UMS Concert Program, October 21, 1980: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- The Toronto Symphony
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
The Toronto Symphony
ANDREW DAVIS Music Director and Conductor
Tuesday Evening, October 21, 1980, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Picasso Suite...........Harry Somers
Paris--1900--A Snapshot (Allegro)
Cubism (Molto lento)
Etching--The Vollard Suite (Lento)
Arcadia--Faun with Flute--Innocence (Allegretto)
Royal Hunt and Storm--Pantomime from The Trojans .... Berlioz
Iberia from "Images"...........Debussy
Par les rues et par les chemins Les Parfums de la nuit Le Matin d'un jour de fete
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68........Brahms
Un poco sostenuto, allegro Andante sostenuto
Un poco allegretto e grazioso
Adagio; allegretto non troppo, ma con brio
Columbia, RCA, and CR1 Records. 102nd Season -Twelfth Concert 102nd Annual Choral Union Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Godfrey Ridout
Picasso Suite...........Harry Somers
The music of this Suite is drawn from a CBC Television production based on the paintings of Picasso, shown in 1964. The Suite itself was commissioned by the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra which first played it on February 28, 1965. The first movement sets the scene for the beginning of the artist's career; the second is associated with Picasso's "rose" period; neo-classicism was the "thing" in Paris of the twenties, due as much to Stravinsky as to Picasso; the fourth movement belongs to the thirties, and the fifth to a specific picture, while the Codetta harks back to the opening.
Royal Hunt and Storm from The Trojans.....Hector Berlioz
Berlioz' operatic masterpiece, The Trojans, was composed between May of 1856 and April of 1858. It was an act of will and of faith, for no one had commissioned it and Berlioz had no illusions about the possibility of its being performed in the mildly hostile climate of Paris in the Second Empire. His childhood enthusiasm for Virgil's Aeneid had never worn off (he declared to one of his encouragers, the Princess Sayn-Wittgenstein, that he had quite fallen in love with Dido, Queen of Carthage) and so, egged on by his friends like Liszt and the Princess and driven by personal daemons and, despite the petty annoyances of having to earn a living and getting elected to the French Academy, he completed his task. He never had the satisfaction of hearing the complete work performed. A much-cut version of the second half was performed at Le Theatre Lyrique, as The Trojans in Carthage, in 1863, and it was never performed in its com?plete form until 1957 when it was given in Covent Garden, London.
The story is familiar to all who had to wrestle with Virgil at school: Troy falls finally to the Greeks who had to employ the ruse of the wooden horse. Aeneas, urged on by Cassandra's prophecy that he will found a new Troy in Italy, sails off with the Trojan gods and gold. His fleet calls in at Carthage where Aeneas helps Dido, the queen, herself originally also from the Levant, successfully defend Carthage from the attacks of the Numidians. Of course Aeneas and Dido fall in love. The gods are angered by the delay and Aeneas reluctantly leaves; Dido is heartbroken and dies.
The Royal Hunt and Storm is a pantomime that takes place at the outset of Act Four, First Tableau. Berlioz has used the Virgil scene where Dido and Aeneas, out hunting, are driven into a cave to wait out a storm and where Aeneas is visited by supposed gods urging him on to Italy, a convenient place for the ballet, a customary feature of French opera. The stage directions give a full idea of the programme:
An African forest in the morning. Upstage a very high crag. Below and to the left of the crag, an entrance to a grotto. A little stream runs along the crag and falls into a natural basin bordered with rushes and reeds. Two naiads appear for an instant then disappear; then they can be seen bathing in the pool. Royal hunt. Trumpet fanfares are distantly heard in the forest. The naiads, frightened, hide in the reeds. Tyrian huntsmen are seen passing, leading leashed dogs. Young Ascanius, mounted, crosses the stage at the gallop. The skies darken, the rain falls. The storm grows. . . . Soon comes a terrible tempest, torrents of rain, hail, lightning and thunder. Reiterated trumpet calls of the hunt midst the tumult of the elements. The hunters disperse in all directions; at last Dido appears, dressed as Diana the huntress, bow in hand, quiver on the shoulder, and Aeneas in semi-military garb. Both are on foot. They go into the grotto. Imme?diately the woodnymphs appear, hair dishevelled, atop the crag, and, running to and fro, crying out and wildly gesticulating. Amongst their clamours one distinctly hears from time to time the word: Italy! The stream swells to a foaming cascade. Several other watercourses form at several places on the crag and mix their noise with the tumult of the tempest. Satyrs and forest deities execute grotesque dances with the fauns in the darkness. Lightning strikes a tree, shatters it and sets it aflame. The debris of the tree falls on the stage. The Satyrs, fauns and deities gather the flaming branches, dance while holding them in their hands, then with the nymphs disappear into the depths of the forest. The tempest calms itself. The clouds lift.
Iberia (Images pour orchestre No. 2).....Claude Debussy
Images (apart from Iberia they include Gigues and Rondes de printemps) are the last major orchestral works that Debussy was to compose and were written between 1906 and 1910. Iberia was the first to be finished.
Iberia is the Roman name for the peninsula that contains Spain and Portugal, but Debussy's use of the name for his title of this work is limited to Spain itself. Spanish music held a fascination for non-Spanish composers, especially French, during most of the 19th century and for years concert audiences and players "knew" Spanish music through the works of Glinka (Russian), Moszkowski (Polish), Lalo, Chabrier, Bizet, Massenet, and Debussy (all French). Actually it was not until the early years of this century that Spanish composers, Albeniz, Falla and Granados, began to make an impact on the international musical world. Debussy set foot in Spain for a few hours only, when he crossed the border to go to San Sebastian to see a bull?fight, yet he was able to convey a Spanish atmosphere not only in Iberia but in the piano pieces Soiree dans Granade (1903) and La Puerto del Vino (the result of receiving a postcard from Falla showing the gate at the Alhambra). Manuel de Falla, perhaps the greatest of all Spanish composers, said that Debussy in Iberia invoked the intoxicating spell of Andalusian nights, that he had written better and truer Spanish music than Spanish composers who know their country.
It was more than the intoxicating spell that Debussy conveyed--he caught the sounds as well, equal to anything that Falla did in La Vida Breve and Nights in the Gardens of Spain (it was as if Debussy was Falla's model). Iberia has three movements. The first, "Par les rues et par les chemins" (By the Lanes and by the Streets), sparkles with Spanish rhythms, guitar figures and scraps of song, all consummately constructed and brilliantly orchestrated. Then follows "Les parfums de la nuit" filled with sounds you hear in the night (or wish you could), wisps of song, light ruffling breezes and brief moments of languorous passion. Bells are heard and the night passes into a day of bustling activity, "Le matin d'un jour de fete" (The morning of a feast-day), in "the rhythm of a distant march." The whole mood is one of boisterous joy.
Symphony No. 1 in C minor, Op. 68.....Johannes Brahms
Robert Schumann, distinctly uneasy about the direction that German music was taking under the leadership of Liszt and his coterie, wrote in an article: ". . . it would seem to me that . . . there would and must suddenly appear some day one man who would be singled out to make articulate in an ideal way the highest expression of our time. And he is come, a young creature (whose) name is Johannes Brahms." Brahms was hardly the Messiah the "new school" was looking for, and anyway, did they not already have Liszt and Wagner The battle lines were drawn and the fray was to last for years, to such an extent that the healing was long and slow. The "new school" averred that the day of the sonata principle and all its works was over, that "absolute" music was not part of the Music of the Future.
The mantle of classical tradition, then, fell heavily on Brahms' shoulders. After his youthful sturnt und drang period, he was drawn naturally to the rigorous discipline of the sonata principle. It was not something learned from a book: mastery comes with the ability to produce a musical movement in which growth is effortless and inevitable, where the whole is infinitely greater than the sum of the individual parts, where there is a purpose for every note committed to paper and where unessentials, no matter how charming or striking, are avoided. Under?standing of this by a composer is innate, and few of Brahms' immediate predecessors and con?temporaries were capable of understanding it.
Brahms understood. To him, the responsibility of composing a symphony was enormous ard awful. He tried one in his youth and it failed to meet his standards so the material was used elsewhere. The work on the C-minor Symphony was started in about 1862 and was not completed until 1876. It was not continually worked on during those years; other important works intervened.
Brahms' wish was that the C-minor Symphony be first performed at a small center and he chose Carlsruhe where Felix Dessoff was conductor, for, as he said in a letter to Dessoff, "it was always my cherished and secret wish to hear the thing first in a small town which possessed a good friend, a good conductor and a good orchestra." The first performance took place there on November 4, 1876, and was followed by performances in Mannheim, Munich (deep in Wagner territory), Vienna, Leipzig, Breslau, Cambridge, and London in quick succession. Hans von Biilow hailed it as "The Tenth," meaning that here was the true successor to the nine of Beethoven, which in a sense it is, although its claim is not as solid as that of Brahms' later symphonies.
The tone of the work is one of immense struggle and eventual triumph, similar to Bee?thoven's symphony in the same key (No. 5). The weight, as in his other symphonies, is in the outside movements; the inner ones are shorter and lighter--Brahms deprecatingly wrote of them as intermezzos. Again, his instincts were right; if the middle movements were any weightier the whole structural balance would be askew. There is a short motto phrase, heard at the very outset, that permeates the first movement and appears in subsequent ones.
About the Artists
The Toronto Symphony, now in its 59th season, has achieved world-wide recognition since its formation in 1922 by a group of Toronto musicians. Its first conductor was Luigi von Kunits, whose successors have included Sir Ernest MacMillan, Walter Susskind, Seiji Ozawa, Karel Ancerl, and, since 1975, Andrew Davis. Close to one million people hear the Orchestra annually during its concert season and on CBC Radio broadcasts. It has performed in the capitals of Europe, the Orient (including the 1978 historic tour of The People's Republic of China), and throughout North America, always to high critical praise and acclaim. It is, today, considered one of North America's highest ranking and Canada's finest orchestra.
Andrew Davis began his duties as Music Director of The Toronto Symphony in 1975. Born in England in 1944, Maestro Davis has accomplished in his brief but intense career more than many musicians hope to complete in a lifetime. His first major conducting opportunity arose through the indisposition of a colleague in 1970 when he took over a performance of Janacek's Glagolilic Mass with the BBC Symphony Orchestra. His international career began in 1973 with a tour of the Far East with the English Chamber Orchestra and his first visit to the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. This led to engagements with the world's major orchestras: Chicago, Cleveland, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Detroit, Los Angeles, La Scala, Milan, Paris, Berlin, Stockholm, and Rome, as well as all the British orchestras. He has also appeared at many of the major international festivals: Edinburgh, Flanders, and Berlin, and for the past seven summers at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival. Upcoming is his debut with the Paris Opera, and he was scheduled to make his Metropolitan Opera debut in February 1981 with Strauss' Salome.
Maestro Davis is making his Ann Arbor debut this evening, as The Toronto Symphony gives its seventh concert on this stage.
San Francisco Symphony Edo de Waart.....Sat. Oct. 25
Lar Lubovitch Dance Company.....Tues. & Wed. Oct. 28 & 29
Faculty Artists Concert.........Sun. Nov. 2
Academy of St. Martin in the Fields.....Mon. Nov. 3
Vladimir Horowitz, Pianist (sold out)......Sun. Nov. 9
Julian Bream, Guitarist.........Mon. Nov. 10
Murray Perahia, Pianist........Thurs. Nov. 13
Kenneth Gilbert, Harpsichordist.......Sat. Nov. 15
Martti Talvela, Basso.........Sun. Nov. 16
The Feld Ballet........Mon.-Wed. Nov. 17-19
Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio.....Thurs. Nov. 20
Caribbean Carnival of Trinidad.......Fri. Nov. 21
Los Angeles Philharmonic Carlo Maria Giulini . . Sun. Nov. 23
Handel's "Messiah".........Fri.-Sun. Dec. 5-7
New Swingle Singers..........Fri. Dec. 12
Rudolf Serkin, Pianist.........Mon. Dec. 15
Pittsburgh Ballet, Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" . Thurs.-Sat. Dec. 18-20