UMS Concert Program, April 28, 1977: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra
Complete Series: 4061
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Associate Conductor
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conducting
Soloist NORMAN CAROL, Violinist
Thursday Evening, April 28, 1977, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
?Prelude to Die Mcistersinger von Niirnberg ....
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26 Prelude: allegro moderato Adagio
+Symphony No. 5, Op. 47
Moderato; allegro non troppo Allegretto Largo
Allegro non troppo
Available on Columbia Records tAvailable on RCA Red Seal
Eightyfourth Annual May Festival
Complete Programs 4061
by Richard Freed
Prelude to Die Meistersinger von Niirnberg .... Richard Wagner
As early as 1845, the year his Tannhauser was first produced in Dresden, Wagner contemplated a comic opera built around the historical figure of Hans Sachs. He did not get to work on Die Meistersinger, though, until 1861, and did not complete it until 1867. The Prelude, however, was heard as early as November 1, 1862, at a Leipzig concert under Wagner's direction; he had sketched it on a train trip from Nuremberg to Vienna in August 1861 and completed it a few months later, reversing the traditional procedure in which the overture is the last part of an opera to be composed. Smetana, it might be noted, did the same in composing The Bartered Bride, completed a year or two before Die Meistersinger; in both instances, the composers set the scene, as it were, for themselves in their respective undertakings as well as for their audiences.
In Wagner's case the scene was 16thcentury Nuremberg, a far different setting from those of his other works: here we have no gods, no demons, no foredoomed victims of passion, but an essen?tially heartwarming drama told in thoroughly human terms, with credible lifesize characters and a good deal of tasteful humor. The Prelude encompasses several of the principal motifs of the music drama, opening and closing with the majestic procession of the Mastersingers, with interludes evoking the love of Walther and Eva, Walther's PrizeSong, the music of the apprentices, and the goodnatured burghers whom Wagner described as "somewhat blunt, threecornered folk." Wagner also spoke of the work as a celebration of "holy German art"--but in this regard it may well be the archetype of the great work that is parochially conceived but universal in its realization.
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26 . . Max Bruch
Bruch was only twentyeight when he composed the first of his three violin concertos, the work that has become "the" Bruch Concerto and one of the halfdozenorso most beloved items in the violinist's repertory. He conducted the first performance himself, in his native city on April 28, 1S66; the soloist was Otto Kbnigslow. After the premiere Bruch undertook certain revisions in consultation with Joseph Joachim, to whom he dedicated the Concerto; Joachim played the new version in an in?formal rehearsal in Hamburg in the fall of 1867, Bruch conducting, and gave the formal premiere in Bremen the day after Bruch's thirtieth birthday, on which occasion the conductor was Karl Reinthaler.
The first movement is labeled "Prelude" ("Vorspiel"). It is not that the movement proper has an introductory section, but that the entire opening movement in this case, exceptionally free and improvisatory, really serves as a "prelude" to the second, to which it is directly linked. This glowing Adagio contains yet another introduction within itself, for the songlike principal theme is preceded by a lesser one. What develops, in any event, is a prototypal Romantic slow movement, in which Bruch's infallible fastidiousness keeps his apparently unrestrained outpouring of emotion free from spilling over into mawkishness or bathos. The Finale opens with a few suspenseful subdued bars of orchestral introduction, giving way then to the soloist's statement--in double stops--of the exuberant theme; the second subject, like that of the preceding movement represents the broadscaled, openhearted lyricism of the Romantic movement at its best in terms of both tastefulness and immediacy of appeal, and even the fiery brilliance of the concluding bars has integrity and conviction.
In this First Concerto, virtually without precedent, Bruch declined either to provide cadenzas of his own or to allow for the insertion of any by the soloist; the entire Concerto is so thoroughly
violinistic in its idiom that this "fastidious artist" (as Donald Tovey characterized Bruch) wisely judged that the traditional gesture would have been gratuitous.
Symphony No. 5, Op. 47........Dmitri Shostakovich
The Fifth Symphony was created in a very short time for so vast a work--April 18 to July 20, 1937--after the 30yearold composer had been publicly humiliated by official censure of his opera Lady Macbeth of the District of Mdzensk (renamed Katerina Izmailova when it was revived more than 25 years later), another reprimand for his ballet The Limpid Stream, and the withdrawal of his Fourth Symphony before its scheduled premiere. In an article published shortly before the premiere of the Fifth, Shostakovich declared that he had not been merely intimidated by these rebukes, but stimulated "to create my own musical style, which I seek to make simple and expressive. I cannot think of my further progress apart from our socialist structure, and the goal that I set for my work is to contribute at every point toward the growth of our remarkable country."
The premiere under Yevgeny Mravinsky is recorded as a glorious event in Soviet music. It took place in Leningrad on November 21, 1937, during the celebration of the 20th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution, and it was superbly appropriate to such an occasion--heroic in concept and pro?portion, brilliant in its coloring, broadly compassionate in its gestures, resoundingly affirmative in outlook, and rich in melodic inventiveness. Shostakovich's "rehabilitation" was grandly confirmed (for the time being), and yet his integrity was intact, for the work is in every bar a deeply personal utterance, in which the composer's pervasive warmth of heart is neither an embarrassment nor a mere veneer.
Since the Fourth Symphony, filled with Mahlerish characteristics, was not heard until 1962, it was in the Fifth that Shostakovich's affinity for Mahler was first made manifest on a large scale. The combination of massiveness and clarity which is perhaps the most striking single factor in the makeup of the Fifth is itself a basic element in Mahler's style, and was to become similarly basic to Shostakovich's. The long first movement is an expansive Moderato which may be recognized as the pattern for the similarly formed opening segments of numerous subsequent works from Shostako?vich; Soviet commentators regard it as a "ballad" form, with narrative sections alternating between lyrical and dramatic episodes.
The second movement, though not actually titled "Scherzo," is a brilliant distillation of the scherzo genre as evolved through the chain of Shostakovich's most illustrious predecessors-Beethoven, Schubert, Bruckner, Dvorak, Mahler. It even contains more than a little of the Ldndler feeling found in the music of Schubert, Bruckner, and Mahler.
The slow movement is the crown of the work, a noble Largo unrestrained in its romantic expres?siveness, its perimeters defined, however, by the composer's innate sense of taste and balance. Reflective lyricism here expands into a passion and intensity which remind us of Shostakovich's links with earlier symphonists in his own country.
The Finale is the most Russian part of the work, possessed of an almost barbaric vigor as it pursues its exultant course. Several commentators have complained of the "crude" and "obvious" character of this movement, but much of this obviousness can be mitigated by adhering to the composer's moderate tempo markings (as expressed in precise metronome figures) instead of vulgar?izing it by the headlong rush so popular with some conductors.
While Shostakovich, in introducing the Fifth in 1937, went so far as to label the work "A Soviet Artist's Practical, Creative Reply to Just Criticism," his statement in the same article on the Symphony's emotional content is far more pertinent. "The theme of my Symphony," he said, "is the stabilization of a personality. In the center of this composition--conceived lyrically from begin?ning to end--I saw a man, with all his experiences." It is in this context that the Fifth Symphony has been universally received--as a work that speaks hearteningly and directly--not only to all bu to each.
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Associate Conductor
Boris Sokoloff, Manager Joseph Santarlasci, Assistant Manager
Norman Carol Concertmaster
William de Pasquale Associate Concertmaster
David Arbcn Assistant Concertmaster
Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo Barbara Sorlien Herbert Light Max Miller Ernest L. Goldstein Luis Biava Larry Grika Cathleen Dalschaert Herold Klein Charles Rex
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Julia Janson Irving Ludwig Jerome Wigler Virginia Halfmann George Dreyfus Arnold Grossi Louis Lanza Stephane Dalschaert Isadore Schwartz Booker Rowe Davyd Booth Jonathan Beiler
Joseph de Pasquale James Fawcett Leonard Mogill Sidney Curtiss Gaetano Molieri Irving Segall Leonard Bogdanoff Charles Griffin Wolfgang Granat Donald R. Clauser Albert Filosa Renard Edwards
Violoncellos William Stokking Winifred Mayes Harry Gorodetzer Lloyd Smith Joseph Druian Bert Phillips Deborah Reeder Christopher Rex George Harpham William Saputelli Marcel Farago Richard Hallow
Roger M. Scott Michael Shahan Nell Courtney Ferdinand Maresh Carl Torello Samuel Gorodetzer Emilio Gravagno Curtis Burris Henry G. Scott
Murray W. Panitz Kenneth E. Scutt Loren N. Lind John C. Krell Piccolo
John de Lancie Stevens Hewitt Charles M. Morris Louis Rosenblatt English Horn
Anthony M. Gigliotti Donald Montanaro Raoul Querze Ronald Reuben Bass Clarinet
Bassoons Bernard Garfield John Shamlian Adelchi Louis Angelucci Robert J. Pfeuffer Contra Bassoon
Mason Jones Nolan Miller Randy Gardner Martha Glaze Howard Wall Daniel Williams
Trumpets Frank Kaderabek Donald E. McComas Seymour Rosenfeld Roger Blackburn
Trombones Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breuninger M. Dee Stewart
Bass TrumpetTenor Tuba Robert S. Harper
Timpani Gerald Carlyss Michael Bookspan
Michael Bookspan Alan Abel Anthony Orlando William Saputelli
Celesta, Piano and Organ William Smith Marcel Farago
Jesse C. Taynton
Personnel Manager Mason Jones
Stage Personnel Edward Barnes, Manager Theodore Hauptle James Sweeney
Photo Publicity Adrian Siegel
Albert L. Borkow, Jr.
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