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UMS Concert Program, March 20, 1985: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- National Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 106th
Concert: Sixty-first
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

National Symphony Orchestra
MSTISLAV ROSTROPOVICH Music Director and Conductor
Wednesday Evening, March 20, 1985, at 8:30 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60....................... Beethoven
Adagio, allegro vivace Adagio
Allegro vivace
Allegro ma non troppo
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47........................ Shostakovich
Moderato Allegretto Largo
Allegro non troppo
CBS Masterworks, Deutsche Grammophon, and London Records.
The National Symphony Orchestra first performed in Ann Arbor in 1959 and returns during its current tour of six states and Canada. Maestro Rostropovich has appeared twice as orchestral soloist (with the Moscow Philharmonic in 1965 and in the 1967 May Festival), given four recitals (1972, 1975, 1980, and 1983), and was conductor and soloist for the School of Music--Musical Society Benefit Concert in 1975.
Sixty-first Concert of the 106th Season 106th Annual Choral Union Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Richard Freed
Symphony No. 4 in B-flat major, Op. 60........... Ludwig van Beethoven
The Fourth Symphony is one of the few major works of Beethoven for which no sketches seem to exist. It was composed without preliminary study or contemplative gestation in 1806, in the middle of the incredibly productive period bounded by the mighty Eroica of 1804 and the C-minor and Pastoral symphonies of 1808; contemporaneous with it are the Violin Concerto, the G-major Piano Concerto, the three "Rasumovsky" string quartets, and the second version of Leonore (which had yet to become Fidelio). Beethoven had, in fact, sketched out the first two movements of the C-minor Symphony (No. 5) in 1805, but he set it aside and instead completed the newly conceived Symphony in B-flat before the year was out. The first performance of the Fourth Symphony was given at Prince Lobkowitz's palace in Vienna in March 1807.
One might not have expected the composer of the Eroica to make any further gesture toward the Classical symphony, but in the Fourth, Beethoven built on the Classic structure an edifice as distinguished by its grace as by its originality. This is evident in the suspenseful introduction and the exuberantly melodic first movement proper, in the elegantly high-spirited finale, and in the repeated trio of the vivacious third movement (no Classical minuet, to be sure, but also not labeled Scherzo), but most especially in the slow movement, with its nobly flowing phrases, nocturnal coloring, and inspired use of the drums, among other surprises. As probably the least frequently performed of Beethoven's symphonies, the Fourth has in general been a rather underestimated work, but no symphony stands less in need of apology or justification. Sir George Grove cited the work's "humor, poetry, pathos, romance, and maturity of style," and Beethoven's biographer Alexander Wheelock Thaycr, in discussing the symphonies, pronounced this one "the most perfect in form of them all."
The Fourth is seldom spoken of without reference to Schumann's description of it as standing between the Eroica and the C-minor "like a slender Greek maiden between two Norse giants." As Grove pointed out back in 1896, though, "humour is hardly the characteristic of a Greek maiden, and when we recollect the humour which accompanies the grace and beauty of the Fourth Symphony and is so obvious in every one of the movements, it must be admitted, though with great respect, that the comparison loses something of its force."
Symphony No. 5 in D minor, Op. 47.................Dmitri Shostakovich
The Fifth Symphony was created in a very short time for so vast a work-April 18 to July 20, 1937 -after the 30-year-old composer had been publicly humiliated by official censure of his opera Lady Macbeth of the District ofMtzensk (renamed Katcrina Izmailova when it was revived more than 25 years later), another reprimand for his ballet The Limpid Stream, and the withdrawal of his Fourth Symphony before its scheduled premiere. In an article published shortly before the Fifth's premiere in November 1937, Shostakovich declared that he had not been merely intimidated by these rebukes, but actually stimulated "to create my own musical style, which I seek to make simple and expressive. I cannot think of my further progress apart from our socialist structure, and the goal that I set for my work is to contribute at every point toward the growth of our remarkable country." He even went so far as to label the Fifth "A Soviet Artist's Practical, Creative Reply to Just Criticism." But far more pertinent was the statement, "The theme of my Symphony is the stabilization of a personality. In the center of this composition -conceived lyrically from beginning to end -I saw a man, with all his experiences ..."
That man could have been Shostakovich himself, or a composite of any number of his compa?triots. The year 1937, we are reminded, saw the height of the Stalin terror in the Soviet Union, and it was felt with particular harshness in Leningrad, the composer's birthplace. Shostakovich recalled: "The atmosphere at the premiere was highly charged; it was definitely a critical situation, and not only for me. Which way would the wind blow" As it turned out, the Symphony was successful on both public and private levels: it accomplished Shostakovich's "rehabilitation" for the time being (dozens of laudatory articles were written about the work), and yet his integrity was intact, for the work is, for all its extrovert gestures, in every bar a deeply personal utterance. Many in the 1937 audience wept openly because, Shostakovich felt, "they understood what was happening around them and they understood what the Fifth was about."
Since the Fourth Symphony, filled with Mahlerish characteristics, was not heard until 1962, it was in the Fifth that Shostakovich's affinity with Mahler was first made manifest on a large scale. The combination of massiveness and clarity which is perhaps the most striking single factor in the technical make-up of the Fifth is itself a basic element of Mahler's style, and was to become similarly basic to Shostakovich's. The first movement, with its menacing march theme growing out of the violins' first pathetic phrase, is an expansive Modcrato which may be recognized as the pattern for the similarly formed opening segments of numerous subsequent works of his. Soviet commentators regard this as a "ballad" form, in which narrative sections alternate with lyrical and dramatic episodes. In view of what the composer disclosed in his memoirs, it is hardly unreasonable to interpret these strongly contrasting episodes as representing a conflict between spontaneous impulse and external pressures.
The second movement, though not actually titled "Scherzo," is a brilliant distillation of the scherzo genre as evolved through the chain of Shostakovich's most illustrious predecessors. It even contains more than a little of the Landler feeling found in the music of Schubert, Bruckner, and Mahler.
The slow movement is the crown of the work, a noble Largo which is in large part elegiac and surely a night piece. Reflective lyricism here expands into urgency and intensity which remind us of Shostakovich's links with earlier symphonists in his own country. Threnody builds to anguished protest and then the music, drained of its passion, subsides on a note of resignation.
The finale, possessed of an almost barbaric vigor and yet never really exultant (indeed, its theme is a good deal more ominous than in any senscjubilant), was described by Shostakovich at the time of the work's premiere as "the optimistic resolution of the tragically tense moments of the first movement. "This was, of course, what the commissars and apparatchiks would want to hear -but if we substitute the term "honest" for "optimistic" the remark makes excellent sense. We might even say it was an "optimistic" piece, too, in the sense that it indicated a course Shostakovich could follow with conviction in his music, allowing the party hacks to draw their predetermined message from it while his own deeper and stronger one was plain enough, to his own satisfaction, for any honest ears to hear.
That, apparently, is how that first Leningrad audience heard his music in 1937. According to Mstislav Rostropovich: "The applause went on for an entire hour. People were in an uproar . . . embracing and congratulating each other on having been there. They had understood the message of sorrow, suffering, and isolation; stretched on the rack of the Inquisition, the victim still tries to smile in his pain. The shrill repetitions of the A at the end of the Symphony are to me like a spear-point jabbing in the wounds of a person on the rack. The audience at the first performance could identify with that person. Anybody who thinks the finale is glorification is an idiot..."
Shostakovich himself has been quoted as having stated that he intended no apotheosis in this finale and to have noted that Alexander Fadcyev, at that time head of the Writers' Union, wrote in his diary after attending the premiere that this finale is nothing short of "irreparable tragedy." It is, nevertheless, not without elements of resolute affirmation. These contrasting factors, indeed, are what give this remarkable work the human quality that has enabled it to speak so forcefully, not only to all but to each. In place of an apotheosis, or ceremonial triumph, we have a statement of heroic resolve, expressed with scaring intensity. In this light, the final bars may be perceived as not only affirmative but defiant, a counterpart to Beethoven's statement (in reference to his growing deaf?ness), "I will seize Fate by the throat; it shall not wholly overcome me."
About the Artists
Often referred to as the "Orchestra of the Presidents," the National Symphony Orchestra has participated in every inauguration except one since its founding in 1931. Its first music director was Hans Kindlcr, followed in 1949 by Howard Mitchell, who had been assistant conductor since 1941. The Orchestra grew in size and number of performances, and made several highly acclaimed recordings, including "Adventures in Music" and "Instruments of the Orchestra" series, which are still in use today. In 1959 the Orchestra made its first trip outside the United States, a twelve-week tour to Central and South America under State Department auspices, and 1967 marked the Orches?tra's first European tour. With the appointment of Antal Dorati in 1971 as music director, the National Symphony moved from its long-time home in Constitution Hall into the newly-opened John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and became the Center's resident orchestra. Under Maestro Dorati, the Orchestra began a scries of recordings for the LondonDecca label, two of which won prestigious awards and one receiving a Grammy nomination. The 1974-75 season marked the Orchestra's first 52-wcck season, and in the following season the Orchestra was invited to perform in Greece and the Dominican Republic.
In 1975 Mstislav Rostropovich made his American conducting debut with the National Sym?phony, and in October 1977 he became the Orchestra's fourth music director. Under his leadership, the Orchestra has toured three times throughout the United States, twice to Mexico and South America, twice to the Far East (opening Japan's prestigious Osaka Festival both times), and a highly acclaimed European tour in 1982. Today the National Symphony performs approximately 200 concerts a year, covering a wide range of music. In addition to the evening and matinee subscription concerts, these performances include Young People's Concerts, summer concerts at Wolf Trap Farm Park for the Performing Arts, annual Fourth of July "Concerts at the Capitol," an annual Sunday afternoon series in New York's Carnegie Hall, and numerous special events.
Though Mstislav Rostropovich had been renowned as one of the world's greatest cellists for more than three decades, few knew him as a conductor until his American conducting debut with the National Symphony in 1975. He has led some of the world's most prestigious orchestras and makes annual appearances at England's Aldeburgh Festival, of which he is an artistic director. His United States opera conducting debut was in the fall of 1975 with the San Francisco Opera in Tchaikovsky's Pique Dame and Eugene Ottegin and Shostakovich's Lady Macbeth oMtsensk. Under his baton the National Symphony Orchestra has made several recordings, including Shostakovich's Symphony No. 5 and Suites 1 and 2 from Prokofiev's Romeo and Juliet, both receiving critical acclaim.
Maestro Rostropovich was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, in 1927. His first teacher was his mother, a pianist, and he studied cello with his father from the time he was eight at the Children's Music School in Moscow. He continued at the Moscow Conservatory in two departments, cello and composition, the latter under Shostakovich. As a young musician, he received first prize in three major interna?tional competitions (in Budapest and twice in Prague), and he concertized for the first time outside the Soviet Union in 1947.
From 1969 to 1973, at the invitation of Maestro Rostropovich and his wife, the writer Alexander Solzhcnitsyn lived in their dacha outside Moscow. After 1970 the limitations placed on the creative efforts of Rostropovich and Vishncvskaya grew progressively more restrictive. Cancclations of concerts and foreign tours, a complete blackout in the Soviet press, television and radio, and the cessation of all recording (one record was abandoned half completed), finally forced them to write an open letter to Leonid Brezhnev denouncing these intolerable conditions and requesting permission to travel abroad for two years. At this same time. Senator Edward M. Kennedy also spoke with Brezhnev about the future of the Rostropoviches, and they were granted exit visas. Four years later, on March 15, 1978, the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet stripped them of their citizenship for "acts harmful to the prestige of the U.S.S.R." Maestro Rostropovich, one of the world's most outspoken defenders of human and artistic freedoms, now travels with a temporary passport from Switzerland.
The maestro has been honored with many awards, prizes, medals, honorary memberships, and honorary doctoral degrees. In his native country he received the Stalin Prize, was named a People's Artist of the U.S.S.R., and received the Order of Lenin, the nation's highest honor. He also received the 1974 Annual Award of the International League of Human Rights and the 1976 Ernst von Siemens Foundation Music Prize. He has devoted much time and has given numerous concerts and recitals in support of humanitarian efforts around the world.
Remaining Concerts
Faculty Artists Concert (free admission)................... Sun. Mar. 24
Ruggiero Ricci, Violinist; Hakky Sakgous, Oboist, and School of Music String Ensemble, performing music of J. S. Bach: Violin Sonata No. 2; Violin Concerto in D minor; Violin and Oboe Concerto in C minor; Chaconne
Sherrill Milnes, Baritone..................................... Fri. Mar. 29
Songs and arias by Marcello, Mozart, Brahms, Santoliquido, Saint-Sacns, Gounod, McGill, Copland, Lochr, and Jordan
Polish Chamber Orchestra...............................Thurs. Apr. 18
Lutoslawski: Musiquc Funebre (1958); Haydn: Cello Concerto in C major; Regcr: Intermezzo; Shostakovich: Chamber Symphony, Op. 110
Ann Arbor May Festival 1985
Wednesday-Saturday, May 1, 2, 3, 4
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra The Festival Chorus, Donald Bryant, Director
Guest Conductors Sixten Ehrling Philippe Entremont Sir Alexander Gibson
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist .Philippe Entremont, Pianist
Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Soprano Henry Herford, Baritone Anne Martindale Williams, Cellist
Wednesday -Ehrling and Perlman: Nielsen: Maskaradc Overture, Symphony No. 5; Tchaikovsky: Violin Concerto
Thursday -Entremont and Williams: Rimsky-Korsakov: Russian Easter Overture; Bloch: Schclomo -Hebrew Rhapsody; Mozart: Piano Concerto No. 17, K. 453; Ravel: Rapsodie espagnol
Friday -Gibson, Festival Chorus, and Herford; Berlioz: Roman Carnival Overture; Mozart: Symphony No. 40; Walton: Belshazzar's Feast
Saturday -Gibson and Te Kanawa: Handel: Overture in D, Arias from Rinaldo and Samson; Elgar: In the South; Britten: Four Sea Interludes from Peter Grimes; Strauss: Four Last Songs
Single tickets now available from $9 to $21.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538
National Symphony Orchestra
HUGH WOLFF, Associate Conductor
{ANDREW LITTON, ExxonArts Endowment Conductor
ANDREAS MAKRIS, Composer-in-Residence
William Steck. Concertmaster, David Lloyd Kreeger Chair
Elisabeth Adkins,
Assoc. Concerlmaster Bok-Soo Kim.
Asst. Ctmcerimusler Samuel Levy Ralph Pfisler ' '.ii lion Herretl Andreas Makris Guido Mansuino William Harouluunian Edwin Johonnott Luis Ha.i Vemon Summers Holly Hamilton Hyun-Woo Kim Ernestine B. Schor Linda Schroeder George Marsh Jane Bowyer Stewart
Virginia Harpham.
Principal Donald Radding.
Asst. Principal Rafael Salazar William Bruni Janet Perry Jacqueline Anderson Sheldon Lampert Kathleen Hinton-Braaten Charlotte Davis James Carter Desimont Alston Perry Holley Bryan Johnson Lev Pekarsky Peter P. Haase Dennis Piwowarski ?" Karen Lowry Tidwell Violas Richard Parnas.
Mrs. John Dimick Chair
William Foster, Assi. Principal
Michael Yacovone
Peter Lindemann
Ramon Scavelli
Carlos Quian
Murray Labman
Cynlhia Jane Km
Lynne Edelson Levine
Miles Hoffman
Denise Wilkinson
James Francis
John Martin. Principal.
Hans Kindler Chair. The Strong Family and the Hum, M. Strong Foundation
David Hardy. Assl. Principal
Dorothy Stahl Robert Blatt Janet Frank Frederick Zenone David Howard Loran D. Stephenson Yvonne Caruthers Glenn Garlick Steven A. Honigberg David Teie Basses Harold H Robinson.
Principal Robert J Oppelt.
Assl. Principal Charles Sturgis Donald Havas Edward Skidmore Richard Webster Albert Webster William Vaughan Curtis Bums
I Carter. Principal. Frank R. & Margaret C.
Jelleff Chair Flutes
Toshiko Kohno, Principal.
Mrs. Demarest Lloyd Chair
Thomas Perazzoli,
Assl. Principal Alice Kugan Weinreb Basil Kyriakuu
Piccolo Oboes Rudolph Vrbsky.
Principal Carol Stephenson.
Assl. Principal Vemon Kirkpatrick Richard While
English Horn Clarinets Loren Kill.
Principal Robert Genovese.
Assl. Principal William R. Wright
E-flat Clarinet Lawrence Bocaner
Bass Clarinet Bassoons Kenneth Pasmanick.
Principal Linda Harwell.
Assl. Principal Truman Harris. Jr. Lewis Lipnick
Contrabassoon Horns Edwin C. Thayer.
National Trustees' Chair
Laurel Bennert Ohlson
Assoc. Principal William Arsers David Whaley Daniel Carter Scotl Fearing Trumpets Adel Sanchez. Co-Principal. Howard Mitchell Chair. The Strong Family and the Hattie M. Strong Foundation
Steven Hendnckson.
Co-Principal David Flowers Keith Jones Trombones Millon Stevens,
Principal David Finlayson.
Asst. Principal James Kraft Robert Kraft
Bass Trombone Tuba David L. Bragunier.
Principal Timpani Fred Begun.
Marion E. Glover Chair
Charles Wilkinson.
Assl. Principal.
Percussion Percussion F Anthony Ames.
Principal. The Hechinfer
Foundation Chair Kenneth Harbison.
Asst. Principal ? Albert Merc Keyboard Lambert Orkis.
Principal Organ-William Neil Librarians Vemon Kirkpatrick Abe Cherry
Personnel Manager David L. Bragunier Assistant Personnel Manager Janet Perry Stage Manager B. Joel King
t Orchestra] Fellow of the Music Assistance Fund.
$ ExxonArts Endowment Conductor Andrew Lillon regularly conducts the Orchestra and participates in a lull range
of orchestra activities during the year. The ExxonArts Endowment Conductors Program, a nationwide program.
was created and is administered by Affiliate Artists Inc. to develop future music directors for American orchestras.
The Program is sponsored by Exxon Corporation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and participating orchestras. On leave for '84-'85 season. Regularly Engaged Extra Musician
The National Symphony Orchestra uses a system of revolving strings. In each string section, unfilled members are listed in order of length of service.

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