accompanist
First Sopranos Lucy Bjorklund Blanchard, Bette Bradstrcet, Lola Brock, Kathryn Bronson, Ann Brown, Karen Cassis, Odetle Cox, Elaine Denner, Phyllis Gallas, Carole Kenelon, Linda Fox, Estelle Gelstein, Deborah Gockel, Barbara Gretka, Christine Hanson, Gladys Hoover, Joanne Ingley, Mary Ellen Jenkins, Sylvia Kaczmarek, Ann Kceler, Ann Klepack, Karen Luecke, Doris Maglott, Lisa Malila. Elida Manuel, Kris Mathison, Denise McCallum, Barbara McCrery, Susan Meyer, Kathy O'Shea, Maureen Paliewicz, Monica Pearson, Agnes Phillips, Beth Rowe, Linda Schneider, Alice Schulcr, Ann Simons, Alane Skiba, Mary Ann Stockhorst, Eva Tomayer, Lore Van Gelderen, Cynthia Ware, Norma Woodman, Linda
Second Sopranos Albain, Kathy Allen, Tracy Almuti, Gloria Berry, Kathy Burr, Virginia Buss, Marilyn Capalbo, Gina Carron, Barbara Col well, Barbara Dindoffcr, Christina Fraley, Galene Harris, Kathryne Hayes, Ruth Hiraga, Mary Hodgson, Patricia Horning, Alice Jacob, Lois Johnson, Elizabeth Juvinall, Arleene Klettke, Patricia Kosarin, Stephanie Lamb, Margaret Leatherman, Cindy Lehmann. Judith Meyer, Linda Myhre, Karen Ovcrdeck. Eleanor Palms. Betty Petcoff, Susan Peterson, Martha Pinkham, Janice Porter, Vicki Porterfield, Carol Pratt, Carolyn
Reese, Virginia Richardson, Virginia Ronis, Laurel Schluederberg, Suzanne Sikora, Karen Simon, Susan Sipple, Mary StewartRobinson,
Tompkins, Patricia Vanzick, Charlene Waldenmyer, Cheryl Weber, Kathy Wendt, Christine Williams, Suzanne Zuelch, Mary
First Altos Adams, Judith Anderson, Susan Aradin, Carolyn Ause, Martha Barker, Kathy Beam, Eleanor Black, Lola Brace, Virginia Brown, Marion Bucalo, Patricia Burr, Barbara Cambron, Alice Cappaert, Lael Connors, Catherine Cummins, Jane Evans, Daisy Evich, N'ancy Farrcll, Mary Feldkamp, Lucy Fick, Amy Finkbeiner, Marilyn Forsblad. Ylva Frederick, Marian Gewanter, Ruth Oockel, Meredy Grasmick, Ann Green, Amy Gross, Ellen Hall, Christine Haviland. Naomi Hochheimer, Jean Hofmeistcr, Norma Hovey, Wendy Karp, N'ancy Keppelman, Nancy Kerr, Jan Kimura. Eugenie Koch, Marianne Koupal, Geraldine Lance, Glenys Lansdale, Mctta Liberson, Judy Lietz, Kirsten McCoy, Bernice Mclntyre, Joan Mikus, Margaret Miller, Mary Mosher, Susan Murray, Virginia Nelson, Lois Pennington, Pamela Petoskey, Barbara Remtema. Cindy Santolucito, Marcia Sinta, Susan Slee, Beth Steeh, Charlotte Stepcnske. Joan Street, Jane Thibault, Nancy Van Bolt, Jane Vlisides, Elena Warren. Rachelle
Weadon, Anne White, Myra Wiedmann, Louise Wolfe, Charlotte
Second Altos Amrhein, Dorothy Anderson, Sandra Aroian, Lois Baird, Marjorie Banana, Anna Bedell, Carolyn Bergermann, V'era Bien, Ellen Clausen, Laura Clayton, Carolyn Finkbeiner, Irene Frank, Anne Gelman, Judy Haab, Mary Hagerty, Joan Hull. Dana Lidgard, Ruth Lovelace, Elsie Mayman, Rosemary Mertaugh, Clemence Millard, Anna Miller, Florence Nisbett, Susan Norris, Barbara Olson, Constance Ray, Linda Roeger, Beverly Shevrin, Aliza Spencer, Carol Steiner, Kathleen Thompson, Peggy Tiberio, Suanne Vander Wai, Delores 'asser, Marian Warsinki, Alice Wilkinson, Ann Williams, Nancy Yalda, Christine
First Tenors Baker, Hugh Butler, Charles Cathey, Owen Cochrane, Alan Dodd, Kenneth Dombrowski, Timothy Domine, Robert Fiedler, Greg. Frenza, James Gross, Myron Lowry, Paul MacGregor, Robert Miller. Robert Mitchell, Dennis Moore, Merle Sauser, Robert
Bank, John Barera, Mark Bronson William Clark. Harold Etsweiler, John Freed, Robert Galbraith, Merle Girod, Albert Glover, Roy Halpern, Jeffrey Haworth, Donald Hmay, Thomas Johnson, Robert Klettke, Dwight Kruzich. Michael McCarthy, David
Pelachyk, John Slotnick, Dennis Smith, Phillip Straus, David Wahl, Jeffrey Wortley, James
Atkins, Anthony Beam, Marion Becvar, Thomas Berstis, Viktors Bien, Matt Bohde, Matthew Bolanos, Marco Brueger, John Burr, Charles Cipriano, John Clark, James Damashek. Robert Eastman, John Evans, Walter Fairchild, Win Franks. Thomas Freddolino, Paul Fry, Richard Hagerty, Thomas Hamilton, Edgar Haviland, Robert Haynes, Jeffrey Hencken, Joel Jarrett. John Kays, J. Warren Ketterman. Gary Kissel, Klair I.auih. David Litwinski. Anthony Malila. William Matis, John Mathison, Thomas Muntz, Richard Olson, Steven Pate, Michael Pearson, Raymond Plummer. Andrew Postema, Thomas Regier, Steven Renger, Juergen Rutz, Joseph Smith, Edward Solway, Alan Spence, David Sutton, Wade Tajibnapis, William Thornburg, Steve Weadon, Mark Williams, Riley
Abdella, Victor Beach, Thomas Chin, Gabriel Fisher, Donald Hovey, Robert Lehmann, Charles Pierson, Phillip Postema, Donald Powell, Gregg Rhinesmith, Brian Ronis, Robert Sappington, Jay Schankin, Ray Schonschack, Wallace Sommerfeld, Thomas Strozier, Robert Slee, Virgil Tompkins, Terril Van Bolt, John Weaver, James Zulch. Stanley