Complete Series: 3953
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
The Hague Philharmonic
JEAN MARTINON, Conductor
The Festival Chorus
of the University Choral Union Donald Bryant, Director
Sunday, October 5, 1975, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphony in A major...........SaintSaens
Poco adagio, allegro vivace Andantino
Scherzo: vivace Finale: allegro molto e presto
Symphonie des Psaumes for Chorus and Orchestra.....Stravinsky
Prelude: Psalm XXXVIII, Verses 13 and 14 Double Fugue: Psalm XXXIX, Verses 2, 3 and 4 Allegro symphonique: Psalm CL
The Festival Chorus
Symphony No. 4. Op. 29 ("The Inextinguishable").....Nielsen
Allegro, attacca Poco allegretto, attacca Poco adagio, attacca Allegro
Deutsche Grammophon, Mercury, Epic, Philips and Fontana Records
First Concert Ninetyseventh Annual Choral Union Series Complete Programs 3953
Symphony in A major (1850).......Camille SaintSaens
SaintSaens allowed only the last three of his six symphonies to be published. To those in Eflat (18S3), A minor (18S9), and C minor (1886), issued as Nos. 1, 2 and 3, respectively, three may now be added: the present work, the very first SaintSaens symphony, composed when he was fifteen, a "Second" Symphony, in F (18S6) subtitled Urbs Roma, and a "Third" Symphony, in D (1859). Now that the concertgoing public has become accustomed to the "new" numbering of the Schubert and Dvorak symphonies, it may, before long, have to accept the renumbering of those of SaintSaens.
The Symphony in A major is interesting, not only as an example of a precocious musical genius, but because it even anticipates (by seven years) the Symphony in C of Bizet, and so initiates a line of French symphonies owing nothing in these early stages to the wilder originality of Berlioz.
A slow introduction in D major and commontime precedes the first Allegro, in the tonic A major and alia breve. SaintSaens gave no tempo indication to his slow movement, which unfolds in a fivesection Iiedform in D major and threefour time. The scherzo, in threefour time, is in A minor, with a trio (for flute, oboe and strings alone) in the major. The finale alia breve in A major is in the nature of a moto pcrpetuo with a still faster, Rossinilike coda.
Symphonie des Psaumes for Chorus and Orchestra (1930) . . Igor Stravinsky
An intensely religious man, Stravinsky has here produced one of his most reverent compositions. It was written "to the glory of God," and is permeated from the first bar to the last with profound spirituality, though on occasion the beauty is austere and remote. It has the primitivism of early Christian art, and it has reminded Paul Rosenfeld of "mosaics in a Byzantine church."
Stravinsky produced this work to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Boston Sym?phony Orchestra. It was, however, not introduced in Boston but in Brussels, on December 13, 1930, Ernest Ansermct conducting the Brussels Philharmonic. One week later, on December 19, Serge Koussevitzky conducted it in Boston.
For his text (sung in Latin), the composer went to the Vulgate: verses 13 and 14 of Psalm XXXVIII (Part I); verses 2, 3, and 4 of Psalm XXXIX (Part II); and the entire Psalm CL (Part III).
The composer has written: "The juxtaposition of the three psalms is not fortuitous. The prayer of the sinner for divine pity (prelude), the recognition of grace received (double fugue), and the hymn of praise and glory are the basis of an evolutionary plan. The music which embodies these texts follows its development according to its own symphonic law. The order of the three move?ments presupposes a periodic scheme and in this sense realizes a 'symphony' from a collection of pieces with no scheme but one of succession, as in a suite."
Stravinsky's orchestration is unusual in that he dispenses with clarinets, violins and violas. His musical style leans heavily on polyphonic writing, equal prominence being given to orchestra and chorus. The three movements are played without a break.
The symphony opens, as Joseph Machlis has explained, with a "preludelike section in which flowing arabesques are traced by oboe and bassoon . . . punctuated by an urgent E minor chord." The altos are then heard in a "chantlike theme consisting of two adjacent notes--the interval of a minor second (semitone) that has structural significance throughout." In the second movement double fugue, for four voices, the oboe is heard in the main subject, which is characterized by wide leaps in the melody. The third movement opens with a sober Alleluia, which is followed by an Allegro "with Stravinskyan rhythms that project the spirit of the Psalm in dancelike measures," Machlis explains. A brief recollection of the Alleluia music closes the composition.
--David Ewen, The World oj TwentiethCentury Music
TEXT Psalm XXXVIII, Verses 13 and 14
Hear my prayer, 0 Jehovah, and give ear
unto my cry:
Hold not Thy peace at my tears. For I am a stranger with thee,
And a sojourner, as all my fathers were. Oh spare me, that I may recover strength Before I go hence, and be no more.
Psalm XXXIX, Verses 2, 3, and 4
I waited patiently for the Lord
And He inclined unto me, and heard my
cry; He brought me up also out of an horrible
pit, out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock,
And established my goings.
And he hath put a new song in my mouth,
even praise unto our God. Many shall see it, and fear, And shall trust in the Lord.
Praise Ye the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary.
Praise him in the firmament of his power.
Praise him in his mighty acts:
Praise him according to his excellent
Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: Praise him with the psaltery and harp.
Praise him with the timbrel and dance, Praise him with stringed instruments and
Praise him upon the loud cymbals, Praise him upon the high sounding cymbals. Let everything that hath breath, praise the
Symphony No. 4, Op. 29 (1916) ("The Inextinguishable") . . Carl Nielsen
Nielsen's Fourth Symphony was first performed in Copenhagen on February 1, 1916, only two or so weeks after he had completed its writing. The symphony was acclaimed, was soon performed outside Denmark, and won for its composer a membership in the Swedish Academy and the Berlin Academy of Art.
To the published score, the composer appended the motto: "Music is life and, like it, in?extinguishable." The symphony, consequently, was intended to point up the indestructibility not only of great art but also of the human spirit.
Though in four movements, the symphony is played without interruption, and is, in actuality, all of one piece, an inextricably unified concept. Here is how Harris Goldsmith described it in High Fidelity: "Violent eruptions of brass, tympani, and a recurring note motif in the strings constitute Nielsen's depiction of the forces of discord and evil. Finally, at the work's very end, a passionate reiteration of one of the more serene themes from the first movement triumphantly asserts the victory of the life force." Goldsmith goes on to emphasize that the symphony is "first and foremost a superbly rich specimen of absolute music which can be heard with no knowledge of the underlying programmatic implications. It makes a splendid sound."
--David Ewen, The World of TwentiethCentury Music
THE FESTIVAL CHORUS
Donald Bryant, Conductor Nancy Hodge, Accompanist Robert Johnson, Manager
First Sopranos Karen Brown Elaine Cox Phyllis Denner Estelle Fox Carol Gallas Gladys Hanson Joann Hoover Berit Ingersoll Sylvia Jenkins Sigrid Johnson Ann Kceler Cathy Keresztesi Julia Remspcrger Miriam Restrepo Mary Ann Sincock Norma Ware Beverly Wistert
Second Sopranos Ann Barden Kathy Berry Judith Calligan Doris Datsko Vicki Fink Sheryl Halsey Mary Hiraga Alice Horning Pat Klettke Frances Lyman Sara Peth Carol Porterfield Susan Randolph Virginia Reese Carolyn Richards Sue Schluederbcrg Pat Tompkins Chris Wendt
First Altos Judith Adams Martha Ause Alice Cambron Lael Cappaert Sally Carpenter Carol Dick Meredy Gockel Kathy Greene
Ellen Gross Jean Hochheimer Janice Johnson Nancy Keppelman Nancy Karp Geraldine Koupal Joann Kratzmiller Kirsten Lietz Pamela Marshall Joan Mclntire Lois Nelson Anne Phelps Barbara Purkerson Monica Schutte Laura Wallace Charlotte Wolfe
Second Altos Ellen Armstrong Marjorie Baird Sandra Festian Mary Haab Joan Hagerty Dana Hull Kathy Klykylo Elsie Lovelace Linda Ray Beverly Roeger Carol Spencer Katie Stebbins Nancy Williams
First Tenors Robert Domine Marshall Franke Marshall Grimm Myron Gross Paul Lowry Robert MacGregor Dennis Mitchell Marc Setzer
Second Tenors Martin Barrett John Etsweiler Joseph Gradisher Jeff Halpern Donald Haworth
Thomas Hmay Robert Johnson Dwight Klettke
First Basses Richard Berent Lee Berke Viktors Berstis Ken Bos Alan Braun Robert Damashek John Dietrich John Eastman Walter Evans Paul Freddolino Thomas Hagerty Jeff Haynes Mark Hirano John Jarrett Klair Kissel David Loehr Steve Olson Robert Pazur Dennis Powers Graham Purkerson Michael Roth Roger Smeltekop Riley Williams
Second Basses Gabriel Chin Bruce Feldstein David Johnson Kevin Karkau Scth Kivnick John Mclntire Kim Nagel Phil Pierson George Rosenwald Jay Sappington Raymond Schankin Wally Schonschack Helmut Schick Mark Sebastian Thomas Sommerfeld Robert Strozier Terril Tompkins John Van Bolt
The Festival Chorus of over one hundred select singers from the larger University Choral Union is now entering its sixth season with tonight's prestigious appearance with The Hague Philharmonic under Jean Martinon. A repeat performance of the Stravinsky Symphony of Psalms will be given on Tuesday evening when Martinon and his orchestra present a concert on the Michigan State University campus at East Lansing. The Festival Chorus will also participate in the 1976 May Festival, performing, with The Philadelphia Orchestra, a work by Aaron Copland under the direction of the composer. Plans are in the making for a European tour during the summer of 1976, when the chorus will make appearances in the Holland Festival, in Vienna, Salzburg, and other cities.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
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