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UMS Concert Program, May 1, 1976: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Concert: Fourth
Complete Series: 4003
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Assistant Conductor
Soloist MARILYN HORNE, Soprano
Saturday Evening, May 1, 1976, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to Coriolanus, Op. 62 ....
Fourth Symphony, Op. 51......
Adagio; allegro Andante Allegretto Presto
"Sheherazade," for Soprano and Orchestra
La Flute enchantee
Marilyn Horne
Beethoven Persichetti
"Una voce poco fa," from The Barber oj Seville .
Miss Horne
"Waltzes from Der Roscnkavalier ....
The Philadelphia Orchestra records exclusively for RCA Red Seal Available on Columbia Records
. Rossini . Strauss
Fourth Concert
Eightythird Annual May Festival
Complete Programs 4003
by Richard Freed and Glenn D. McGeoch
Overture to Coriolanus, Op. 62......Ludwig van Beethoven
While it might be assumed that Shakespeare's Coriolanus was the inspiration for this work, Beethoven actually composed it, early in 1S07, to serve as prelude to a play on the same subject by his friend Heiiirich Joachim von Collin, who served as court secretary in Vienna. In any event, though Beethoven did intend that the Overture be performed in the theater, to introduce the play, what he composed is a selfsufficient tone poem, anticipating the style of Liszt and the Wagner of A Faust Overture in its portrayal of character and mood. There is no attempt to depict the action of the drama, but the spirit of resolute heroism and high tragedy is powerfully and unmistakably conveyed in the music's stark outlines, its stabbing thrusts, and the one poignantly lyrical theme which provides the underlayer of humanity and compassion.
Fourth Symphony, Op. 51........Vincent Persichetti
(1915 )
Vincent Persichetti, a significant influence in American music as both composer and pedagogue for more than thirty years, has been a Philadelphian all his life. He has served on the faculty of the Juilliard School in New York since 1947 and has headed the composition department there for the last dozen years. But he has remained a commuter, supplementing his Juilliard duties with teaching at the Philadelphia Conservatory and serving as editor for the publishing firm ElkanVogel in addition to composing and writing articles on musical subjects.
The following analysis of his Fourth Symphony was provided by Donald Engle, the Orchestra's program annotator at the time of the 1954 premiere:
"Adagio (44). This brief introduction presents two basic thematic ideas: a melodic motive in the pizzicato strings and a harmonic phrase alternating between trombones and clarinet and bassoon. It leads into the Allegro (68) begun by the clarinet over harmonization in the bassoons. This theme is picked up in succession by strings, a pair of trumpets, then flute and bassoon to an intermediary climax. A second theme is introduced by the flute in an apparent 34 rhythm, soon answered by pizzicato strings, and in a few moments everyone joins in a sort of general dance. Along with the scherzolike animation of the whirling figures appear fragments of the sustaining harmonic phrase suggested in the introduction. All of this subsides momentarily while the timpani executes a sustained roll, then the recapitulation begins, the return of the two principal themes separated by an interlude for muted brasses.
"Andante (24). A rhythmic background figure in pizzicato lower strings and paired bassoons set the accompaniment for a flexible melody in the violins. Soon a quiet conversation begins among the woodwind family, followed by a delicately expressive trio for violins and violas. This alternation between the wind and string choirs continues at length, with an exquisite but brief passage for three solo violins and two violas. There is a momentary flurry of sound and animation from the full ensemble in a section marked poco pin mosso, then a return to the original melody. The last pages of the movement contain some beautifully sustained contrapuntal writing, a reflective mood that dies away in muted strings under the last utterance by a muted solo horn.
"Allegretto (34). This movement, quiet, lightly scored, and never rising above a mezzoforte, follows a simple ABC formal pattern. Emphasis in the first section is on an interweaving of melodic fragments with the string and wind choirs, brass and percussion remaining silent. The middle section introduces a singing melody in the 'cellos, subsequently taken by trumpets, trombones, and tuba. The third portion repeats the opening section for some fifteen bars, then digresses briefly to a pianissimo close.
"Presto (24). Here the lively violin opening is followed by a contrasting theme in the solo strings, and material from the former movements, particularly the introduction, comes to the fore. The violin passages, rushing headlong a la moto pcrpetuo, set the pace for a finale of verve and jocular spirits. An interlude for four solo violins temporarily allays the drive and vigor of the movement, then the sustained harmonies of the symphony's introduction bridge an interval to the return of the violins' 'perpetual motion.' A final burst of energy brings the movement to a rousing close."
When asked whether he had any new thoughts about his Fourth Symphony nearly a quartercentury after its completion, Mr. Persichetti said: "In respect to my feeling about this work, composed 20 years ago, it is exactly as it was then. I liked it then and I like it just as much now. I think of this work as joyous and in clear focus. Putting music into time slots is a ridiculous and an outmoded pursuit."
"Sheherazade"--Three Poems for Voice and Orchestra . . . Maurice Ravel
In the exacting art of song writing, Maurice Ravel evolved, as he did in every medium he touched, a highly individual style. His vocal line, a quasiparlando quite distinct from the free recitative of Italian opera or the Sprechstimme of Arnold Schbnberg, has often been character?istically referred to as "Ravelian declamation." The melodic content in his songs invariably lies in the accompaniment, where the independent piano or instrumental parts, subtly rhythmic and highly developed harmonically, carry the main musical interest.
Asia (L'Asie)
Asia! the wonderful old land of nurses' talcs, where fantasy dwells like an empress in a forest full of mystery. I should like to take flight on the vessel that rocks this evening in the mysterious and solitary port and that presently will unfold its violet sails like a huge night bird in the golden sky.
I should then go toward flowercovered isles, while listening to the wayward sea sing in an old enchanting rhythm. I should see Damascus and the Persian cities, with their delicate minarets, the fine silk turbans on black faces with luminous teeth, the dark amorous eyes with pupils that glitter joyfully in skins yellow as the orange, the velvet cloaks and the garments with long fringes.
I should see the longstemmed pipes in mouths surrounded by white beards, the sharp mer?chants with their suspicious glances, and the cadis and viziers who, with the single gesture of a finger, grant life or death according to their desire.
I should see Persia, and India, then China, corpulent mandarins under their umbrellas, and princes with slender hands; and the learned who debate among themselves on the subject of poetry and beauty.
I should loiter in enchanted places and, like a foreign traveler, contemplate at leisure those landscapes painted on fabric framed in firwood, with a figure standing in the midst of an orchard. I should see assassins smiling at the executioner who cuts an innocent neck with his large curved Oriental sword. I should see paupers and queens, roses and blood, those who die out of hatred. Then I should return later to recount my adventure to those curious about dreams, raising from time to time, like Sinbad, my old Arabian cup to my lips, artfully to interrupt my tale.
The Enchanted Flute (La Flute enchanter)
The shade is sweet and my master sleeps, his head covered with a pointed cap, and his long yellow nose in his white beard. But I am still awake, and outside I hear a flute pouring out an alternately sad and joyous song. An air now languorous, played by my beloved; and when I approach the window, each note seems sent from the flute to my cheek like a mysterious kiss.
The Indifferent One (U Indifferent)
Your eyes arc as gentle as a girl's, young stranger, and the fine curve of your handsome face, shadowed with down, is even more seductive. At my door a song rises from your lips in a language as strange and charming as music out of tune. Enter, and let my wine cheer you. But no, you pass on, and I see you recede from my threshold, waving a graceful farewell, your torso inclined by your womanish and weary gait.
Aria, "Una voce poco fa" from The Barber oj Seville . . Gioacchino Rossini
The role of Rosina was originally written for contralto, in a day when the art of singing was such that vocal pyrotechnics was not the sole possession of socalled "coloratura" sopranos. Since Rossini's time, however, it has been identified with the soprano rather than the contralto voice.
Dr. Bartolo, guardian of the fascinating Rosina, wishes to marry her. The Count Almaviva on a visit to Seville has seen her, and loves her also. She, ignorant of his name, knows him only as Lindoro. The Count has prevailed upon Figaro, the townbarber, to aid him, and it is upon Figaro's advice that he enters Dr. Bartolo's home disguised as a drunken soldier. Rosina enters the library and sings the famous aria "Una voce poco fa" in which she tells of her love for Lindoro.
A little voice I heard just now; My guardian sure will ne're consent;
Oh, it has thrill'd my very heart! But I must sharpen all my wit;
I feel that I am wounded sore; Content at last, he will relent,
And Lindor 'twas who hurled the dart. And we, 0 joy! be wedded yet.
Yes, Lindor, dearest, shall be mine! Yes, Lindor I have sworn to love!
I've sworn it, and we'll never part. And, loving, we'll our cares forget.
Waltzes from Der Roscnkavalier........Richard Strauss
Xo other of the Strauss scores has endeared him to so large a public, for no other abounds in such geniality, tenderness, and charm. Nor are there many of his pages that reveal such a wealth of mellifluous and engaging melody or so opulent, and at the same time, transparent orchestration.
Dcr Roscnkavalier is a comedy of eighteenthcentury Vienna, written by Von Hofmannsthal. It tells the story of a charming woman's reconciliation to advancing years, and her noble renun?ciation of a love that has turned from her to a younger woman. The story, relieved by scenes of humor that verge on the bawdy, is so permeated with the spirit of human understanding, humor and wisdom that it never fails to leave the spectator with a renewed feeling of the goodness of living.
The waltzes that occur throughout the opera, particularly at the end of Act II, are mostly associated with the capers of the fat, lecherous but impoverished Baron von Lerchenau as he dances around the room, delighted with the outcome of his immediate amorous plans.
Choral Union Series Hill Auditorium
Israel Philharmonic OrchestraMehta .... Thursday, September 16
Sherrill Milnes, Baritone.........Friday, October 8
Melbourne Symphony OrchestraMackerras . . . Sunday, October 17
Orchestre de ParisBarenboim......Wednesday, October 27
London Philharmonic OrchestraHaitink .... Sunday, November 14
Prague Chamber Orchestra........Saturday, January 15
Jorge Bolet, Pianist..........Saturday, February S
Leningrad Symphony OrchestraTemirkanov . . . Thursday, February 10 Czech Philharmonic OrchestraNeumann .... Thursday, March 3 Detroit Symphony OrchestraChoral UnionSoloists . . Sunday, March 20 Ceccato conducts Beethoven's "Missa Solemnis"
Choice Series Power Center
Dora Stratou's Greek Dances.......Saturday & Sunday,
October 23 & 24
Spanish National Folk Ballet.......Monday, October 25
Julian Bream, Guitarist.........Sunday, October 31
Victor Herbert's Naughty Marietta......Friday & Saturday,
November 12 & 13
Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" Ballet . . . Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
The Pittsburgh Ballet December 16. 17, 18
Verdi's La Traviata--Canadian Opera Company . . . Sunday, January 9
Royal Winnipeg Ballet.........Saturday & Sunday,
January 29 & 30
Danzas Venezuela.........Wednesday, February 2
Rajko--Gypsy Orchestra and Dancers.....Sunday, February 6
Alvin Ailey Dance Theater.....Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
February 21. 22, 23 Yugoslav National Folk Ballet......Thursday, March 24
Debut Recital Series Rackham Auditorium
Geza Anda, Pianist..........Sunday, November 7
Elly Ameling, Soprano .......Tuesday, November 16
Michael Ponti, Pianist.........Tuesday, January 25
Janos Starker, Cellist.........Monday, March 14
Chamber Arts Series Rackham Auditorium
Guarneri String Quartet........Saturday, October 9
First concert of the complete Beethoven cycle.
Baroque Music Masters........Wednesday, October 20
Guarneri String Quartet........Friday, November 5
Aeolian Chamber Players.......Saturday, November 20
JeanPierre Rampal, Flutist........Friday, January 14
Warsaw Quintet (piano and strings).....Thursday, February 3
Guarneri String Quartet........Sunday, February 20
Frans Brueggen, Flute and Recorder......Tuesday, March 22
"Finale Pair" of the Beethoven Cycle
Guarneri String Quartet........Saturday & Sunday,
April 16 & 17
Asian Series Rackham Auditorium
Martial Arts of Kabuki........Thursday, October 21
Chinese Acrobats..........Saturday, November 6
Yamini Krishnamurti, South Indian Dancer . . . Monday, February 28 Masked DanceDrama of Korea......Wednesday, March 16
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