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UMS Concert Program, January 11, 1986: The Cracow Philharmonic -- Karol Szymanowski

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Season: 107th
Concert: Fifty-fifth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The Cracow Philharmonic
Karol Szymanowski
Tadeusz Strugala Principal Conductor and Artistic Director
YO-YO MA, Cellist
Saturday Evening, January 11, 1986, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROGRAM The Awakening of Jacob (1974) ............................... Penderecki
Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra (1982).................. Penderecki
(in one movement)
tSymphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54 (1939) .................. Shostakovich
Largo Allegro Presto
In 1962 the Cracow Philharmonic was named after this famous Polish composer who lived from 1882 to 1937. tFirst performance of this work in Ann Arbor.
Fifty-fifth Concert of the 107th Season Special Concert
Krzysztof Penderecki
Born in 1933, Debica, Poland
Krzysztof Penderecki is one of Poland's foremost living composers and one of the most dynamic creative musicians of his generation. Since many of his works reflect the tragicand heroic events of history, Mr. Penderecki has been called "the musical personification of Poland."
Also a celebrated conductor, Mr. Penderecki frequently conducts performances of his own compositions worldwide and during the past four years has appeared with the Berlin Philharmonic, Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig, Orchestre de Paris, Munich Philharmonic, Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Radio, and the London BBC Symphony. Other guest conducting engagements have included appearances in Palermo, Bologna, Venice, and at the festivals of Bergen, Flanders, Florence, Goteborg, Helsinki, Moscow, and Warsaw.
Krzysztof Penderecki studied composition at the State College of Music in Cracow, where he graduated with honors in 1958. Since 1972 he has held the position of rector of the Music Academy in Cracow. In 1959, he rose to prominence virtually overnight when he was awarded the three top prizes in the Youth Circle of the Association of Polish Composers competition, and he quickly became the leading member of the Polish avant-garde during the 1960s. His vast artistic output includes compositions of operas, symphonies, concertos, cantatas, oratorios, and chamber music.
Mr. Penderecki achieved international acclaim when he was awarded the UNESCO Interna?tional Rostrum of Composers for his composition Threnody, dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima. His vocal works include Dies Irae (Auschwitz Oratorio); Cosmogony for chorus, soloists and orchestra, commissioned by the United Nations for its 25th anniversary; Magnificat, to help celebrate an anniversary of the Salzburg Cathedral; Utrenga, celebrating the entombment and the resurrection of Christ; Stabat Mater; and The Song of Solomon. His St. Luke Passion, often considered his masterpiece, was commissioned from the West German Radio in Cologne to celebrate the 700th anniversary of the Miinster Cathedral and was first performed on March 30, 1966.
Mr. Penderecki has written several operas, among them Paradise Lost, based on the work by Milton and composed for the United States bicentennial. It was performed by the Chicago Lyric Opera in 1978. He recently cntly completed his new opera based on G. Hauptmann's play Black Mask, which will be performed at the 1986 Salzburg Festival.
Among Krzysztof Penderecki's numerous orchestral and instrumental works are his First Symphony (1973), The Awakening of Jacob (1974), the Violin Concerto (1976) composed for Isaac Stern, De natura sonoris (1966), and two string quartets. His Symphony No. 2, the Christinas Symphony, written at the request of, and dedicated to Zubin Mehta, received its world premiere by the New York Philharmonic in 1980. That same year Penderecki wrote his Te Deum, dedicated to Pope John Paul II, which was performed at the Vatican. Another work, The Polish Requiem, was inspired by Poland's Solidarity Movement; it was performed in Stuttgart in 1984, conducted by Mstislav Rostropovich.
Mr. Penderecki is the recipient of numerous prizes and holds honorary doctorate degrees from numerous universities, including Georgetown University in 1984. He is also a member of the Swedish Royal Academy, Accademia de Santa Cecilia, West Germany Akademic der Kunste, Bordeaux Academy of Science, Argentina Acadcmia dc Bellas Artes, and honorary member of the Royal Academy of Music in London. From 1972 to 1978 he was a member of the faculty of the Yale School of Music. Mr. Penderecki has recorded for Philips and EMI labels.
The Awakening ofjacob ...................................... Penderecki
In the summer of 1974, Penderecki completed a short work for chamber orchestra and twelve ocarinas which signaled a new compositional style. Entitled The Awakening ofjacob and inspired by the famous biblical account, this mystical and poetic piece introduces the elements of melody and harmony as serious devices for the first time in the composer's works. Gone is the experimental writing of the early years; missing is the indeterminate avante-garde style of the middle period. In their place is a dramatic and passionate idiom which owes much to post-Wagnerian chromaticism with its expressive melodic lines, its lyrical outpouring, and its dramatic highlights. The Violin Concerto of 1976, which is firmly rooted in the tradition of Brahms and Sibelius, and the powerful opera Paradise Lost (1978) confirm this style.
-Ray Robinson
Concerto No. 2 for Cello and Orchestra ......................... Penderecki
The Second Cello Concerto of Krzysztof Penderecki was commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra for the celebration of its 100th anniversary. This concerto was conceived from the outset specifically for Mstislav Rostropovich -"for his kind of playing," as Penderecki remarked. The score of the concerto was completed in Cracow on December 27, 1982, and the premiere took place in Berlin on January 11, 1983 with Rostropovich as soloist and the composer conducting.
This Concerto is separated from Penderecki's earlier works for cello by a full decade of creative activity in a style markedly different from the one in which he had worked before. Having written for five or six years in the same style, the composer felt it was necessary to go forward: "One does not simply go on repeating oneself, and in my Concerto there are entirely new elements -though at the same time there are others going back to my old music from the sixties."
Between 1964 and 1972 Pcnderecki completed three works that were performed by the German cellist Siegfried Palm: Sonata for Cello and Orchestra in 1964; Caprkcio per Siegfried Palm, a brief piece for cello solo in 1968; and a Cello Concerto from an earlier work for violin, which Palm performed at the Edinburgh Festival of 1972. Then followed the period of Penderecki's more sonoric language, so expressively revealed in his Violin Concerto of 1976, leading Wolfram Schwinger to comment that "the composer has moved from the realm of tonal planes to the realm of melody."
The Second Cello Concerto constitutes the next stage of this evolutionary line. Both concertos reveal a far advanced relationship in shaping the thematic material -characteristic runs of rising and falling minor seconds separated by a tritone. In the Cello Concerto Penderecki gives priority to its vital dynamism, while the lyrical element is exposed to a lesser degree than in the Violin Concerto. The Cello Concerto begins with characteristic fragments built from repeated sounds, dissolving into a gradually extending cluster. The motive of repeating sounds returns late in a modified form in the central points of the work and in the finale itself, as if creating pillars supporting the complicated and widely expanded form with numerous changes of the basic tempo and character. The alternating arrangement of minor seconds and a tritone determines not only the melodic theme of the Second Concerto, but also the structure of the passages: meandering spirals of virtuoso solo cello runs are constructed mostly from those intervalic progressions. The variations woven in before the finale provide brilliant dialogue between the solo cello and the percussion group. In its sparkling instrumental texture and harmonious partner-like relationship between soloist and orchestra, Penderecki's Second Cello Concerto satisfies all the requirements of the genre.
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 54.................Dmitri Shostakovich
The musical history of the Soviet Union, with the deep identifying marks made as it passed through different doctrinal stages, can be traced by merely following the works of Dmitri Shostako?vich, its most representative composer. Very often Shostakovich's lesser compositions have been excused by critics as his best efforts to meet the requirement of the political content demanded of all Soviet composers. But, political content or not, what is expected of any composer is, simply and succinctly, good music. The Shostakovich mannerisms -measurable units of one long and two short (motor-controlled without ever sputtering), sentimentalized melodicism, and a scoring plan of dynamic candor (not designed for exhibitionistic purposes) -have been widely imitated. In terms of a composer's style, no better compliment can be made.
In 1925, during the days of the New Economic Policy, considerable freedom was the vogue in the Soviet Arts. At the age of 19, Shostakovich made his entry into the music world via his First Symphony, a truly first-rate opus, one that continued the Russian tradition while proclaiming the vigor of a new voice. He then proved he was master of his craft, mixing polytonality, polyrhythms, special coloristic blends, grotesqucrie and satire into his next pair of symphonies and in the operas The Nose and Lady Macbeth ofMtsensk.
The censure given Shostakovich's music in 1936 (the unjustifiable indictment included such terms as "formalism," "decadent," and "bourgeois") led to a change of style, exemplified by the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies. Rash hedonism is absent from these pieces, but they still contain the composer's habits of spiced sentimentality and openhearted ostinati rhythms. The Sixth was com?posed in 1939, and the premiere took place at a Festival of Soviet Music in Moscow on December 3, 1939. Almost a year later Leopold Stokowski presented the work for the first time in the United States, with The Philadelphia Orchestra.
After the Fifth Symphony there had been announcements by Shostakovich of a symphony-in-progress that would memorialize Lenin. When the Sixth appeared, however, it was immediately observed that the idea had been shelved -nothing more was ever heard of it. Though the preliminary publicity led writers to connect the music with Lcninistic associations, there is no evidence whatsoever that the Sixth Symphony is programmatic, or for the subjective analysis offered by Shostakovich's biographer Ivan Martynov, who proposed the work to be a contrast of the past with the present.
Tempo is a strong pivot in the symphony's structure. The first movement is a long-spun Largo, giving an unorthodox effect, as though the work began with its second movement. (There?after the speedratc continually increases, the second movement an Allegro and the finale a Presto.) The Largo is a movement of fantasy and with seeming improvisational shifts, contrasting chunky, block scoring with chamber-style textures. The mood is introspective and dark (Shostakovich's use of the English horn is especially acute), restless in a restrained way (39 different metrical changes occur -an unusual matter for Shostakovich). The Allegro is in sonata form but speaks in terms of a ripsnorting scherzo, flung on its way by the harsher-timbered E-flat clarinet and ending with a convincing, blackout cadence. Only in the finale (in rondo design) does the music relax. Regulated by Mozartean elan, some of the harmonic punctuations are saw-toothed.
-Arthur Cohn
The Cracow Philharmonic gave its first performance on February 3, 1945, and in 1962 it was named after the famous Polish composer Karol Szymanowski. In its forty years, the orchestra has achieved a high artistic standard with a repertoire which includes works of all styles and periods. The Cracow Philharmonic frequently premieres compositions by contemporary Polish composers and has performed nearly all the orchestral works of Krzysztof Penderecki. Many of this composer's works have been recorded by the orchestra on the Philips label, and the recording of The Passion According to St. Luke received the Grand Prix du Disque.
The Philharmonic's concerts through the years have been led by conductors of international standing, such as Kyril Kondrashin, Kazimierz Kord, Rafael Kubelik, Jerzy Semkow, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and Krzysztof Penderecki. In 1981 the Cracow Philharmonic appointed Tadeusz Strugala as its principal conductor and artistic director. Prestigious soloists, including Leonid Kogan, Gidon Kremer, David and Igor Oistrakh, Jean-Pierre Rampal, Sviatoslav Richter, Arthur Rubin?stein, and Isaac Stern have also performed with the orchestra, as well as many Polish musicians of exceptional talent.
An international touring schedule has taken the orchestra throughout Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, the Soviet Union, and the United States. The Cracow Philharmonic has been a regular guest at the International Festival of Contemporary Music in Warsaw and other festivals in Poland, and participated in festivals in Venice, Zagreb, Florence, Edinburgh, Flanders, and Portugal.
This evening's concert marks the first Ann Arbor appearances of the Philharmonic and Mr. Penderecki.
Cellist Yo-Yo Ma gave his first public recital at the age of five, and by the time he was nineteen he was being compared with such masters as Rostropovich and Casals. Now, at age thirty, he is "among the finest instrumentalists of our time." (London Daily Telegraph)
Since Mr. Ma won the coveted Avery Fisher Prize in 1978, he has gone on to appear with all the major orchestras throughout the world, collaborating with the world's most eminent conductors. He is also a regular participant in the festivals of Tanglewood, Ravinia, Blossom, Salzburg, and Edinburgh.
Highly acclaimed for his ensemble playing, Yo-Yo Ma is deeply committed to performing the vast chamber music literature. He has appeared with such artists as Emanuel Ax, Leonard Rose, Pinchas Zukerman, Gidon Kremer, and Ychudi Menuhin. He has also appeared in quartet per?formances with Gidon Kremer, Daniel Phillips, and Kim Kashkashian in New York City and other major cities, and his recital tour with Emanuel Ax last season drew high acclaim. Performances of his favored Bach Cello Suites (solo) and Suites for Gamba and Harpsichord with Kenneth Cooper during the 1981-82 season were met with great enthusiasm, first at Alice Tully Hall and later in Paris, London, Munich, Vienna, and Edinburgh.
In the current 1985-86 season, Mr. Ma is performing with The Philadelphia Orchestra and London's Philharmonia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, the New York Philharmonic with Zubin Mehta, and the Berlin Philharmonic with Herbert von Karajan and Lorin Maazel. He will also record with the Berlin Philharmonic. His present tour with the Cracow Philharmonic in the United States includes Carnegie Hall, and he will also tour in Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong. His recital sched?ule includes Carnegie Hall and performances with Emanuel Ax in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
An exclusive CBS Masterworks artist, Yo-Yo Ma has many best-selling albums to his credit. His recording of the six Bach Suites for unaccompanied cello won the 1984 Grammy Award, as well as one of Time's "Best of 1984," and Ovation's 1984 "First Place Instrumental Solo Recording." Other recent releases include the Shostakovich and Kabalcvsky Cello Concerti, which won the 1984 Edison Award, and Beethoven Sonatas (Volume II) with Emanuel Ax. Soon to be released on RCA arc the Brahms Sonatas for Piano and Cello with Emanuel Ax.
Born in Paris of Chinese parentage, Mr. Ma began his cello studies with his father at the age of four. Later he studied with Janos Scholz and in 1962 entered thejuilliard School to begin studies with Leonard Rose. At present, he is playing on two cellos: a Montagnana made in 1733 from Venice and a 1712 Stradivarius loaned to him by Jacqueline DuPre.
In Ann Arbor, Mr. Ma has appeared in the 1982 May Festival and in recital in 1984.
GAIL W. RECTOR, President JOHN W. REED, Vice President
DOUGLAS D. CRARY, Secretary JOHN D. PAUL, Treasurer
First term began January 1, 1986.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538

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