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UMS Concert Program, April 26, 1980: The Ann Arbor May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Season: 101st
Concert: Sixty-fifth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Eugene Ormandy, Music Director
Riccardo Muti, Principal Guest Conductor
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Saturday Evening, April 26, 1980, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
t"CIassical Symphony" in D major, Op. 25......Prokofiev
Allegro Larghetto
Gavotte: non troppo allegro Finale: molto vivace
?Suite from Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33a.....Prokofiev
The Eccentrics Scherzo
Infernal Scene The Prince and the Princess
March Flight
?Symphony No. 9 in C major
Andante, allegro ma non troppo Andante con moto
Scherzo: allegro vivace Finale: allegro vivace
Available on Columbia Records.
tAvailable on RCA Red Seal Records.
The Musical Society pays tribute this evening to Eugene Ormandy who, for forty-three consecutive years, has brought beauty, pleasure, and joy to countless people attending these Festival concerts. Though Maestro Ormandy is completing his final season as Music Director of The Philadelphia Orchestra, he will continue as Conductor Laureate; in that capacity we look forward to his participation in future May Festivals.
101st Season -Sixty-fifth Concert
Eighty-seventh Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
"Classical Symphony" in D major, Op. 25..........SERGEI Prokofiev
When Prokofiev played his First Piano Concerto in 1911, Glazunov stalked out of the auditorium in outrage; the Second Concerto, when he played the original version of that work at Pavlovsk in 1913, provoked an exodus on a larger scale, as well as energetic hissing and catcalls; the Scythian Suite, which he conducted in pre-Revolutionary Petrograd on January 29, 1916, set off a near-riot of protest with its harsh rhythms and daring new colors. After these scandales. he undertook to produce, in the summer of 1917, a work that would set more easily with the public--more or less as Richard Strauss, only a few years earlier, had followed up his Salome and Elektra with Der Rosenkavalier. "As a result of my studies in Tcherepnin's classes," he recounted later, "Haydn's technique had somehow become especially clear to me. ... It seemed to me that were he alive today Haydn, while retaining his own style of composition, would have appropriated something from the modern. Such a symphony I now wanted to compose: a symphony in the classical manner. As it began to take on actual form I named it Classical Symphony--first, because it was the simplest thing to call it, second, out of bravado, to stir up a hornet's nest, and, finally, in the hope that should the symphony prove itself in time to be truly 'classic,' it would benefit me considerably.'
The Classical Symphony was in fact not Prokofiev's first essay in this form. As early as 1903 he had completed a Symphony in G major which he dedicated to his teacher, Reinhold Gliere, and five years later, at the mature age of seventeen, he finished another in E minor, which Glazunov arranged to have performed privately by the Court Orchestra. The latter work's slow movement was eventually recast for use in a piano sonata, but both of the early symphonies otherwise remained in Limbo. The earlier of the two is said to have reflected the young Prokofiev's "enthusiasm for the Viennese classics and Italian overtures," and this same enthusiasm, of course, burnished by the sharp wit of the twenty-six-year-old master is abundantly evident in the Classical Symphony itself.
This graceful Symphony in D was the last of Prokofiev's works to be completed in the Old Russia, only weeks before the October Revolution, and, as it turned out, it was the last to be presented in the Soviet Union before the young composer's departure for his 15-year sojourn in the West. On his 27th birthday, just two days after the premiere, Prokofiev was granted an exit permit and on May 7, the birthday of his beloved Tchaikovsky, he set out for the United States by way of Japan and the Pacific. It is indicative of the affection he held for this early work that after he returned to his homeland he expanded the Gavotte movement of the Classical Symphony for use in his ballet masterpiece Romeo and Juliet.
Suite from Love for Three Oranges, Op. 33a.............Prokofiev
In the years just before the Russian Revolution a group of young Russians interested in new developments in the theatre published a magazine called Love for Three Oranges; this curious title was borrowed from a comedy by the 18th-century Venetian playwright and satirist Carlo Gozzi, and in one of the early issues of the magazine a scenario of theGozzi play was printed. The grand guignol plot suggested itself to Prokofiev as choice material for an opera, and when he left Russia for the West in May 1918 he took with him a complete libretto which he had written himself. The following year he was delighted to receive a commission from the Chicago Opera Company which enabled him to go to work on the score; the opera was completed in October of 1919 and first produced, after considerable delay but with great success, on December 30, 1921, in Chicago.
The plot, which represents absurdity elevated to its grandest proportions, is peopled with fantastic witches, monsters, buffoons and curious refugees from the commedia dell' arte. A handsome young Prince is in danger of dying of melancholy, and all the King's jesters cannot make him laugh. An involuntary somersault by the witch Fata Morgana provides the cure, but the witch is furious over being laughed at and places the prince under a curse causing him to fall in love with three huge oranges, which he sets out to find. When his adventures lead him to the oranges, his servant, Truffaldino, opens two of them impatiently, revealing a beautiful princess inside each, but the princesses die as soon as they leave their citrus shelter. The Prince himself opens the third orange, finds a still more beautiful princess inside, sings a love duet with her, and then proceeds to deal with the scheming prime minister and other adversaries. At the end the Eccentrics (or "Odd Fellows"), who have observed and commented on the action from a box at one side of the stage through the preceding portions of the drama, take an active part in clearing away the obstacles in the way of the young couple's happiness.
In 1925 Prokofiev selected six portions of the opera as the basis of an orchestral suite, and he rearranged and reorchestrated the music in that form. The Suite has become one of his most popular works, exuding a spirit of robust satire as undated as Gozzi's and, like his, at once biting and delicious. The sequence is as follows:
The Eccentrics (Les Ridicules). The opera's opening fanfare and music from Act I are the basic ingredients in this group portrait.
Infernal Scene. An underworld card game in which Fata Morgana, the power behind the prime minister, and Celio, the King's sorcerer, gamble for supreme power. The witch's triumph is celebrated by a dance of little devils.
March. This piece, which has become notoriously popular on its own, depicts Truffaldino dragging the Prince from his sickbed to the court where attempts will be made to induce laughter.
Scherzo. An interlude representing the passage of time as the Prince and Truffaldino go about their quest for the oranges.
The Prince and the Princess.The love duet, the one lyrical episode in the opera, with the Princess' part here assigned to the violin and flute, the Prince's to the cello and bassoon.
Flight (La fuite). Fata Morgana, the prime minister, and their associated miscreants are routed by the Eccentrics and are finally swallowed up by an opening in the ground.
Symphony No. 9 in C major .................Franz Schubert
The last of Schubert's symphonies has always been called "the Great C major," and this reference is frequently assumed to be a gesture of respect, as well it might be; indeed, in announcements of concerts and labeling of recordings the word "Great" is hung on as a sobriquet in the manner of "Pastoral" or "Rhenish." The term in this case did not originally represent a value judgment, however, but was simply a way of saying "Big," in distinguishing this work from Schubert's "Little C major" Symphony, his Sixth. It was helpful to be able to refer to the "Big C major," particularly because of uncertainties regarding the number to be affixed to the work.
For some time the "Great C major" was catalogued as No. 7, though it was always assumed to have been composed later than the "Unfinished" Symphony, which is known as No. 8; on occasion it has even been listed as No. 10. In the latter case the two gaps left open in the cycle were for a Symphony in E major-chronologically but unofficially No. 7--which Schubert sketched in full in 1821 but never got round to scoring, and for another Symphony in C major which he was thought to have composed at Gmiinden and Gastein in 1825 or 1826. The Symphony in E major, which has retained its position in the numerical cycle without ever having been officially awarded the number, was orchestrated in 1883 by John Francis Barnett of London, and a more successful version was produced by Felix Weingartner in 1934. The so-called "Gastein Symphony" has never been found; Joseph Joachim advanced the theory that the Grand Duo in C major for piano, four hands, Op. 140 (D. 813), was actually Schubert's reduction of an orchestral score, and he orchestrated the Duo himself as a "restoration" of the lost symphony. There is by now, however, virtually universal agreement on "9" as the proper number for the "Great C major," and on its position as the capstone of Schubert's activity as a symphonist.
Together with another Ninth, that of Beethoven, this Ninth of Schubert is one of the most revered of all symphonies, and among musicians themselves it may well be the most beloved of all. It seems more than a little ironic that it was the initial resistance on the part of orchestral players that delayed the entry of this Symphony into the repertory.
The prestigious Society of Friends of Music in Vienna, it appears, had scheduled this symphony for performance in 1828, but rejected it as being too difficult to perform. On that occasion the "Little C major" was substituted, and thus became the only Schubert symphony given a concert performance during the composer's lifetime. It was not until ten years after Schubert's death that .the score of the "Great C major" was discovered by Robert Schumann and sent by him to Felix Mendelssohn, who conducted the premiere performance in Leipzig on March 21, 1839. A few years later, when Mendelssohn put the work into rehearsal for one of his London concerts (for the same Philharmonic Society that had commissioned Beethoven's unprecedented Ninth), the orchestra members so derided portions of the finale that he was forced to withdraw it. In the 1840s the newness of Schubert's masterwork was still intimidating. Significantly, in reporting on his discovery of the score among Schubert's effects, Schumann not only noted the work's "heavenly length," but remarked that "it leads us into regions which--to our best recollections--we had never before explored."
The opening phrase of the introductory Andanie. given out by the two horns, is majestic and broad, defining the vast scale to which the entire work is drawn. What follows in this expansive introduction and in the movement proper (Allegro ma non iroppo) reveals some of the more obvious aspects of Schubert's legacy to both Brahms and Bruckner. Brahmsian before the fact are the characteristic texture of the strings' first entrance and the distinctive colors achieved with the winds. Bruckner's style is foretold in the noble simplicity of the opening theme (suggesting massiveness without being massive), in the development of most of the movement's materials from the second of the three-note phrases in that theme, and in the elaborate coda which culminates in a glorification of the opening material.
The slow movement, characterized by Donald Francis Tovey as a "heart-breaking show of spirit in adversity," is the sort of music only Schubert could have written: the combination here of lyricism, stark drama and an intensity made all the more poignant by the obvious effort toward restraint is something uniquely his. Its key, A minor, as we might recall from the famous Op. 29 String Quartet, had a personal poignancy for Schubert similar to that of G minor for Mozart. The second theme, in F major, is broad and consolatory, one of the most expansive such gestures in any of Schubert's instrumental works. Schubert builds on these materials to achieve a climax as emotionally explicit as those to come decades later from Tchaikovsky, and in fact caps it in the same way Tchaikovsky did in both his Fourth and Fifth symphonies (and Strauss did in his Don Juan, composed in 1888, the same year as Tchaikovsky's Fifth): a sudden "shattering silence," an unexpected void following upon an unrestraintedly violent outcry.
In his first five symphonies, all produced by the time he was nineteen, Schubert called his third movements minuets, though most of them strike us as scherzos. In the Ninth, it is a rough peasant dance given Olympian proportions, and its trio is a similarly idealized Landler.
Quite uncharacteristically, Schubert took the trouble to go over the first three movements and make emendations here and there, but the phenomenal spontaneity of the finale is in no way misleading: it was written at a furious pace (Lawrence Gilman's marvelous phrase was "a sacred fury of inspiration"), and not a note was changed. Along the course of this inexhaustible and truly climactic movement one may hear a fleeting echo--perhaps intentional on Schubert's part, perhaps not--of the theme of the final chorus of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony; it does not seem at all inappropriate, but it appears as a mere flicker in the wholly Schubertian blaze.
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The Borodin Trio........... Wed. July 9
John Browning, Pianist......... Mon. July 14
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Northwood Symphonette & Judy Manos, Vocalist . . . Mon. Aug. 4
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Tokyo Philharmonic Tadaeiko Odaka.....Thurs. Nov. 6
Martti Talvela, Basso.........Sun. Nov. 16
Los Angeles Philharmonic Carlo Maria Giulini . . Sun. Nov. 23
Pinchas Zukerman, Violinist & Violist......Tues. Jan. 27
Oxana Yablonskaya, Pianist........Sat. Feb. 7
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra Andre Previn . . Thurs. Mar. 19 Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra Kurt Mazur . . . Sun. Mar. 29 Mstislav Rostropovich, Cellist.......Sun. Apr. 12
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Goldovsky Opera Company.....Mon. & Tues. Oct. 6 & 7
Rossini's Barber of Seville (in English)
Ballet Folklorico Mexicano.......Thurs. Oct. 9
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Smithsonian Chamber Ensemble......
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Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.....
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Guarneri String Quartet.......
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Guarneri String Quartet.......
with David Shifrin, Clarinetist; Gyorgy Sandor, Pianist
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Murray Perahia, Pianist........
Horacio Gutierrez, Pianist.......
Walter Berry, Baritone........
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