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UMS Concert Program, September 28, 1986: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 108th
Concert: Second
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Detroit Symphony Orchestra
Music Director and Conductor
Sunday Afternoon, September 28, 1986, at 4:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6....................................Webern
(original version)
Concerto in D major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 77............... Brahms
Allegro non troppo Adagio
Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
Henryk Szeryng, Violinist INTERMISSION
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92.......................... Beethoven
Poco sostenuto, vivace Allegretto
Presto, assai meno presto Allegro con brio
New UMS 1986-87 Season Events Calendar
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Second Concert of the 108th Season 108th Annual Choral Union Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Michael Fleming
Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6 (original version) ......... Anton von Webern
For the twentieth-century avant-garde, it was Webern above all who showed the way. Now, as the twelve-tone system has receded into musical history, it is difficult to recapture the intensity of devotion inspired by Webern's concentration of means and purity of intent, but that devotion fired a generation of composers, some with only a fraction of Webern's musicianship. The works that inspired this fervor were the later, serial instrumental works -pieces in which every note, every mark of expression carried with it worlds of responsibility. But in essence, Webern's genius can equally well be appreciated in the non-serial works, like the Passacaglia, which was written as a sort of graduation exercise from Schoenberg's tutelage; or these Six Pieces, which form a delicate but durable bridge from the hypercharged manner of late Mahler to the laconic style of late Webern.
According to the composer's recollections, the Pieces, composed in 1909, represent his reaction to his mother's death, which had occurred three years earlier. "I was still in Vienna, already sensing the disaster," he wrote, "yet always maintaining the hope that I would find my mother alive." For a performance in Dortmund in 1933, he characterized the pieces one by one as follows: "The first expresses the expectation of a catastrophe; the second the certainty of its fulfillment; the third the most tender contrast; it is, so to speak, the introduction to the fourth, a funeral march; five and six are an epilogue-remembrance and resignation."
The centerpiece is the fourth movement, one in which a Mahler-sized orchestra is used in a Mahlerian genre to create a quite un-Mahleresque effect: not present reality or even fevered remembrance, but the ghost of a memory, rendered all the more intense as every extraneous impression has dropped away. The other movements are perhaps less obviously pictorial, but their intensity of feeling is unmistakable.
Most commonly heard today is Webern's revised instrumentation, in which he reduced the orchestra to more conventional size. For this concert, the original version is played: a cornucopia of riches used with the utmost restraint. It was this version that provoked a riot at the premiere on March 31, 1913, at the large hall of the Musikverein in Vienna. On that occasion, the first of the Six Pieces provoked "a confrontation lasting several minutes between the applauding and hissing factions of the audience," according to a contemporary newspaper account. The second brought "a storm of laughter," and finally the police had to intervene. Because of the tumult, Mahler's Kiiidertoteitlieder, scheduled to be performed last in the composer's memory, could not be given.
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 77....... Johannes Brahms
From the summer resort near Lake Worth in the Alps, where Brahms spent three of his happiest and most productive vacations, Brahms wrote to the critic Hanslick: "So many melodies fly about that one must be careful not to tread on them," and the summers of 1877, 1878, and 1879 bear him out. From the first came the Second Symphony, from the second, the Violin Concerto, and from the third, the G-major Violin Sonata.
From the beginning, the Violin Concerto was a collaboration between Brahms and the violinist Joseph Joachim, to whom he sent the solo part of the first movement and the beginning of the finale in August 1878, requesting a "few words" of advice on the work from a violinist's standpoint. Brahms admitted that he was more at home with the piano than the violin. His correspondence with Joachim stretched over several months, with the violinist offering much advice and the composer rejecting most of it.
The premiere took place on New Year's Day 1879 at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig, with Joachim as soloist and the composer conducting. The orchestra was undcrrehcarsed, the soloist nervous, and the audience reticent. For the Viennese premiere, on January 14, Brahms turned the baton over to Joseph Hcllmesberger, who made the crack that the composer had written a concerto, not for, but against the violin. Soon, however, the tide began to turn in the work's favor, first of all in England, where Joachim took it in March 1879. The process of revision went on, but by June the self-critical Brahms was satisfied enough to send the concerto off to the printer. Despite the reservations of some violinists, notably Sarasate, the concerto established a firm place in the repertoire alongside those of Beethoven and Mendelssohn.
Brahms's concertos have often been disparagingly labeled "symphonic," with the implica?tion that the soloist is a mere bystander. But the first movement of the Violin Concerto shows
how much Brahms had learned about giving prominence to the soloist by means other than sheer force. Here, the violin makes itself known by the subtle variations it introduces in themes
stated more forthrightly by the orchestra. From the first sweeping entrance of the violin__an
ingenious transformation of the principal theme -it is clear that whatever the solo instrument lacks in power, it will make up in agility and subtlety.
When Brahms first wrote to Joachim asking for advice, the Violin Concerto had four movements. The present "poor Adagio," as Brahms deprecatingly introduced it, was a later replacement. This was the movement that put Sarasate out of sorts, and by common standards the orchestral introduction is long. But the violin is no less prominent for its delayed entrance, at which it proves that it can add poignancy to the plain sentiment of the orchestra. Once the soloist has taken center stage, there is no doubt who is in control. The orchestra, far from sulking in the background, embellishes the violin's melody with a generous counterpoint when, after a turbulent middle section, it makes a welcome return.
The finale is in the Hungarian style -a tribute perhaps to Joachim -and it has the combination of languor and tension that characterizes much of the music of that country. Here, the cooperation of orchestra and soloist is assured from the first, the bouncing arpeggios of the orchestral strings serving as a springboard to launch the solo violin. There are two contrasting episodes, one in a dotted rhythm, the other in a lulling triple meter. Unlike Beethoven, Brahms does not rely on speed to propel his finale; not until after the brief cadenza does the pace quicken, and then not to an unseemly gallop but to a dignified strut.
Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92 ................ Ludwig van Beethoven
Of all Beethoven's symphonies, the Seventh is one of the most resistant to external explanation. Of the many attempts to attach labels to it, the only one that does not now sound absurd is Wagner's: "The apotheosis of the dance."
As the Fifth and Sixth symphonies grew side by side, so did the Seventh and Eighth, which Beethoven began work on in 1811 and finished after summering at Teplitz and Karlsbad in 1812. At the first performance on December 8, 1813, a benefit for Austrian and Bavarian soldiers wounded at the Battle of Hanau, the Seventh Symphony shared the program with Wellington's Victory.
With the first chord, Beethoven marks out a large musical space and defines the colors and textures that will characterize the symphony as a whole: light and transparent. Having aban?doned a slow introduction for the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, Beethoven returns to it here, realizing that the propulsive first movement could not begin ex nihilo.
Taking Wagner's remark about the dance as true, we can hear the first movement as a giant gigue. But as Baroque composers knew, pure dance forms could be extended only so far in time; even when melodically elaborated and harmonically enriched, they could not move far beyond their sixteen-or thirty-two-bar framework. In the first movement, the dance rhythm is reduced to its most basic essence, and the harmonies are drawn in wide, sweeping arcs. In the Sixth Symphony, he had learned the cumulative power of harmonic repetition; uniting this to a characteristic rhythm in the Seventh, he creates an irresistible force.
If the first movement is a dance apotheosized, so is the second a set of variations moved far beyond mere decoration. This Beethoven had mastered as early as the Eroica, and his craft is seen at its subtlest and simplest here. The variations are not added onto the theme, but grow out of it, and as we think back, we realize that they were present all the time. A rhythmic ostinato is the heartbeat of the movement, persisting even through the turn to the major key for a sort of trio (or secondary variation, to see the scheme in Haydnesque terms). If this second theme, spun out first by clarinet and bassoon, sounds familiar, it should: this downward-looping figure is of the same family as the principal theme of the introduction to the first movement.
Nothing of the traditional minuet remains in the third movement; this is a dance that sweeps the spectators in its wake. Characteristically, the movement begins with a rhythmic springboard that sets the underlying meter, which persists in the mind even when Beethoven contradicts it. The trio is said to be based on an Austrian pilgrims' hymn; it returns twice, according to the pattern Beethoven set, then abandoned, in the Fifth Symphony.
The last movement inevitably seems fast, at whatever tempo it is taken, but its speed is deceptive. Beneath the surface bustle, the harmonies move very slowly indeed, often sticking on a single note for bar after bar. In fact, Beethoven is applying the same principle that worked so well in the first movement -anchoring an obsessively repeated rhythm with strong harmonic piers. The movement may be a trial for the orchestra, but the listener is refreshed, without quite knowing why.
About the Artists
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1914 and made its first Ann Arbor appearance just five years later; this afternoon the Symphony is giving its 61st Ann Arbor concert under Musical Society auspices. In the 72 years of its existence, the orchestra has received high acclaim at home and on tour, and has earned a reputation as one of the country's leading symphony orchestras.
The Symphony made its first European tour in 1979, performing 24 concerts in eight countries. Successes in major music capitals such as London, Paris, and Berlin produced rave reviews and standing ovations, placing the Symphony in the international spotlight. In 1978, under then-music director Antal Dorati, the orchestra returned to the recording field with a major international label, London Records; the first disc was made in Detroit in the spring of 1978, followed by the release of 14 more. In 1983 the orchestra and Maestro Dorati were awarded a gold record from London Records and the Grand Prix du Disque for their compact disc recording of Stravinsky's The Rite of Spring,
Under Gunther Herbig, who became music director in September 1984, the Symphony made a highly acclaimed Carnegie Hall appearance in 1985 and performed at the 1985 Casals Festival in Puerto Rico. The ensemble also played a special concert in Washington's Kennedy Center celebrating the 99th birthday of the Statue of Liberty. With Carnegie Hall and the American Symphony Orchestra League, the Detroit Symphony commissioned a piano concerto from Ellen Taaffe Zwilich, which received its world premiere this past June. In February 1986 Maestro Herbig directed the Detroit Symphony's "Images" Festival, consisting of eleven concerts featuring music inspired by poetry, literature, and painting.
Detroit Symphony concerts are regularly broadcast on radio in some 12 major markets and are heard on more than 50 national public radio stations. The broadcasts are produced by WQRS-FM and sponsored by General Motors Corporation.
Gunther Herbig, making his second Ann Arbor appearance this afternoon, has rapidly gained the critical attention and recognition on this continent that he has enjoyed for some time in Europe, England, and the Far East. He has appeared in North America with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Houston, Dallas, Toronto, Montreal, and others. Last season, in addition to his duties in Detroit, he conducted orchestras in Germany, England, Sweden, and Israel. This past summer he stepped in for the ailing German maestro Kurt Masur to conduct concerts with The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chicago Symphony, the Chicago Tribune lauding his "eloquent and stirring performance." During the 1986 summer festival season, he also guest con?ducted the Boston Symphony, New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
Born in Czechoslovakia of Austrian parents, Gunther Herbig studied conducting with Herman Abendroth, Hermann Schcrchen, and Arvid Jansons, and was later selected for intensive study with Herbert von Karajan. After holding positions with the National Theatre in Weimar, the City of Potsdam, and the Berlin Symphony, he was music director of the Dresden Philharmonic from 1972 until 1977. He then returned to the Berlin Symphony as music director until his appointment in Detroit was announced in 1983. Maestro Herbig also served as principal guest conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra from 1979 to 1981 and returns there regularly for guest appearances. The maestro's other activities include touring, recording, and radio and television performances. He has toured with the Dresden Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and the Berlin Symphony in Europe, Japan, and Mexico. His recordings on the Eterna label number some 35 discs with the State Orchestra of Berlin, the Berlin Symphony, and the Dresden Philharmonic.
Henryk Szeryng, hailed by critics as one of the world's greatest violin virtuosos, is making his sixth Ann Arbor appearance. He performs with major orchestras and in recital throughout the world, playing a repertoire that embraces violin literature from Vivaldi to contemporary composers, many of whom have dedicated works to him. Born in Zelazowa Wola, Poland, the birthplace of Chopin, Szeryng began violin studies at the age of seven. His first teacher was Maurice Frenkel, who was an assistant to Leopold Auer in St. Petersburg prior to World War I. Later, he studied with Carl Flesch. Szeryng made his debut in 1933, but his career was interrupted by World War II. While serving as liaison officer and interpreter for the exiled Polish government, he accompanied the Polish premier to Mexico to relocate 4,000 Polish refugees displaced by the war. When that country welcomed the refugees, he was so moved that he returned to Mexico after the war and became a citizen in 1946.
With the encouragement of Artur Rubinstein, Szeryng resumed his concert career in 1954, and with the great pianist he recorded the three Brahms sonatas and three sonatas of Beethoven. One of the most recorded violinists in history, Szeryng holds six Grand Prix du Disque awards and a Grammy award. A few of his other awards are the Polonia Restituta in 1956, the City of Paris Golden Medal in 1981, and the Legion of Honor of France. Presently he travels officially as a cultural ambassador for Mexico.
Detroit Symphony: London and Mercury Records.
Gunther Herbig: Vox Records.
Henryk Szeryng: Philips, Deutsche Grammophon, Columbia, and RCA Records.
Statewide activities of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are made possible through funds supplied by the Herbert and Grace Dow Fund and the Michigan Council for the Arts.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538
GUNTHER HERBIG, Music Director ANTAL DORATI, Conductor Laureate Eric Freudigman, Director of Choruses Stephen Stein, ExxonArts Endowment Conductor
First Violins
Gordon Staples+
Concertmastev Bogos Mortchikian
Associate Concertmaster Joseph Goldman Gordon Peterson
Assistant Conaertmasters
Beatriz Budinszky Marguerite Deslippe Derek Francis Alan Gerstel Nicholas Zonas Elias Friedenzohn Malvern Kaufman Richard Margitza Linda Snedden-Smith Ann Ourada Strubler LeAnn Toth Margaret Tundo Stacy Woolley
Second Violins Geoffrey Applegate+ Felix Resnick-H-Alvin Score Lillian Fenstermacher Ricardo Cyncynates Ronald Fischer Lenore Iatzko Walter Maddox Roy Bengtsson Thomas Downs Yien Hung Robert Murphy Jacob Robbins Bruce Smith Joseph Striplin James Waring
David Ireland-H-Philip Porbe LeRoy Fensterraacher Hart Hollman Walter Evich Gary Schnerer Catherine Compton Vincent J. Lionti Glenn Mellow Darryl Jeffers James VanValkenburg
Italo Babini+ James C. Gordon Chair Marcy Chanteaux-H-John Thurman Mario DiFiore Debra Fayroian Barbara Hassan David Saltzman Carole Gatwood Haden McKay Paul Wingert
Robert Gladstone+ Stephen Molina++ Maxim Janowsky Linton Bodwin Stephen Edwards Craig Rifel Donald Pennington Marshall Hutchinson Raymond Benner
Elyse Ilku+
Ervin Monroe+ Shaul Ben-Meir Robert Patrick++ Clement Barone
Piaaolo Clement Barone
Donald Baker+ Shelley Heron Robert Sorton++ Treva Womble
English Horn Treva Womble
Clarinets Paul Schaller+ Douglas Cornelsen Laurence Liberson-H-Oliver Green
E-flat Clarinet Laurence Liberson
Bass Clarinet Oliver Green
Robert Williams+ Victoria King Paul Ganson-H-Lyell Lindsey
Contrabassoon Lyell Lindsey
Eugene Wade+ Bryan Kennedy Corbin Wagner Willard Darling Mark Abbott-H-Keith Vernon
Trumpets Ramon Parcells+ Kevin Good Alvin Belknap-H-Gordon Smith
Trombones Raymond Turner+ Joseph Skrzynski Nathaniel Gurin++ Randall Hawes
Wesley Jacobs+
Salvatore Rabbio+ Robert Pangborn-H-
Peraussion Robert Pangborn+ Norman Fickett-H-Raymond Makowski Sam Tundo
Elkhonon Yoffe
Charles Weaver, Assistant
Personnel Manager
Oliver Green
Stephen Molina, Assistant
+Principal -H-Assistant Principal These members may voluntarily revolve seating within the section on a regular basis.
The Detroit Symphony Orchestra
We're glad to be here...
Most people can't help but identify the Detroit Symphony with the city for which it is named. The Symphony has been an inte?gral part of Detroit's cultural and civic life since the Orches?tra's founding here in 1914.
But, with the introduction of the Upper Peninsula Festival Tour 13 years ago, along with the establishment of regular appearances in lower peninsula communities and metropolitan Detroit suburbs, the Detroit Symphony has become more than a city cultural institution. It is Michigan's Symphony: a product grown in Detroit, but nurtured by a statewide commitment to the arts and enjoyed by citizens from multiple municipalities.
The sounds of summer have grown to include the melodies and rhythms of the orchestra for residents of communities such as Calumet, Hancock, Houghton, Ironwood, Iron Mountain, Mackinac Island, Marquette and Menominee, all regular stops on the Upper Peninsula Festival Tour. Residents of these com?munities and stops en route such as Alpena, Cheboygan and Interlochen, have heard and enjoyed the Detroit Symphony in every kind of facility, from opera house to theatre, from high school auditorium to civic arena.
On other excursions, the Symphony performs each year in lower peninsula cities such as Lansing, Jackson, Albion, Ypsi-lanti, Grand Rapids and Owosso. And the Orchestra has visited communities such as Midland, Battle Creek and Flint, staying several days in each community to conduct workshops and master classes, interacting one-on-one with local musicians as well as performing.
Closer to home, Detroit suburbs such as Livonia, St. Clair Shores, Troy, Sterling Heights and Lincoln Park host the Detroit Symphony for concerts each fall under the auspices of the Hudson Metro Tour.
All of these activities take time and effort to schedule and coordinate. Taking a family of 104 musicians, all with their own instruments, some of them with cases large enough to sleep in, no matter how far, is not a trip taken at the spur of the moment.
But the trips will continue for as long as the Detroit Sym?phony knows we're not just glad to be here, but that you're glad we came.
History of the Detroit Symphony
Today's Symphony is testimony to the spirit and vision of a group of civic-minded women who sponsored the first Detroit Symphony concert on November 19, 1914, conducted by the Symphony's first Music Director, Weston Gales.
Highlights of its colorful history since then include:
-The building of Orchestra Hall in 1919, the early home of the Detroit Symphony, and a building still used and admired today for its excellent acoustics.
-An appearance at the Chicago Century of Progress Exposition in 1934 in Henry Ford's elaborate Symphony Garden pavilion. The Orchestra played two concerts a day for 94 days there with an audience of over one million visitors.
-The opening of the Henry and Edsel Ford Auditorium in 1956, built with funds contributed jointly by the Ford family. Ford dealers, and the City of Detroit.
-A European tour in 1979, which consisted of 24 concerts in eight countries: Spain, West Germany, Belgium, France, England, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland.
Today the Detroit Symphony presents more than 200 concerts annually. This includes 90 regular subscription concerts and a number of special concerts in its home, Ford Auditorium, and an eight week season at its summer home, Meadow Brook Music Festival. A series of Young People's Concerts and edu?cational concerts are also given annually both at Ford Audito?rium and in Detroit area schools.
A 26-week series of Detroit Symphony radio broadcasts, sponsored by General Motors Corporation, are produced and distributed by WQRS-FM in Detroit to some 12 commercial stations and over 50 National Public Radio stations throughout the United States.
Twenty-nine Detroit Symphony recordings are currently available, with one of the most recent the RCA recording of Tlie Lady Remembers (Tlie Statue of Liberty Suite) conducted by Gunther Herbig.
Gunther Herbig Music Director
Maestro Gunther Herbig was already an international figure in the world of symphonic music when he was appointed music director of the Detroit Symphony in November, 1983. His introduction to Ford Auditorium audiences took place in Feb?ruary, 1984 at a highly-successful, all-Beethoven concert which was televised by Detroit's NBC affiliate, WDIV-Channel 4, and broadcast on classical music station WQRS-FM. He launched his first season in September, 1984 with a sold-out opening night gala featuring violinist Itzhak Perlman.
In addition to his fine leadership and direction of the Detroit Symphony, Maestro Herbig is in frequent demand as guest con?ductor of prominent orchestras throughout the country. The Czechoslovakian-born maestro made an acclaimed Los Angeles Philharmonic debut in April 1984 and the following month he scored a similar success in his first concerts with the New York Philharmonic. He has also guest conducted the orchestras of Chicago, Philadelphia, Montreal, Houston, and Washington, D.C., among others, and served as principal guest conductor with the Dallas Symphony from 1978-80.
In 1956, after completing his studies at the Franz Liszt Acad?emy in Weimar, Maestro Herbig took a position as assistant conductor in the opera house in Erfdurt. One year later he became conductor at the National Theater in Weimar, where he remained five years. During that time he also conducted opera and taught at the Liszt Academy, while continuing to pursue his studies with Hermann Scherchen and Arvid Jansons.
He was one of six students chosen from a field of over 150 applicants to be selected for two years of intensive study with Herbert von Karajan. From 1962 to 1966, Maestro Herbig was music director for the city of Potsdam (Germany), in which capacity he directed operas, orchestral and choral concerts. For the next seven years, he served as conductor of the Berlin Symphony; in 1972 he accepted the post of general music director of the Dresden Philharmonic, and he returned to the Berlin Symphony as general music director in 1977, where he remained until 1983. He also held the post of principal guest conductor with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra in Manches?ter from 1981-83.
Among his engagements last summer were guest appear?ances with the Boston Symphony at Tanglewood, with the Phil?adelphia Orchestra at Robin Hood Dell and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He also guest conducted the New York Philharmonic and the National Symphony Orchestra.
Activities of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra are made possi?ble in part with the support of the Michigan Council for the Arts, the Detroit Council of the Arts and the National Endow?ment for the Arts. Statewide activities are supported in part additionally by the Herbert and Grace Dow Fund.

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