Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra
Lorin Maazel, Music Consultant
Conductor and Pianist
Thursday Evening, May 1, 1986, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Concerto No. 24 in C minor for Piano and Orchestra, K. 491 .......... Mozart
Allegro Larghetto Allegretto
Christoph Eschenbach, Pianist
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 ............................... Brahms
Allegro non troppo Adagio non troppo
Allegretto grazioso, quasi andantino Allegro con spirito
Seventy-eighth Concert of the 107th Season 93rd Annual May Festival
by Dr. Frederick Dorian in collaboration with Dr. Judith Meibach
Piano Concerto No. 24 in C minor, K. 491.......Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
The C-minor Piano Concerto is dated Vienna, March 24, 1786, in Mozart's own catalog of his works. In tonight's concert, Christoph Eschenbach, who is conducting from the keyboard as Mozart originally did, performs the cadenzas by Johannes Brahms.
A notice in the "Theatrical News" column of the Viennese journal Wiener Zeitung of April 8, 1786, reported that "Herr Mozart gave a grand musical concert" at the Burgtheater where he played and conducted his most recent work from the keyboard. No other details are known of this historic event. It would be only one month later that Mozart wrote the last bars of The Marriage of Figaro, scheduled for its premiere at the Burgtheater on May 1. The proximity of these two works reflects the awe-inspiring intensity and industry of his creative procedure.
Since the age of six, Mozart had been admired as a keyboard virtuoso, retaining this fame as a pianist in maturity. The voluminous correspondence with his family, particularly his father (the distinguished pedagogue Leopold Mozart) and his sister Marianne (Nannerl), remains the primary source for information regarding his style as an interpreter.
On Christmas Eve 1781, Mozart participated with Muzio Clementi in a competition arranged by the music-loving Emperor Joseph II. Clementi, the renowned Italian composer of such important piano studies as Gradus ad Pamassum, was, like Mozart, a celebrated virtuoso whose career began brilliantly at a tender age. After the competition, in a letter of January 16, 1782, Mozart expressed criticism of his rival: "He is an excellent keyboard player, but that is all. He has great facility with his right hand. His star passages are thirds. Apart from this, he has not a farthing's worth of taste or feeling: he is a mere mechanicusV As for Clementi, he had only high praise for the gifts of his rival: "Until then I had never heard anybody play with so much intelligence and charm. I was particularly surprised by an adagio and a number of his ex?temporized variations on a theme chosen by the emperor, which we were obliged to vary alternately, each accompanying the other." Despite Mozart's harsh judgments, Clementi deserves credit: he did his share to develop a style which emphasized the unique qualities of the piano as opposed to those of the harpsichord. In addition, he founded a firm for the publishing of music and the manufacture of pianos.
In his autobiography, the composer Karl von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) records a conversa?tion with Joseph II in which the emperor discussed with him the outstanding performers of the time. Dittersdorf tried to convince the monarch that Mozart had no equal. He spoke of the charm which emanated from the singing quality of Mozart's touch. Exquisite taste appeared to be the guiding concept of Mozart's extraordinary pianism. But whosejudgment could be more respected than that of Haydn who, "with tears in his eyes," claimed that Mozart's playing was "unforgettable, touching his heart, the staccato displaying the most brilliant charm."
Mozart's Concerto in C minor, K. 491, represents the perfect embodiment of pianistic thought. In its three movements it emerges as the quintessence of classical concerto structure. The striking originality of the orchestration ushered in a new epoch in the genre of the piano concerto. Its two sound bodies, the clavier and the tutti of the orchestra, maintain a perfect balance complementing one another. Now the orchestra is conceived as a vital entity. It no longer functions as a mere accompaniment of the soloist: it is integrated with the piano part. The affection which Mozart lavished in his orchestration of the woodwind family delighted and astonished the connoisseurs already in the late eighteenth century.
The orchestra of K. 491 is the largest employed in any of Mozart's piano concertos. The architecture of the three movements reveals Mozart's masterful coordination of thematic materials. This, indeed, is one of the scores that gave the classical concerto its rules.
Symphony No. 2 in D major, Op. 73 ..................... Johannes Brahms
Brahms's Second Symphony was completed in 1877 and first performed in Vienna on December 30 of that year.
The charge has been made that the orchestral imagination of Brahms was limited. His scoring (so it is said) did not take full advantage of the rich colors available on the romantic orchestral palette of his era. Even Romain Rolland, the astute French scholar, saw in the instrumentation of Brahms merely the craft of a routine composer.
It is true, the Brahmsian orchestra is somewhat reticent and, at times, its sonorities appear veiled. He also avoids ostentation in terms of orchestra color. He did not care for the brilliant instrumental effects of such symphonists as Berlioz, Liszt, or Tchaikovsky, and he completely turned away from the orchestral magic of Wagner.
The symphonic textures of Brahms take their sound from the inner nature of his music. Rather than Wagnerian intoxication and Lisztian flamboyance, the Brahmsian orchestration remains primarily functional, in spite of its frequent poetic tone. At times, Brahms will distribute thematic threads of melody and counterpoint into small and smallest motives. These, in turn, are absorbed by different solos or smaller instrumental groups within the large symphonic orchestra.
The architecture of the Second Symphony did not lend itself to the orchestral alfresco style prevalent with many contemporaries of Brahms. Instead, a most subtle ensemble prevails, frequently requiring the entire orchestra to perform in the manner of chamber music. If correctly interpreted, the orchestration of Brahms not only assumes singular attractiveness, but becomes highly effective -in terms of its innermost musical meaning.
Brahms wrote the Second Symphony when Wagner was at the height of his fame. Wagner, of course, wrote for the theater, but the impact of his collective work also strongly affected the symphonic field, where it led to an emphasis on extramusical content. Program music blossomed within the symphonic frame. Thus the style of the so-called Neue deutsche Schule powerfully stimulated a new generation of composers. Liszt became their protagonist. The most promising disciple was Richard Strauss, who had temporarily been influenced by Brahms, but, before long, had completely fallen under the spell of Liszt and Wagner.
Due to the poetizing element in the New German School, the sovereignty of music was threatened. It became the historic mission of Brahms to reemphasize the independence of symphonic composition during this crisis. He went his way alone -creating against the current of the time -with utmost courage and unfaltering strength of conviction.
The Second Symphony is a wonderful manifestation of these deep-seated aesthetic beliefs. Brahms succeeded in building even the most "romantic" sections of this symphony according to classical architecture. Nothing is scored in relation to ideas that are outside of strictly tonal concepts. In this sense, the Second Symphony is a masterpiece of "absolute" music.
Reproduction of the program notes requires the permission of the author and of the Pittsburgh Symphony Society.
About the Artist
Christoph Eschenbach, long regarded as one of the world's leading pianists, has come to prominence as a conductor in the last decade. Currently principal conductor of the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, he made his first appearance as a conductor in 1972, and in 1975 he made his American podium debut with the San Francisco Symphony. Since that time he has conducted all the major American orchestras and has appeared as conductor at leading Amer?ican summer festivals. In addition, he has been principal guest conductor of the London Philharmonic and has appeared regularly with the foremost orchestras of Europe.
Born in Breslau, Germany, in 1940, Christoph Eschenbach studied piano first with his mother and subsequently in Hamburg with Eliza Hansen, a former pupil of Artur Schnabel. He won several prizes in his teens, continued his studies at the Cologne Conservatory, and began his active career with extensive tours in 1963. In October 1967 Eschenbach made his Canadian debut in Montreal to great acclaim, and, with the Cleveland Orchestra, made his United States debut in Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 19, K. 459, under George Szell. Since that time he has appeared as soloist with all the major orchestras of this country and has been widely heard in recital. He continues to appear throughout Europe and also has toured Japan, South America, and Israel.
Eschenbach has an extensive discography on the Deutsche Grammophon label in col?laboration with Herbert von Karajan, Hans Werner Henze, Seiji Ozawa, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, andjustus Frantz. His many solo albums include the complete sonatas of Mozart. His EMI recording of Schubert's four-hand piano music with Frantz won a 1983 Edison Award.
Since Christoph Eschenbach's first engagement with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in 1972, he has appeared many times with the Symphony as piano soloist, conductor, and conductorpianist. Most recently, he conducted the opening three weeks of the Pittsburgh's 1985-86 season subscription concerts. His two concerts in this May Festival mark his Ann Arbor debut.
In the last decade the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra has confirmed its standing among the world's great orchestras, earning the highest critical acclaim during its 1978, 1982, and 1985 European tours and on tour to the Hong Kong Arts Festival and Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. The recent AugustSeptember 1985 tour drew rave reviews in eight European nations and included appearances in the prestigious Edinburgh and Salzburg Festivals and the London Promenade Con?certs. This decade also saw the Symphony's expansion of its subscription series to 24 weeks in its elegant Heinz Hall home and a re-entry into the recording world." Increased national attention came through the popular PBS television series "Previn and the Pittsburgh" and National Public Radio's broadcasts of the Symphony's highly successful 1982-83 and 1983-84 concert series.
In Ann Arbor, the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra's appearances date back to 1899. Victor Herbert conducted concerts in 1899, 1900, 1902, and 1904, and Emil Paur conducted in 1904, 1905, and 1906. Forty-four years elapsed before the orchestra's next appearance under guest conductor Paul Paray in 1950. William Steinberg was on the podium for concerts in 1959, 1960, and 1963, and Andre Previn conducted a 1981 concert. The orchestra now returns after making its first orchestra-in-residence appearance in last year's May Festival.
Lorin Maazel, Music Consultant Michael Lankester, Associate Conductor
Andreas Delfs, Steinberg Fellow Marshall W. Turkin, Vice President and Managing Director
Concertmaster Victor Romanul
Assoc. Concertmaster Huei-Sheng Kao
Asst. Concertmaster Brian Reagin
Ozzie DePaul Richard DiAdamo Stuart Discount Donald Downs Samuel H. Elkind Wilbert Frisch David Gillis Edward F. Gugala Charles Hardwick Sara Gugala Hirtz Eugene Phillips Akiko Sakonju Roy Sonne
Teresa Harth Constance SilipigniJ M. Kennedy Linge Leslie McKie
John J. Corda Stanley Dombrowski Linda K. Fischer Emma Jo Hill Albert Hirtz Lois Hunter Stanley Klein Morris Neiberg Paul J. Ross Peter Snitkovsky Stephen Starkman
Angel and Philips Records
Randolph Kelly Cynthia S. Calhoun Chair
Isaias Zelkowiczt Jose Rodriguez
Penny Anderson Cynthia Busch Edward Gazouleas Richard M. Holland Samuel C. Kang Raymond Marsh Paul Silver Stephanie Tretick Joen Vasquez
Anne Martindale Williams
Lauren Scott Mallory Irvin KauffmanJ Salvatore Silipigni
Richard Busch Genevieve Chaudhuri Gail Czajkowski Michael Lipman Hampton Mallory Charlotta Klein Ross Georgia Sagen Woehr
Sam Hollingsworth Robert H. Leiningert
Rovin Adelstein Anthony Bianco Ronald Cantelm Robert Kesselman James Krummenacher Rodney Van Sickle Arie Wenger
Gretchen Van Hoesen Deborah Hoffman
Bernard Goldberg Jackman-Pfouls Chair
Ethan M. Stang
Elden Gatwood James Gorton Colin Gatwood
Louis Paul Thomas Thompson" Bernard Cerilli
Leonard Sharrow Nancy Goeres Mark Pancerev
Carlton A. Jones
Howard L. Hillyer Martin Smith Peter AltobelliJ Richard Happe Ronald Schneider Kenneth Strack
Charles Hois Charles Lirette Jack G. McKie Roger C. Sherman
Robert D. Hamrick Carl Wilhelm Harold Steiman
Stanley S. Leonard John Soroka
John Soroka Gerald Unger Don S. Liuzzi Edward I. Myers
Patricia Prattis Jennings Mr. & Mrs. Benjamin F. Jones, 3rd, Chair
Christian G. Woehr
Thomas Gorman John Karapandi
Principal "Co-Principal "Associate Principal
The Pittsburgh Symphony string section utilizes revolving seating on a systematic basis. Players listed alphabetically change seats periodically.
USAir is the official airline of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 665-3717, 764-2538