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UMS Concert Program, April 27, 1978: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Concert: First
Complete Series: 4124
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University oi Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor
Riccardo Muti, Principal Guest Conductor
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Thursday Evening, April 27, 1978, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Don Juan, Op. 20.............Strauss
f"La Mer" ("The Sea")...........Debussy
From Dawn 'til Noon on the Sea
Play of the Waves
Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea
?Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39........Sibelius
Andante ma non troppo; allegro energico Andante ma non troppo lento Scherzo Finale: quasi una fantasia
? Available on Columbia Records t Available on RCA Red Seal
First Concert Eightyfifth Annual May Festival Complete Programs 4124
by Richard Freed
Don Juan, Op. 20...........Richard Strauss
Strauss made his first sketches for Don Juan in the fall of 1887 and completed the work the following summer, about the time he turned twentyfour; he conducted the first performance him?self on November 11, 1889, in Weimar, where Franz Liszt, the "inventor" of the tone poem, had introduced all but three of his own works in that form. Don Juan was the first of Strauss's tone poems to reach the public, and it was in this work that he announced himself as the composer destined to carry what Liszt had initiated to its highest level.
The legend of Don Juan Tenorio has fascinated writers from Moliere to Bernard Shaw and beyond, by way of Lord Byron and Alfred de Musset, and has inspired at least a dozen operas in addition to Mozart's masterpiece. The version that intrigued the twentythreeyearold Strauss was written by the AustroHungarian poet Nikolaus Lenau in 1844. Lenau produced one of the most sympathetic and probing portraits of the amatory conquistador, a portrayal whose subtlety and depth would naturally strike the imagination of Strauss, the future master of musical dramaturgy, more than the traditional characterizations of Don Juan as a mindless rakehell.
The exuberance and impetuosity of Don Juan himself, so vividly projected in the very opening of the Strauss work, are contrasted with episodes of tenderness and several "feminine" themes, all flashing by in what Richard Specht described (in his foreword to the score) as an "intoxicating carnival procession." But even the heroic theme given to the four horns in unison (and subsequently quoted by Strauss by way of selfglorification in Ein Heldenleben), for all its nobility, might be said to betray an element of futility, and the dissolute hero (or antihero) meets his end uncere?moniously ; there is no peroration.
"La Mer"--Three Symphonic Sketches......Claude Debussy
"You may not have known that I was destined for a sailor's life," Debussy wrote to Andre Messager from Burgundy in September 1903, "and it was only by chance that fate led me in another direction. Yet I have always felt a passionate love for the sea. You may say that the Burgundian hills are not exactly bathed by the ocean, and that my seascapes might be studio land?scapes, but I have a store of memories beyond number, and, to my mind, these are worth more than the reality which often only deadens one's thought."
The letter to Messager was written on the same day as another letter, to the publisher Jacques Durand, in which Debussy first outlined "La Mer," describing the sea as "mysterious, alluring, menacing, complex, elemental." He wrote from the coastal town of Dieppe a year later: "I should have liked to finish 'La Mer' here, but I must complete the orchestration, which is as tumultuous and varied as the sea itself!" In yet another letter, also from Dieppe, he wrote of "my old friend the sea," complaining that "the sea is not respected enough. ... It ought not to be permitted that ibodies deformed by workaday life dip into it. ... In the sea there should be only Sirens, and how do you suppose these estimable personages would consent to return to waters defiled by such low creatures"
Despite these professions of familiarity and love, it would appear that the composer of "La Mer" actually had little more contact with the sea than the composer of "Iberia" had with Spain: in the latter case, a threehour visit to a border town to witness a bullfight; in the former, two Channel crossings and some seaside holidays. That Debussy's imagination could be fired by so little in the way of actual experience only serves to emphasize the intensity of his involvement with his subject-and the validity of what he wrote to Messager: for him the idea was always of far greater im?portance than mere reality.
Oscar Thompson, author of Debussy, Man and Artist, published in 1937, wrote with such insight and authority of "La Mer" that his words might well be an appendix to the score:
From Dawn to Noon on the Sea. "There is a mysterious, eerie quality in the undulations with which this sketch begins. In the music are at once an incantation and an awakening. The chief
subject ... is declaimed by muted trumpet and English horn. Thereafter, as the light seems to grow clearer and Nature more boisterous, the waves of this chimerical sea ride higher, throwing their spume into the sunshine, with all manner of glint and refraction, exultant, tumultuous, but not menacing or cruel. Toward the end, wind instruments intone a solemn and noble theme that has been described as 'the chorale of the depths.' Above it continues the pitching of the waves; there comes a momentary lull, then a last shake of the mane of these horses of the sea."
Play of the Waves. "There arc waves of every color and mood in a capricious sport of wind and spray. In a contrastive sense this is the Scherzo of Debussy's heretical symphony. . . . The elements dance, they romp and race. . . . About all is an aura of the remote and the unreal. This is a world of sheer fantasy ... a mirage of sight and equally ... of sound. On the sea's vast stage is presented a trancelike phantasmagoria so evanescent and fugitive that it leaves behind only the vagueness of a dream."
Dialogue of the Wind and the Sea. "A gustier and wilder sea. . . . There are two clear recollections of the first movement, the first subject being whisked back in one of countless necromantic transformations of fragments of song, and the chorale returning again for a climax of glowing sonorities. . . . The brass peals forth in shining splendor. . . ."
Symphony No. 1 in E minor, Op. 39.......Jean Sibelius
As the opus number indicates, Sibelius busied himself with many other works before under?taking a symphony for the first time. He was nearly thirtyfour years old when he completed this work in 1899, and it has been suggested that he had not yet found his own personal style as a symphonist. Slavic influences are readily discerned in the First Symphony; it has been called Tchaikovskian, and a resemblance of its first movement to that of Borodin's First Symphony has been noted. Cecil Gray, a respected English commentator on the music of Sibelius, purported to find "the principal subjects . . . predominantly Slavonic in character, the subsidiary ones . . . often distinctly Finnish," and concluded that "the atmosphere of storm and conflict which pervades the entire work . . . presents a symbolic picture of Finnish insurrection against Russian oppression." Sibelius' Finnish biographer Karl Ekman, however, states that the First Symphony is basically "a profound human document Tofl the struggle of a soul full of conflict for its salvation."
The first movement opens with a rhapsodically brooding clarinet solo against a soft drumroll, after which the strings enter vibrantly with the main theme, which is given a fullblown Romantic workingout, with surging climaxes that do indeed recall Tchaikovsky. But the wind writing at the beginning of the development section is as characteristically "Sibelian" as anything the com?poser wrote later.
The second movement, which many have assumed to be based on a folk melody, is actually original Sibelius in every phrase. The persevering theme, making its way through an accompani?ment now undulating, now whirring, has evoked a dogged journey through the winter snow for many listeners, while to Paul Roscnfeld it suggested "the pathos of brief, bland summers." In structure and mood, this movement is similar to the corresponding one in Tchaikovsky's Fourth Symphony, but, while the theme of the Tchaikovsky slow movement is plaintive from the outset and so remains, until bathed in its own tears, the theme of Sibelius' Andante is one of determina?tion--if tempered with resignation.
The Scherzo is still more rugged and outdoorsy. In a striking reversal of roles, rhythmic beats from the violins and violas set off the theme, which is actually played on the timpani; it is then echoed in turn by the lower strings and the winds, then tossed back and forth between the timpani, clarinets, and trombones. Altogether, this extremely vigorous Scherzo, with its nostalgic Trio, is one of Sibelius' most jovial and openhearted pieces, its rough humor recalling the beguiling gruffness of his early tone poem En Saga.
It the Symphony may be regarded as a spiritual journey, the Finale is its yield, a grand summingup. None of the themes from the earlier movements is introduced here (though some are hinted at), but this movement seems to weigh the emotional turbulence and contrasts of its predecessors and emerge "bloody but unbowed," fully confirming Ekman's description of the work. The theme itself is a Romantic one--not hymnlike, but songful--but one that neither Tchaikovsky nor Borodin nor anyone else would have shaped in quite the same way as it appears here. The harp, fairly prominent in all four movements, is used here with particular effectiveness, vaguely suggesting some sort of bardic presence.
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor
Riccardo Muti, Principal Guest Conductor
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Boris Sokoloff, Manager Joseph Santarlasci, Assistant Manager
Norman Carol Concerlmaster
William de Pasquale
Associate Concertmaster
David Arbcn
Assistant Concertmaster
Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo Barbara Sorlien Herbert Light Charles Rex Ernest L. Goldstein Luis Biava Larry Grika Cathlcen Dalschaert Herold Klein Julia Janson
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Irving Ludwig Jerome Wigler Virginia Halfmann Arnold Grossi George Dreyfus 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 George Harpham
Harry Gorodetzer Lloyd Smith Joseph Druian Bert Phillips Deborah Reeder Christopher Rex Richard Harlow Gloria Johns William Saputelli Marcel Farago
Roger M. Scott Michael Shahan Xeil Courtney Ferdinand Maresh Carl Torello Samuel Gorodetzer Emilio Gravagno Curtis Burris Henry G. Scott
Murray W. Panitz Kenneth E. Scutt Lorcn N. Lind John C. Krell Piccolo
Richard Woodhams Stevens Hewitt Charles M. Morris Louis Rosenblatt English Horn
Anthony M. Gigliotti Donald Montanaro Raoul Querze Ronald Reuben Bass Clarinet
Bassoons Bernard Garrield John Shamlian Adelchi Louis Angelucci Robert J. Pfeuffer Contra Bassoon
Mason Jones Nolan Miller Randy Gardner Martha Glaze Howard Wall Daniel Williams
Trumpets Frank Kaderabck Donald E. McComas Seymour Rosenfeld Roger Blackburn
Trombones Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breuninger M. Dee Stewart
Bass TrumpetTenor Tuba Robert S. Harper
Bass Trombone
Paul Krzywicki
Timpani Gerald Carlyss Michael Bookspan
Michael Bookspan Alan Abel Anthony Orlando William Saputelli
Celesta, Piano and Organ William Smith Marcel Farago
Marilyn Costello
Margarita Csonka
Librarians Jesse C. Taynton Clint Nieweg
Personnel Manager Mason Jones
Stage Personnel Edward Barnes, Manager Theodore Hauptle James Sweeney
Photo Publicity Adrian Siegel
Broadcast Recording
Albert L. Borkow, Jr.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phones: 6653717, 7642538

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