Complete Series: 4057
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
University of Michigan Symphony Orchestra
Gustav Meier, Director
Friday Evening, April 15, 1977, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROGRAM "Leonore" Overture No. 3, Op. 72a . . . .
Third Annual Benefit Concert for the
University Musical Society and the University School of Music
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67..... . Beethoven
Allegro con brio
Andante con moto
Two Nocturnes: "Nuages"; "Fetes"..... Debussy
Symphonic Poem: "The Pines of Rome" .... Respighi
The Pines of the Villa Borghese
The Pines near a Catacomb
The Pines of the Janiculum
The Pines of the Appian Way
Complete Programs 4057
by Glenn D. McGeoch
Glenn D. McGeoch, Professor Emeritus of the School of Music, has generously reactivated his musicological expertise in providing these notes. From 1934 through 1974 he was the official program annotator for the annual May Festival programs, while serving as Professor of Music Literature in the School of Music during those years.
"Leonore" Overture No. 3, Op. 72a......Ludwig van Beethoven
As a master of absolute music Beethoven undeniably exerted a powerful influence upon the succeeding opera composers. But Fidelio, his single attempt in that field, has been far less an eman?cipating force than most of his instrumental compositions. The supreme service of Fidelio to aesthetic history was accomplished in turning Beethoven's attention to the dramatic overture. There is more real dramatic art in the four overtures designed as preludes for Fidelio than exists in the entire bulky score of the opera.
The four overtures are known as the "Leonore" Nos. 1, 2, and 3, in C major, and the "Fidelio" in E major. We know that the overture numbered by the publishers as No. 2 was used for the premiere of the opera, November 20, 1805. The incomparable No. 3, on this evening's program, is a remodeled form written for the reconstructed version, heard March 29, 1806. The established order of composition is No. 1 before 1805, No. 2 in 1805, No. 3 in 1806, and the "Fidelio" overture in 1814.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67.........Beethoven
The date of the completion of the Fifth Symphony is not definitely known. According to Alexander Thayer, "this wondrous work was no sudden inspiration." Themes for the first three movements are found in sketchbooks belonging to the years 1800 and 1801 (between the composition of the First and Second Symphonies). There are studies also preserved which show that Beethoven worked on it while composing Fidelio and the Piano Concerto in G (180406), at the time he laid the Cminor Symphony aside for the composition of the Fourth. That is all that is known of the rise and progress of this famous Symphony.
Those who believe that a great piece of music is simply profoundly felt emotion poured out under the immediate impact of events or experience that generate that emotion have been persistent in their attempts to read specific meaning into this work. Beethoven's noble music has been con?stantly dragged from its Empyrean heights to dwell in the world of the commonplace, by imposing upon it an extramusical content. The romantic vaporings of incurable sentimentalists have read into the Fifth Symphony everything from the summons of Fate to the Song of the Yellowhammer, and have never ceased to mention the inevitable overtones of unrequited and tragic love.
All of this is, of course, an insult to the very spirit of music. Such imaginings tie it down to finite things, and music should not be thus bound. What poverty of mind and little understanding of the psychical processes by which a significant piece of music comes into being is revealed by such attempts to make the most evasive and ephemeral of all the arts finite and specific. "Music," writes Ernest Newman, "is simply air in motion, and though the sound symbols written down by the composer at a particular time may have taken the form and color they did because of some volcanic experience of his in the outer world, or some psychological change within himself at that or some earlier time, it is always dangerous to try to read into the notes an expression of that experience."
Whatever Beethoven was trying to express outside of the music itself, one thing is certain: he created a symphony of tremendous concentration, concision, and heroic power.
Two Nocturnes: "Nuages"; "Fetes".......Claude Debussy
Debussy wrote three Nocturnes for Orchestra (18971899). The first two performed on this program are "Nuages" and "Fetes"; the third entitled "Sirenes" was written for orchestra and a chorus of female voices. The pieces are individual and not inseparably linked as are the movements of a symphony or a concerto.
In the fall of 1894, Debussy called these pieces "an experiment in different combinations that can be achieved with one color--what a study in gray would be in painting." The only verbal description Debussy ever wrote about music, he provided for "Nocturnes":
Ernest Newman, "Beethoven: the Last Phase." Atlantic Monthly, March, 1953.
"The title Nocturnes is to be interpreted in a decorative sense. Therefore, it is not meant to designate the usual form of a nocturne, but rather all the impressions and the special effects of light that the word suggests.
"Nuages" renders the immutable aspect of the sky and the slow, solemn motion of the clouds, fading away in gray tones slightly tinged with white.
"Fetes" gives us the vibrating, dancing rhythm of the atmosphere with sudden flashes of light. There is also the episode of the procession (a dazzling fantastic vision) which passes through the festive scene and becomes merged in it. But the background remains persistently the same: the festival with its blending of music and luminous dust participating in the cosmic rhythm."
Symphonic Poem: "The Pines of Rome"......Ottorino Respighi
"The Pines of Rome" is the second of a cycle of three compositions dealing with the Eternal City: "The Fountains of Rome" (1816), "The Pines of Rome" (1924), and "Roman Festivals" (1928).
When Respighi arrived in America in 1925, he made the following reference to this work:
"I do not believe in sensational effects for their own sake. It is true that in my new orchestral poem, "The Pines of Rome," some of the instruments play Bsharp, and others Bflat in the same passage. But this is not obtruded upon listeners; in the general orchestral color it simply provides a note which I wanted.
"Yes, there is a phonograph record of a real nightingale's song used in the third movement. It is a nocturne, and the dreamy, subdued air of the woodland at the evening hour is mirrored in the scoring for the orchestra. Suddenly there is silence, and the voice of the real bird arises, with its liquid notes.
"Now that device has created no end of discussion wherever the work has been played. It has been styled radical, a departure from the rules. I simply realized that no combination of wind instruments could quite counterfeit the real bird's song. So I used the phonograph. The directions in the score have been followed thus wherever it has been played."
The "Pines" is written in four movements. In a program book of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Lawrence Gilman wrote:
"The Pines of the Villa Borghese (Allegretto vivace, 28). Children are at play in the pinegrove of the Villa Borghese, dancing the Italian equivalent of "Ring Around the Rosy"; mimicking marching soldiers and battles, twittering and shrieking like swallows at evening; and they disappear. Suddenly the scene changes to
"The Pines Near a Catacomb (Lento, 4--4) beginning with muted and divided strings, muted horns (pianissimo). We see the shadows of the pines which overhang the entrance to a catacomb. From the depths rises a chant which reechoes solemnly, sonorously, like a hymn, and is then mysteriously silenced.
"The Pines of the Janiculum (Lento, 44, piano cadenza; clarinet solo). There is a thrill in the air. The lull moon reveals the profile of the pines of Gianicolo's Hill. A nightingale sings (repre?sented by a gramophone record of a nightingale's song heard from the orchestra).
"The Pines of the Appian Way (Tempo di marcia). Misty dawn on the Appian Way. The tragic country is guarded by solitary pines. Indistinctly, incessantly, the rhythm of innumerable steps. To the poet's phantasy appears a vision of past glories; trumpets blare, and the army of the consul advances brilliantly in the grandeur of a newly risen sun toward the sacred way, mounting in triumph the Capitoline Hill."
Robert Bagar, The Concert Companion (New York: McGrawHill Book Company, Inc., 1947), p. 212.
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra and honorary alumnus (1952) of the University of Michigan, has conducted annually in Ann Arbor at the May Festivals since 1937. Tonight's performance is the third annual Benefit Concert played by the University Symphony Orchestra, following those conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich and Yehudi Menuhin, and Gyorgy Sandor, soloist. We are deeply appreciative of the contributions these artists have made, and equally grateful to responsive concertgoers who have shown their enthusiastic support by attending these concerts and receptions.
All net proceeds from this benefit evening will be shared equally by the University Musical Society and the School of Music.
Tonight's collaboration between the University Musical Society and the School of Music is reminiscent of the 60year affiliation from 1880 to 1940, when the School of Music was founded and administered by the University Musical Society and before it became solely a School of The University of Michigan in 1940. The University Symphony Orchestra from those earliest years has been and is a significant part of Ann Arbor's concert life.
THE UNIVERSITY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Gustav Meier, Conductor
concertmasler MiHee Chung Elizabeth Child Katherine Ransom Cynthia Stutt David Gable Jill Riethmiller Diane Bischak Benita Williams Judith Palac Linda Bischak Charles Roth Karen Peterson Magdalen Heilbronn Gabriela Klassen Duane Cochran Alison Xeufeld Judith Picker
Violin II George Marsh,
principal Diane Driggs Maria Petkoff Michelle Pauly Karen Medhus Maria Smith Barbara Whale Cindy Nichols Scott Staidle Kirsi Perttuli Joni Niemann Joanne Wisti Richard Evich Mary Porter Amy Johnson Anna Ahronheim
1 "tola Margaret Lang,
principal Sue Robinson Max Raimi Gail Van Aernum Catherine Armstrong Anne Hegel Scott Woohveaver Barbara Zmich Philip Stoll Loretta Castor Nancy Yagiela Mary Hendrikson
Violoncello Michael Sebastian,
principal Karen Sumner Deborah Milan
Paul Wingert Mark Brandfonbrener Cathryn Mortcnson Cynthia Bloom Luis Biava Kathryn Everson David Moulton Margaret Murray Beverly Brown Lennie LaGuirc
Double Bass Erik Dyke, principal John Hood Mark Wilson Cathrine Garrett William Ritchie Craig Nelson Michael Crawford Keith Orr Liz Stewart Bruce Hanson
Deborah Ash Gina Christianson
Joyce Ann Simonson Kathleen Stevenson Phyllis Taylor
Nancy B rammer (English horn) Lori Holmgren David Lauth Carol Purcell Ellen Sudia
Clarinet Lief Bjaland Donna Edington (bass clarinet) Fernando Leon Phil Thompson Michael Votta
Hillary Burchuk Elizabeth Haanes Erik Haugen Bruce Lupp Jill Marderness Mark Romatz (contrabassoon)
Jennifer Burch Richard Goldfaden
Mark Olson Michael Phillips Richard Price Louis Stout, Jr. Corbin Wagner Lauren Zaccarelli
Trumpet Brandon Cooper Bob Grim Craig Kncpp Cathy Leach John Shuler
Trombone Lyle Cowen Michael Danielson (bass trombone) Marta Hofacre Tom McKelvey
Dave Colson Pat McGinn Mike Varner Doug Walter (timpani)
Celesta David Carlson
Piano Michael Gurt
General Manager Jon Gossett
Librarian Richard Shillea
Library Assistant Luis Biava
Equipment Manager Erik Dyke
Equipment Assistant Michael Varner
Above personnel includes some members of the University Philharmonia Orchestra.