Complete Series: 4076
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Reinholo Peters, Music Director Zoltan Ruskay, Founding, Conductor
RICHARD KAPP, Conducting BALINT VAZSONYI, Pianist
Sunday Evening, October 23, 1977, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, for Piano and Orchestra .... Chopin
Maestoso Larghetto Allegro vivace
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World") . . . Dvorak
Adagio; allegro molto Largo
Molto vivace Allegro con fuoco
The Philharmonia Hungarica available on Vox, London and Mercury Records; Balint Vazsonyi available on Deutsche Cramophon, Vox, Pye, and Genesis Records.
Third Concert Ninetyninth Annual Choral Union Scries Complete Programs 4076
PROGRAM NOTES by Leonard Burkat
Two Portraits, Op. 5...........Bela Bartok
Two Portraits, Op. 5, is music of Bartok's youth, composed in 1907 and 1908 but not put into its present form until 1911. It dates from the early years of his research in folklore--the time when he was first beginning to find his unique, personal style-and some of its musical material is shared with several other compositions of those years.
Tn the second half of 1907, Bartok wrote a Concerto for a well known violinist, Stefi Geyer, with whom he was in love. For some reason it was withheld from publi?cation and performance while they lived, and was played for the first time in 1958. The first of the Two Portraits is identical with the first movement of the Concerto. Bartok described it as the "musical portrait of the idealized Stefi Geyer, transcendent and intimate." It is a delicate, lyrical piece whose solo part is now usually played by the orchestra's concertmaster.
There is no solo part in the second Portrait, which depicts the "cool, indifferent, silent Stefi." This one was originally written for piano in 1908 and was probably orchestrated in 1911. Later, Bartok thought of this as a grotesque portrait. In the meantime, however, he included the original piano version in his Fourteen Bagatelles, Op. 6, where he called it Waltz: My Beloved Is Dancing. It is a wild, strident piece for orchestra, without solo violin, that Bartok might imaginably have used in the early Concerto if he had not separated from Geyer.
Concerto No. 2 in F minor, Op. 21, for Piano and Orchestra . . Frederic Chopin
Tn the summer of 1829, at the age of nineteen, Chopin completed his studies at the Warsaw Conservatory and set off for Vienna to see about the possibility of pub?lishing some of his music. While there, he gave a concert that critics said "electrified the public." His playing was delicate, they said, but his style original and his tech?nique of "indescribable perfection." When he yielded to demands for a second concert, it was less to please the Viennese public than to impress the people back home in Warsaw. Unfortunately the Polish press mistranslated the reviews and he gained nothing but the knowledge that he could successfully face an audience in a great city and that he must prepare to make his career abroad.
When he gave his first public concert in Warsaw that December, a reviewer wrote. "Cannot Poland appreciate his talent Among his latest works is said to be a Con?certo in F minor that is the equal of the music of the finest composers in Europe." He had finished the Concerto not long before and, after a few private performances, he played it at the National Theater on March 17, 1830, with great success.
In the summer of 1830, Chopin wrote another Piano Concerto, in E minor, which we now know as the First because it was published before the Fminor Concerto. He played the new one for the first time at a farewell concert in Warsaw that October, and set off to seek his fortune.
At the end of a year of wandering, Chopin arrived in Paris, where a group of aristocratic Polish emigres helped launch him. At his first concert, Liszt, twentyone years old, and Mendelssohn, twentythree, led the applause. Powerful, conservative critics in Paris, as in Vienna, praised the innovations of a young man with original ideas and a new style that they found elegant, free, graceful, pure, and effective. Years later, Liszt recalled his enthusiasm that day for Chopin's "new kind of poetic sentiment combined with felicitous formal innovations."
The integrity of musical form was not taken as seriously in the Romantic era as it is in our time. In Paris, as in Warsaw, other instrumentalists played solos between the first and second movements. Chopin played the Concerto, in Paris, as a piano solo, without orchestra.
Later, other pianists played the Concerto with the opening section of the first movement greatly altered and abridged. Some changed the ending of the last move?ment, some inserted cadenzas that Chopin had not thought necessary, and still others completely reorchestrated the accompaniment. All these were misguided attempts to turn Chopin into Beethoven or Brahms. For our time, he is better as himself.
Mendelssohn and others wrote admiringly of the absolute perfection of Chopin's piano technique, and regretfully of the light touch (and the consequent small tone) that made it possible. No one has ever claimed that Chopin wrote well for orchestra, but now we understand that his few orchestra scores provide a light background for a fleetfingered pianist who attains great variety of expression within a very small range. Conductors now generally try to match the accompaniments, as Chopin wrote them, to the scale of the soloist.
Symphony No. 9 in E minor, Op. 95 ("From the New World") Antonin Dvorak
The "New World" Symphony is the finest product of Dvorak's stay in the United States. He came to this country in October, 1892, at the invitation of Mrs. Jeanette M. Thurber, to assume the directorship of the National Conservatory of Music, which she had established in New York. He remained for three years and taught com?position to many eager young Americans. He made his home in an apartment near the Conservatory, and spent his summers with his wife and children in the little town of Spillville, Iowa, a community settled by his fellow Czechs.
Among Dvorak's best students at the Conservatory was a young black musician, Henry T. Burleigh, who was to become a prominent singer and composer. Burleigh spent long hours with Dvorak, singing spirituals and slave songs that completely captivated him and became an important part of his inspiration for his "New World" Symphony.
According to Dvorak's sketchbooks, the Symphony was begun on December 19, 1892, and was completed on May 25, 1893. He orchestrated most of the work at Spillville. The Symphony was given its first performance by the New York Philhar?monic Orchestra, conducted by Anton Seidl, at Carnegie Hall, on December 15, 1893.
Its reception is best described in a letter the composer sent to his publisher in Berlin, "The success of the Symphony was magnificent. The newspapers say that never has a composer had such a triumph. I was in a box, and the hall was filled with the most select public in New York. They applauded so much that I felt like a king."
There was a great deal of controversy about the character of the thematic material in the "New World" Symphony. Some said that the work was based almost entirely on actual Negro and American Indian folk themes; others insisted that the music was predominantly Czech, an expression of the composer's intense homesickness--which would later make him turn down the offer of a handsome new contract with the Con?servatory. We now believe that Dvorak intended the "New World" Symphony to set an example for our composers of what they could do with themes that were American in character and style, without actually quoting any folk songs.
Shortly before the Symphony's premiere, he said, "I am satisfied that the future music of this country must be founded upon what are called the Negro melodies. These can be the basis of a serious and original school of composition, to be developed in the United States. When I first came here, I was impressed with this idea, and it has developed into a settled conviction. These beautiful and varied themes are the product of the soil. They are American. They are the folk songs of America, and your com?posers must turn to them. All the great musicians have borrowed from the songs of the common people."
Several years later, he wrote to a conductor in Berlin, "I am sending Kretzschmar's analysis of the Symphony, but omit that nonsense about my having made use of Indian and American themes--that is a lie. I only tried to write in the spirit of those national American melodies." But the tone of the "New World" Symphony, despite its title, remains decidedly Czech. What many have failed to note is that there is a marked resemblance between some music of the American Indian and of the Czech peasant.
The Symphony opens with a dramatic introduction, adagio, followed by a highly rhythmic allegro molto. The second movement, largo, is one of the best known in all the symphonic literature. Its principal theme, played by the English horn, was originally sketched for a work never written that was to be based on Longfellow's Hiawatha. It was very popular for many years in an adaptation as a song called "Goin' Home." The third movement, a lively Scherzo, marked molto vivace, and the vigorous finale, allegro con juoco, are both entirely Czech in flavor.
Suk Trio............Tuesday, October 25
Beethoven: Trio in G major, Op. 1, No. 2; Dvorak: Trio in Bflat, Op. 21; Brahms: Trio in B major, Op. 8
Murray Perahia, Pianist........Thursday, October 21
Beethoven: Sonata in Eflat major, Op. 7; Chopin: Four Impromptus; Schubert: Sonata in
A major, Op. Posth.
Preservation Hall Jazz Band.......Friday, October 28
Lazar Berman, Pianist........Thursday, November 3
BachBusoni: Chaconne; Prokofiev: Suite from Romeo and Juliet; Liszt: Funeraillts, Sonata
in B minor Concord String Quartet........Sunday, November 6
Beethoven: Quartet in Bflat, Op. 18, No. 6; Ben Johnston: "Crossings"; Schubert: Quartet
in G, Op. 161 Mirella Freni, Soprano........Tuesday, November 8
Songs by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi, Duparc, Debussy; Charpentier: Depuis le Jour
from Louise Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra de Waart . . Friday, November 11
Diepenbrock: Excerpts from Marsyas; Dvorak: "Te Deum" (with the Festival Chorus) ;
Mahler: Symphony Xo. 1
Penca & Topeng Babakan, West Java . . . . Saturday, November 12
The Pennsylvania Ballet.....Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
November 14, IS, 16
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano......Saturday, November 19
Symphony Orchestra ok Brazil Kakabtchevsky . . Sunday, November 20
VillaLobos: Preludio from Bachianas Brasileiras, No. 4; Marios Nobre: In Memoriam;
Prokofiev: Piano Concerto Xo. 3 (Cristina Ortiz, soloist) ; Brahms: Symphony Xo. 2
Handel's Messiah.........Friday, Saturday, Sunday
December 2, 3, 4
Ensemble for Early Music.......Friday, December 9
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet .... Thursday, Friday, Saturday
The Pittsburgh Ballet........December IS, 16, 17
Marcel Marceau, Pantomimist.......Saturday & Sunday
January 7 & 8
Jose Molina Bailes Espanoles......Wednesday, January 11
Rossini's Barber of Seville .... ... Sunday, January IS
Canadian Opera Company
Hungarian Folk Ballet........Tuesday, January 17
Rudolf Serkin, Pianist........Wednesday, January 18
Camerata Orchestra of SalzburgJanigro .... Friday, January 20
Leontyne Price, Soprano.......Wednesday, January 25
French String Trio & Michel Debost, Flutist . . . Friday, February 3
Eliot Feld Ballet.......Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
February 20, 21, 22
Carlos Montoya, Guitarist.......Thursday, February 23
Aleksander Slobodyanik, Pianist......Saturday, February 25
Thovil, Sri Lanka..........Wednesday, March 1
Baltimore Symphony OrchestraComissiona . . . Sunday, March 19
Dvorak: Scherzo Capriccioso; Khachaturian: Violin Concerto (Albert Markov, soloist);
Kodaly: Hary Janos Suite
Nikolais Dance Theatre.......Tuesday & Wednesday
'March 21 & 22
KyungWha Chung, Violinist.......Thursday, March 23
Orpheus Chamber Ensemble'Festival Chorus . . . Saturday, March 25
Okinawan Dancers..........Tuesday, March 28
Amadkus String Quartet.........Thursday, April 6
Mozart: Quartet in Bflat, K. 4S8 ("The Hunt"); Britten: Quartet No. 2; Dvorak: Quartet
in F, Op. 96 ("American") Bavarian Symphony OrchestraKubelik.....Saturday, April 8
Schubert: Symphony No. 3 in D major; Bruckner: Symphony No. 6 in A major
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phone: 6653717, 7642538