UMS Concert Program, April 25, 1980: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Eugene Ormandy, Music Director
Riccardo Muti, Principal Guest Conductor
William Smith, Associate Conductor
THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
Donald Bryant, Director
STANISLAW SKROWACZEWSKI, Conducting LESLIE GUINN, Baritone
Friday Evening, April 25, 1980, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Suite No. 2 from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64......Prokofiev
Montagues and Capulets Romeo and Juliet Before Parting
The Young Juliet Dance of the Maidens with Lilies
Dance Romeo at the Tomb of Juliet
"A Song of Hope" (An Old Man's Soliloquy) . . Gian Carlo Menotti (world premiere)
The University Choral Union Leslie Guinn
intermission ?Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67.......Beethoven
Allegro con brio Andante con moto Allegro Allegro
Available on Columbia Records. 101st Season -Sixty-fourth Concert Eighty-seventh Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Suite No. 2 from Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64 .........Sergei Prokofiev
Romeo and Juliet is unquestionably the most successful "full evening" ballet created in this century, and many consider its score Prokofiev's true masterpiece for orchestra. Like numerous other similarly successful works, however, it had a hard time getting off the ground. It was a request from the Kirov Theatre in Leningrad, toward the end of 1934, that initiated the project. The Kirov changed its mind before Prokofiev had written a note, but by then he had become so fascinated with the idea that he did not want to drop it, and a contract was signed for presentation of the ballet at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow. In the spring of 1935 Prokofiev and the choreographer Piotrovsky consulted with Sergei Radlov, who had produced several of Shakespeare's plays, and the three developed a scenario for the ballet. For a time they considered giving the work a happy ending (as Prokofiev remarked later, "living people can dance--the dead cannot"), but in the end remained faithful to Shakespeare.
The contract was voided the following summer, when Prokofiev submitted his score and it was rejected as "undanceable" by the Bolshoi management. Prokofiev then extracted two concert suites from the score, which he introduced in Moscow and Leningrad during the 1936-37 season, and he also arranged ten numbers for piano. The response to the music was highly favorable, but still the ballet found no takers; even the Kirov's school company turned it down. When Romeo and Juliet was finally staged, in Brno, Czechoslovakia, in December 1938, Prokofiev was not consulted and did not attend, but a year later the Kirov decided to produce the work, after all, and the Soviet premiere took place there on January 11, 1940; Galina Ulanova danced the role of Juliet in both of these premieres.
Prokofiev was not finished with the ballet when it was performed in Leningrad. He had made several additions to the score and had enlarged the orchestra at the request of the dancers and the choreographer, Leonid Lavrovsky. Further additions were made the following year, and there were still more for the Bolshoi premiere of 1946. Over-all, Prokofiev worked on and revised this score nearly as long as Beethoven did on Fidelio, and, as in that case, it was a work especially close to its composer's heart. "I have taken special pains," Prokofiev declared, "to achieve a simplicity which will, I hope, reach the hearts of all listeners. If people find no melody and no emotion in this work, I shall be very sorry--but I feel sure that sooner or later they will."
And of course they did, sooner rather than later. The music itself, in the form of Prokofiev's own concert suites or various sequences of excerpts--or even, occasionally, the entire score--has also taken a permanent place in the concert repertory. In this performance of the Suite No. 2, StanislawSkrowaczewski is omitting the third movement ("Friar Laurence"); the six numbers being performed may be identified as follows:
Montagues and Capulets. The Dance of the Knights at the Capulets' ball, prefaced by the music which accompanies the entrance of the Duke of Verona as he orders the warring families to lay down their arms.
Julietthe Young Girl. Juliet playfully resisting the Nurse's efforts to help her dress for the ball.
Dance. The Dance of the Five Couples in the square.
Romeo and Juliet before Parting. The farewell pas de deux at dawn after the bridal night.
Dance of the Maids with Lilies. Unaware that Juliet has taken Friar Laurence's potion, the bridesmaids, assembled for her wedding to Paris, dance around her as she sleeps.
Romeo at Juliets Grave. Having failed to receive Friar Laurence's message explaining the sleeping potion given to Juliet, Romeo enters the Capulet family crypt, kills Paris, whom he finds mourning at Juliet's bier, and then, after a final reminiscence of the happiness he has shared with her, lakes poison and dies.
"A Song of Hope" (An Old Man's Soliloquy)......Gian Carlo Menotti
(6. July 7, 1911)
"A Song of Hope," which is being given its world premiere performance in tonight's concert, represents Gian Carlo Menotti's response to a commission from the University Musical Society in celebration of the 100th year of the Musical Society and the University Choral Union. Mr. Menotti himself wrote the text, and specified the following instrumentation: piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, English horn, two clarinets, bass clarinet, two bassoons, four horns, three trumpets, three trombones, tuba, piano, harp, timpani, bass drum, snare drum, cymbals, triangle, xylophone, whistle, and strings.
Those with an eye for dates will observe that Menotti shares a common birthday with Gustav Mahler (who was born on July 7, 1860) and died in the year Menotti was born (1911). While one would have to look very hard indeed to find common musical bonds between these composers, what they do have in common in their works--but shown by each in his own quite distinctive way--is a profound concern for what has come to be called "the human condition." Menotti has dealt with humanity s foibles and grotesqueries on many levels, ranging from the good-natured humor of The Telephone to the intensity and pathos of The Consul. but always with compassion; his characters are always credible because they are always life-size and no bigger.
In "A Song of Hope" he evokes the image of an old man whose years are filled with experiences both bitter and happy to present the sort of contrast Mahler dealt with in his symphonies, between the brutality of which man is capable, on the one hand, and the warm comfort of simple joys, on the other, with an emphasis on the affirmative values symbolized by the continuity of Nature.
Whether the references in Mr. Menotti's text are to specific events or simply represent a symbolic selection from the horrors through which members of his generation have lived, both the words and music address the point straightforwardly, with both color and warmth. The text, it may be further noted, is not in verse form, but in a very free "conversational" style, its imagery made vivid by what amounts to understatement in describing scenes, its urgency heightened by an impassioned directness in the face of which questions of naTvete or over-simplification become quite meaningless.
Text by Gian Carlo Menotti
Do not despair, my friend. Although determined hunters have combed the forest and trampled over the tilled fields, the wild dove still heralds the mating spring, the drunken lark still plunges into the waving heat.
Do not despair, my friend.
Barbarian hordes did march past the village square. Tongues were slit with knives, lips were sewn with
invisible thread. But still we can speak and sing and understand each other with the words of our childhood, with the
words of my childhood. Rain of fire fell over our roof on noisy nights, and trapped in their beds they woke to their death, old
people woke to their death. Burned are the framed photos in the attic, burned are schoolbooks and Bibles, and the carefully folded
first communion suit.
Killed were our neighbors and the old family cook. Under the rubble a hand was found wearing a wedding ring.
But it was not the end as we then thought, 'twas not the end.
Here we are tonight in this peaceful light, my dog asleep on the sofa; my grandson, lying on the rug, out
of his domino box builds his dream palace, quietly, at my feet.
Outside the window, waving in the wind, the apple tree still snows its flakes of flowers. Do not feel guilty for your quiet happiness. Although children have died with their dying mothers and many men have drowned their youth in blood,
death does not come as a prize or punishment. By dying you do not fill your neighbor's grave.
Many are the cries of warning. (By dying you cannot fill your neighbor's grave.)
Many the whispered fears, many the tears of mourning.
Do not feel guilty for your quiet happiness.
Share, you who can, your last days of joy.
Do not bar your door to him who knocks; open the window to the call outside.
Perhaps one day you too will ask for pity.
But by remembering that you too have sung, you will not envy other people's laughter. (Many the cries of
warning, whispered fears, the tears of mourning.) Do not feel guilty. Do not be ashamed to celebrate with humble gratitude the gift of life we share with
dove and lark and apple tree.
Symphony No. 5 in C minor, Op. 67 .........Ludwig van Beethoven
At the midpoint of Beethoven's cycle of nine symphonies stands the work which has epitomized for many listeners the very concept "Symphony," with all the emotional and dramatic--not to say programmatic-connotations it has had since Beethoven's time.
The Fifth was the work which set the pattern of "victory through struggle," observed in so many symphonies from Beethoven's time to our own. Franck and Tchaikovsky come to mind as two of the more prominent later symphonists who made use of both the "victory through struggle" emotional frame and the cyclic form we find in Beethoven's Fifth.
The remark about the opening phrase--"Thus Fate knocks on the door"--attributed to him by Anton Schindler may well have been Schindler's own concoction; but, because of the way that motif is developed and reintroduced later in the work, it does seem to fit, and the Fifth Symphony, with or without a composer-sanctioned "program," stands as one of the several grand fulfilments of the promise Beethoven had made to himself in 1801, when he became aware of his growing deafness: "I will take Fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me."
The "Fate" motif hammers away throughout the terse drama of the first movement, with lyrical passages here and there to throw the drama into higher relief. The second movement may be seen as following, more or less, the "double variation" format Haydn had made familiar in his symphonies; the opening theme itself is a variation on the "Fate" motif, and the second theme may be traced to the horn phrase introduced early in the first movement. J. W. N. Sullivan, in Beethoven: His Spiritual Development, described this Andante con mow as "a mere resting-place, a temporary escape from the questions aroused by the first movement." The basic material and its treatment, however, would suggest something like unhurried contemplation of those questions, rather than escape from them.
With the Scherzo the drama is again intensified. Its opening phrases set a dark and menacing scene, against which backdrop a more clearly recognizable variant of the "Fate" motif rears itself up. The tension is broken momentarily by an amiable rambunctious little dance for the double basses, but it returns, more ominous than before, to dissolve into the mysterious and suspenseful transition to the finale. Here grotesquerie vanishes and the passage from darkness into light is achieved with magnificent simplicity. The jubilant course of the finale is interrupted momentarily by a reprise of the Scherzo, which now seems shorn of its menace; indeed, all allusions to the "Fate" motif now are transformed into a victorious, even joyous statement.
UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
Donald Bryant, Conductor
Leif Bjaland, Assistant Conductor
Nancy Hodge, Accompanist Stephen Bates, Manager
Kimberly Jo Buechner
Lois Ann Malthaner
Loretta Meissner Cheryl Murphy
Anne Nisch Andrea Parmelee Jennifer Parrin Alice Schneider Susan Seidman Rhonda Silberstein Charlotte Stanek Cassie St. Clair Heidi Unger Joanne Westman Nancy Williams
Pamela Jean Carter
Barbara Colwell Jane Conrad
Katharine Fielder Carol Fleeter
Deborah Forbes Melissa Forbes Denise Green Wilma Greening Alice Horning Elizabeth Johnson Karol Helen Krohn Judith Lehmann Beth Lipson Paula Little Mary Loewen Frances Lyman Melissa McBrien Marilyn Meeker Eleanor Overdeck Suzanne Parker Sara Peth Robina Quale
Virginia Reese Stephanie Rosenbaum Vicky Russum Ann Schebor Suzanne Schluederberg Marie Schneider Kathleen Sheeny Catherine Grace Signor Elizabeth Stewart-Robinson
Patricia Tompkins Rachelle Warren Christine Wendt Cynthia Worrell Karen Marie Yoskovich Kathleen Young
Margaret Amrine Margo Angelini Susan Berman Melodie Blacklidge Phyllis Bogarin Kay Bohn Ella Brown Marion Brown Lael Cappaert Catherine Chichester Rosalyn Chrenka Cathy DeRoo Arlene Dobberstein Judith Eaton Jeanne Erickson Daisy Evans Marilyn Finkbeiner Amy Fleetwood Merian Frederick Danielle Galbraith Mary Lou Gibson Nancy Girback Marilyn Glover Kathleen Graham Kay Hannah Judy Hicks Virginia Hmay Margaret Hostetler Nancy Houk Carol Hurwitz Marta Johnson Olga Johnson Karen Judson Dawn Kalis Nancy Karp Geraldine Koupal Kristine Langabeer Rosemary Lewis Bernice McCoy Marian Miner Jean Morgan Ellen Neering Lois Nelson Mary Redford Glenda Revelle Kathi Rosenzweig Sarah Rothman Laurence Ruth
Lillianne Ruwart Cynthia Rynalski Martha Swartz Linda Siebert Beth Slee Deborah Slee Patricia Stock Georgiana Swinford Deborah Syring Laurie Taylor Anne Thomas Helen Thornton Amy Torch Joanne Veroff Myra White Charlotte Wolfe
Hugh Baker Rob Bloomfield Hugh Brown Kenneth Burdette Tim Dombrowski Marshall Franke Roy Glover Paul Lowry Robert MacGregor Robert Miller Bernard Patterson Lawrence Reemmer Frederick Schebor David Van Keersbilck
Second Tenors Dick Bohlander William Bronson Mark Chancey Harold Clark John Collins Merle Galbraith Peter Gaudet Donald Haworth Theodore Hefley Thomas Hmay Bill Kinley Jay Klein Philip Melcher Kenneth Nisch Robert Reizner Carl Smith Nicolas Williams
Kevin Anderson Mark Avenmarg Richard Bachman Marion Beam Robert Betka Dean Bodley John Brueger Charles Burr Mark Bush Richard Dargis Peter DeHart Steve Domino Gene Ellis David Engman Matt Greenough Thomas Hagerty Mark Johnson Klair Kissel Charles Liang William Ling Lawrence Lohr John MacKrell Sol Metz
Francisco Montero Bruce Moore Charles Morgan Jim Schneider Richard Stock William Stokel Wade Sutton David Varner Rob Vonderhaar Thomas Wang Richard Weisman Steven White
Victor Abdella Harry Bowen Lowell Fisher Thomas Fuhrman Robert Hall Charles Lehmann John Mclntire Michael Migliore Vergil Slee Terril Tompkins
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
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