UMS Concert Program, April 3, 1987: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Chamber Orchestra Of Europe
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Chamber Orchestra of Europe
LORIN MAAZEL Conductor
FRANK PETER ZIMMERMANN, Violinist
Friday Evening, April 3, 1987, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Egmont Overture, Op. 84 ..................................... Beethoven
Concerto in A major for Violin and Orchestra, K. 219 .............. Mozart
Allegro aperto Adagio
Rondeau: tempo di menuetto
Frank Peter Zimmermann
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ("Pastoral") ............... Beethoven
Allegro ma non troppo (Awakening of Cheerful Impressions
on Arriving in the Country) Andante molto (Scene by the Brook)
Allegro (Jolly Gathering of Country Folk) Allegro (Thunderstorm; Tempest)
Allegretto (Shepherd's Song: Happy and Thankful Feelings After the Storm)
Deutsche Grammophon, Decca, RCA, CBS, EMI, ASV, and Contour Classics Records.
The Chamber Orchestra of Europe enjoys close and continuing ties with the BOC Group, a British-based company operating in fifty countries with a strong presence in the United States. The BOC Group sponsored the orchestra's 1985 debut tour of the United States, is sponsoring the current tour, and plans sponsorship forfiiture international tours.
Fortieth Concert of the 108th Season 108th Annual Choral Union Series
Program notes are provided courtesy of the New York Philharmonic.
Egmont Overture, Op. 84......................... Ludwig van Beethoven
(b. Dec. 16 or 17, 1770; d. Mar. 16, 1827)
Defiance of tyranny was a theme close to Beethoven's heart, and this is the theme that speaks with almost explosive intensity in Goethe's tragic drama Egmont. In addition, Beethoven's admira?tion for Goethe, who was some twenty years his senior, bordered on worship. So when the Vienna Burgtheater invited him (in 1809) to compose incidental music for a revival of Egmont, Beethoven wrote one of his most eloquent scores.
In all, he composed nine numbers, of which the Overture is by far the most stirring. Like Beethoven's three Leonore Overtures, his Egmont Overture forecasts the essence of the action to come. Goethe's Egmont centers around the military subjugation of the Netherlands in the sixteenth century by the Spanish Duke of Alva; it shows the agony of the people, their growing defiance, and ends with a call to revolt.
Beethoven worked on the incidental music from October 1809 to June 1810. The last number to be completed, just before the middle of June, was the Overture. This was too late for the first performance of the Egmont revival on May 24, 1810. Beethoven's score was not performed until the fourth repetition of the revival on June 15.
Violin Concerto No. 5 in A major, K. 219 .......Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
(b.Jan. 27, 1756; d. Dec. 5, 1791)
Young Wolfgang learned to play the violin quite literally without teaching, at the age of seven, after someone in Vienna made him a present of a small-sized violin during one of his first tours as a child prodigy. Before the year was out, when the Mozart family again went on tour, father Leopold, a famous violinist and even more famous violin pedagogue, obviously took pride in his son's gift for the violin. Wolfgang was constantly learning by simply watching and listening, not only to his father but to violinists and violin composers he met in Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, England, France, and Italy.
In 1775, at home in Salzburg between tours, Mozart composed five violin concertos, probably for his own performances as violin soloist. He was nineteen. The A-major Concerto, No. 5, is the last he composed that year and the last Mozart violin concerto that survives in its original state, unaltered by later editors or adaptors. It is also the ripest of the five in emotional content and the most fascinating in form. It is neither specifically Austrian nor German, French or Italian in style, but rather an amalgam of all the many styles he had absorbed during his travels. In a sense, it is a musical mirror of early Classical and Rococo Europe: graceful, aristocratic, humorous, and wonderfully melodious. It seems to have been composed for performance in Salzburg with Mozart himself as soloist.
Allegro aperto. The opening movement is in the traditional sonata form as adapted to the concerto, and yet it has individual touches which make it unique. For example, the airy, charming orchestral introduction is not, as established tradition would have it, the Concerto's principal theme. Instead, it turns out, after the violin makes its solo entrance, to have been merely accompaniment. The opening of the violin solo itself is a surprise. The spirited tempo of the orchestra halts. There is a pause and the violin enters, almost absentmindedly, as it were, at a dreamy adagio pace, with a rhapsodic melody which seems unrelated to what had gone before. Only after this pensive passage and another dramatic pause does the solo violin seem to remember the main business of the day and belatedly launch into the vigorous principal theme. The exposition is rich in melodies, and the development, although brief, is striking for its succession of minor tonalities which probably struck Mozart's contemporaries with a stormier intensity than they do most of us today.
Adagio. The slow middle movement is in a key which Mozart loved for melodies of particular sensuous appeal, namely E major. It is built almost entirely around the melody of the opening bars. But Mozart does not confine this movement (or any of the others) to sensuous appeal alone. Halfway through, the music begins to modulate into a series of melancholy minor harmonies as it did in the first movement and will do even more strikingly in the finale.
Rondeau: tempo di menuetto. If there is anything more graceful than the refrain which opens this Rondeau (and which never seems to return often enough), it is possibly the intervening episodes. Their melodies, not quite so courtly and minuetlike, take a more ecstatic flight. One of them, conforming to the tradition of the French rondeau, is in the minor mode -but what a minor! This is the piquant, exotic, swirling, driving sort of music which Mozart's contemporaries thought of as Turkish or Hungarian and which the nineteenth century would have called gypsy. Mozart seems to have enjoyed this episode as much as we do, for he extended it until it was almost as long as the whole first part of the movement and included a crashing orchestra tutti borrowed from himself, from the finale of a ballet written for his opera Lucio Silla (1773). The title of the ballet, Harem Jealousies, suggests that Mozart really did think of this as Turkish music. There is an especial grace in the final return of the minuet refrain, and the utter simplicity of its final phrase comes closer to perfection than is given to most mortal works.
Symphony No. 6 in F major, Op. 68 ("Pastoral") ................. Beethoven
Beethoven's Symphony No. 6 is one of the few of his scores where programmatic connotations are not only excusable but well-nigh inescapable. For it was Beethoven himself who appended the work's title Pastoral, and there are the descriptive titles bestowed by Beethoven on each of the five movements. Finally, there is the character of the music itself. In the Pastoral Symphony, shepherd pipes and bird-calls are found in the first movement; flowing, watery sounds and more bird-calls in the second; peasant dances in the third; a depiction of a thunderstorm in the fourth; and the quotation of a Swiss Alpine yodeling tune used to call cows in the fifth.
Having gone so far in presenting a case for programmatic intent, it may be necessary to remind the reader of the maxim that, in general, almost any music will conform fairly well to almost any program. Beethoven himself, irritated by attempts to affix programs to his Second and Seventh Symphonies, once issued a public statement. "Should explanations be necessary," he said, "they should be restricted to characterizing the piece in a general way, something that a well-educated musician should not find it difficult to do." And on the subject of whether or not there is a literal scenario for his Sixth Symphony: "[The music is] the expression of feelings rather than painting."
Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony was written in 180708, simultaneously with his Fifth Sym?phony (though the two scores are basically dissimilar). The Pastoral had its first performance on December 22, 1808, at an all-Beethoven concert that included the premieres of the Fifth Symphony and the Fourth Piano Concerto. The composer conducted at Vienna's Theater an der Wien.
Awakening of Cheerful Impressions on Arriving in the Country. The principal theme appears in the first bar in violins, over a drone-bass (an open fifth of the tonic and dominant notes) in violas and cellos. This melody will be of the utmost importance during the entire movement, and it will generate most other materials. A second subject (violins, then clarinet) provides a contrast in rhythm and is presented in the manner of a three-part round. This lengthy movement produces a certain calculated monotony, the work of a composer who had decided to express the atmosphere of the movement's title with simple means and much repetition. The sizeable coda is largely based on a triplet variation of material from the closing of the second subject, but there is also a fanfare on the tonic triad, a memory of the bird-call figure, and, at the end, a recollection of the main theme. The movement finishes with a subito forte cadence in the full orchestra and two soft F-major chords.
Scene by the Brook. The slow movement, a kind of huge sonata-variation form where variations are quite free, abounds in evocative, pictorial touches, among them water murmurs (lower strings), insect trills (violins), and bird-calls (woodwinds). The first violins present the graceful main theme over a triplet accompaniment figure of two muted cellos playing with second violins and violas, known to represent the sound of flowing water (and so recorded in one of Beethoven's sketchbooks). This melody is then repeated by clarinet and bassoon along with violin trills and with the addition of a concluding phrase. Extensive variation ensues, giving an effect of continuous flow. The coda ends with a famous passage where Beethoven actually marked figures in the solo flute, oboe, and clarinet "nightingale," "quail," and "cuckoo."
Jolly Gathering of Country Folk. This is a scherzo, somewhat irregular in form, containing three distinct themes. It opens pianissimo in the strings with a simple dancelike tune. This is heard again and then is worked over, with a concluding phrase appended by the full orchestra. The second part of the scherzo is intended to suggest village bands that Beethoven heard in the countryside near Vienna. This section features an impish tune in the oboe, accompanied by a light ostinato of repeated thirds in the violins and also by tenuous-sounding bass interjections in the bassoon (the latter to show just "how drunk or how drowsy the player was," according to Sir George Grove). After a rollicking country dance, the entire movement is repeated, with the third return of the scherzo music short?ened, and with a coda based on the first theme and culminating in a return of the dance music. This ends abruptly.
Thunderstorm; Tempest. This tempest movement is full of brilliant effects and contains the most realistic imagery in the Symphony. Hector Berlioz, that prime practitioner of program music, provided this vivid scenario: "The hurricane approaches, swells; an immense chromatic streak, starting from the highest notes of the orchestra, goes burrowing down into its lowest depths, seizes the basses, carries them along, and ascends again, writhing like a whirlwind which levels everything in its passage. Then the trombones burst forth; the thunder of the timpani redoubles its fury. It is no longer merely a wind and a rainstorm; it is a frightful cataclysm, the universal deluge, the end of the world."
Shepherd's Song: Happy and Thankfiil Feelings After the Storm. There is no pause between movements. The tempest dies, its distant thunder giving way to a shepherd's yodel piped by solo clarinet and then solo horn. Out of this Beethoven constructs a serene melody, which he intended as a hymn of thanksgiving. It is given out three times in succession, the third statement hard fortissimo in the tutti. This is the main theme of the finale and gives the impression of being omnipresent. The second subject, broader and more singing, is given out by clarinets and bassoons. The movement progresses with what can be viewed as a series of free variations on the main theme, only to climax in a peaceful coda where there is at one point, in Sir Donald Francis Tovey's description, "a grand solemn tutti, glorious as the fields refreshed by the rain." The Symphony ends with a pianissimo reminiscence of the yodel-figure in the horns and with two sudden fortissimo chords in the full orchestra.
About the Artists
Since its founding in 1981, the Chamber Orchestra of Europe has established a distinguished reputation on three continents. Made up of young professional musicians from a dozen European countries, it has played at Europe's most prestigious music centers under its artistic adviser Claudio Abbado and music director James Judd, as well as with Alexander Schneider, Sir Georg Solti, Sir Colin Davis, and Lorin Maazel. Renowned soloists who have performed with the orchestra include Maurizio Pollini, Vladimir Ashkenazy, James Galway, Murray Perahia, Marilyn Home, Rudolf Serkin, Kiri Te Kanawa, Frederica von Stade, and the Beaux Arts Trio.
In 1983 the orchestra made its first tour of Europe and Great Britain, as well as an extensive tour of Australia and Singapore. The 1985 season marked the orchestra's first American tour, with stops in Washington, D.C., Boston, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, highlighted by its New York Carnegie Hall debut. The ensemble has also performed at numerous European festivals, among them the Budapest Spring Festival, Frankfurt's Mozart Festival, Rossini Opera Festival, City of London Festival, Edinburgh Festival, and the Venice Biennale Festival. In upcom?ing seasons, the orchestra plans visits to Japan and the Far East, as well as other concert and festival engagements in Europe. The orchestra's current tour of the United States began March 24 and concludes on April 6 in New York's Avery Fisher Hall. This evening's concert marks the ensemble's Ann Arbor debut.
Lorin Maazel is one of today's most highly acclaimed conductors, appearing regularly in the world's most prestigious concert halls and opera nouses. Over the past thirty years, he has conducted more than 4,000 opera and concert performances with over 100 major orchestras. During his career he has held chief conducting and administrative posts with the Cleveland Orchestra, the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Orchestre National de France. He currently serves as musical adviser and principal guest conductor to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and will assume the post of music director in Pittsburgh in 1988. Mr. Maazel is also a frequent guest conductor with the Berlin, Munich, and Vienna Philharmonic Orchestras. His tours with numerous orchestras have covered Europe, North and South America, Japan, and Australia. As a distinguished conductor of opera, Mr. Maazel was the first and youngest American in history to conduct, in 1960, at the Bayreuth Festival. He has also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera, Paris Opera, Covent Garden, and the Vienna State Opera. At present, he conducts opera exclusively at La Scala, where he conducted three productions in the 1985-86 season.
The maestro's recordings number over 150, ten of which have won the coveted Grand Prix du Disque. His opera films include Don Giovanni, Carmen, and Otello, and he has filmed Turandol at the Vienna State Opera and Aida and Madama Butterfly at La Scala for videocassette. He has written and directed visualizations for television of Hoist's The Planets and Vivaldi's The Four Seasons (distributed on videocassette by MGM), and has appeared frequently on television both as a jazz violinist and raconteur.
Born in 1930 in Paris to American parents, Lorin Maazel was brought to the United States as a child. He studied conducting with Vladimir Bakaleinikoff in Pittsburgh and, at age nine, appeared with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. At sixteen he entered the University of Pittsburgh, where he studied philosophy and literature, and subsequently joined the violin section of the Pittsburgh Symphony. Mr. Maazel made his professional conducting debut in Italy in 1953, while traveling in Europe on a Fulbright scholarship.
In Ann Arbor Mr. Maazel first appeared in 1953 with the Gershwin Concert Orchestra; subsequent appearances were with the Cleveland Orchestra (1979), the Orchestre National dc France (1984), and the Munich Philharmonic (1985).
The young German violinist Frank Peter Zimmermann made his American debut in October 1984 with Lorin Maazel and the Pittsburgh Symphony, a great success followed by debut appear?ances with the orchestras of Cincinnati, Detroit, and Toronto, and a highly acclaimed New York debut at Avery Fisher Hall in 1986. The current season includes his debut with the Cleveland Orchestra, the present ten-city tour of the United States with the Chamber Orchestra of Europe, including his Ann Arbor debut, and a tour throughout Europe as soloist with the Vienna Philhar?monic and Orchestre National de France. In Europe, Mr. Zimmermann has performed with the Vienna Philharmonic, Royal Philharmonic, Orchestre de Paris, Vienna Symphony, Zurich Tonhallc Orchestra, Radio Symphony Orchestra of Berlin, and the Munich State Opera Orchestra. He has appeared at festivals in Lucerne, Berlin, Salzburg, and Munich, has toured in Japan, performed in Moscow and Leningrad, and has given numerous chamber music concerts throughout Europe. As an exclusive EMI recording artist, Mr. Zimmermann has recorded the complete Mozart Concertos, the Mendelssohn Concerto, and the complete Paganini Caprices.
Born in Duisburg (near Diisseldorf) in 1965, Mr. Zimmermann began violin lessons at age five and studied in Essen, Berlin, and, since 1980, in Amsterdam with Professor Herman Krebbers. He plays a Stradivarius violin crafted in 1684.
New 1987-88 season brochure now available; orders accepted beginning Monday, April 6.
Smoking is prohibited in Hill Auditorium. Your cooperation is appreciated.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538
Tonight's concert by the Chamber Orchestra of Europe is performed in memory of
SARAH GODDARD POWER June 19, 1935 -March 24, 1987
University of Michigan Regent, 1974-1987 University Musical Society Board of Directors, 1972-1986
April 3, 1987