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UMS Concert Program, April 29, 1981: May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

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Season: 102nd
Concert: Fifty-seventh
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Riccardo Muti, Music Director
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Wednesday Evening, April 29, 1981, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17........Barber
Motet, "Exsultate, jubilate," K. 165........Mozart
"Exsultate, jubilate" Recitative: "Fulget amica dies" "Tu virginum corona" "Alleluja"
Judith Blegen intermission
Vocalise (Song without Words).......Rachmaninoff
Pastorale (Song without Words)........Stravinsky
"Piece in the form of Habanera"
Miss Blegen
?Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64......Tchaikovsky
Andante, allegro con anima
Andante cantabile. con alcuna licenza Valse: allegro moderato
Andante maestoso, allegro vivace
Angel, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, and Columbia Records.
102nd Season--Fifty-seventh Concert
Eighty-eighth Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Second Essay for Orchestra, Op. 17......Samuel Barber
During the last three decades of his life Samuel Barber was especially identified with music for voice. One of his last works, though, introduced in the fall of 1978, was his Third Essay for Orchestra, a continuation, or extension, of a series begun some forty years earlier. During his twenties Barber made a strong impression with a succession of brief but brilliant works for orchestra: the witty yet lyrical Overture to Sheridan's comedy The School for Scandal, Music for a Scene from Shelley, the one-movement Symphony No. 1, the Adagio for Strings, and the first Essay for Orchestra. The Adagio, transcribed in 1937 from the slow movement of the String Cjuartet composed the previous year, has become one of the most widely performed American works in any form, from any period.
The first Essav for Orchestra was introduced in November 1938 by Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra, in the same broadcast concert in which the Adagio was first heard, and it was performed shortly afterward by Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra, who made the first recording of the work. The success of the first Essay prompted Barber to compose a second, which received its premiere by the New York Philharmonic under Bruno Walter on April 16, 1942. The Third Essay was presented by the same orchestra under Zubin Mehta some 36 years later.
Barber was always reluctant to say or write much about his music, preferring quite literally to let it speak for itself. In discussing his Third Essay and the series of works to which he affixed that title, he cited the Oxford Dictionary definition of "Essay" as "a composition of moderate length on any particular subject . . . more or less elaborate in style, though limited in range."
Like its predecessor and its rather longer recent successor, the Second Essay is a serious and thoughtful piece--intense, dramatic, frequently lyrical, sometimes brooding--but not a tragic one; the story or remembrance on which the music ruminates is perhaps both too familiar and too vague to be verbalized. A brief chorale-like coda resolves these various moods in a convincingly affirmative summing-up.
Motet, "Exsultate, jubilate," K. 165 . . . Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Although this work has been a favorite vehicle for sopranos for some 200 years, it was not written for a female singer. Mozart composed the motet in Milan, ten days before his seventeenth birthday, for the castrato Venanzio Rauzzini, who had sung the role of Cecilio in the first performance of his opera Lucio Silla three weeks earlier. Well before the tradition of musical eunuchs came to an end, however, the work was taken up by female sopranos, and it may be regarded as an ancestor of such a piece as Reinhold Gliere's Concerto for Soprano and Orchestra; a concerto is indeed what it is, in both structure and effect, even though Mozart gave his soloist words to sing instead of the vocalise assigned by Gliere. The brief recitative separating the first and third movements is the only deviation from the conventional concerto format, and even that may be considered an introduction to the slow movement.
Exsultate, jubilate--Exult, rejoice, O joyful souls, and with sweet song let the heavens
resound, making answer, with me, to your song.
Recitative: Fulget arnica dies--The lovely dawn glows bright, now clouds and storms
have fled, and a sudden calni has arisen for the just. Everywhere dark night held sway
before. But now, at last, rise up and rejoice, ye who are not feared, and content in
the blessed dawn, with full hand make offerings of garlands and lilies.
Tit virginum corona--And Thou, O Crown of Virgins, Grant us peace, and assuage
the passions that touch our hearts.
Vocalise (For Soprano and Orchestra) .... Sergei Rachmaninoff
The most famous of Rachmaninoff's more than six dozen songs was published in 1912, as the last in a collection of fourteen whose other constituent numbers are settings of texts by various Russian poets. This one. of course, has no text at all, a vocalise being a vocal exercise or, as in this case, a song without words. Rachmaninoff composed it originally for soprano or tenor with piano accompaniment and dedicated it to the soprano Antonina Nezhdanova, who gave the first performance, with Rachmaninoff at the piano, during an otherwise orchestral program conducted by Serge Koussevitzky on January 24, 1916. in Moscow. Rachmaninoff had revised the piece somewhat the previous year, and following its successful introduction he made several instrumental arrangements of it--one for violin and piano, one for cello and piano, and the best-known of all, for orchestra. The work has in fact become far more familiar in these various instrumental settings than its original one for voice.
Pastorale (Song without Words).......Igor Stravinsky
Stravinsky's vocalise was composed a few years earlier than Rachmaninoff's more celebrated one, and was also given a number of instrumental settings by its composer. In 1907, when he was a 25-year-old pupil of Rimsky-Korsakov, Stravinsky composed this wordless song for soprano and piano. In 1923 he made a new arrangement in which the piano accompaniment was replaced by oboe, English horn, clarinet and bassoon. Ten years later he revised both the piano version and the wind quartet version, assigning the vocal line to the violin. The effect of the piece is one of chaste tranquility, in marked contrast to the opulent expressiveness of the Rachmaninoff Vocalise.
"Piece in the form of Habanera".......Maurice Ravel
Ravel's contribution to this sequence of songs without words was composed in the same year as Stravinsky's and was also subsequently arranged for violin, whereupon it was given the title listed above. Ravel's original title for this piece was Vocalise en forme de Habanera, changed, however, by the time it was published, to Vocalise-Etude en forme de Habanera. The piece is contemporaneous with two of his major works in the Spanish flavor, the Rapsodie espagrwle for orchestra and the opera L'Heure espagnole, both of which were also begun in 1907 (the former incorporating another Habanera, originally composed for two pianos in 1895). As in the cases of the Rachmaninoff and Stravinsky songs which precede it in this concert, Ravel's original vocal setting is heard today far less frequently than the instrumental version.
Symphony No. 5 in E minor, Op. 64 ... Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Tchaikovsky allowed a longer interval to pass between the composition of his Fourth and Fifth sjmphonies than between any other two successive works in his symphonic cycle--some eleven years. While Tchaikovsky furnished a detailed program for his Fourth Symphony, in which the "Fate" motif of the first movement reappears in the Finale, it is the Fifth that is the most obviously programmatic of all his symphonies, introduced with a less stern but no less ominous motif which appears in all the succeeding movements in one form or another. Surely Tchaikovsky had something fairly definite in mind, but he never verbalized it as he had done in the Fourth. It is only in recent years that the little he did commit to paper on the subject of the Fifth was discovered among his notebooks by the intrepid Nicolas Slonimsky, who has rendered these notes in English as follows:
"Introduction. Complete resignation before Fate, or, which is the same, before the in?scrutable predestination of Providence. Allegro. (I) Murmurs, doubts, plaints, reproaches against XXX____(II) Shall I throw myself in the embrace of faith "
There is, of course, no need for a verbal program. The Fifth has become the most beloved of his symphonies, and the reasons are not far to seek: the music is extravagantly beautiful. Few scores by Tchaikovsky or anyone else are so rich in superb melodies, or so opulently colored, or scale so many emotional peaks.
About the Artists
Since 1937 Eugene Ormandy has traveled to Ann Arbor with The Philadelphia Orchestra for performances in the May Festival. During these 44 years of ceaseless work and an insatiable drive for perfection, coupled with talent and inspiration, he fashioned it into one of the world's great ensembles. As every music lover knows, this season the directorship passed to his hand-picked successor, Riccardo Muti, and Maestro Ormandy stands on the podium this evening as Conductor Laureate. In tribute to this great musician, the Board of Directors of The Philadelphia Orchestra authorized establishment of the Eugene Ormandy Award, a signal honor intended for individuals or organizations whose contributions to the stature of the Orchestra have been of unusual substance, importance, and over a considerable period of time. A silver medal was struck by the Franklin Mint, bearing the lyre insignia of the Orchestra on one side with the obverse depicting a pair of hands with baton in bas relief, as well as space for the engraving of the honoree's name and date. On Saturday evening, May 3, in Philadelphia, one week after his concerts here in last year's May Festival, Eugene Ormandy became the first recipient of this award. The presentation was made that evening by Orchestra President David P. Eastburn, onstage during intermission at Mr. Ormandy's last concert at the Academy of Music as Music Director. In Mr. Eastburn's words, "The choice of Eugene Ormandy for this award is enormously appropriate, and presenting it at this particular concert affords a rare opportunity to pay homage to this remarkable man who has devoted so much of his life and genius exclusively to The Philadelphia Orchestra."
We welcome Maestro Ormandy back to Ann Arbor for this, his 45th consecutive year of participation in our May Festival.
The name Judith Blegen appears on the rosters of the world's greatest opera houses, concert halls, and recital series, and is synonymous with music-making of the highest order. Since her 1970 Metropolitan Opera debut, the Montana-born soprano has been acclaimed for her interpretations in the Metropolitan's new productions of Fidelio, Werther, and Pelleas et Melisande, as well as for her Sophie in Der Rosenkavalier and Adina in L'Elisir d'Amore. Her performance of Juliette in Gounod's Romeo et Juliette is acknowledged to be one of the finest interpretations of this role ever heard at the Metropolitan. She has also performed in the opera houses of Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Tulsa. Abroad, her triumphs include appearances in Covent Garden, the Paris Opera, the Vienna State Opera, and at the Edinburgh, Spoleto, and Salzburg Festivals. In her 1974 New York recital debut, Miss Blegen was hailed by the New York Times as "a candidate for greatness in the field," and her subse?quent recitals there and throughout the United States and Europe have more than confirmed this prophecy. Her recordings are many and varied--as soloist with orchestras, a lieder recital album of Richard Strauss and Hugo Wolf, and, of course, opera, including the Grammy Award-winning La Boheme conducted by Georg Solti. On television, European audiences have seen her in The Abduction from the Seraglio and Orfeo, conducted by Georg Solti, and Ameri?can audiences were enchanted with her interpretation of Adina, opposite Luciano Pavarotti's Nemorino, in L'Elisir d'Amore, seen recently on a PBS "Live from the Met" telecast.
This evening marks Miss Blegen's second Ann Arbor appearance--her first was a recital in 1979 in the Debut and Encore Series.
Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Seymour L. Rosen, Executive Director
Joseph H. Santarlasci, Manager
Norman Carol Concertmasler
William de Pasquale
Associate Concertmaster
David Arben
Associate Concertmasler
Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo Barbara Sorlien Herbert Light Luis Biava Larry Grika Cathleen Dalschaert Herold Klein Julia de Pasquale Vladimir Shapiro Jonathan Beiler
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Irving Ludwig Jerome Wigler Virginia Halfmann Arnold Grossi George Dreyfus Louis Lanza Stephane Dalschaert Booker Rowe Davyd Booth Isadore Schwartz Cynthia Williams Philip Kates
Joseph de Pasquale James Fawcett Leonard Mogill Sidney Curtiss Gaetano Molieri Irving Segall Leonard Bogdanoff Charles Griffin Wolfgang Granat Donald R. Clauser Albert Filosa Renard Edwards
Violoncellos William Stokking George Harpham Harry Gorodetzer Lloyd Smith Joseph Druian Bert Phillips! Richard Harlow Gloria Johns William Saputelli Patricia Weimer Marcel Farago Kathryn Picht Grace Parisano
Roger M. Scott
Michael Shahan
Neil Courtney
Ferdinand Maresh
Carl Torello
Samuel Gorodetzer
Emilio Gravagno
Henry G. Scott
Peter Lloyd
Some members of the siring
sections voluntarily rotate
seating on a periodic basis.
Murray W. Panitz Kenneth E. Scutt Loren N. Lind John C. Krell Piccolo
Richard Woodhams Stevens Hewitt Charles M. Morris Louis Rosenblatt English Horn
Anthony M. Gigliotti Donald Montanaro Raoul Querze Ronald Reuben Bass Clarinet
Bassoons Bernard Garfield John Shamlian Adelchi Louis Angelucci Robert J. PfeufTer Contra Bassoon
Nolan Miller David Wetherill
Associate Randy Gardner Martha Glaze Howard Wall Daniel Williams
Trumpets Frank Kaderabek Donald E. McComas Seymour Rosenfeld Roger Blackburn
Trombones Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breuninger Joseph Alessi Robert S. Harper Bass Trombone
Paul Krzywicki
Timpani Gerald Carlyss Michael Bookspan
Michael Bookspan Alan Abel Anthony Orlando William Saputelli
Celesta, Piano and Organ William Smith Marcel Farago Davyd Booth
Marilyn Costello
Margarita Csonka
Librarians Clinton F. Nieweg Robert M. Grossman
Personnel Manager Mason Jones
Stage Personnel Edward Barnes, Manager Theodore Hauptle James Sweeney
Broadcast Recording Director Albert L. Borkow, Jr. t on leave
The Philadelphia Orchestra performs in Ann Arbor this week as part of the "American Orchestras on Tour" program of the Bell System, partially funded by the Bell System in association with the Bell Telephone Company of Michigan.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phone: 665-3717, 764-2538
Please note the following change in the order of tonight's program.
After intermission, Miss Blegen will sing:
Ravel: "Piece in the form of Habanera" Stravinsky: Pastorale Rachmaninoff: Vocalise

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