UMS Concert Program, March 16, 1983: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Boston Symphony Orchestra
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Boston Symphony Orchestra
SEIJI OZAWA Music Director and Conductor
Wednesday Evening, March 16, 1983, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21............................ Beethoven
Adagio molto, allegro con brio Andante cantabile con moto
Menuetto: allegro molto e vivace Adagio, allegro molto vivace
"The Firebird" (complete ballet)................................ Stravinsky
Introduction Scene I:
Kashchei's Enchanted Garden
Appearance of the Firebird Pursued by Ivan Tsarevich
Dance of the Firebird
Ivan Tsarevich Captures the Firebird
Supplication of the Firebird
Appearance of Thirteen Enchanted Princesses
The Princesses' Game with the Golden Apples (Scherzo)
Sudden Appearance of Ivan Tsarevich
The Princesses' Khorovod (Round Dance)
Ivan Tsarevich Penetrates the Palace of Kashchei
Magic Carillon; Appearance of Kashchei's Guardian Monsters; Capture of Ivan Tsarevich
Arrival of Kashchei the Immortal; His Dialogue with Ivan Tsarevich; Intercession of the Princesses
Appearance of the Firebird
Dance of Kashchei's Retinue under the Firebird's Spell
Infernal Dance of all Kashchei's Subjects
Kashchei's Death Scene II:
Disappearance of the Palace and Dissolution of Kashchei's Enchantments; Animation of the Petrified Warriors
This concert by the Boston Symphony Orchestra has been underwritten, in part, by the Bell Telephone Company of Michigan in association with the Bell System's "American Orchestras on Tour" program.
Forty-first Concert of the 104th Season 104th Annual Choral Union Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Steven Ledbetter
Symphony No. 1 in C major, Op. 21................. Ludwig van Beethoven
It was not until Beethoven was thirty years old, already established as a piano virtuoso and composer for the piano, and with recently-won laurels as a composer for string quartet, that he came before the public with this symphony on 2 April 1800. Beethoven's contemporaries, at least, were aware that the First Symphony marked the arrival of an arresting new voice in the concert hall, one that made demands possibly beyond the audience's willingness to follow. Today, after having heard the Beethoven First so many times over so many years, it is difficult to recapture what must have been the audience's sense of disorientation in the opening measures, when Beethoven's first two chords seem to imply a symphony in F, only to have that move canceled by the next chord, which aims at G. We now think of that opening as a wonderful, oblique approach to the home key, a setting up of harmonic tensions that are only resolved with the establishment of the main Allegro con brio. But early listeners found themselves befuddled by what seemed to be contradictory signals from the composer. Right from the outset there was no doubt that this was a new and individual voice.
Once underway with his Allegro con brio, Beethoven suggests the expanded framework of his material by presenting his theme first on the tonic of the home key, then immediately repeating it one-step higher. It is a favorite gambit of the composer's. Such a gesture cannot be repeated again literally without becoming exasperating; it virtually forces something varied in consequence. At the same time, the elevated pitch of the repetition screws up the energy level one notch, the first step in a journey of skillfully weighted tension and release.
The slow movement, Andante cantabile, is a full-fledged sonata form, complete with an extensive development section (rare at this tempo), in which the principal theme consists of imitative state?ments overlapping each other in fugato. A dotted rhythm subtly introduced as part of the melody in the third bar gradually gains in importance until it becomes an extended motive in the timpani (against flute and violin triplets) at the end of the exposition and dominates the development section. The recapitulation feels as if it moves faster since, as so often in Beethoven, there is an underlying faster pulse that was not present earlier; the dotted rhythm provides striking contrast from the passages of smooth equal sixteenths.
Beethoven still uses the generic term Mcnuetto for the third movement, though the tempo marking, Allegro molto e vivace, shows how far we have come from that stately aristocratic dance. In fact, this movement is a scherzo in everything but name. The main part of the movement consists of a headlong dash toward far harmonic vistas, with chords constantly changing in ceaseless activity; by way of the most striking contrast, the Trio features woodwinds and violins in a gentler passage with almost no harmonic motion at all -a stasis designed to allow a catching of breath before the return of the mad race.
Charles Rosen has noted in his book The Classical Style how important the upbeat is to the fundamental wit of the music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Beethoven's finale begins with a passage in which an upbeat grows from just two notes to three, then four, five, six, and finally a seven-note upward scale and two reiterations of the note at the top before reaching the downbeat. This huge "upbeat," which extends for nearly a measure and a half, accumulates such a load of potential energy in its climb that the reaction can be nothing less than an explosion of wit and high spirits in which a series of thematic ideas develops in the most intricate counterpoint. The long upbeat phrase sometimes leads to the theme, but often (especially in the development) it ends unexpectedly in nothing or intertwines with itself turned upside down. This splendid final movement in the first of Beethoven's nine contributions to the literature of the symphony remains one of the best examples of the Beethovenian guffaw.
"The Firebird" (complete ballet)............................ Igor Stravinsky
The Firebird may be the only case of a major Stravinsky ballet which was not the composer's own idea, at least in its original germ. The Russian legend of the Firebird had been discussed as a possible subject for a ballet by Diaghilcv and his staff early in 1909, and Michel Fokine, who was to create the choreography, worked out the scenario. The choice of composer was problematic; Diaghilcv wanted his old harmony teacher Liadov, but the latter was notoriously slow about finishing scores. So in the fall of 1909, the impresario approached the 27-year-old Stravinsky, whose Fireworks he had heard earlier in the year. Stravinsky was then deeply engrossed in his opera The Nightingale, but he naturally recognized at once the extraordinary opportunity that a Ballets Russes commission represented. He was excited about the possibility of writing the big, formal dance numbers. He did have reservations about the necessity of writing gestural music to fit the dramatic passages of mime that related the story (in the style that is called "Mickey Mousing" when used to reflect the action in animated cartoons); nonetheless he was prepared to drop work on the opera and take up The Firebird at once. So willing was he, in fact, that he began the composition in November, the month before Diaghilev was able to commission the work from him definitely. He composed the opening pages at a dacha belonging to the Rimsky-Korsakov family about seventy miles south of St. Petersburg. Returning
to the city in December, he continued quickly with his work, finishing the composition by March and the full score by the following month. The final date on the manuscript, 18 May 1910, reflects a last period of refinements of detail.
The premiere of the lavishly colorful score marked a signal triumph for the Ballets Russes and put the name of Stravinsky on the map. Diaghilev could hardly wait to get another work from him, and in the ensuing years he quickly turned out Petnishka and finally the epoch-making Rite of Spring -all this before having time to return to his unfinished opera! When he finally did get back to The Nightingale, Stravinsky was already among the most famous and influential composers of the century, but he was a vastly different composer from the one who had written the first act of that oddly divergent work.
The scenario of The Firebird involves the interaction of human characters with two supernatural figures, the magic Firebird, a sort of good fairy, and the evil sorcerer Kashchei, a green-taloned ogre who cannot be killed except by destroying his soul, which is preserved in a casket in the form of an egg. Stravinsky needed to find a way to distinguish musically between the human and the super?natural elements of the story, and he used the same means employed by Rimsky-Korsakov in his last (and best-known) opera. The Golden Cockerel (which had not yet been performed when Stravinsky started work, though he certainly knew it in score): the humans are represented by diatonic, often folklikc, melodies, the supernatural figures by chromatic ideas, slithery for Kashchei and his realm or shimmering arabesques for the Firebird.
Though much of the matter is of a piece with Rimsky-Korsakov's fairy tale opera composed only a short time previously, there are things in the manner of The Firebird that already foreshadow the revolutionary composer to come: the inventive ear for new and striking sounds, the love of rhythmic irregularities (though there is much less of it here than in the ballets to come!), and the predilection for using ostinatos -repeated fragments of a melodic and rhythmic idea -to build up passages of great excitement, a procedure that will reach the utmost in visceral force with The Rite of Spring. As seen from the vantage point of today. The Firebird is almost a romantic work of the last century, but the dancers at the first performance found the music demanding, challenging them to the utmost. If we, in listening to this familiar score today, can cast our minds back into the framework of 1910, we may be able to sense afresh the excitement of being on the verge of a revolution.
From its earliest days, the Boston Symphony Orchestra has stood for imagination, enter?prise, and the highest attainable standards. The BSO gave its inaugural concert in 1881 under the direction of Gcorg Hcnschel. Four years later the first "Promenade" concert was given, evolving into "Popular" concerts, and then to the now-familiar "Pops." In 1915, the orchestra made its first continental trip to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, and began recording with RCA in the pioneering days of 1917. German-born and trained conductors -Wilhelm Gericke, Arthur Nikisch, Emil Paur, Max Fiedler, and Karl Muck -held sway until 1918. Then the symphony's character changed with the appointment of Henri Rabaud, followed a year later by Pierre Monteux. This French orientation, including many French-trained musicians, continued even during the reign of Russian-born Serge Koussevitzky. The Koussevitzky era (1924 to 1949) saw the founding of Tanglewood and the Berkshire Music Center, and the free Esplanade concerts on the Charles River inaugurated by Arthur Fiedler. Fiedler became the "Pops" conductor in 1930, a post he would hold for fifty years. Charles Munch became conductor in 1949, and the orchestra toured abroad for the first time. The years of Erich Leinsdorf (1962-1969) saw many televised concerts and the founding of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, a permanent chamber ensemble of the orchestra's principal players. The four years under William Steinberg (1969-1973) include several American and world premieres and a 1971 European tour. In 1973, Seiji Ozawa became the orchestra's thirteenth music director, strengthening the BSO's reputation internationally and celebrating with the orchestra its 100th birthday. Today the Boston Symphony Orchestra presents more than 250 concerts annually, attended by a live audience of nearly 1.5 million, and is heard by a vast national and international audience through recordings, radio, and television.
Seiji Ozawa has led the orchestra on tours to Europe, Japan, China, and to the major music festivals of Europe. During the BSO's 100th birthday celebration, they made a 14-city American tour and an international tour with concerts in Japan, France, Germany, Austria, and England. In addition, Mr. Ozawa's program of twelve centennial commissions reaffirmed the orchestra's com?mitment to new music.
Born in 1935 in Shenyang, China, to Japanese parents, the young musician studied both Western and Oriental music. In 1960 he won the Koussevitzky Prize at Tanglewood for outstanding student conductor. He subsequently served as assistant conductor of the New York Philharmonic, and as music director of Chicago's Ravinia Festival and the Toronto and San Francisco Symphony Orches?tras, before his appointment in Boston. The conductor pursues an active international career, appearing regularly with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Orchestre dc Paris, the London Philharmonia, and the New Japan Philharmonic. His operatic credits include the Paris Opera, Salzburg, Covcnt Garden, and La Scala. He has won a TV Emmy award, several recording awards, and most recently received an honorary degree from the New England Conservatory of Music.
This evening marks the Boston Symphony Orchestra's 47th concert in Ann Arbor since 1890 and Mr. Ozawa's fifth Ann Arbor appearance.
Boston Symphony Orchestra
First Violins Joseph Silverstein
Concertmaster Emanuel Borok
Assistant Concertmaster Max Hobart Cecylia Arzewski Bo Youp Hwang Max Winder Harry Dickson Gottfried Wilfinger Fredy Ostrovsky Leo Panasevich Sheldon Rotenberg Alfred Schneider Raymond Sird Ikuko Mizuno Amnon Levy
Marylou Speaker Churchill
Laszlo Nagy ?Michael Vitale Harvey Seigel Jerome Rosen Sheila Fiekowsky ?Gerald Elias Ronan Lefkowitz Nancy Bracken Joel Smirnoff Jennie Shames Nisanne Lowe Aza Raykhtsaum
Burton Fine Patricia McCarty Ronald Wilkison Robert Barnes Jerome Lipson
Participating in a system of rotated seating within each string section.
Marcjeanneret Betty Benthin Lila Brown Mark Ludwig
Carol Procter ?Ronald Fcldman Joel Moerschel ?Jonathan Miller
Edwin Barker Lawrence Wolfe Joseph Hearne Bela Wurtzler Leslie Martin John Salkowski John Barwicki Robert Olson
Doriot Anthony Dwyer
Ralph Gomberg Wayne Rapier Alfred Genovese
English Horn Laurence Thorstenberg
Clarinets Harold Wright Pasquale Cardillo Peter Hadcock E-jlat Clarinet
Bass Clarinet Craig Nordstrom
Bassoons Sherman Walt Roland Small Matthew Ruggiero
Contrabassoon Richard Plaster
Charles Kavalovski Richard Sebring Daniel Katzen Richard Mackey Jay Wadenpfuhl Charles Yancich
Charles Schlueter Andre Come Timothy Morrison
Trombones Ronald Barron Norman Bolter Gordon Hallberg
Timpani Everett Firth
Percussion Charles Smith Arthur Press
Assistant Timpanist Thomas Gauger Frank Epstein
Ann Hobson Pilot
Personnel Managers William Moyer Harry Shapiro
Librarians Victor Alpert William Shisler James Harper
Stage Manager Alfred Robison
Stage Coordinator Cleveland Morrison
Philips, Telarc, CBS, Deutsche Grammophon, and RCA Records.
James Galway and
New Irish Chamber Orchestra
Friday, March 18, at 8:30, Hill Auditorium
Music of Telemann, Quantz, DufT, and Vivaldi Tickets still available, from $5 to t12.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 Phones: (313) 665-3717764-2538