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UMS Concert Program, April 26, 1984: Ann Arbor May Festival -- Philadelphia Orchestra

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Season: 105th
Concert: 48th
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Riccardo Muti, Music Director
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor Laureate
William Smith, Associate Conductor
ALDO CECCATO, Guest Conductor UTO UGHI, Violinist
Thursday Evening, April 26, 1984, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to Benvenuto Cellini, Op. 23 .............................. Berlioz
Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77.............. Brahms
Allegro ma non troppo Adagio
Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
Uto Ughi
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70.............................Dvorak
Allegro maestoso Poco adagio Scherzo: vivace Allegro
Angel, RCA Red Seal, Debs, Telarc, and CBS Masterworks Records.
Hail and Farewell!
We salute the members of The Philadelphia Orchestra and their inimitable leader, Eugene Ormandy, who, for so many years have provided so much joy for so many Ann Arbor concertgoers. We celebrate their constancy, their genius, and the many friendships forged during this half century. To the Fabulous Philadelphians, we give highest praise and deepest thanks.
1984 Festival Souvenirs
Take with you two concrete reminders of this milestone year. Our 64-pagc Souvenir Program Book contains two large sections devoted to Maestro Ormandy and the Orchestra, plus expanded program notes and artist profiles. A full color, 17 x 33 poster is also available, featuring a grouping of past Festival photographs of Mr. Ormandy and May Festival artists. Each is $2, on sale in the lobbies during intermission and before and after each concert.
48th Concert of the University Musical Society's 105th Season 91st Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Overture to Benuenuto Cellini, Op. 23......................Hector Berlioz
In his early twenties Berlioz submitted an opera libretto to the Paris Opera; it was rejected and all that remained of that work, Les Francs-Jugcs, was a brilliant Overture (Op. 3). It was not until 1834 that Berlioz undertook another operatic venture, having by then considered numerous subjects and settled on a story from the memoirs of the 16th-century Florentine sculptor and goldsmith Bcnvcnuto Cellini, who was equally well known as artist and adventurer. The character appealed strongly to Berlioz, and so did the setting, Rome at Carnival time, which he knew well from personal experience.
The plot centers about Cellini's love for Teresa Balducci, daughter of the Papal treasurer, and his tardiness in casting a gold statue (the famous Perseus) for the Pope. In the course of an attempted elopement Cellini kills a swordsman hired to block his plans; his victim is a friend of the Papal sculptor, and Cellini faces possibility of condemnation, but is offered pardon if he can immediately complete the statue so long ago paid for by the Pope. He docs make a successful casting, thereby winning not only his pardon but also the blessing of Teresa's father on their marriage.
The libretto, by Leon de Wailly and Auguste Barbicr, was originally designed for the Opera-Comique, but was rejected by that house and revised, during 1834 and 1835, for the Opera; it was only then that Berlioz went to work on the score itself, which he completed in 1837. The premiere at the Opera, on September 10, 1838, was a fiasco, and the work survived only a few performances. It was not mounted again until Liszt produced it at Weimar (with revisions by Berlioz) in 1852. Different versions, in three acts instead of the original two, were produced after that, at Weimar, London, and elsewhere, and after a few years the work more or less dropped from sight. In 1957 the Carl Rosa Opera Company in England reconstructed the original Paris version, which became the basis of the Covcnt Garden production of 1969 (subsequently recorded).
Long before Liszt's Weimar production, Berlioz made two very effective concert pieces from music in Benuenuto Cellini. One of these is the Roman Carnival Overture, which he fashioned from the love duet and carnival scene early in 1844 and proposed as a prelude to Act II. In the previous year he enjoyed a substantial success with the Overture itself when he conducted it at a concert in Brunswick, and he published it separately with a dedication to his friend Ernest Legouve, a playwright, who had lent him money in 1836 which enabled him to complete the composition of the opera. The first of the two themes in the Overture is that of the Harlequin's arietta in the Mardi Gras scene; the second is the Pope's aria in the final act, which is first heard in the lower strings pizzicato and emerges full-force from the large brass section at the end to provide a stirring climax.
Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77....... Johannes Brahms
Joseph Joachim is frequently credited with having given Brahms a good deal of help in the composition of his Violin Concerto. Almost as frequently, however, we are advised that Brahms merely submitted the composition to Joachim out of courtesy and was not influenced by his suggestions. What is certain is that the Concerto would probably not have been created in such broad dimensions without the precedent provided by Beethoven, and for that Brahms was surely indebted to Joachim, for it was he who succeeded in introducing the Beethoven Violin Concerto into the repertory.
Joachim (1831-1907) was not only the most revered violinist of his time and founder of the famous string quartet that bore his name, but a scholar, pedagogue (director of the Hochschule fiir ausiibendc Tonkunsl in Berlin), conductor (he presided over the premiere of Brahms's First Piano Concerto in 1859), and a composer of no little standing.
When Brahms and Joachim first met, Joachim, two years older than Brahms, was only 22 but already so renowned that he was able to provide introductions for Brahms to both Liszt and Schumann. They were to collaborate in many performances and to become the closest of friends. In 1887, Brahms presented Joachim with the Double Concerto, dedicated tojoachim and introduced by him and Robert Hausmann, the cellist in his quartet. Joachim continued to give Brahms's music prominence in his concert and recital appearances to the end of his life.
Naturally, Brahms was in frequent contact with Joachim when he was working on his Violin Concerto, for it was intended for no other performer. The work was composed during the summer of 1878 at one of Brahms's favorite retreats, the mountain resort P6rtschach-am-See, on the Worthcrscc in Carinthia, near the Italian border. He described the place as having so many melodies in the air that "one must be careful not to tread on them." During the same period he composed the first of his three sonatas for violin and piano, and consulted Joachim before sending either work to his publisher.
Joachim did influence Brahms, it appears, on the format of the Violin Concerto. Originally Brahms cast it in four movements, as he did the somewhat later Second Piano Concerto, but the
scherzo was withdrawn before the work reached its final stages, and the original slow movement was substantially revised. As it stands, the Concerto has a breadth and majesty on the level of the one by Beethoven, combined with a technical exploitation almost paralleling Paganini's. The demands on the soloist in the latter respect are such, indeed, thatjoachim himself was moved at first to declare that Brahms had written a concerto not for the violin, but against it. Once he began performing the Concerto, however, he remarked that the work, "especially the first movement, pleases me more and more." He introduced the Concerto in Leipzig on New Year's Day 1879, with Brahms conducting, and he provided his own cadenza.
Throughout the length of the opening movement Brahms manages to be at once concise and expansive, majestic and warmhearted. There is considerable drama in the exchange -now im?passioned, now ruminative -between soloist and orchestra, but the lyrical nature of the principal theme prevails, and an overall sense of nobility is sustained without posturing.
Brahms reworked the Adagio more than once before he was satisfied with it. It is music of utter serenity: the simple, peace-filled theme stated by the oboe is taken up by the violin, which proceeds to elaborate upon it in gentle discourse with various segments of the orchestra. The tranquility of the slow movement, having so effectively resolved the dramatic tension set up in the opening one, leads to a contrast of a different sort in the exuberant Finale, rumbustious and rollicking in the Hungarian style Brahms had made his own in thcG-minor Piano Quartet of 1861 and may have stressed here as a special gesture to Joachim. The work ends in a blaze of good-natured jubilation.
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70 ......................Antonin Dvorak
While Dvorak has always been one of the most beloved of composers, it was not so long ago that the affection felt for his music, particularly in this country, was based on a mere handful of works, and the chance of hearing any of his symphonies other than the famous From the New World, which he-composed here, was about as remote as that of hearing any symphony of Mahler. That is not to say that these works were totally unknown, but it was only after World War II, less that 30 years ago, that the Mahler symphonies and the "other" symphonies of Dvorak (most of whose works had been considered the reserve of Czech musicians) emerged from the "novelty" and parochial categories and took their rightful places in the general repertory. And it is only since then that the four early symphonies unpublished during Dvorak's lifetime have been rehabilitated -resulting in the generally accepted renumbering of his nine works in this form according to the actual chronology of their creation.
The Symphony in D minor which now is acknowledged as No. 7 was originally published as No. 2. It was written during the winter of 1884-1885 on commission from the Philharmonic Society of London (the same organization for which Beethoven had composed his Ninth, also in D minor, some sixty years earlier), and Dvorak himself conducted the first performance in London on April 22, 1885. The work was a great success then, and in recent years critical rethinking about the Dvorak symphonies has tended to place the Seventh in the highest position, above both the well-loved New World (No. 9) and the robust No. 8 in G major. No. 7 is the only symphony Dvorak wrote on commission, and it is the only one of his mature symphonies characterized by a dark and passionate nature: indeed, it might almost have been titled "Tragic." This may be said to reflect a certain inner conflict, for at the time he composed this work Dvorak was troubled by uncertainty as to whether to proceed in his creative effort in the Czech national character with which his music had by then become inseparably identified, or to adopt a more "international" -i.e., more German -approach in a bid for still broader recognition. Moreover, he had recently heard the new Third Symphony of his friend and benefactor Brahms, and wanted to try his hand at a work of the same sort.
It might be said that a major work of music or literature, once begun, takes on a life and direction of its own to a certain degree; the outcome in this case not only confirmed Dvorak's mastery in the realm of the symphony, but confirmed as well the integrity of his spontaneous and decpfclt response to his native stimuli. It is true that the Czech influences are subdued in this Symphony, particularly in the first movement, whose second subject seems an overt gesture in Brahms's direction: an altered but recognizable citation of the cello theme from the slow movement of that master's Second Piano Concerto, a work introduced two years before this Symphony's London premiere. The Poco adagio is one of the most glorious of all Dvorak's slow movements -noble, expansive, a great ingathering of strength, with a rapturous horn solo, in the rhapsodic Bohemian frame, which is the emotional high point of the work. (Dvorak trimmed some 40 bars from this movement after the premiere, whereupon he advised his publisher, Simrock: "Now I am convinced that there is not a single superfluous note in the work!")
In the Scherzo, with its strong suggestions of both the polka and the furiant, the Czech elements come to the fore, showing a glimpse of Dvorak in his familiar sunlit manner, but the tragic mood returns in the suppressed outburst with which the Finale begins. Out of this opening grows a vigorous Slavonic march, which leads in turn to a new theme, more lyrical and warm-hearted. This is taken into the march itself as it proceeds, but later in the movement breaks away on its own momentarily to assume the character of an expansive pastoral hymn, unmistakably Czech in character. The march then resumes with renewed vigor and assertiveness, and the end is defiant rather than jubilant.
About the Artists
Aldo Ceccato is well-known to Michigan concertgoers as the former Music Director and Conductor of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and in that capacity has conducted the DSO in Ann Arbor on five previous occasions, from 1973 through 1977. Since 1974 he has been Music Director of the eminent 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. Internationally sought as a guest conductor of both orchestras and opera companies, Maestro Ceccato has been engaged by the Berlin, Czech, and Dresden Philharmonics, Milan's La Scala, Rome Opera, Vienna Staatsoper, Leipzig and Madrid Symphonies, Israel Philharmonic (where he is invited year after year), the NHK Radio-TV Orchestra of Tokyo, and Santa Cecilia of Rome. He hasjust accepted two new appointments for the 1984-85 season: Chief Conductor of the North Deutsche Radio Orchestra in Hanover, West Germany, and Chief Conductor of the Bergen Festival in Norway.
In the United States, Aldo Ceccato has been invited to guest conduct twenty concerts with The Philadelphia Orchestra in recent years, including four at our Ann Arbor May Festival (1981. and 1982). He has also conducted the Chicago Symphony, in Chicago and on tour, the National Symphony Orchestra of Washington, D.C., the Cleveland Orchestra, and the symphonies of Detroit, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego, Phoenix, and Seattle. His current season includes guest appearances with the Berlin, Vienna, and Israel Philharmonics, and the Dresden Staatskapelle. Following his two concerts in this May Festival, he will guest conduct the Atlanta Symphony.
Maestro Ceccato's recordings with Beverly Sills of La Trat'iala and Maria Stuarda appear on classical bestseller lists in the United States, while in Europe he is well-known for his recordings of Brahms as well as an all-Russian repertoire with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra.
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. In 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.
A superstar in his native Italy, Uto Ughi has been an acclaimed international violin virtuoso for the past two decades. His many tours in the United States, as well as his recordings on RCA, have brought him into the limelight for American audiences. In this country, he has appeared as soloist with the symphonies of Denver, Houston, St. Louis, Detroit, and the National Symphony of Washington, D.C. As a recitalist, he has performed in San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Chicago, Washington, D.C, and in Ann Arbor two seasons ago. This spring, in addition to his participation in our May Festival, Mr. Ughi makes his official New York recital debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Internationally, Uto Ughi has appeared with the major orchestras ofjapan, South America, and the Soviet Union, collaborating with such distinguished conductors as Sir John Barbirolli, Sergiu Cclibidache, Kiril Kondrashin, Carlo Maria Guilini, Bernard Haitink, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, Efrem Kurtz, and Wolfgang Sawallisch.
Born near Milan in 1944, Mr. Ughi studied with Georges Enesco, the esteemed teacher of Yehudi Menuhin. He made his debut as a soloist at the age of seven at the Teatro Lirico in Milan, where he presented a program which included the Chaconne from Bach's Partita in D minor and some capricci of Paganini. The enthusiasm aroused by that first concert led to his first European concert tour in 1959, which took him to all the major cities of Europe, including Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Oslo, Amsterdam, Madrid, and Barcelona. He subsequently was invited to Australia and New Zealand. The violinist has returned to these centers many times, where he is continually invited to perform in recital and with orchestras.
Uto Ughi plays the famed "Van Houten-Krcutzer" Stradivarius made in 1701 which, according to reliable tradition, was once the property of Rudolf Kreutzer, the friend to whom Beethoven dedicated the Sonata in A major, Op. 47. Mr. Ughi's recordings on the RCA Red Seal label include the Tchaikovsky, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Brahms, and Bruch No. 1 violin concerti, as well as two Beethoven albums, one Bach album, and a mixed repertoire recital album.
GAIL W. RECTOR, President WILBUR K. 1'IERI'ONT, Vice President DOUGLAS D. CRARY, Secretary ALLEN P. BRITTON, Treasurer
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538

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