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UMS Concert Program, November 13, 1985: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Vienna Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 107th
Concert: Forty-fourth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Vienna Symphony Orchestra
Wednesday Evening, November 13, 1985, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Overture to Die Fledermaus ................................ Johann Strauss
Die Libelle (The Dragonfly) ..................................Josef Strauss
Jockey Polka ...............................................Josef Strauss
Friihlingsstimmenwalzer (Voices of Spring).................. Johann Strauss
Annen Polka ............................................ Johann Strauss
Agyptischer Marsch (Egyptian March) ...................... Johann Strauss
G'schichten aus dem Wienerwald
(Tales from the Vienna Woods) .......................... Johann Strauss
Radetzkymarsch ..................................... Johann Strauss, Sr.
Ein Heldcnlcbcn, Op. 40 ................................. Richard Strauss
Der Held (The Hero)
Des Helden Widersacher (The Hero's Adversaries)
Des Helden Gefa'hrtin (The Hero's Helpmate)
Des Helden Walstatt (The Hero's Battlefield)
Des Helden Friedcnswcrke (The Hero's Works of Peace)
Des Helden Weltflucht und Vollendung (The Hero's Release from the World)
Violin solo: Jan Popsichal
Angel, Deutsche Crammophon, Eurodisc, EMI, RCA, and Vox Records.
This tour of the Vienna Symphony is facilitated by the City of Vienna.
Forty-fourth Concert of the 107th Season 107th Annual Choral Union Series
Strauss Waltzes and Polkas
The Strausses were a large family of dance musicians and composers who gave the Viennese waltz its particular expression. Johann Baptist Strauss the elder (1804-1849) was the son of Franz Strauss, innkeeper of a tavern in Vienna near the Danube. From this humble origin, Johann raised himself by learning to play the violin. By 1825 he led his own orchestra playing his own waltzes, which have become ubiquitous by now. (Chopin remarked, "Strauss and his waltzes obscure everything else." The young Richard Wagner called him "the magic fiddler, the genius of Vienna's innate musical spirit.")
Johann Strauss (1825-1899), Johann's eldest, was to be the most eminent family member. He penned his first bars of waltz music at age six. Just as his musician father had been expected to follow a different career -that of a bookkeeper --Johann, Jr. was intended for a banker. Encouraged by his mother, however, the boy took violin lessons secretly. Following in his father's footsteps, he made his debut leading an orchestra in his own works in 1844. Five years later, he merged his deceased father's orchestra with his own and took it on tour, also as his father had done. The younger Johann invented sweeping melodies, combined with careful orchestral detail and rhythmic patterns which added up to music that symbolized imperial Vienna.
Josef Strauss (1827-1870) was the second son of Johann, Sr., who urged him to pursue a career as a soldier. All his life, Josef suffered from a brain disease which affected his spinal cord, causing severe headaches and fainting spells. After a brief stint in engineering and architecture, he followed his brother's advice and concentrated on music. The two of them directed the Strauss orchestra until 1862. Josefs ill health hindered his career, and he died at the end of a Warsaw tour, on April 17, 1870.
Tone Poem: Ein Hcldcnlcbcn, Op. 40 ..................... Richard Strauss
Ein Heldenleben was both acclaimed and attacked after its first performance on March 3, 1899: word went out to concert managers that the work should be scheduled last on the program to afford the audience the chance to leave the hall before it began, and it was celebrated by the young as an audacious testimony to modern music. It was soon relegated to the list of "classics" with the result that it became no rarity to find Bin Heldenleben and the Beethoven Eroica Symphony on the same program. Then, a little later, as happened with many other works of the masters, it was gradually pushed back into the shadows and smiled upon because of its all too pompous pathos, or because of its all too naive identification of the "Hero" with the creator of the music. Thus reads the history of Richard Strauss's Ein Heldenleben over a span of years which many of us can share. Today, conductors and orchestras would not give up performing the work, for it gives them the opportunity to unfold the greatest possible tonal splendor. Nor does today's listener avoid the intoxication these sounds bring, and should he happen to have a rather exact knowledge of music, so much the better, for then he can follow with interest the ingenious development of the themes, their transformations, and combinations.
Strauss conducted the first performance of his work and, on that occasion, provided certain headings to the various sections.
The Hero: His theme, of 21 measures, has a spaciousness which seems peculiar to themes of tone poems and during its course gives way to several magnificent episodes. The theme hides within itself a plentitude of small motifs, all of which are used later. After a pause this section is followed by:
The Hero's Adversaries: This was the section which troubled our forefathers the most. Its motifs are of various kinds and are assigned to the various tonal registers -jagged flute chromatics, rattled triplets in the oboes, and the dull grumbling of the tuba. The Hero's theme sounds tired and morose.
The Hero's Helpmate: This is the great lyric intermezzo of the work, terminating in the famous love scene in G-flat major with the solo violin as protagonist and with a combination of the themes of the Hero and the woman of his choice.
The Hero's Battlefield: Here the themes of the first and second parts meet each other. The theme of the woman has a word to say, inciting the man's strength in battle. The section ends with a mighty statement of the Hero's theme.
The Hero's Works of Peace: This section, closely connected with the preceding, makes the Strauss lover perk up his ears. Here it is possible to find quotations from Don Juan and from Tod und Verklarung, Till Eulenspiegel, Also sprach Znrathustra, Don Quixote, and from the much-loved song Traum dutch die Dammerung. For the highly accomplished Strauss fan, themes from Macbeth and the opera Guntram arc also to be discovered.
The Hero's Release from the World and Conclusion: The English horn gives forth pastoral sounds. They prepare the way for a lovely, spacious 68 passage for strings in which the sounds of the enemy are heard from afar. All is joined in calm and peace. The solo violin calls to mind the figure of the woman. The final measures arc magnificent -a brass fanfare built out of a greatly extended motif of the Hero theme.
Under the last line of the score, which was completed by Strauss with his usual painstaking exactitude, there is the date of its completion: Berlin-Charlottenburg, December 27, 1898.
About the Artists
The Vienna Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1900 by the legendary conductor Ferdinand Lowe, who was a pupil of Bruckner, a friend of Hugo Wolf, a composer of note in his own right, and a popular and esteemed figure in Vienna's musical life. For the first quarter of a century, until his death in 1925, Lowe guided the destiny of the new orchestra and firmly established it as a vital addition to the cultural life of the city.
Since 1913 the Vienna Symphony has performed in the Vienna Konzerthaus and is the city's only full-time concert orchestra. Through the years it has been led by conductors such as Wilhelm Furtwangler, Richard Strauss, Bruno Walter, Karl Bohm, Otto Klempercr, Herbert von Karajan, Josef Krips, and Claudio Abbado. Lorin Maazcl, Christopher von Dohnanyi, Seiji Ozawa, Carlo Maria Giulini, Gcnnady Rozhdestvensky, and Wolfgang Sawallisch made their Vienna debuts with the orchestra, and the last three have become principal conductors as well. More than 900 works have received their world or Vienna premieres with this orchestra, among them Bruckner's Ninth Symphony, Schoenberg's Gurre-Lieder, and Ravel's Concerto for the Left Hand. The Vienna Symphony Orchestra is the official orchestra of the famous Bregenz Festival; in addition, it presents a regular concert season in Vienna and makes frequent international tours. Today the Vienna Symphony Orchestra enjoys distinction as one of the world's great symphonic ensembles, and nearly 100 albums on every major label have brought its artistry to millions of people.
Wolfgang Sawallisch, Music Director and General Director of the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, is one of the most sought-after conductors in the world, in demand with orchestras such as the Vienna Philharmonic, Concertgebouw Orchestra of Amsterdam, London Sym?phony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France. He is Conductor Laureate of Tokyo's NHK Orchestra and Accademieo Onorario of Rome's Santa Cecilia, and also a regular guest at the Bayreuth and Salzburg Festivals, and at La Scala, Milan.
Maestro Sawallisch conducted The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1968 and has returned regularly since 1981 to conduct The Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. He appeared most recently in both cities in the spring of 1985.
Born in Munich in 1923, Wolfgang Sawallisch studied at the Munich Hochschulc fur Musik. He began his conducting career in the opera theatre of Augsburg and later was music director in Wiesbaden and Cologne and music adviser for Deutsche Oper, Berlin. His reputa?tion grew quickly, and in 1953 he became the youngest conductor ever invited to lead the Berlin Philharmonic. In 1957 he was the youngest conductor ever engaged by the Bayreuth Festival and was re-engaged for six consecutive seasons. His debut with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra came in 1957, and he became the orchestra's Chief Conductor in 1960, retaining that position for ten years. Concurrently he served as music director of the Hamburg Philharmonic. From 1973 to 1980 Maestro Sawallisch was Chief Conductor of the Orchestre de la Suissc Romandc. In addition, he became Music Director of the Bavarian State Opera in 1971 and in 1982 was made General Director.
Tonight's concert marks the Vienna Symphony Orchestra's fourth Ann Arbor appearance (previous concerts were in 1964, 1967, and 1972); Maestro Sawallisch was on the podium for two of those concerts, in 1964 and 1967.
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November Concerts
New Philadelphia String Quartet
Philadelphia Orchestra members assisted by:
Richard Woodhams, oboist, and Yoheved Kaplinsky, pianist
Sunday, November 24 at 4:00, Rackham Auditorium
Mozart: Oboe Quartet in F major, K. 370 Frank Proto: String Quartet No. 1 Brahms: Piano Quintet in F minor
Shura Cherkassky, Pianist Tuesday, November 26 at 8:00, Rackham Auditorium
BachLiszt: Organ Fantasy and Fugue in G minor Beethoven: Sonata in C major, Op. 53 ("Waldstcin") Chopin: Fantasic in F minor; Nocturne, Op. 62, No. 2;
Two Mazurkas; Andante spianato et Grand polonaise
brillantc in E-flat major. Op. 22
December Concerts
Handel's "Messiah"
December 6, 7, & 8, in Hill Auditorium
Friday & Saturday at 8:00; and, new this year:
complete performance on Sunday at 2:00 (approx. three hours)
Donald Bryant, Conductor
The University Choral Union and University Symphony members Kathryn Bouleyn, Soprano Carroll Freeman, Tenor Mary Wescott, Contralto William Parker, Bass
Tickets from S3 to $8
Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker" Ballet
December 13, 14, & 15, in Power Center Friday & Saturday at 8:00; Saturday & Sunday at 2:00
The Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre with over 60 local children participating
Tickets from S8 to S12
Watch For: May Festival '86 announcement in December
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and Festival Chorus
with eminent conductors and soloists
Verdi's Requiem on opening night
Series ticket sales begin December 9
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538

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