UMS Concert Program, March 29, 1984: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- The Northwood Orchestra
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
The Northwood Orchestra
Music Director and Conductor, Oboist
Kauen Emons Smith, Soprano
Thursday Evening, March 29, 1984, at 8:30 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sinfonia in B-flat major...........................................J. C. Bach
Allegro assai Andante Presto
Serenade for Chamber Orchestra.................................... Franc;aix
Andantino con nioto Un poco allegretto Vivace
"Knoxvillc: Summer of 1915," Op. 24................................. Barbeu
Kauen Emons Smith
Concerto in D minor for Oboe and Strings, Op. 9, No. 2............. Alhinoni
Allegro e non presto Adagio Allegro
Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios........................................ Rodrigo
Con quo la lavarc De dondc venis amore
Vos me matasteis De los a'lamos vengo, niadrc
Kaiu:n Emons Smith
Forty-third Concert of the 105th Season Twenty-first Annual Chamber Arts Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Ann Jaeger
Sinfonia in B-flat major........................... Johann Christian Bach
All of the sons of the great master Johann Sebastian Bach were born into music and became musicians with varying degrees of talent and success. Johann Christian was the youngest, only fifteen at the time of his father's death. He inherited three claviers, a third of his father's supply of linen shirts, and a negligible amount of money. He proceeded to Berlin where he took up residence with his brother, Carl Phillip Emmanuel, who instructed him in clavier playing. From there he went to Italy where he became Giovanni Bach, converted to Catholicism, was hired as conductor of a private "cappella," and ultimately became organist of the Milan Cathedral. He composed some operas and other vocal compositions, and established a reputation as a lyric composer. He carried his fame and reputation with him to London in 1762, where he became known as John Bach and in 1767 was appointed Music Master to Her Majesty, the Queen. He was distinguished and esteemed by his generation and remains a worthy bearer of an illustrious name.
This "London Bach" was a prolific composer who wrote in every form of instrumental music popular in his time: symphonies, opera overtures, concertos, chamber music, piano and violin sonatas, violin ducts, and military marches. He also composed some forty sinfonias. The Sinfonia in B-flat major is an exquisite example of this form, and it is enhanced by brilliant solo writing for the oboe in the second movement.
Serenade for Chamber Orchestra..............................Jean Franc;aix
Jean Francaix was born in Le Mans into a musical family. His father, a pianist and composer, was also director of the Mans Conservatoire where his mother taught voice and directed a women's chorus noted as first-rate throughout France. He began improvising on the piano at the age of four, and at the age of six had composed his first piano work. Pour Jacqueline, written to celebrate his favorite cousin's first steps. Francaix's earliest musical education was with his father at the Conservatoire, followed by studies in harmony and composition with the noted teacher, Nadia Boulangcr, and classes at the Paris Conservatory where he took a first prize for piano in 1932. He became both a brilliant piano virtuoso (touring internationally in concerts with his own piano scores as well as those of other composers) and a composer of international repute.
This Serenade, written in 1934, is one of his earliest post-student works, a youthful and fresh work revealing Franqaix's innate gift for invention. In it the instruments exchange their laughter and sentiment in a lively contest of sonorities. One annotator of the works of Francaix in this early period describes them all as having the quality of a young French wine of noble origin -full-bodied, slightly acid in its rhythmic and harmonicjostlings, easy to take, and, on proper occasion, deliciously intoxicating.
"Knoxville: Summer of 1915," Op. 24........................Samuel Barber
Because of his respect for classical structure, his use of lyricism, and his strong romantic bent, Samuel Barber has often been considered a traditionalist, although he occasionally did not disdain to use modern harmonies, rhythms and other advanced contemporary idioms. His is a heartfelt, lyrical, completely original, and sincere music. His style was affected by two basic influences. One was his passionate interest in literature, and many of his works were inspired by literary subjects. Among these was Knoxville: Summer of 1915, an autobiographical prose poem by James Agee which served as a prologue to his novel, A Death in the Family. The novel was published posthumously and won for Agce a Pulitzer Prize.
The other forceful influence in Barber's music was his fascination with the singing voice, first acquired by listening to his aunt, the celebrated contralto Louise Homer, and later through his own voice studies. This influence, too, is reflected in Knoxville: Summer of 1915, written for soprano and orchestra. The voice is soprano to reflect that of a child, or rather that of a man reliving his childhood so intensely that the child's voice speaks through him. The introductory sentence of Agee's poem appears under the title of the manuscript:
We are talking now of summer evenings in Knoxville, Tennessee, in the time that I lived there so successfully disguised to myself as a child.
Concerto for Oboe and Strings, Op. 9, No. 2............... Tomaso Albinoni
For the concertgoer today, concertos arc given, in large part, by piano, violin, or cello soloists. It was little more than a century and a half ago, with the violinistic wizardry of Paganini and pianistic bravura of Liszt, that the concerto became a showcase for a virtuoso with an accompaniment of full orchestra. In the 18th century, however, the oboe, flute, bassoon, and other wind instruments were
the delight of audiences, and many sonatas, concertos, and other works were composed for these instruments, to be played as chamber music in more intimate gatherings. One of the most popular instruments of the period was the oboe, whose sound was known not only in genteel circles but by countryfolk as well, as its medieval ancestor, the shawn, was played in the countryside. The 18th century music composed for the oboe retained the dreamy, pastoral quality it had always had, but it also exploited new and virtuoso possibilities for the instrument.
Tomaso Albinoni, a celebrated Venetian, was one 18th century composer who took great interest in the oboe. Sixteen of his forty-two published concertos have solo parts for this instrument. His compositions, both instrumental and operatic, were known throughout Europe; even J. S. Bach is said to have copied and arranged some of his works. His operas have passed into obscurity, but his lively concertos have endured in the repertoire.
The Concerto for Oboe, Op. 9, No. 2, is the second of Albinoni's last published set of twelve concertos, which was issued in 1721 or 1722 in Amsterdam. Annotator Charles Cudworth describes the concerto's first movement as ". . . frolicsome as young lambs in spring. The slow movement features another of Albinoni's characteristics -his love of sweeping arpeggios for the strings, with the oboe chanting a long-held melody above."
Cuatro Madrigales Amatorios.............................Joaqui'n Roduigo
Joaquin Rodrigo was born in Valencia, Spain, and became blind at the age of three. As he grew older he showed a prodigious talent for music which was nurtured by family and friends and, in spite of his overwhelming impediment, he became one of the most popular and "awarded" of Spanish composers.
Rodrigo studied initially at home in his native province of Valencia, and the Valencia Orchestra premiered one of his earliest works, Juglares, in 1923. At the age of 25 he was admitted to the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris, where he studied for several years with Paul Dukas and also came strongly under the influence of Manuel de Falla, a distinguished compatriot 25 years his senior. In the early 1930s he traveled extensively in Europe returning but once to Spain to collect a grant which enabled him to continue his musical studies in Paris. He returned to Spain at the end of the Civil War in that country, directed radio concerts, and devoted himself to composition. It was at this time that he wrote his most famous work, the Concierto de Aratijucz for guitar and orchestra, which received its premiere in 1940 and thrust Rodrigo into the leading position of postwar Spanish composers. Although Rodrigo continued to write a good number of works, vocal and stage works as well as instrumental, none achieved the artistic results or popular acclaim that his Concierto attained. In France and Spain, however, he continued to receive many awards and rewards for his significant contribution to the musical repertoire.
Cualro Madrigales Amatorios, written in 1948, is as representational of Rodrigo's work as any other of his compositions, as his style revealed no appreciable change throughout the years. Accord?ing to one of his biographers, his aim was principally to create a Spanish ambience, full of color and agreeable tunes, where folklore is a picturesque element.
Divertissement............................................. Jacques Ibert
Parisian-born Jacques Ibert first became acquainted with the world of music through piano lessons with his mother. As his love and fascination for music grew, so did the obstacles to his progress. In spite of a father who continually urged him to pursue a business career, he did manage to enroll in the Paris Conservatory. World War I then interfered and he took a temporary detour into military service. After the war, he returned to his musical studies and ultimately won the highly regarded Prix de Rome for one of his compositions. After moving to Rome, he completed his first successful orchestral works and an opera, and in 1937 was appointed Director of the Rome Academy. After World War II he returned to Paris to accept a directorial position with the Paris Opera, but continued for several years to divide his time between Paris and Rome. He came to the United States only once -to direct a master class in composition at Tanglewood -but composed several major works for American orchestras before his death in Paris at the age ot 72.
The compositions of Ibert reveal both a serious and a fanciful side. As a whole, his work defies stylistic categorization. He himself stated that "all systems are valid, provided that one derives music from them." He was a devotee for all the arts and considered his music an integral part ot an artistic whole that reflected all aspects of experience.
Of his most popular orchestral compositions, several are in a light-hearted vein -gay, witty, even teasing. Divertissement is certainly a well-crafted example of Ibert in a happy mood. It is, as the title indicates, a light piece of music -an "entertainment." The music was extracted from a 1929 musical comedy score, Le Chapeau depaille d'ltalie. As a suite on its own, it was premiered in Paris on November 30, 1930.
The Musical Society expresses thanks to Liberty Music Shop for its generosity in underwriting the printing costs of this concert program.
Northwood Orchestra Personnel
Renata Artman Knific
Cornermaster Rosemary Malocsay
Associate Concerlmastcr Ada Pesch Kristin Cappcli Rod Biebei Second violins Margaret Chapman Cooper
Principal Amy Shcvrin Julia Kurtyka Stephanie Preucil
Anne Hegel Clough
Principal Ann Schoelles Carol Grohs
Elizabeth Chryst Walter Preucil
Flute and piccolo Jackie Hofto
Oboe Catherine Paulu
Bassoon Robert Harris
I ennis Horton
Trombone David Spomy
Percussiontimpani David WUes
Keyboard Uyron Hanson
About the Artists
The Northwood Orchestra (founded in 1979 as The North wood Symphoncttc) is a pro?fessional chamber orchestra composed of outstanding musicians from throughout the United States. Established as the resident orchestra for the Northwood Institute Festival of the Lakes, the Orchestra has expanded its scope to include performances in major cities with celebrated guest artists.
Two New York appearances highlight the Northwood Orchestra's short, yet impressive history. In April 1981 Don Jaeger led the Orchestra and the Canadian Brass in a concert of 20th century music at Avery Fisher Hall, Lincoln Center. The Orchestra returned to New York in April 1983, this time performing in Carnegie Hall at the presentation of the Albert Schweitzer Music-Award to Van Cliburn. Soloists for this performance included Leontyne Price and Van Cliburn Competition gold medalists Ralph Votapek and Steven de Groote. Across the country, the Orchestra has given concerts from Phoenix to Fort Lauderdale, from Michigan to Manhattan, from Detroit to Dallas, and from Palm Springs to Palm Beach, with such renowned soloists as Lorin Hollander and Youri Egorov. Led by guest conductor Aaron Copland, the Orchestra performed the television premiere of Copland's The Tender Land on PBS' Opera in America.
Don Jaeger, Music Director and Conductor of The Northwood Orchestra, was a Fulbright Scholar and an oboist under Eduard van Beinum and Sir Gcorg Solti, and won a bronze medal in the Prague Spring International Competition for woodwinds. Since 1971 he has appeared as a guest conductor with such orchestras as the Detroit and Chattanooga Symphonies, the Aspen Festival Orchestra, and abroad with the Philharmonic Orchestras of Antwerp and Lisbon, and the State Orchestra of Thessolaniki. As conductor of the Midland Symphony prior to his current position, Mr. Jaeger was responsible for commissioning many works by several American composers includ?ing Lukas Foss, Dave Brubcck, Alec Wilder, and Leslie Bassett. For these innovative efforts, he received three ASCAP Awards for "adventuresome programming of contemporary music." Jaeger was among the first western conductors invited to the People's Republic of China, where he lectured, taught, and conducted at the conservatories in Tianjin and Beijing (Peking) in the spring of 1981.
In Michigan, Mr. Jaeger has served on the faculty of the Interlochen Arts Academy as teacher, conductor, and member of the Interlochen Arts Quintet. In addition to his leadership of the Midland Symphony, he also directed the Northwestern Michigan Symphony before helping to found The Northwood Orchestra in 1979. He has founded and continues to produce two critically acclaimed Bach Festivals, one in Cass City, Michigan, and the other in Boulder, Colorado.
Karen Emons Smith received a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from The University of Michigan, where she studied with Ralph Herbert. Her professional solo experience includes oratorio, opera, musical theater, recitals, symphonic concerts, and festivals. She has appeared frequently as a guest artist at Interlochen on the Faculty Chamber Music Series and with many Michigan orchestras. Miss Smith has also performed with the Scottsdalc Symphony and the Chamber Orchestra of Huntington (West Virginia). In addition, she has sung title roles with the Northern Michigan Lyric Opera Company and has appeared at the Matrix: Midland Festival, and the Cass City and Boulder Bach Festivals. Miss Smith currently teaches voice at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and continues to study with Leslie Guinn at The University of Michigan.
The Northwood Orchestra performed in Ann Arbor in 1980 and 1981 under Don Jaeger. In 1974 Mr. Jaeger also conducted a performance of Dave Brubcck's cantata. Truth, with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, the Festival Chorus, and the New Heavenly Blue rock group. As soloist, he performed with the Chicago Little Symphony (English horn and oboe) under Thor Johnson in 1965 and 1966. Karen Emons Smith appears for the first time under Musical Society auspices.
Don Jaeger and The Northwood Orchestra will return to Ann Arbor this summer for two concerts in the premiere season of the Ann Arbor Summer Festival. The first concert, with baritone Sherrill Milnes, will be on Monday, July 16; the second, on July 24, is with the Festival Chorus, prcmicring a new work by Donald Bryant. Free Summer Festival brochures are available in the lobby.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538