Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
THE PHILADELPHIA ORCHESTRA
Riccardo Muti, Music Director
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
ALDO CECCATO, Conducting ANI KAVAFIAN, Violinist
Thursday Evening, April 30, 1981, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to Semiramide
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26
Prelude: allegro moderato Adagio
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88
Allegro con brio Adagio
Allegretto grazioso Allegro ma non troppo
Angel, RCA Red Seal, Telarc, and Columbia Records.
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.
102nd Season--Fifty-eighth Concert
Eighty-eighth Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Overture to Semiramide........Gioacchino Rossini
Semiramide, No. 33 in Rossini's list of 38 operas, was composed in the space of one month and was introduced in Venice on February 3, 1823. The libretto by Gaetano Rossi is based on Voltaire's Semiramis, which served as inspiration for more than 30 operas by various composers. In this drama the Queen of Babylon murders her husband for love of a young general--whom she eventually discovers to be her own son, and whose life she saves by sacrificing her own to an assassin's sword.
The Overture, the longest Rossini wrote until the one he provided for William Tell (the Venetians at the premiere thought it was too long), is also one of his finest; it is not broken down into separate "movements," as the one for Tell is, but is filled with characteristi?cally attractive tunes and brilliant effects, including of course the famous "Rossini crescendo." One of the most felicitous touches, paralleled only in Weber's Overture for Der Freischiitz (first performed in Berlin in 1821), is the opening statement of the principal theme by a quartet of horns. All that is lacking is any suggestion of tragedy; but then, as Spike Hughes has suggested, "perhaps Rossini's own vivacious character made him constitutionally incapable of writing con?vincingly tragic music."
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 26 . Max Bruch
Max Bruch was one of the most profoundly respected musicians of his time, as both composer and pedagogue. (Ottorino Respighi was one of the composers who studied with him.) He composed three operas, three symphonies, a pair of string quartets, some other chamber music, dozens of choral works, numerous songs, a respectable quantity of piano music, and no fewer than 16 works for solo instrument(s) and orchestra. But in the main it is the G-minor Violin Concerto alone that has kept Bruch's name alive.
Bruch was only twenty-eight when he composed this Concerto. It was his first venture in this medium, completed early in 1866 and first performed on April 28 of that year in Coblentz by Otto von Konigslow and the Giirzenich Orchestra under the direction of the composer. Following the premiere Bruch undertook some revisions in consultation with Joseph Joachim, to whom he dedicated the score and who gave the formal premiere of the new version in Bremen on January 7, 1868, with Karl Reinthaler conducting (having played it under less formal circumstances in Hamburg the previous fall with Bruch conducting). Evidently the revisions were not sweeping ones. Joachim, himself a prominent composer and conductor as wel] as the outstanding violinist of his time, remarked when he was shown the score that "the different sections are brought together in beautiful relationship, and yet--and this is the principal thing--there is sufficient contrast."
The first movement is labeled Vorspiel ("Prelude"). It is not that the movement proper has an introductory section, which would have been conventional enough, but that the entire opening movement, exceptionally free and improvisatory in spirit, really serves as a "prelude" to the second, to which it is directly linked. This glowing Adagio contains yet another intro?duction within itself, for the songlike principal theme is preceded by a lesser one. What develops is a prototypal Romantic slow movement, in which Bruch's infallible taste and sense of proportion keep his apparently unrestrained outpouring of emotion from spilling over into mawkishness or bathos.
The Finale opens with a few suspensefully subdued bars of orchestral introduction, giving way then to the soloist's statement--in double stops--of the exuberant theme. The second subject, like that of the preceding movement, represents the broad-scaled, open-hearted lyricism of the Romantic movement at its best in terms of both tastefulness and immediacy of appeal, and even the fiery brilliance of the concluding bars carries integrity and conviction.
In this First Concerto, virtually without precedent. Bruch declined either to provide cadenzas of his own or to allow for the insertion of any by the soloist. The entire Concerto is so thoroughly violinistic in its idiom that this "fastidious artist" (as Donald Francis Tovey characterized Bruch) wisely judged that the traditional gesture would have been gratuitous.
Symphony No. 8 in G major, Op. 88......Antonin Dvorak
It has been suggested that all of Dvorak's considerable output constitutes a single vast pastoral symphony, an unending paean to Nature, her mysteries and benefactions. It has been suggested, too. and far more widely, that all of his works, whether or not so labeled, are in some sense deeply-felt Czech rhapsodies, in which the composer celebrated his people, their history and legends, and the land itself, in a way as personal to him as the symphonic cycle Met Vlast was to his great predecessor Smetana. Exceptions may be cited, perhaps, but in respect to the
magnificent Symphony in G major it may be observed that both the pastoral and national elements are conspicuously present, that they commingle and coalesce perhaps more pronouncedly than in any of Dvorak's other major works.
This was probably no accident, for it was in this symphony's predecessor, the glorious No. 7 in D minor (Op. 70) of 1885. that Dvorak had tested himself and finally committed himself to continuing on the path of Czech nationalism in his music. While at work on the D-minor Symphony, he had proclaimed as his motto "God, Love and Country," and in the G major he undertook an unreserved glorification of those sentiments. In the first movement we are greeted by bird-calls and other bucolic sounds, and by bluff Slavonic marches; by these plus a devotional element in the second; by inescapable evocations of a village festival and its dancing in the third (for "God," one may sometimes read "Nature" in Dvorak's music, but "Love," as this sensuous interlude reminds us, may always be taken literally), and by good-natured, self-congratulatory pomp and revelry in the finale with its ringing fanfares and dizzily whirring figures among the variations. This is Dvorak's true "pastoral" symphony, and it is also his moit pervasively Czech.
If this Symphony impresses first of all with its feeling of sweeping spontaneity, it may be noted that it was written quickly, for a work of such magnitude and complexity. Dvorak started work on it on August 26, 1889, and completed the scoring less than eleven weeks later, on November 8. He conducted the first performance himself on February 2, 1890, in Prague, conducted the English premiere in London two months later, and included it with his Stabat Mater in the concert he conducted at Cambridge in June 1891, when he was awarded an honorary doctorate.
About the Artists
Aldo Ceccato is well-known to Michigan concertgoers as former Music Director and Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and in that capacity has conducted the DSO in this auditorium on five previous occasions, from 1973 through 1977. Since 1975 he has been Music Director of the Hamburg Philharmonic, the first Italian ever to be appointed Music Director of a major German orchestra, holding that post concurrently for two years with his DSO duties. He has also been recently named Principal Guest Conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic. Mr. Ceccato is an international maestro who is eagerly sought as guest con?ductor the world over. Included in his schedule this year are appearances with the Chicago Symphony and The Philadelphia Orchestra, the Berlin Philharmonic and the Israel Philharmonic, and at Milan's La Scala, in addition to twenty concerts in Hamburg. His recordings with Beverly Sills of La Traviaia, and Maria Stuarda are bestsellers in the United States, while in Europe he is well-known for his recordings of Russian music, and is scheduled to make two more Russian records with the London Philharmonic.
Maestro Ceccato started his career as a pianist and played jazz all over Europe before settling down to a conducting career. Born in 1934 in Milan, he graduated from the Milan Conservatory and later studied conducting and composition at the Berlin Hochschule. After his professional podium debut with the Angelicum Chamber Orchestra of Milan, engagements followed with most of the important orchestras of Italy, and then opera assignments which he handled with distinction. Subsequently he conducted La Traviata, Simon Boccanegra, Falstaff, Otello, and The Barber of Seville at Covent Garden. La Bohime at the Paris Opera, and Ariadne at Glyndebourne. It was not until 1969 that he crossed the Atlantic to make his American debut conducting Puritani for the Chicago Lyric Opera. The next year, George Szell became ill shortly prior to an engagement with the New York Philharmonic and Mr. Ceccato was booked for concerts to replace him in November 1970. His success was immediate, and thus began his career on the North American continent which, in succeeding years, has stretched from Montreal and Toronto through Venezuela, Chile, and Argentina.
Ana Kavafian, who makes her Ann Arbor debut this evening, has won the enthusiasm of audiences and critics alike for her numerous performances as soloist with the nation's leading orchestras, in recital, and chamber music concerts throughout the United States and abroad. Since winning the coveted A very Fisher Prize in 1976, the Philip M. Faucett String Prize, and the Young Concert Artists International Prize, she has appeared as soloist with more than forty symphony orchestras throughout North America, including the New York Philharmonic, American Symphony, the symphony orchestras of Pittsburgh, Detroit, San Francisco, and. tonight. The Philadelphia Orchestra. She appears regularly in recital and has performed at major music festivals including Spoleto, U.S.A., in Charleston, South Carolina, Marlboro, Santa Fe, "Mostly Mozart" in New York's Lincoln Center, the Aldeburgh Festival in England, and Italy's Spoleto Festival. In 1979 she became an artist-member of the prestigious Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center.
Born in Istanbul, Turkey, of Armenian parentage, Miss Kavafian moved with her family to Detroit at an early age, where she was a student of Ara Zerounian and Mischa Mischakoff. She later became a student of Ivan Galamian, receiving a master's degree with top honors from the Juilliard School.
A New Season of International Presentations 1981-82
The Fontana Ensemble.........Tues. July 7
Winner of Van Cliburn Piano Competition.....Tues. July 14
Ruth Laredo, Pianist, and Paula Robison, Flutist . . . Wed. July 22
Ivan Moravec, Pianist.........Tues. July 28
Northwood Symphonette & Keith Bryan, Flutist . . . Wed. Aug. 5
Choral Union Series
Zagreb Philharmonic Orchestra....... Fri. Oct. 16
Nathan Milstein, Violinist........ Thurs. Oct. 29
Soviet Emigre Chamber Orchestra...... Tues. Nov. 3
Cesare Siepi, Basso.......... Sun. Nov. 22
Vienna Chamber Orchestra and
Philippe Entremont, Conductor & Pianist .... Tues. Dec. 8
Andre Watts, Pianist, and Charles Treger, Violinist . . Sun. Jan. 10
Dame Janet Baker, Mezzo-soprano...... Sun. Jan. 17
Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra....... Thurs. Feb. 4
Detroit Symphony Orchestra........Fri. Mar. 5
Erich Bergel, Conductor; Radu Lupu, Pianist
Maurizio Pollini, Pianist........ Wed. Mar. 24
Goldovsky Opera Company, Don Giovanni . . Sat. & Sun. Oct. 10 & 11
Okinawan Dance Theater and Music.....Wed. Oct. 28
Martha Graham Dance Company .... Fri.-Sun. Oct. 30-Nov. 1
Lublin Polish Folk Festival.......Mon. Nov. 23
Paul Gaulin Mime Company.......Tues. Nov. 24
Romanian Folk Festival.........Wed. Dec. 2
Pittsburgh Ballet, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker . . Fri.-Sun. Dec. 18-20
Joffrey II..........Fri. & Sat. Jan. 15 & 16
Oakland Ballet........Mon.-Wed. Jan. 25-27
The Feld Ballet........Mon.-Wed. Feb. 15-17
Paul Taylor Dance Company.....Tues. & Wed. Mar. 2 & 3
Jury's Irish Cabaret.........Tues. Mar. 16
Pennsylvania Ballet.......Mon.-Wed. Apr. 19-21
Chamber Arts Series
London Early Music Group........ Fri. Oct. 23
Panocha String Quartet......... Sat. Nov. 7
Tashi: Clarinet and Strings........ Sun. Nov. 15
with Richard Stoltzman, Clarinetist
Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia...... Sat. Dec. 12
with Herman Baumann, French Horn
Orpheus Ensemble.......... Sun. Feb. 7
Chamber Orchestra of Versailles......Thurs. Feb. 18
Heinz Holliger, Oboist......... Sun. Mar. 7
Tokyo String Quartet......... Sat. Mar. 20
Debut & Encore Series
Aurora Natola-Ginastera, Cellist, and
Anthony di Bonaventura, Pianist......Sun. Oct. 18
Uto Ughi, Violinist..........Fri. Nov. 20
Peter Serkin, Pianist.........Thurs. Mar. 18
Tedd Joselson, Pianist.........Thurs. Apr. 1
New brochure available; series orders now being accepted.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phone: 665-3717, 764-2538