UMS Concert Program, April 11, 1976: Vladimir Horowitz --
Complete Series: 3999
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
Sunday Afternoon, April 11, 1976, at 4:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Arabesque, Op. 18..........Robert Schumann
Not long before his marriage to Clara Wieck, Schumann wrote the Arabesque. The English adored the Arabesque so much that Clara had to play it to them on all occasions. But this piece is more than a pretty antique. The theme alternates, like a refrain with fanciful variations and little dreaming interludes, in a most engaging and persona] manner. It is the music of a young man's turning lightly to thoughts of love. And it is preciously and essentially Schumann . . . Schumann as Eusebius.
Concerto without Orchestra (Third Grand Sonata)
in F minor, Op. 14..........Robert Schumann
Scherzo, molto commodo
Quasi variazioni. Andantino de Clara Wieck Prestissimo possible
If the dreamy spirit of Eusebius flows through the Arabesque, it is Florestanj the other, turbulent half of Schumann's selfproclaimed dual personality, that domi?nates the Fminor Sonata. Originally published in 1835 as a "Concerto without Orchestra" (and much later revised as the "Third Grand Sonata"), this magnificentlyimpassioned work has been unaccountably downgraded by musicologists, politely ignored by most pianists.
Vladimir Horowitz, in company with a select few of his eminent colleagues, begs to disagree. "If anything, it is full of bold, wild ideas, it has astonishing symphonic unity, it is one of the gigantic pieces of romantic music. I am flabbergasted that it has been so neglected. Even Franz Liszt himself called the Sonata 'a rich and colorful work.'
"Ironically, I myself was somewhat party to that neglect in past years. Although I often played (and subsequently recorded) the Sonata's third movement--a glowing set of variations on a theme by Clara Wieck--it was only recently that I again looked at the rest of the score. I was overwhelmed to find such a brilliant, dramatic, important work lying in comparative obscurity and determined to bring it to the attention of the public. I also decided no longer to play the Variations as a separate piece: Schumann never wrote anything more lovely than those four or five pages, but they are infinitely more beautiful within the context of the Sonata. Indeed, the 5note motif of Clara's theme is the germ of all four movements, and gives the work its special sense of dramatic cohesion.''
The first movement, spacious in design, almost violent in its startling contrasts of tone, dynamics, and lyricism, is a masterpiece of propulsive energy and architectural unity. The Scherzo, lacking the playful quality the term often suggests, nonetheless goes with a sturdy lilt and comfortable gusto--typically Schumannesque. After the haunting third movement Variations, the finale blazes forth in a "perpetuum mobile" style. Almost a sonata in itself, the music fairly throbs with romantic Sturm und drang, its fiery pages deftly tempered by moments of the most tender lyricism. The thorny technical demands and the many musical repetitions make this the most problematic movement of the Sonata, and therefore the most challenging.
''It all depends on what you bring to it. You can't play it like a O.erny Etude, but if you give it fire and excitement and passion . . . then it really is what Schumann indicated and intended."
Schumann's representation of the te.ider moving elements of love
t Schumann's symbol for the dramatic passionate exalted element in his poetry, the opposite of Eusebius.
Etude Tableau, No. 5 in Eflat minor, Op. 39 ... Sergei Rachmaninoff This work typifies the Rachmaninoff of passion, of the grand manner. A sweeping dramatic mood is maintained to a grand climax. The end comes quietly . . .
Valse Oubliee.............Franz Liszt
Au Bord d'une source...........Franz Liszt
(Played without interruption)
Valse Oubliee is a piece of delightful fancy and sentiment, perfectly set in its frame, one of Liszt's least pretentious and most graceful inspirations.
Au Bord d'une source, a "tone poem" which is one of Liszt's most beautiful, through its shimmering figurations foreshadows the impressionism that was to come at the end of the century.
Nocturne in E minor, Op. Posth........Frederic Chopin
Upon hearing this Nocturne, Robert Schumann is said to have exclaimed "Hats off, gentlemen, we have a genius here."
Waltz in A minor, Op. 34, No. 2.......Frederic Chopin
This was Chopin"s own favorite among his waltzes; one of the simplest of them all, and eminently aristocratic in the reticence of its melancholy. The appearance of the word, "lento," regarding tempo is not to be taken too literally. It is intended in a relative sense with more the thought of mood rather than actual pace--a lento waltz.
Scherzo in B minor, Op. 20, No. 1.......Frederic Chopin
Here is the first of the four scherzi in which Chopin achieved an expression which has no parallel in piano music. The form becomes the vehicle of some of his most original and dramatic expression. The Bminor Scherzo was composed in 183132. 1831 was the year of the capture of Warsaw by the Russians and all know how pro?foundly the event moved Chopin. The piece certainly stems from that time and that mood. The scream of defiance on the unprepared dissonance, high up on the piano, the answering roar from the bass, introduce a passage of lasting frenzy. The middle section constitutes the one instance in the music of Chopin's maturity in which he makes use of a Polish folk song. It is the Noel, "Sleep Baby Jesus," scored in the most beautiful manner, this harmony to be suddenly interrupted by the return of the frantic chords of the introduction. What is astonishing in this relatively youthful work is the originality and the coherence of the form. We note, too, that however furious the passion or explosive the mood, the ideas loosed with apparent abandon are nevertheless held firmly in leash for the climax by a master aged twentyone.
Steinway piano Columbia, RCA, and Seraphim Records
This is the eleventh performance of Mr. Horowitz in Hill Auditorium.
Representative for Mr. Horowitz: Harold Shaw, Shaw Concerts, Inc.
The taking of photographs and the use of recording equipment are not allowed.
Special Concert Complete Programs 3999
INTERNATIONAL PRESENTATIONS -197 677
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