Press enter after choosing selection

UMS Concert Program, April 28, 1982: May Festival -- The Philadelphia Orchestra

Download PDF
Rights Held By
University Musical Society
OCR Text

Season: 103rd
Concert: Sixty-fourth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Riccardo Muti, Music Director
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
EUGENE ORMANDY, Conducting YO-YO MA, Cellist
Wednesday Evening, April 28, 1982, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
?Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80
Concerto No. 1 in G minor for Cello and Orchestra, Op. 49
Largo, molto espressivo Allegretto
Yo-Yo Ma
Brahms Kabalevsky
?Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73
Allegro non troppo Adagio non troppo
Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino Allegro con spirito
Angel, RCA Red Seal, Delos, Telarc, and CBS Masterworks Records.
Sixty-fourth Concert of the 103rd Season
Eighty-ninth Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Academic Festival Overture, Op. 80.....Johannes Brahms
The success of Brahms's first two symphonies and his Violin Concerto--the three works introduced between November 1876 and New Year's Day of 1879--established him without question as the outstanding composer of concert music then active, a status recognized by the University of Breslau in 1880, in the form of an honorary doctorate and a request for a new work. The composer's most endearing side is reflected in his response to that request: Instead of an elaborate choral work or a new symphony, the sort of thing that must have been expected, he produced a brief and unabashedly good-humored overture on student themes. Indeed, even the lofty-sounding title--Akademisches Festouverture--might be regarded as part of his little joke, his mischievous reaction to being cited as "artis musicae severioris in Germania mine principi."
The Overture, which incidentally, with its triangle, cymbals and bass drum, calls for the largest orchestra Brahms ever employed, is not at all "academic," except in the sense that it may well serve as an example of the color to be drawn from simple sources without distorting either their intrinsic character or the concept of symphonic design. The student songs involved in this potpourri are Wir hatten gebauet cin slattliches Hans ("We have built a stately house"), Der Landesvater, and a "freshman's song" called Fuchsenritt, whose first line, "Was kommt ilort von der Hiih'," is sung to a tune quite similar to the American nursery song The Farmer in the Dell. At the end there is a suitably jubilant citation of the Gaudeamus igitur.
Brahms himself conducted the first performance of the Academic Festival Overture, in a concert of the Breslau Orchestral Society on January 4, 1881. The introduction in the same concert of the Tragic Overture (Op. 81), which he had composed at about the same time as the Academic Festival, no doubt served to balance the jocular effect of the latter piece and restore academic respectability.
Concerto No. 1 in G minor, Op. 49, for Cello and Orchestra Dmitri Kabalevsky
The recent deaths of Dmitri Shostakovich and Aram Khachaturian left Dmitri Kabalevsky remaining as the only well-known composer of their generation, and the best-known of any generation, living in the Soviet Union today. The relatively few works by which he is known outside his own country show him as neither the profound thinker Shostakovich was nor a specialist in primitive vitality and colors, as Khachaturian was, but rather as one of the most urbane and polished of musical craftsmen, with a fine sense of wit and an ability to charm without condescending.
Kabalevsky's reputation in the West actually rests on less than a handful of works, among which the piano pieces for children, the lightweight orchestral suite The Comedians (also intended for a children's entertainment) and the rollicking Overture to his first opera, Colas Breugnon, are surely the most familiar. His symphonies (several of which have politicalpatriotic contexts), choral works and theatre music are virtually unknown here, though the touching Requiem composed after World War II was performed at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, in the mid-Sixties, and that work as well as the Second Symphony and the "symphonic pictures" Romeo and Juliet have circulated on records. More recently a complete recording of Colas Breugnon was also made available here.
In 1947 and 1948 Kabalevsky composed a series of three "Youth" concertos--one each for violin, for piano (his Piano Concerto No. 3) and for cello. The Cello Concerto, Op. 49, was the last in this "Youth" cycle; like its two companion works, it was not only dedicated to Soviet Youth but incorporates material from songs associated with young people and was designed to be playable by young performers and great virtuosi alike. In the Soviet Union, these concertos were recorded, shortly after their respective premieres, by David Oistrakh, Emil Gilels and Daniel Shafran, all with the composer conducting. These works are only now beginning to make their way into the international repertory, but have been warmly welcomed wherever they have been heard.
The Cello Concerto No. 1 was first performed on March 15, 1948, in Moscow and was, at first, the least successful of the "Youth" concertos; one Russian critic reproached Kabalevsky for the work's extreme "seriousness," not in keeping with the youthful dedication. Later critics and commentators, however, praised the Concerto, and it received an enthusiastic analysis in Volume 4 of the History of Soviet Russian Music. Kabalevsky's Second Cello Concerto, Op. 77, was introduced during Soviet Music Week in the fall of 1967, as one of the works commissioned for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1917 Revolution.
The Concerto's opening movement is genial and uncomplicated; its most interesting feature is the recapitulation, which proceeds in "mirror" fashion. The second movement, Largo, molto espressivo, is the heart of the work, and the part that engendered the complaint of "seriousness"; a Soviet commentator has characterized it as a "miniature requiem," filled with inner dynamism, built on several gradually increasing "waves." The concluding Allegretto, "in the folk spirit," is built on a theme derived from an actual folk dance. Throughout the Concerto, and in the finale in particular, there is a certain affinity with the idiom of Kabalevsky's fourth opera, The Family of Taras, which was produced about two years after the Concerto's premiere.
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73........Brahms
The beginnings Brahms made toward writing a symphony in his early twenties did not lead directly to such a work, for he did not produce a completed symphony until 1876, when he was 43. Once the First was accomplished, though, it met with enormous success, and Brahms produced his next symphony very quickly indeed. He started work on the Second in the summer of 1877, and it was completed in time to be introduced in a Vienna Philharmonic concert under Hans Richter in December of that year. Its birth was as easy as that of the First had been hard, and this is reflected in the utterly spontaneous character which, among other elements, sets it apart from Brahms's other symphonies.
After the epic struggle of will in the monumental First, the geniality of the Second Symphony took the Viennese by surprise--as Brahms intended. A more or less pastoral atmosphere is established in the opening of the first movement, with its simple motif in the lower strings and answering horn call. The radiant second theme is one of Brahms's characteristic outpourings of warm contentment, inescapably reminiscent of his famous Cradle Song and the similarly beloved Waltz in A-flat for piano. The first theme is treated fugally in the develop?ment, and new motifs spun off by variations in the rhythm are hailed and dismissed by clipped comments from the brass. After its vigorous but unhurried course has been run, the movement ends even more tenderly than it began.
The serious mood of the second movement has inspired more than a few commentators to seek and discover a "tragic" theme, not only for this section but for the entire work. Those so disposed will not be deterred by the observation that "solemn," which this movement definitely is, is hardly a synonym for "tragic," and that such music might well evoke a tranquil woodland scene at dusk. The mood of tranquility, in any event, settles in more deeply with the hymnic second theme, and it is only in the second half of the movement that it is upset briefly by a passing storm.
The pastoral element suggested in the two earlier movements is emphasized by the solo oboe in the third, a bucolic intermezzo of almost naive charm and intimacy. The orchestra is reduced for this movement, whose unexpectedly animated middle section never becomes really boisterous, but serves to heighten the ingratiating effect of the Allegretto that wraps around it. (At the premiere the delighted Viennese audience demanded a repetition of this movement.)
Brahms never wrote more inspiriting music than the final movement of this Symphony, which brings to mind H. G. Wells's remark about the Marseillaise: "It still warms the blood like wine." Following the initial statement of the first theme in a manner that suggests a taut holding-back of huge forces, the theme is restated in an exhilarating orchestral outburst and then, the way cleared by the good-naturedly snarling and crackling winds, the broadly lyrical second theme makes its entrance, aglow in sunset colors. The music builds subtly but surely to the invigorating coda in which the second theme is transformed into a blazing fanfare, ending the Symphony on a note of sheer exhilaration virtually unparalleled among Brahms's other major works.
About the Artists
Eugene Ormandy, who visits Ann Arbor for his 46th consecutive year of participation in our May Festival, is now in his second season as Conductor Laureate of the Philadelphia Orchestra, after forty-four seasons as Music Director of this magnificent organization. Follow?ing are excerpts from a tribute paid to Maestro Ormandy by Herbert Kupferberg, author of Those Fabulous Phitadelphians:
"What are the factors that enabled the Hungarian-born maestro to flourish so long and so productively in William Penn's City of Brotherly Love Surely there were shared qualities of balance and sobriety, of concentration on values beneath the surface, of inner worth and solid substance. But beyond these, Ormandy has always represented the essence of the symphonic musician. He has never been particularly a Baroque man, a Beethoven man, a Berlioz man, a Mahler man. He's an orchestral man; if a piece is written for orchestra, and he thinks it worth playing, he will play it with artistic insight and technical command. In a profession that abounds in specialists, he is a universalist.
"He also is a musician who knows how to communicate with an audience--perhaps the most fundamental element of the conductor's art. Ormandy's expertise in meeting the challenges of the modern concert hall and the modern recording studio is no accident; he matured his art in a contemporaneous rather than a traditional setting.
"He was one of the first conductors to accept the challenge of electrical recording as a serious, exploratory art, beginning not in Philadelphia but during his tenure as conductor of the Minneapolis Symphony (now the Minnesota Orchestra) from 1931 to 1934. In the years since, Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra have made nearly 500 LPs, making him the most recorded conductor in history. Hardly a significant symphonic work is missing from the list", the achievements of few conductors have been documented so thoroughly.
"Ormandy has always held the belief that conductors are best off learning their trade playing as orchestral musicians rather than working in a classroom setting. He likes to tell the story of the great Arthur Nikisch, who was beseeched by a young man to give him con?ducting lessons and finally acquiesced, saying: 'All right. It's very easy: 1-2-3-4, 1-2-3, 1-2. The rest you have to do yourself.'
"It's in the nature of things musical that conductors change even as orchestras continue. But few music directors have left so deep and--one may expect--enduring an imprint upon an orchestra as has Eugene Ormandy in Philadelphia. In this newest phase of his long career, there are thousands around the world who feel gratitude that he remains part of our musical life."
Yo-Yo Ma, making his Ann Arbor debut this evening, was born in October 1955 in Paris, of Chinese parentage. He began cello studies with his father at age four, and gave his first recital at the Institute of Art and Archeology at the University of Paris at the age of six. After moving to New York with his family in 1962, the seven-year-old cellist was recommended by Pablo Casals to appear in "An American Pageant of the Arts" under Leonard Bernstein, a concert held in Washington, D.C. to raise funds for what would later be called the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Between the ages of nine and fifteen, he was in a pre-college program at Juilliard, where he studied with the renowned cellist Leonard Rose. His career soon burgeoned with recitals and solo appearances with major orchestras, both in America and abroad. In 1978 Mr. Ma was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Prize, a program designed to give major performance opportunities to exceptionally talented younger instrumentalists who are deserving of the widest possible attention. At Carnegie Hall he has performed with "Isaac Stern and His Friends," prompting Mr. Stern to declare Yo-Yo Ma "one of the prime talents of our time."
His current season's activities include a performance of the complete Bach Suites in New York, his debut with the Boston Symphony, and recordings of Paganini and Kreisler transcriptions and the Beethoven Sonatas with Emanuel Ax. He has ventured into the conducting field, leading and performing with the English Chamber Orchestra in a recording of the Haydn cello concertos, Nos. 1 and 2. He designates his next project as "the ultimate"-to form a string quartet.
Also a graduate of Harvard University, Yo-Yo Ma reads, speaks, and writes French and Chinese, in addition to devoting time to composition. The instrument he plays is an Italian Goffriller from the year 1722.
Riccardo Muti, Music Director and Conductor
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
Joseph H. Santarlasci, Manager
Norman Carol Concertmaster
William de Pasquale Associate Concertmaster
David Arben
Associate Concertmaster
Morris Shulik Owen Lusak David Grunschlag Frank E. Saam Frank Costanzo Barbara Sorlien Herbert Light Luis Biavat Larry Grika Cath'.een Dalschaert Herold Klein Julia de Pasquale Vladimir Shapiro Jonathan Beiler Arnold Grossi
Irvin Rosen Robert de Pasquale Armand Di Camillo Joseph Lanza Irving Ludwig Jerome Wigler Virginia Halfmann George Dreyfus Louis Lanza Stephane Dalschaert Booker Rowe Davyd Booth Isadore Schwartz Cynthia Williams Philip Kates Hirono Oka
Joseph de Pasquale James Fawcett Sidney Curtiss Charles Griffin Gaetano Molieri Irving Segall Leonard Bogdanoff Albert Filosa Wolfgang Granat Donald R. Clauser Renard Edwards Patrick Connolly t on leave
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
Roger M. Scott
Michael Shahan
Neil Courtney
Ferdinand Maresh
Carl Torello
Samuel Gorodetzer
Emilio Gravagno
Henry G. Scott
Peter Lloyd
Some members of the string
sections voluntarily rotate
seating on a periodic basis.
Murray W. Panitz David Cramer Loren N. Lind Kazuo Tokito 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
Glenn Dodson Tyrone Breuninger Joseph Alessi Charles Vernon 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
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.
1982-83 -A Season to Celebrate!
Gala Benefit Friday, September 24
A special evening of fashion and entertainment is planned
as a prelude to this exciting season -hold the date
and watch for detailed announcements.
Choral Union Series
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist.........Tues. Oct. 5
Prague Symphony OrchestraJiri Belohlavek . . . Thurs. Oct. 21
Judith Blegen, Soprano.........Sat. Oct. 30
Leipzig Gewandhaus OrchestraKurt Masur . . . Sun. Nov. 14 Los Angeles PhilharmonicCarlo Maria Giulini . . . Tues. Dec. 7
HAkan HagegArd, Baritone........Wed. Feb. 9
Dresden StaatskapelleHerbert Blomstedt .... Sun. Mar. 6 Boston Symphony OrchestraSeiji Ozawa .... Wed. Mar. 16
Murray Perahia, Pianist.........Thurs. Mar. 24
Chicago Symphony OrchestraGeorg Solti .... Thurs. Apr. 14
Series of 10 concerts: $100, $65, $55, $45
Choice Series
Festival of the Nile.........Thurs. Oct. 7
"Pirin," Bulgarian Folk Ensemble......Wed. Oct. 13
Demon Drummers & Dancers, Japan......Sat. Oct. 16
Zagreb Grande Ballet.........Sat. Oct. 23
Peking Ensemble...........Fri. Oct. 29
Pittsburgh Ballet, Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker . . Fri.-Sun. Dec. 17-19
Tamburitzans Folk Ensemble........Sat. Jan. 15
Pilobolus Dancers.......Tues. & Wed. Mar. 1 & 2
Ballet Folclorico Nacional de Mexico.....Tues. Mar. 8
Ravi Shankar, Sitarist.........Thurs. Mar. 10
Joffrey II Dancers.......Tues. & Wed. Apr. 19 & 20
Series of 4 concerts: $40, $35, $30, $24 Series of 8 concerts: $80, $70, $60, $48
Chamber Arts Series
Schola Cantorum of Oxford........ Sun. Oct. 3
Fresk String Quartet......... Wed. Oct. 27
Borodin Trio............ Sat. Nov. 20
Guarneri String Quartet......... Sun. Jan. 9
Guarneri String Quartet......... Sun. Feb. 13
Belgian Chamber Orchestra and
Miha Pogacnik, Violinist.........Fri. Mar. 4
I Solisti Aquilani and
Gary Karr, Double Bassist........ Sat. Mar. 12
Fitzwilliam String Quartet........ Fri. Apr. 8
Series of 8 concerts: $55, $45, $35
Debut & Encore Recital Series
Elmar Oliveira, Violinist........Mon. Oct. 18
Lydia Artymiw, Pianist.........Fri. Nov. 12
Santiago Rodriguez, Pianist........Thurs. Jan. 27
Michael Lorimer, Guitarist........Sat. Mar. 26
Series of 4 concerts: $27.50, $22 JO, $17.50 New brochure available upon request--subscribe now and save!
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phones: 665-3717, 764-2538

Download PDF