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UMS Concert Program, April 29, 1977: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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University Musical Society
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Concert: Third
Complete Series: 4062
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor William Smith, Associate Conductor
of the University Choral Union
Donald Bryant, Director
Soloist JEROME HINES, Bass
Friday Evening, April 29, 1977, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphonic Poem, "From Bohemia's Meadows and Groves"
from Ma Vlast ("My Country).........Smetana
Prologue to Mefistofele.............Boito
Jerome Hines The Festival Chorus and Children's Choir
Excerpts from Boris Godunov.......... Mussorgsky
Prologue and Coronation Scene The Simpleton's Lament
Boris' Monologue Randall Lambert, Tenor
Clock Scene The Death of Boris
Mr. Hines and The Festival Chorus
Third Concert Eightyfourth Annual May Festival Complete Programs 4062
Symphonic Poem, "From Bohemia's
Meadows and Groves".........Bedrich Smetana
Rivaling Mozart as a child prodigy, Smetana's early youth gave promise of a brilliant and happy future. Through his optimism, freshness, and joy of life, he infused into his music the spirit of national life in its widest sense. Tragically, like Beethoven, he fell victim to total deafness at the age of fifty, nevertheless continuing to create works which were to become national masterpieces.
During this period of deafness, Smetana wrote his monumental cycle of six symphonic poems (begun in 1874 and completed in 1879) under the general title of Ma Vlasl ("My Country"). The two most famous are "The Moldau" and "From Bohemia's Meadows and Groves," intensely poetic and picturesque descriptions of the Bohemian countryside, while the other four dramatically evoke Bohemia's historic mythology.
Of the work heard this evening, "From Bohemia's Meadows and Groves," Smetana has given us some idea of the descriptive intent in a letter to a friend: "On a fine summer day we stand in Bohemia's fields, where the lovely scent of flowers and cool breezes fill us with a rich sense of wellbeing. The air is filled with happy country sounds. But taking our leave of the noisy crowd, we are led to a quiet forest spot, where a light breeze sets the whole woodland arustle--all this being mingled with the twittering of birds. Through all this a distant horn sings a hymn of nature. A rush of wind soon carries in upon us the festive sounds of peasant merrymaking, and we are in the midst of a rustic feast. Here the Czech rural folk partake of their true joy of life in song and dance, spreading this joy and gladness far and wide across the fertile Bohemian meadowlands."
Prologue to Mefistojele...........Arrigo Boito
At the end of his musical studies at the Milan Conservatory, Boito went to Paris where he met Hugo, Berlioz, Rossini, and Verdi. While in the French capital, he conceived the idea of com?posing an opera on the theme of Goethe's Faust, and another on the Roman Emperor Nero (which was never completed.) The first performance of his Mefistojele took place in 1868, with the com?poser conducting, and, with the exception of the Prologue and the Second Act quartet, was roundly booed by the audience. Performances on the two following evenings met with equal hostility, and the opera had to be taken off. Disillusioned, Boito burnt most of the score and set about the work of revision. It was seven years later (1875) when the revised version was performed, and, despite a few minor complaints, this time met with rousing success.
The opera opens with a sequence of sonorous, impressive fanfares, after which a celestial chorus sings the praises of the Lord of the angels and the saints. Heralded by an instrumental scherzo. Mephistopheles confronts the heavenly host. In an aria (Ave Signor) he addresses God mockingly and apologizes for his uncouth speech and lack of a halo. The fact is that he is bored with the "Divine Master" and his worldly creation--man--who has become so degenerate that he is not worth tempting any more. A mystic choir asks him if he knows Faust. Indeed he does--the most fantastic madman he ever remembers, insatiable in his quest for knowledge. Mephistopheles wagers to ensnare the scholar. He boasts to the Maker that Faust shall bite the sweet apple of vice and so Mephistopheles will triumph over the King of Heaven. He cynically comments upon the pleasure and advantages of a periodical conversation between God and the Devil. A band of cherubs appears, blissfully singing, to the disgust of Mephistopheles who vanishes from the scene. The choral forces arc joined by a congregation of penitents on Earth, praying for forgiveness, and the prologue ends with a mighty paean of praise to the Virgin Mary and the Lord of Heaven.
Excerpts from Boris Godnnov.......Modest Mussorgsky
Mussorgsky was one of a group of composers all passionately devoted to the cause of Russian nationalism in music, and opera was considered the ideal medium for patriotic expression because of the opportunity to use Russian literature. Mussorgsky made several abortive attempts at writing an opera before Vladimir Nikolsky, an authority on Pushkin, suggested the masterdramatist's
historical tragedy Bom Godunov as the basis for a libretto. The composer produced his own text, using, in addition to Pushkin, "The History of the Russian Empire" by Karamzin, to relate this episode in the history of Russia between 1598 and 1605. Working continuously, Mussorgsky finished the vocal score in eight months, and the whole work, set in seven scenes, was completed by December 1869. He submitted his score to the Imperial Theatre, but it was rejected on the grounds of its "extraordinary modernism." In addition, Pushkin's original drama had run into censorship problems.
Undeterred, Mussorgsky radically revised his masterpiece and a full production took place in 1874. Nine successful performances followed that year and Mussorgsky seemed on the brink of a long and glittering career. In fact, however, Boris Godunov marked the climax of his creative life-although his genius still flared in many of his songs, Mussorgsky tangled with the problems of poverty and alcoholism for the next seven years, until his death in 1881.
After the composer's death, Boris Godunov was not performed again until RimskyKorsakov revised it in 1896. He made further revisions in 19068, and it is this fourth version that is still usually performed.
Prologue and Coronation Scene. -It is the year 1598. In a square of the great Kremlin the Moscow crowds kneel. The bells are pealing to celebrate the coronation of a new ruler for Russia-Boris Fcodorovich Godunov. From the Cathedral of the Assumption comes a Boyar, the crafty Prince Shuisky, who cries: "Long live Tsar Boris!" The people, firmly controlled by the police, break into a splendid chorus (Like to the red sun in the heavens) ; a magnificent song of glorification. In response Boris himself emerges from the Assumption, followed by a procession of Boyars. Feeling foreboding rather than triumph (I am sick at heart), he prays for heavenly blessing and guidance. To solemn trombone chords he addresses the assembled multitude: after paying tribute to the Russian rulers of the past, everyone from beggar to prince shall least as his cherished guest. The bells ring out anew, and the populace again raises its voice in praise as the procession moves on to the Cathedral of'the Archangels. This scene is truly one of the most majestic in all opera.
Boris' Monologue. -In the Tsar's apartments in the Kremlin Boris pours out his agony of mind while his young son studies geography. His years of power have brought no happiness to his tortured spirit. Even the comfort of his family is shattered by the death of his daughter's betrothed. Poor Russia groans under famine and plague, conspiracies and plottings, and it is Boris who is blamed for all the evil misfortune. The great monologue rises to an intense climax as Boris declares his remorse for Dimitri, the boy Tsarevich whom he had had murdered to clear his own way to the throne. Still the vision of the bloody child denies him sleep, and the mighty Tsar sinks under the weight of conscience.
The Clock Scene. -The ambitious Shuisky has told Boris of a Pretender who has arisen in Lithuania, calling himself Dimitri. Boris cannot contain himself; he bids Shuisky begone and col?lapses into a chair. He feels that his conscience is suffocating him. At that moment the chiming mechanism of a great clock grinds into action. The figures begin to move and in the sinister halflight Boris takes them for an apparition of the murdered child. Verging on madness, he sinks sobbing to the floor and implores the Almighty to have mercy on his guilty soul.
Polonaise. -Scene 2 of the 'Polish' Act III takes place in the grounds of the Castle Mnishek at Sandomir in Lithuania. It is night and a fete is in progress. Dancers performing a polonaise pour into the moonlit gardens. The nobles, spurred on by their ladies, boast of the coming victory over the Muscovites. Then the whole company sings a toast to the family of Marina Mnishek, the Polish princess. Still dancing the merry throng reenters the castle.
The Simpleton. -Act IV opens before the Church of Basil the Blessed in Moscow where a Requiem mass has just been sung for the long dead child Tsarevich. When Boris ami his suite have passed on, a melancholy simpleton, seated on a stone, is left lamenting the wretched late of Russia: "Gush forth, bitter tears! Woe to Russia! Weep, Russian people, starving people."
The Death of Boris. -Realizing that death is near, Boris dismisses all around him except his son. In the most moving of monologues he bids farewell. He tells Feodor that he is the rightful heir, and must beware of the nobles' plots. Let him protect the Russian people and care for his sister Xenia. Boris prays that God may bless his children. The passing bell begins to toll, and monks can be heard chanting. The Boyars creep silently back into the chamber together with the monks who are ready to receive the Tsar into the church before he dies. In a final desperate effort Boris raises himself declaring: "I am still Tsar," then falls dying in their midst. With his last breath he presents Feodor as the new Tsar, and imploring forgiveness, he dies.
--Synopsis by Ray Crick
Donald T. Bryant, Director
Nancy Hodge, Accompanist Robert Johnson, Manager
First Sopranos Ann Burke Letitia Byrd Susan Campbell Elaine Cox Estelle Fox Carole Gallas Gladys Hanson Joann Hoover Sylvia Jenkins Cathy Keresztesi Carolyn Leyh Doris Luecke Loretta Meissner Rosalind Pehoski Julia RemsperRer Karwyn Rigan Alice Schneider Mary Ann Sincock Diane Weil Joanne Westman
Second Sopranos Kathy Berry Joyce Bleby Doris Datsko Sheryl Halsey Becky Happel Mary Hiraga Alice Horning Frances Lyman Karen Myhre Charlotte Nametz Eleanor Overdeck Susan Petcoff
Sara Peth Virginia Reese Carolyn Richards Susan Schluederberg Patricia Tompkins Rachelle Warren Judith Weber Sally Weaver Christine Wendt Mary Fran Wisner Karen Yoskovich Kathy Young
First Altos
Ella Brown Marion Brown Alice Cambron Lael Cappaert Margaret Counihan Sandra Festian Merian Frederick Meredy Gockel Kathy Greene Janice Johnson Nancy Karp Gcraldine Koupal Metta Lansdale Kirsten Lietz Lois Nelson Carol Peacock Anne Phelps Susan Simmons Nancy Tennenhouse Charlotte Wolfe
Second Altos Ellen Armstrong Elaine Fontichiaro Mary Haab Joan Hagerty Linda Hatcher Dana Hull Kathy Klykylo Elsie Lovelace Beverly Roeger Carol Spencer Katie Stebbins Libby Stuber
First Tenors
Hugh Brown William Craven Tim Dombrowski Robert Domine Marshall Franke Paul Lowry Robert MacGregor James McNally Dennis Rigan Marc Setzer William Shepherd
Second Tenors Steven Anderson Paul Angelo Martin Barrett Peter Bleby William Bronson Al Girod
Donald Haworth Thomas Hmay Robert Johnson John Meyer
First Basses Robert Andres Viktors Berstis Lee Brat ton John Eastman Thomas Farrell Thomas Hagerty Edgar Hamilton Klair Kissel Steven Olson Dennis Powers George Shepherd Riley Williams Robert Meader
Second Basses Richard Andrews Howard Bond John Daly David Harari Phil Pierson Raymond Schankin Wallace Schonschack Mark Sebastian Edward Shoemaker Thomas Sommerfeld Dale Stafford Robert Strozier Terril Tompkins John VanBolt
Clague Intermediate School Concert Choir Hunter March, Director
Carole Baker Linda Bisel Lisa Bohn Laurel Burke Edie Burton Kathy Daws Natalie Geiss Kelly Gottschanj Kay Hamilton
Xadine Harston Julie Heirich Karen Henderson Susan Janes Jeffrey Jones Erin Karr Mike Lampe Joni Lantry
Tammy Linden Jill Malila Ranee Meyers Karen Pekkala Anne Marie Piehl Christy Proux Rene Reichard Gail Rhodes
Tcri Roman Diane Stevens Jane Stillwason Suzanne Strader Jennifer Taylor Jane Tornalore Linda Vredeveld Debbi Young
Gail W. Rector, President Harlan H. Hatcher, VicePresident Douglas D. Crary, Secretary Wilbur K, Pierpont, Treasurer
Richard S. Bercer Axlen P. Britton Robben W. Fleming Peter N. Heydon
Paul W. McCracken Sarah Goddard Power Lois U. Steceman E. Thurston Thieme
Director Emeritus -Erich A. Walter
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phones: 6653717, 7642538

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