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UMS Concert Program, April 30, 1978: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Concert: Fourth
Complete Series: 4127
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The University Musical Society
The University of Michigan
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director and Conductor
Riccardo Muti, Principal Guest Conductor
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Sunday Afternoon, April 30, 1978, at 3:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
fEgmont Overture, Op. 84...........Beethoven
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.......Beethoven
Poco sostenuto; vivace Allegretto
Presto; presto meno assai Allegro con brio
fConcerto No. 3 in D minor for Piano and
Orchestra, Op. 30...........Rachmaninoff
Intermezzo: adagio Finale
Vladimir Horowitz
As Mr. Horowitz celebrates his Golden Jubilee Year of concertizing, he performs this afternoon the same work he played fifty years ago in his Ann Arbor debut. Between these two orchestral appearances he has given eleven recitals in this auditorium, and will provide a gala opening for the Musical Society's 100th Annual Choral Union Series in October.
Available on Columbia Records
t Available on RCA Red Seal
Mr. Horowitz: RCA and Columbia Records
Fourth Concert Eightyfifth Annual May Festival Complete Programs 4127
by Richard Freed
Egmont Overture, Op. 84.......Ludwig van Beethoven
Goethe wrote his tragedy Egmont between 1775 and 1777, specifying music in his stage direc?tions, which call for an instrumental introduction or prologue, numerous interludes and entr'actes, and a grand epilogue. The kind of music best suited to this drama of heroic idealism had not yet been imagined, but several composers tried their hands before Beethoven; the earliest, apparently, was Johann Fricdrich Reichardt, who produced his score in 1791, when Beethoven was twenty years old and still in Bonn. Some seventeen years later, by then the celebrated composer of the Eroica and Fidelio, Beethoven was commissioned to write music for a new production of Egmont to be given at the Vienna Hojtheater, and no assignment could have pleased him more. In February 1810 he wrote to Bettina von Brentano, asking her to tell Goethe of "my inmost reverence ... I am just on the point of writing to him about Egmont, to which I have written the music, and indeed purely out of love for his poems, which cause me much happiness. Who can be sufficiently thankful for a great poet, the richest jewel of a nation"
By way of confirming that he did indeed write the Egmont score "purely out of love," Beethoven quite uncharacteristically refused to accept payment for it. The music was first per?formed, with the play, on June 15, 1810, but Goethe did not hear it until 1814; he expressed enthusiastic approval, especially for the handling of the final scene: "Beethoven," he said, "has followed my intentions with admirable genius."
Goethe's drama is set in Brussels during the Spanish occupation at the time of the Inquisition. The Duke of Alba, representing Philip II, summons both William of Orange and Prince Egmont of Gaure, the suspected leaders of the brewing rebellion, to appear before him; William has the good sense to ignore the summons and take refuge in his own province, but the more naive Egmont appears as commanded, whereupon he is imprisoned and sentenced to be hanged. His beloved, Clarchen (Goethe's imaginary contribution to an otherwise historically accurate plot), poisons her?self on learning of the sentence; she appears to him in a dream, on the eve of his execution, as the spirit of freedom--much as Florestan envisions Leonore as an "angel of freedom" in the opening of Act II of Fidelio. Awakening from his vision, Egmont faces the gallows with confidence that his death will serve as an exhortation to his compatriots to rise up and crush their oppressors. At the end of the drama is the "Symphony of Victory" called for by Goethe, and it is this music that constitutes the thrilling coda of the Overture, the preceding portions of which make no attempt at encapsulating the story, but grandly and majestically set the mood of high tragedy.
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92........Beethoven
The history of music is filled with reports of now revered masterworks that were failures when first performed, andor whose composers themselves had misgivings about them. It is hearten?ing to know that this particular Symphony pleased both the public and its composer from the outset, and has enjoyed unbroken popularity ever since.
On December 8, 1813, Beethoven conducted the first performance of his Seventh Symphony, which he had completed some eighteen months earlier. The Symphony was a huge success, and when it was repeated for the Congress of Vienna the following February 27 it set off such enthusiasm as to rouse Beethoven to anger over the neglect of his Eighth, which was introduced at that concert.
The reasons for the sustained appeal of the Seventh arc not far to seek. In none of Beethoven's other symphonies is the sheer visceral impact of the rhythmic element so strongly felt: the themes themselves seem to grow out of the rhythmic patterns here. Richard Wagner, in a celebrated essay, referred to the work as "the Apotheosis of the Dance"; in more recent years the Symphony has actually been choreographed, but the visual aspect has invariably fallen short of the ideal so compellingly conveyed in aural terms.
In addition to choreography, the Seventh has inspired no small variety of literary interpreta?tion, ranging from a call for political revolution (set forth in a contemporary tract which caused Beethoven chagrin), to Schumann's vision of a rustic wedding, to a pageant of chivalry in the
time of the Moors, to the Druidic rites culminating in a bacchanal envisioned by Emil Ludwig. Beethoven, for his part, attached no program to the work, set no words to it, and yet it is a vital statement: an exalted discourse by a man intoxicated ("fcuertrunken," one might say, as in the Schiller Ode he was to set in the Ninth) with the spirit of creativity itself. The Seventh may not be the most ambitious of Beethoven's symphonies in "philosophical" terms, but it is almost cer?tainly the most successfully realized of all his largescale designs; and, more than in any of his other works, it is the Seventh in which the purely sensual potentials of music are exploited to their fullest.
Concerto No. 3 in D minor for Piano
and Orchestra, Op. 30.......Sergei Rachmaninoff
His first American tour, which began in the fall of 1909, introduced Rachmaninoff in all three facets of his career: he toured with the Boston Symphony Orchestra as both pianist and conductor, he conducted his Second Symphony in Philadelphia and Chicago, conducted his tone poem The Isle of the Dead in Chicago and Boston, and gave numerous recitals of his own music. The new work he brought with him was the Third Concerto, which he played for the first time with Walter Damrosch and the New York Symphony Orchestra on November 28, 1909, and later in the same season with Gustav Mahler and the New York Philharmonic. Rachmaninoff cited the Third as his own favorite among his four concertos, but he approached it--as a performer--with a degree of trepidation, and in his last years simply refused to play it at all because he felt certain other pianists did more for the work than he could do himself.
Rachmaninoff dedicated the Third Concerto to Josef Hofmann, a lifelong friend whom he was not alone in regarding as the greatest pianist of his time. Hofmann, however, never played the work, and it was Vladimir Horowitz, this afternoon's soloist, who chose it for his graduation performance at the Kiev Conservatory in 1920 (when he was sixteen), and became most closely identified with it. After he met Horowitz in America in 1928, Rachmaninoff even suggested some cuts and other emendations which he felt would make the work an even stronger piece for his young colleague. A broadcast performance by Walter Gieseking in 1939 strengthened Rachmaninoff's growing feeling that he should henceforth leave this work in the hands of interpreters other than himself; he made a memorable recording of it with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra in the winter of 193940, but never again played it in public.
While the piano writing in the Third Concerto is extremely demanding, the orchestral part is hardly less difficult. There are few other major concertos in which the solo instrument and the orchestra are so thoroughly integrated, or to which the term "symphonic" is applied with greater justice. There arc fewer still which include such an abundance of firstrate themes.
Surely Rachmaninoff was right in saying the opening theme "simply wrote itself," for it is the sort of heavensent melody one cannot imagine being invented or "constructed." The second theme, arrived at following unhurried transformations of the first, appears as a fullblown lyrical out?pouring and then assumes a march character. On these materials Rachmaninoff builds what is perhaps the most fascinating single movement in any of his compositions. He composed two cadenzas, one rather modest, the other far more elaborate; it is the latter that is invariably favored now, and it includes imaginative echoes of the theme from solo flute, oboe, clarinet, and horn before it has run its brilliant course.
"Intermezzo" is the heading for the second movement, but it is a far more expansive episode-or series of episodes--than that title might suggest. A lovely, nostalgic introduction by the strings, with the theme given out by the oboe, builds to dramatic proportions before the entrance of the piano, which then takes the lead in a reflective nocturne. This builds to a climax of considerable emotional power; in the contrasting second section, a scherzo in waltztime, the clarinet and bassoon give out a variant of the firstmovement theme behind the piano's filigree ornamentations.
The second movement leads without pause into the third, a glittering and mercurial piece, for the most part nervous and marchlike, but with lyrical contrasts based on material from the first movement. The sheer drive of this finale has few parallels. The awesome coda begins with a cadence reminiscent of the corresponding section in the Violin Concerto of Brahms, and the piano writing at this point has much in common with that of Liszt in his richest vein, but the soaring strings and the brassdominated exultation to which they lead identify the music wholly and unmis?takably as Rachmaninoff's.
Summer Fare Series Rackham Auditorium
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Soprano..........July S
Emanuel Ax, Pianist.............July 11
Gyorgy Sandor, Pianist; Henryk Szeryng, Violinist . . . July 24, 26, 28
Complete Beethoven sonata cycle Maureen Forrester, Contralto...........August 7
Choral Union Series Hill Auditorium
Vladimir Horowitz, Pianist...........October 8
Emil Gilels, Pianist............October 12
Nathan Milstein, Violinist..........November S
English Chamber OrchestraVladimir Ashkenazy, Pianist . November 10
Isaac Stern, Violinist............December 7
Moscow Philharmonic OrchestraKitaienko.....February 3
NDR Symphony of HamburgMacal.......February 28
Nicolai Ghiaurov, Basso...........March 17
Detroit Symphony OrchestraDorati, von Alpenheim . . . March 25 Cleveland OrchestraMaazel..........April 17
Choice Series Power Center
Alvin Ailey Dancers.......September 29, 30, October 1
Martha Graham Dance Company......October 23, 24, 25
Viennese Gala.............October 27
Dimitri, ClownMime...........November 1
Fred Waring Show (in Hill Aud.)........November 9
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Ballet......December 14, 15, 16, 17
Play of Daniel.............January 9
Mozart's Marriage oj Figaro..........January 14
"Pirin," Bulgarian Folk Ensemble........January 16
Paul Taylor Dance Company........January 26 & 27
Los Angeles Ballet..........March 12, 13, 14
Chamber Arts Series Rackham Auditorium
Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society......October 14
Belgrade Chamber OrchestraHarrell......October 26
II Divertimento.............November 7
New Irish Chamber OrchestraPrieur, Galway .... November 21
The Philidor Trio............January 21
Les Menestrels............February 11
Guarneri String Quartet...........March 21
Netherlands Wind Ensemble..........April 1
Debut & Encore Series Rackham Auditorium
Eugene Fodor, Violinist........... October 17
Murray Perahia, Pianist........... October 30
Judith Blegen, Soprano........... January 12
Paul BaduraSkoda, Pianist.......... February 9
Asian Series Rackham Auditorium
Bugaku, from Japan............October 15
Aspects of Peking Opera..........February 20
Yakshagana, South India............April 9
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