Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig
KURT MASUR Artistic Director and Conductor
The Festival Chorus Donald Bryant, Director
Peter Rosel, Pianist
Arleen Auger, Soprano Vinson Cole, Tenor Susanne Mentzer, Mezzo-soprano Paul Plishka, Bass
Friday Evening, May 1, 1987, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Fantasia in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op. 80 .... Beethoven
Peter Rosel, The Festival Chorus
Carolyn Leyh, Soprano I, Kathlyn Faber, Soprano II, Sally Carpenter, Contralto
Robert MacGregor, Tenor I, Timothy Dombrowski, Tenor II
Stephen Bryant, Bass-baritone
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125,
with Final Chorus on Schiller's "Ode to Joy" ............... Beethoven
Allegro ma non troppo, un poco maestoso Molto vivace
Adagio molto e cantabile Finale
The Festival Chorus Arleen Auger, Susanne Mentzer, Vinson Cole, Paul Plishka
The University of Michigan will bestow upon Kurt Masur an Honorary Degree, Doctor of Music, at tomorrow's spring commencement exercises, in recognition of the maestro's out?standing achievements and artistic contributions to the world of music.
Forty-sixth Concert of the 108th Season 94th Annual May Festival
PROGRAM NOTES Ludwig van Beethoven -b. Dec. 15 or 16, 1770; d. Mar. 26, 1827
Fantasia in C minor for Piano, Chorus, and Orchestra, Op. 80
Beethoven undertook an "Academy" in Vienna on December 22, 1808, in order to present some of his works which had not gained broad exposure. The program began with the previously unheard Pastoral Symphony, continued with the aria "Ah! Perfido," and three sections from the Mass in C. The Fourth Piano Concerto, also previously unheard, was performed by Beethoven himself and concluded the first half of the program. The second half contained the Fifth Symphony, the Sanctus from the Mass, and a piano solo. As if the musical offerings of the program were not already enough, the composer sought to assure the success of the venture by writing an entirely new composition, a "Fantasia for the pianoforte which ends with the gradual entrance of the entire orchestra and the introduction of the chorus as a finale."
The Akademie created quite a stir. The ill-fated event was reported in the Allgemeine Musikalische Zcitung. It seems that Beethoven, also the conductor for the occasion, became increasingly hostile toward the musicians during rehearsals as their efficiency and support continued to deteriorate. Mile Killitzky, who "shivered more than sang" because of the cold temperature in the hall, made a travesty of the aria. The culminating misfortune occurred in the ill-rehearsed Fantasia, where either a wrong entrance in the orchestra or a misunderstanding about a repeat brought tonal chaos. To the chagrin of all concerned, Beethoven stopped the performance, called out directions from the keyboard and, after a moment of strained silence, resumed.
The concert, with its many treasures, is perhaps the most flagrant of the many instances in history where music of imperishable value has made its initial bow in a confused and unrewarding performance, to a listless and unsuspecting public. Problems in the performance notwithstanding, this event was historic not only in terms of music presented but also in that, tragically, it would mark Beethoven's last public appearance as a concert pianist before the onset of deafness which ended his virtuoso career.
The Fantasia was completed in somewhat of a hurry in order that it be ready for the Akademie performance. Point in fact, Beethoven extemporized the opening C-minor section of the work for the December 22nd performance, notating it at a later time. The opening section has a majestic character and serves as a prelude to a set of variations for orchestra and piano which follow. The variations, extensive and elaborately developed, are based on a theme which grew out of an earlier song of Beethoven's, entitled "Gegenlicbe." Following a brief transitional passage, the finale of the Fantasia features the chorus performing a setting of a text by the poet-dramatist Christopher Kuffner, entitled "Schmeichelnd und Lieblich":
Beguiling, sweet and lovely is the resonance of our life's harmonies,
And awareness of beauty begets flowers which bloom eternally.
Peace and joy move in concord like the rhythm of waves;
All that is foreign and uncouth is sublimated.
When the magical sound holds sway and the frightening import is clear.
Beauty is necessarily formed, night and tempest turned to light.
Peace without and bliss within reign for the fortunate one.
Yet the spring sunshine of the arts draws light from both.
The greatness which pervades the heart blooms again with fresh beauty.
When the spirit exalts, a spirit chorus echoes forever.
Then take withjoy, O noble spirits, the gifts of high art.
When love and power unite, almighty grace endows mankind.
Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125, with Final Chorus on Schiller's "Ode to Joy"
Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was born only after thirty years of introspective struggle. The actual composing lasted from 1817 to 1824. We know, however, that the origin of the choral finale, based on Schiller's An die Fretide ("Ode to Joy"), can be traced to 1793, for there is extant a written, dated statement by the composer declaring his intention of setting Schiller's Ode to music. Again, in 1798, words from the poem crop up here and there in his sketchbooks. From that time on he became increasingly preoccupied with the idea. Moreover, this is true not only of the Finale, but of other sections as well. For example, although the Scherzo (the second movement) was completed in August of 1823, its thematic origins may be traced to fugal sketches made in 1815 and 1817. Of the four movements, the Adagio (third movement) was the last to be completed.
This monumental work was completed in Vienna during February 1824 and was premiered the following May 7 in the Theater am Karntnerthor. The first three movements of the Missa Solcmnis were also heard for the first time on this same program. Although Michael Umlauf conducted, Beethoven sat among the performers, reading a score and beating his own time. Umlauf had warned the musicians at rehearsal to disregard the now-totally-deaf Beethoven's directing and to follow only Umlauf. At the triumphal conclusion of the Symphony, Beethoven was still beating time with his back to the audience, unaware of the tumult behind him. With tears in her eyes, Karoline Unger, the alto soloist, took his arm and turned him toward the audience to see the tremendous ovation given him. The crowd, for the first time realizing how acute was Beethoven's loss of hearing, stamped and cheered and wildly waved hats, scarves, and handkerchiefs.
Despite this enthusiastic reception at the premiere performance, the Symphony fell from grace following Beethoven's death. It was undervalued and faulted for what was deemed "Beethoven's regrettable aberrations." It was Richard Wagner who, having steeped himself in the work, estab?lished forever the fact of its greatness. For a carefully reconstructed performance of it which he conducted in Dresden on Palm Sunday, 1846, Wagner wrote his romantic, yet lasting interpretation:
Movement I. "A struggle, conceived in the greatest grandeur, of the soul contending for happiness against the oppression of that inimical power which places itself between us and the joys of earth, appears to be the basis of the first movement. The great principal theme, which at the very beginning issues forth bare and mighty, as it were, from a mysteriously hiding veil, might be translated, not altogether inappropriately, to the meaning of the whole tone poem, in Goethe's words 'Renounce, thou must -renounce.' "
Movement II. "Wild delight seizes us at once with the first rhythms of this second movement. It is a new world which we enter, one in which we are carried away to dizzy intoxication. With the abrupt entrance of the middle part there is suddenly disclosed to us a scene of worldly joy and happy contentment. A certain sturdy cheerfulness seems to address itself to us in the simple, oft-repeated theme."
Movement III. "How differently these tones speak to our hearts! How pure, how celestially soothing they are as they melt the defiance, the wild impulse of the soul harassed by despair into a soft, melancholy feeling! It is as if memory awoke within us -the memory of an early enjoyed, purest happiness. With this recollection a sweet longing, too, comes over us, which is expressed so beautifully in the second theme of the movement."
Movement IV. "A harsh outcry begins the transition from the third to the fourth movement, a cry of disappointment at not attaining the contentment so earnestly sought. Then, with the begin?ning of the Ode, we hear clearly expressed what must appear to the anxious seeker for happiness as the highest lasting pleasure."
Text to Schiller's "Ode to Joy"
O friends, friends, not these sounds!
Let us sing something more pleasant, more full of gladness.
Joy, thou source of light immortal, daughter of Elysium,
Touched with fire, to the portal of thy radiant shrine we come.
Thy pure magic frees all others held in Custom's rigid rings;
Men throughout the world are brothers in the haven of thy wings.
He who knows the pride and pleasure of a friendship firm and strong,
He who has a wife to treasure, let him swell our mighty song.
If there is a single being who can call a heart his own,
And denies it -then, unseeing, let him go and weep alone.
Joy is drunk by all God's creatures straight from earth's abundant breast;
Good and bad, all things are nature's, and with blameless joy are blessed.
Joy gives love and wine; her gladness makes the universe her zone,
From the worm that feels spring's madness to the angel near God's throne.
Glad as when the suns run glorious through the deep and dazzling skies,
Brothers, run with shining eyes -heroes, happy and victorious.
Millions, myriads, rise and gather! Share this universal kiss!
Brothers, in a heaven of bliss smiles the world's all-loving Father.
Do the millions, His creation, know Him and His works of love
Seek Him! In the heights above is His starry habitation!
(translation by Louis Untermeyer)
About the Artists
For the first time in the long history of the Ann Arbor May Festival, a foreign orchestra provides the nucleus of this annual spring event. The Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig and Kurt Masur, however, are certainly not "foreigners" in our city; from 1974 to 1984 they have performed five concerts in this auditorium, all to resounding applause. Moreover, there is a century-old connection linking Leipzig with Ann Arbor: Albert A. Stanley, founder of the May Festival in 1894, received four years of musical training at Leipzig's famous Hochschule fur Musik, as do, traditionally, most of the Gewandhaus Orchestra members. Currently, eighty-five percent of the orchestra's musicians, including Maestro Masur, have studied at the "Conscrvatorium" founded by Felix Mendelssohn in 1842. It is considered a civic honor to be invited to join the Gewandhaus Orchestra, and many members remain with the ensemble all through their careers, sometimes for as long as 30 or 40 years.
In 1781 this professional orchestra was baptized when it took up permanent residence in the Gewandhaus (cloth house), the imposing structure which was the home of Leipzig's prosperous linen merchants. Throughout the orchestra's 241-year history, an illustrious list of conductors, including Felix Mendelssohn, Richard Wagner, Gustav Mahler, Richard Strauss, Arthur Nikisch, Bruno Walter, Wilhelm Furtwanglcr, Otto Klemperer, Fritz Busch, Erich Kleibcr, and Sir Thomas Beecham, have established and maintained a distinguished musical tradition, further enhanced and strengthened by Kurt Masur since his appointment as music director in 1970.
As one of the world's outstanding conductors, Kurt Masur fits well into the lineage of conductors who preceded him. While most world-renowned, jet-age conductors spend anywhere from twelve to fifteen weeks with their orchestras, Mr. Masur spends six to seven months each year leading the Gewandhaus at home in the orchestra's concert hall, at the Leipzig Opera, at the weekly Bach cantata performances in St. Thomas Church, and on tour. The remainder of his time is spent conducting such prestigious European ensembles as the Berlin, Vienna, Czech, Leningrad, Stock?holm, and Royal Philharmonic Orchestras, the Dresden Staatskapelle, l'Orchestre de Paris, and London's Philharmonia Orchestra. In the United States he has led the Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, and Dallas Symphonies, the Philadelphia and Cleveland Orchestras, and the New York Philharmonic. Maestro Masur participates in major music festivals worldwide, including those in Salzburg, Tanglewood, Ravinia, Prague, and Warsaw.
Kurt Masur made his American debut with the Cleveland Orchestra in 1974, the same year he made his initial United States tour with the Gewandhaus. Since then, they have appeared regularly in North America and have been featured in New York with a Beethoven Cycle at Carnegie Hall in 1985 and a Brahms Cycle at Avery Fisher Hall in 1986. During the current tour they are appearing at Carnegie Hall, in Pasadena and San Francisco, then continue their tour to the Far East.
Born in Silesia in 1927, Mr. Masur held positions at the Erfurt and Leipzig opera theaters, became a conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic in 1955, and returned to opera three years later as music director of the Mecklenburg State Theater of Schwerin. After four years at Berlin's Komische Oper and numerous guest-conducting appearances in Europe, he was chief conductor of the Dresden Philharmonic from 1967 to 1972.
Peter Rosel, deemed "a pianist of extraordinary gifts" by the Washington Post, has been artist-in-rcsidence with the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig since 1976. He enjoyed a highly successful United States tour with the Gewandhaus in 1978 and is now making his Ann Arbor debut as a featured soloist with the orchestra. In addition to making fifteen solo appearances annually with the Gewandhaus Orchestra, he has also performed as guest artist with major orchestras in North and South America, Europe, the Soviet Union, Japan, and Mexico. He also participates frequently at summer festivals in Europe. Born in Dresden in 1945, Mr. Rosel has won prizes at Zwickau's Schumann Competition, Moscow's Tchaikovsky Competition, and Montreal's International Music Competition. He was also honored with a National Prize by his native East Germany. He graduated in 1969 from the Moscow Conservatory, where he studied with Dmitri Bashkirov and Lev Oberin. He is currently a professor at the Carl Maria von Weber School for Music in Dresden.
Arleen Auger, born in Los Angeles, enjoyed her first major successes in Europe. Since her Vienna State Opera debut as Queen of the Night in a 1967 production of The Magic Flute, she has become a familiar figure in the world's most prestigious opera houses and concert halls. She has participated in over forty European festivals and has made ten worldwide recital tours. Her discogra-phy lists more than 120 recordings, including forty albums of Bach cantatas and other sacred music with renowned Bach specialist Helmuth Rilling. In America, Miss Auger has sung with the orchestras of New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Minnesota, Boston, and Pittsburgh, among others, as well as at numerous Bach festivals. Since her New York recital debut in 1984, she has given annual recitals in New York and other major cities, including a recital in Lincoln Center's "Great Performers" Series. She has appeared with the Metropolitan Opera and with the Los Angeles Music Center Opera, where she sang the title role of Handel's Alcina. The soprano now makes her Ann Arbor debut with Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus Orchestra.
Susanne Mentzer is a young American singer also making her Ann Arbor debut this evening. After she was seen on PBS in the Luciano Pavarotti master classes, public notices generated tremendous attention and engagements. In 1984 she debuted with the Chicago Lyric Opera as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, which has been the vehicle for her debuts at Covent Garden, Paris Opera, New York City Opera, Philadelphia Opera, and most recently the San Diego Opera. This season Miss Mentzer made her Italian debut at the prestigious Rossini Festival in Le Comte Ory, and at the Vienna State Opera as Cherubino in Don Giovanni. She has also sung with the Zurich and Cologne Operas. A resident of Houston, she has sung three leading roles with the Houston Grand Opera and worked for two seasons with the Texas Opera Theater. Miss Mentzer is also a noted orchestral soloist, having appeared with the symphonies of Boston, Houston, Montreal, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and in Toronto's Mostly Mozart Festival. Upcoming engagements include debuts at the Salzburg Festival, San Francisco Opera, La Scala, and the Metropolitan Opera.
Vinson Cole, since his Ann Arbor Messiah performances in 1976, has risen to prominence on the international music scene and this season made his Metropolitan Opera debut in two operas, La Boheme and Die Fledermaus. His operatic repertoire is extraordinarily wide-ranging; it includes the masterpieces of the bel canto, French, German, Italian, Russian, and Czech composers, performed in opera houses around the world. Mr. Cole is also in demand as an orchestral soloist and has appeared with the world's leading conductors and orchestras. His association with Herbert von Karajan has resulted in four seasons at the Salzburg Festival and a series of concerts with the Berlin Philharmonic. His orchestral repertoire is similarly wide-ranging, encompassing music of all periods from Bach to Britten. An accomplished recitalist, this season he gave a solo concert on the distinguished series at the University of Missouri in Kansas City, where he received his early musical training. Following a full scholarship to the Philadelphia Musical Academy, Mr. Cole continued his studies at the Curtis Institute with Margaret Harshaw, who remains his vocal mentor today.
Paul Plishka, the distinguished bass of the Metropolitan Opera since 1967, is one of the finest artists now appearing on the opera and concert stage. He has performed over thirty roles with the Metropolitan and regularly appears with other companies such as San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Pittsburgh, San Diego, Chicago, Toronto, Ottawa, and Vancouver. In Europe he stars at La Scala, Covcnt Garden, Hamburg Staatsoper, Paris Opera, Munich, Berlin, and Zurich. He is equally in demand as orchestra soloist and has performed with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Cleveland, Detroit, and Washington, D.C., among others. Mr. Plishka's annual recital tours take him to Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, New York's Metropolitan Museum, and other halls around the country. Summers find him in recitals and operatic performances at Tanglewood, Grant Park, Meadow Brook, Ravinia, Robin Hood Dell, and the Hollywood Bowl. Born and raised in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, he began musical studies with the Paterson (New Jersey) Lyric Opera Theatre, at age 23 won first place in the Baltimore Opera auditions, and soon thereafter joined the National Company of the Metropolitan Opera. Mr. Plishka made his Ann Arbor debut in 1981 in recital.
THE FESTIVAL CHORUS OF THE UNIVERSITY CHORAL UNION
Donald Bryant, Conductor
Stephen Bryant, Assistant Conductor
Nancy Hodge, Accompanist Victor Galindo, Manager
Mary Ellen Auch
Patricia Lynn Bauer
Mary Anne Bord
Edith Leavis Bookstcin
Susan F. Campbell
Kathryn Foster Elliott
Kathryn Martin Hubbs
Kathy H. Lee
Carolyn L. Leyh
Marianne Frances Martin
F. Andrea McCallum
Loretta I. Meissner
Carole Lynch Pcnnington
Robin Anne Ralston
Alice M. Schneider
Martha R. Ause
Young S. Cho
Megan Elizabeth Hickcy
Ann Kathryn Kuelbs
Linda Ann Mickelson
Mary Allison Moore Laura J. Musil Barbara Nordman Maria Mercedes Olivo Joanne F. Owens Sara Peth Ilcne A. Seltzer Leah M. Stein Marian Stolar Mary Tillinghast Helen Thornton Patricia Tompkins Barbara Hertz Wallgren Kathleen Young
First Altos Yvonne Allen Ella M. Brown Marion W. Brown Lael Cappaert Luboniyra A. Chapelsky Ellen J. Collarini Cheryl L. Cox Mary C. Crichton Jacqueline Delevie Carolyn King Daisy E. Evans Kathlyn Faber Marilyn Finkbeincr Betsy Hill Nancy Houk Gretcnen Jackson Frances Lyman Patricia Kaiser McCloud Marian A. Miner Lois P. Nelson Joanne C. Reuss Jari Smith Kelly L. Stebelton Stacy L. Upton Jane M. VanBolt Raven Wallace Charlotte Wolfe Bobbie Wooding
Second Alias Anne Abbrccht Sandra Anderson Marjorie Baird Eleanor P. Beam Carol Carpenter Sally Carpenter Laura A. Clausen Anne Crosby Davis Elena Delbanco
Alice 13. Dobson Andrea Foote Judith Glass Mary E. Haab Nancy Heath Caryl Heaton Dana Hull Carol L. Hurwitz Lily Jarman Loretta C. Kallay Kathcrine Klykylo Janet W. Koons Arlene Lcitch Judy Lucas Barbara K. Maes Cheryl Melby Anne Ormand Julie Ann Ritter Carrcn Sandall Margaret Sharcmet Cynthia Sorensen Carol Spencer Kathryn Stcbbins Alice Warsinski Ann F. Woodward Jeannette Yates
First Tenors Hugh C. Brown Charles R. Cowley Timothy Dombrowski Marshall Franke Mark Galbraith Joseph Kubis Robert E. Lewis Paul Lowry Robert K. MacGregor Bernard Patterson Henry Vclick
Second Tenors John Ballbach Lee Braun Peter C. Flintoft Gary M. Gatien Carl Gies
Albert P. Girod, Jr. Alexander J. Glass Thomas Hmay Friedrich Loura Michael R. Lucey Robert Reizner Carl R. Smith Robert J. Starring
First Basses John Alexander Clarke Andreae Chris Bartlctt Marion L. Beam Raoul Louis Bctancourt Dean Bodlcy Fred L. Bookstcin Donald J. Bord Michael Brand John M. Brueger Robert Brewstcr Arnaud Chatonnet Thomas B. Cox John Dahl Alec W. Ferguson Dwight L. Fontcnot Christopher Hampson Larry Hill Ramon Hernandez John E. Jones Lawrence L. Lohr Charles Lovelace John MacKrell Robert E. Mcader John G. Ogden Mark K. Osbeck Scan Oslin Bradley Pritts John Reutter James C. Schneider Timothy W. Smith Craig Smith Albert J. Vegter Donald R. Williams Second Basses Christopher W. Bacon Howard Bond John Dryden Don Faber Lawrence E. Hall Donald Haworth Charles F. Koons Johan Koren Charles F. Lehmann Philip B. Lynch Bruce McCuaig Robert E. Owens Raymond O. Schankin John T. Scpp Jeffrey D. Spindlcr Robert D. Strozier Terril O. Tompkins John VanBolt
The Musical Society expresses gratitude to Ford Motor Company Fund for underwriting costs of the May Festival house programs.
This Festival is dedicated to Gail W. Rector, the Musical Society's
retiring director and president, in recognition of his thirty years of devoted service and invaluable contributions to the Ann Arbor community.
The Board of Regents of The University of Michigan wishes to express their highest commendation and deep gratitude to Gail W. Rector as he prepares to retire from his position as President of the University Musical Society.
For the past 30 years, Gail Rector has been a unique and vibrant force in the cultural life of the Ann Arbor and University communities. He has orchestrated the appearances of more than 1,400 distinguished artists and groups from every corner of the world, performing an immense array of music and dance programs as well as other forms of artistic expression.
A native of Nebraska, Mr. Rector came to the University as a student in 1937, graduating three years later. After a brief absence which included service in the armed forces during World War II, he returned to Ann Arbor in 1945 and served as assistant to Charles Sink, who was the President of the Musical Society at that time. In 1954 Mr. Rector was named assistant manager of the Boston Orchestra and executive secretary of the Berkshire Music Center. In 1957 he returned to become the fifth President of the Musical Society since its founding in 1879.
Gail Rector is an acknowledged master in his field. His personal acquaintance among the world's most renowned performing artists is legend. But it is his skill in attracting such individuals and groups to Ann Arbor, staging their appearances, maintaining the remarkable quality and variety of University Musical Society programming which are the hallmarks of his career.
The Regents now salute this talented impresario and extend to Gail Rector the warm appreciation of a deeply grateful community for a near lifetime of exemplary and dedicated service.
Harold T. Shaping President
Richard L. Kennedy Secretary of the University
PLEASE NOTE THIS SUBSTITUTION IN TONIGHT'S PROGRAM: James Courtney will replace Paul Plishka in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
Bass-baritone James Courtney made his Metropolitan Opera debut in La Gioconda in 1979 and has since enjoyed a successful career in opera, as soloist with orchestras, and as a recitalist. In addition to numerous performances at the Metropolitan each season, he has sung with the opera companies of San Francisco, Cincinnati, San Diego, Syracuse, and Tucson, and has appeared as soloist with the National Symphony, Rochester Philharmonic, and the San Francisco, Montreal, and American Symphonies. He has performed in recital throughout the United States and has won great acclaim for his appearances in Germany, Austria, Italy, Yugoslavia, and Switzerland.
During the current season, Mr. Courtney has performed at the Metropolitan Opera in Tosoa, The Marriage of Figaro, Der Rosenkavalier, Carmen, Boris Godunov, Parsifal, Manon, and Tanrihauser. In December he sang in Messiah performances at Carnegie Hall and will sing in Mozart's Requiem in May. His season also included recent appearances in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony under Mstislav Rostropovich and Rafael Friihbeck de Burgos. This evening's May Festival concert marks his Ann Arbor debut.
A native of California, James Courtney studied at the Eastman School of Music and made his professional debut with the Rochester Philharmonic. A finalist in the 1974 San Francisco Opera auditions, he made his West Coast debut as Don Basilio in The Barber