UMS Concert Program, April 2, 1980: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
SERGIU COMISSIONA, Music Director and Conductor
The Festival Chorus
Donald Bryant, Director
Wednesday Evening, April 2, 1980, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sinfonia Concertante for Woodwinds and Orchestra
in E-flat major, K. 2976..........Mozart
Andantino con variazioni
Joseph Turner, Oboe Phillip Kolker, Bassoon
Steven Barta, Clarinet David Bakkegard, Horn
Polovtzian Dances from Prince Igor........Borodin
The Festival Chorus
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 ("Little Russian")
Andante sostenuto, allegro vivo
Andantino marziale, quasi moderato Scherzo: allegro molto vivace Finale: moderato assai, allegro
Vanguard and Vox Records.
101st Season -Fifty-ninth Concert
101st Annual Choral Union Series
Sinfonia Concertante for Woodwinds and Orchestra
in E-flat major, Op. 291b.....Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Terminology is one of the intriguing and unpredictable aspects of music. A word or term used in one historical period can have a meaning entirely different in another, or it can carry several simultaneous meanings. In the Baroque period, sinfonia could be the name given to an orchestral composition designed to serve as introduction to an opera, orchestral suite, or a cantata. On the other hand, the Sinfonie Musicali a otto voce (1610) by Lodovico Viadana represent the instrumental application of Giovanni Gabrieli's multichorus style. In 1723 Bach applied the word to his fifteen three-part Inventions for keyboard. In the early part of the Classical period, sinfonia could simply be the Italian spelling for "symphony." When the word concertante was added to it, it took on the character of a concerto for multiple soloists. This cross between a symphony and a concerto achieved a sudden spate of popularity, especially in Paris, around 1770.
Mozart attempted to capitalize on this latest of French musical fashions when he visited the capital city in 1777 seeking what he hoped to be some measure of fame and fortune. The Sinfonia Concertante in E-flat major was composed the next year at the request of Jean Le Gros, director of the famed Concert Spirituel, and the score was turned over to him for per?formance during the summer season. But because of petty intrigues and jealousies brought about by other musical personalities, the performance never took place. Since Mozart failed to retrieve his music, the manuscript disappeared and was considered lost for almost a century. The work was discovered again in the 1860s and it was clearly judged to be by Mozart. What was not possible to verify, however, was whether the found score was the original Sinfonia or the revision that Wolfgang had promised his father he would make.
In the Sinfonia Concertante, scored for a solo quartet of winds and orchestra, Mozart adheres to the concertante principle throughout. The featured group is in constant opposition to the larger instrumental body. After the traditional orchestral exposition in the opening Allegro, the roloists are heard as a unit, in pairs, and as individuals, always conversant with the orchestra. The Adagio is a flowing, expressive interlude before the Andantino finale, a set of ten variations on a march-like tune. Here the solo players are given every opportunity to display their technique and the special characteristics of their instruments. A six-bar Adagio is inserted towards the end to momentarily slow down the proceedings before an Allegro in 68 time concludes the animated movement.
--Sam di Bonaventura
Polovtzian Dances from Prince Igor.....Alexander Borodin
The Polovtzians, a people of central Asia, were the subjects around which Borodin wrote his opera, Prince Igor. Therefore much of the music, the dances and choruses, are actual melodies of the tribes. Borodin left the opera unfinished, and Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazounov completed the score and also developed some of the sketches which had been left.
An opera with a prologue and four acts, Prince Igor had its first performance in St. Peters?burg on November 4, 1890. The action takes place in the 12th century when Prince Igor and his son Vladimir undertake a campaign against the Polovtzians. They are defeated and captured by Khan Konchak. The Prince and his son are well treated at the camp of the captors, and the famous dances, heard tonight, take place during the festivities in honor of Igor and Vladimir. The dance finale occurs at the end of Act II, as the male and female Polovtzians who are in bondage enter, several of them carrying tambourines and other musical instruments, followed by Khan Konchak's retinue.
Symphony No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17 . . Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky was never identified with the native school of Russian nationalism launched by "The Five": Balakirev, Rimsky-Korsakov, Cui, Borodin, and Mussorgsky. In fact, critical spokesmen in the group frequently denounced the composer's music as being eclectic and Western.
In reality, however, the so-called "Russian" element is stronger in many of his works than in those of his contemporaries. With him the national spirit was instinctive rather than con?sciously cultivated, and in the long run it had a more lasting significance.
An example of Tchaikovskian nationalism is to be found in the Symphony No. 2. It was begun at Kamenka in June, 1872, when the composer paid one of his annual visits to his sister, and it occupied his attention for the remainder of the year. After the Symphony had been com?pleted, he showed the score to Rimsky-Korsakov and played the finale at a party in the latter's home in St. Petersburg. It was so well received by the assembled group that, as the composer later remarked, "The whole company almost tore me to pieces with delight." The reason for their pleasure is easy to understand: the main theme of the last movement is the Ukrainian folksong, "The Crane." When Nicolas Rubinstein led the Imperial Musical Society Orchestra in the symphony's world premiere in Moscow on February 7, 1873, it was received with such enthusiasm that it had to be repeated some weeks later.
Although the Second Symphony is not a grandiose work, either through the depth of its ideas or the complexity of its structure, it contains in embryonic form aspects of the composer's musical signature: his sense of isolation, his underlying melancholy, his romantic nostalgia, ard his forcefully induced gaiety in finales. The opening proceeds from a lengthy introduction to an Allegro vivo and back to the Andante soslenuto. The second movement is a martial Andantino over ostinato timpani based on material salvaged from the opera Undine. The Scherzo justifies its name by a kind of wry sprightliness underscored by orchestral play and counterplay. The Finale features a dance-like theme which undergoes a series of variations. Everything builds up to a Presto close.
About the Artists
In the sixty-two years of its existence, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra has grown from a three-concert-per-season municipal agency into one of America's major musical institutions. The Orchestra now performs over 250 concerts each year, including 56 in the Lyric Theatre in Baltimore; concerts in major cities throughout Maryland, at the Kennedy Center in Washing?ton, D.C., summer festival concerts in the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Md., scores of youth concerts, and also performances with the Baltimore Opera Company.
Sergiu Comissiona, Music Director of the Baltimore Symphony since 1969, is in constant demand as guest conductor with major orchestras in the United States and abroad. In addition to his duties in Baltimore this season, he was invited to conduct the Houston Symphony for the first two weeks of their season, and also in Boston, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Israel, England, Canada, Sweden, and South Africa. He also serves as Music Adviser to the American Symphony Orchestra and as Artistic Director of the Temple University Music Festival at Ambler, with the Pittsburgh Symphony. He has recently been appointed Artistic Adviser of the Houston Symphony Orchestra, serving concurrently with the Baltimore Symphony for a three-year period beginning with the 1980-81 season.
Born in Rumania in 1928, Comissiona made his conducting debut at age eighteen when he substituted on short notice for the conductor of the opera orchestra. That debut led to his becoming the youngest principal conductor of the Rumanian State Ensemble. After leaving Rumania in 1959 he held posts in Sweden, Israel, and Ireland, and for nearly a decade com?muted between orchestras in Goteborg and Haifa, with periodic concerts in Belfast and opera in London. His subsequent guest appearances with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago led to his distinguished and enduring affiliation with the Baltimore Symphony. It was in their adopted city's Bicentennial celebration on July 4, 1976, that Maestro and Mrs. Comis?siona became citizens of the United States.
This evening's concert is the second in Ann Arbor of Mr. Comissiona and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
THE FESTIVAL CHORUS
Donald Bryant, Conductor
Leif Bjaland, Assistant Conductor
Nancy Hodge, Accompanist Stephen Bates, Manager
Kimberly Jo Buechner Letitia Byrd Susan Campbell Beverly Chapdelaine Elaine Cox Gladys Hanson Sylvia Jenkins Carolyn Leyh Doris Luecke Loretta Meissner Alice Schneider Mary Ann Sincock Joanne Westman
Christine Arnison Wilma Greening Alice Horning Beth I.ipson Karen Myhre Charlotte Nametz Barbara Nordman Eleanor Overdeck Virginia Reese Carolyn Richards Suzanne Schluederberg Patricia Tompkins Christine Wendt Kathleen Young
Martha Ause Melodie Blacklidge Ella Brown Marion Brown Sally Carpenter Jan Engardio Carol Hurwitz Janice Johnson Dawn Kalis Nancy Karp Geraldine Koupal Lois Nelson Kathi Rosenzweig Martha Swart Helen Thornton Charlotte Wolfe
Marjorie Baird Mary Haab Dana Hull Katherine Klykylo Elsie Lovelace Susan Nisbett Beverly Roeger Joan Roth Carol Spencer Kathryn Stebbins Margaret Thompson
First Tenors Hugh Brown Bruce Carter Tim Dombrowski Robert MacGregor James McNally
Second Tenors William Bronson John Alan Comfort Albert Girod Donald Haworth Jay Klein Carl Smith David Woods
First Basses Richard Bachmann Mark Bush Thomas Hagerty Klair Kissel William Ling Lawrence Lohr Sol Metz Steven Spencer David Varner
Second Basses Howard Bond John Dietrich Alfred Meyer Raymond Schankin Terril Tompkins
The Festival Chorus was organized in 1969, and under Donald Bryant's leadership possesses a varied repertoire of masses, cantatas, songs, and works with orchestra. The collaboration tonight with the Baltimore Symphony is another in a long list of performances with prestigious ensembles from around the world: The Hague, Rotterdam, and Leningrad Philharmonics; the symphony orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Prague, and Melbourne; the Orpheus and Prague Chamber Orchestras; the Paul Kuentz Chamber Orchestra of Paris and Mozarteum Orchestra of Salzburg; performances under Ormandy, Ozawa, Martinon, de Waart, Copland, Rohan, Jarvi, van Otterloo, Ehrling, and tonight with Comissiona. The Chorus also made a European tour of eight cities in 1976, and in 1979 gave concerts in the Egyptian cities of Cairo and Alexandria. Under conductor Bryant's direction, the Chorus most recently presented a complete performance of Handel's oratorio Israel in Egypt for the Musical Society's Founders Day Concert on February 24.
Important Chamber Music Concert Change
The Amadeus Quartet will perform on Sunday, April 20, at 8:30 in Rackham Auditorium, replacing the Quartetto Italiano which has cancelled its concert of April 17 due to the illness of one of its members. Those holding Italiano tickets should use them for admission to the Amadeus concert. (Any necessary ticket adjustments must be made by April 17.)
The Amadeus Quartet program: Haydn's "Emperor" Quartet, Op. 76, No. 3; Britten's Quartet No. 3; and Schubert's Quartet in D minor ("Death and the Maiden").
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phone: 665-3717, 764-2538
University Musical Society