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UMS Concert Program, November 29, 1988: Quartet For The End Of Time --

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Season: 110th
Concert: Twelfth
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Quartet for the End of Time
Tuesday Evening, November 29, 1988, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Olivier Messiaen -80th Birthday Celebration
Sonata for Violin and Cello .........................................Ravel
Trcs vif
Vif, avcc entrain
"Contrasts" for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano ......................... Bartok
Verbunkos (Recruiting Dance) Pihcno (Relaxation) Sebes (Fast Dance)
Quartet for the End of Time.................................... Messiaen
Liturgie dc cristal; bicn modcrc, en poudroiment harmonicux
Vocalise, pour l'angc qui annonce la fin du temps; robustc, modere
Abime des oiseaux; lent, exprcssif et triste
Intcrmedc; decide, modere, un peu vif
Louange a l'Etcrnitc dc Jesus; infiniment lent, cxtatique
Danse dc la fureur, pour les sept trompettes; decide, vigourcux, granitique, un peu vif
Fouillis D'arcs-cn-ciel, pour l'angc qui annonce la fin du temps; revenur, presque lent
Louange a l'lmmortalitc de Jesus; extremement, lent et tendre, extatique
The Quartet for the End of Time appears by arrangement with Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd.
Robert McDuffie is represented by Columbia Artists Management, Inc.
Gervase de Peyer is represented by Jonathan Wentworth Associates, Ltd.
Santiago Rodriguez and Nathaniel Rosen arc represented by Shaw Concerts.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner-Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Twelfth Concert of the 110th Season Twenty-sixth Annual Chamber Arts Series
Sonata for Violin and Cello ................................Maurice Ravel
Perhaps Mozart's two magnificent Duo Sonatas for Violin and Viola were among the stimuli for Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello (also originally entitled Duo). Mozart was Ravel's musical idol, and the two composers show equal adeptness in creating both symphonic breadth and a wealth of expressive subtlety by the use of only two string instruments. Actually, this Sonata is dedicated to the memory of Debussy; its opening movement first appeared in a collection of pieces by various composers (including Bartok and Stravinsky) under the collective title Le Tombeau de Debussy in a 1920 issue of La Revue musicale.
The care that Ravel took with the preparation of the work is demonstrated by the fact that after completing the score in 1922 he felt dissatisfied with the Scherzo, scrapped it, and wrote an entirely new one. He acknowledged that this Sonata marked a distinct turning point in his musical style, with its eschewal of harmonic opulence and its new emphasis on melodic line and polyphony. However, a public that preferred entertainment to challenge reacted at first with indifference, and this misfortune has since dogged a work that deserves much more frequent hearing.
-Roy Howat
"Contrasts" for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano ..................... Bela Bartok
"Contrasts" is the only chamber work that Bartok wrote that uses a wind instrument. As a composer, Bartok was vitally concerned with sound and the sound quality of the instruments for which he wrote. The six string quartets arc marvels of variety and color within the medium of a completely homogeneous group. When writing for piano, Bartok frequently exploited the inherent percussive qualities of that instrument. In the case of "Contrasts," which was commissioned from the composer by Benny Goodman in 1938, Bartok was driven to empha?size the tonal and timbral differences between the three instruments, rather than to attempt to blend them.
The piano is relegated primarily to an accompanying role, providing coloristic effects and rhythmic underpinning. The potentialities of the other two instruments, however, are ex?ploited to the full. The clarinetist is encouraged to use two instruments (a clarinet in B-flat for part of the last movement), though a version of the piece for one instrument throughout exists; a wide range of diverse tone colors and extremes of dynamics and articulation arc thoroughly explored. The violinist begins playing the last movement with a violin scordatura, or de?liberately mistimed, but soon switches to another instrument tuned in the normal way. Throughout, the violin part exhibits the virtuoso writing and expanded effects of color and sonority that Bartok had developed so highly in his string quartets.
The opening movement is slow and rhythmic, but scattered with rippling cascades of sound and a soaring clarinet cadenza.
Piheno is relaxed and peaceful with occasional stormy and dissonant passages that cloud the atmosphere.
The final movement projects a quick and humorous dance, with a quiet central section in mixed Bulgarian rhythm that dissolves into polytonality. A fiery violin cadenza precedes the lively and exuberant ending.
--Jeremy Yiidkin
Quartet for the End of Time .............................. Olivier Messiaen
(b. 1908)
Born December 10, 1908, in Avignon, France, Olivier Messiaen absorbed the atmosphere of culture and art as a child; his father was a translator of English literature and his mother, Cecilc Sauvage, was a poet. At age 11 he entered the Paris Conservatory and studied organ, improvisation, and composition with Marcel Dupre and Paul Dukas, among others. In 1931, Messiaen became organist at the Trinity Church in Paris, a post he has held ever since. At the same time, he organized, with Andre Jolivct, Ivcs Baudricr and Daniel-Lcsur, the group Lajeune France, with the aim of promoting modern French music.
After his release from a German prison camp in 1942, Messiaen was appointed to the faculty of the Paris Conservatory and taught harmony, musical analysis, and composition. In 1948 he visited the United States to teach at the Berkshire Music Center in Tanglewood, and later in Darmstadt from 1950 to 1953. Among his eager pupils were the young composers
Pierre Boulez, Jean-Louis Martinet, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Iannis Xenakis. Throughout his lifetime, Messiaen has accumulated many honors: he was made a Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor and was elected a member of several organizations, including the Bavarian Academy of the Fine Arts, the Santa Cecilia Academy in Rome, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
One of the most original of modern composers, Messiaen makes use of a wide range of resources, from Gregorian chant to oriental rhythms. A mystic by nature, his music is compounded from his deep Catholic faith, his celebration of human love, and his love of nature. One of the most fascinating aspects of Messiaen's innovative musical vocabulary is the imitation of bird song in several of his works. To that end, he made a detailed study notating the rhythms and pitches of singing birds in many regions of several countries. The municipal council of Parowan, Utah, where Messiaen wrote his work Des canyons aux etoiles, glorifying the natural beauties of the state of Utah, resolved to name a local mountain Mt. Messiaen on August 5, 1978. In 1983, Messiaen's first opera, St. Francois d'Assisi, was produced at the Paris Opera to international acclaim. Conducted by Seiji Ozawa, the opera -in three acts and eight tableaux -was composed by Messiaen to his own libretto over a period of eight years.
This evening's performance in Rackham Auditorium of Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time provides a stark contrast to its first performance in 1941. Messiaen was serving in the French Army at the outbreak of World War II in 1939. He was captured by the Germans in 1940 and spent two years in a prison camp near Gorlitz in Silesia (a region of Czechoslovakia and Poland). During his internment he met a violinist, a cellist, and a clarinetist and wrote for them a short trio that became the fourth movement of the Quartet for the End of Time. The performance setting was far from ideal: the cellist was presented with an instrument with only three strings, and the upright piano brought to the camp was not only out of tune, but had many nonfunctional keys as well. The first performance of the entire work was given on January 15, 1941, with the composer at the piano, before an audience of about 5,000 people of differing backgrounds -peasants, workers, intellectuals, priests, and many others. The composer has said, "Never have I been listened to with such attention and understanding."
The work is in eight movements, each in turn using various combinations of the four instruments. As is so often the case in Messiaen's works, Christian symbolism plays a signifi?cant role. The composer has written: "Seven is the perfect number, the Creation of six days sanctified by the divine Sabbath: the 'seven' of this (day of) rest is prolonged through eternity and becomes the 'eight' of inextinguishable light, of perfect peace." Seven of the movements relate to theological subjects and surround "Intcrmede," making eight in all.
About the Artists
In honor of the 80th birthday of the eminent French composer Olivier Messiaen, these four world-renowned artists join forces to offer performances of his epic Quartet for the End of Time. They have collaborated in various combinations on concert stages throughout the United States and Canada, with performances and recordings that have kept each in the public eye through their musical endeavors.
Robert McDuffie and Nathaniel Rosen are making their first Ann Arbor appearances this evening; Santiago Rodriguez returns after a 1983 recital in the Debut and Encore Scries; and Gcrvasc dc Pcycr performed with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center in 1978 and 1986.
Robert McDuffie's intense and dramatic style of playing has made him a leader in a heralded new school of American violinists. He possesses a broad repertoire, including works of William Schuman and David Diamond, whose second violin sonata was written for and dedicated to him. McDuffie has performed with many of the world's finest orchestras, including an appearance with the Chicago Symphony at the Ravinia Festival. He was soloist with the Czech Philharmonic under Vaclav Neumann during that orchestra's recent North American tour and was featured as guest soloist with the Danish National Orchestra on its United States tour under Sixten Ehrling.
Mr. McDuffie's collaborations with his legendary colleague Yehudi Menuhin arc numer?ous, among them an all-Brahms chamber music concert at Carnegie Hall and an appearance on Lincoln Center's Great Performers Scries. During the current season, McDuffie will tour the United States as guest soloist with Menuhin's Warsaw Sinfonia and will appear as guest soloist in Europe with Menuhin and the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. The latter includes the most prestigious festivals of Switzerland, Italy, and Holland.
A native of Georgia, the violinist was a former student of Dorothy DeLay at Thcjuilliard School.
World famous as a clarinetist, Gervase de Peyer is a prolific performer, recording artist, teacher and clinician, and most recently, conductor. Born and brought up in London, he
embarked on his musical career in the 1950s. He played in orchestras and chamber groups, was a foundermember of the famous Melos Ensemble in 1951, joined the London Symphony Orchestra as principal clarinet in 1956, and, as soloist, acquired a formidable reputation throughout England and Europe. He is a founding member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, with which he performs extensively across the United States. He has col?laborated with such renowned artists as Rostropovich, Mcnuhin, Britten, Perlman, and many others. His discography establishes him as the most recorded clarinetist in the world, with at least thirty discs to his credit, some of which have won major international awards.
Gervase de Peyer now divides his time between the United States and Europe. In?creasingly, he is in demand as a conductor in London with the London Symphony, English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players, and his own Mclos Sinfonia. He continues to appear at the Queen Elizabeth Hall and in the South Bank Summer Festival and gives recitals and concert performances throughout the United Kingdom and Europe.
Santiago Rodriguez was propelled into the international spotlight upon winning the Silver Medal at the 1981 Van Cliburn International Piano Competition, where he was also awarded the Special Prize for best performance of Leonard Bernstein's composition "Touches." He has been a top prize winner in many important competitions such as the Naumburg and Leventritt and was also named recipient of an A very Fisher Career Grant. In December 1986 Rodriguez was awarded the first Shura Chcrkassky Recital Award, established and given by New York's prestigious 92nd Street YM-YWHA.
A native of Cuba, Santiago Rodriguez made his debut at the age of nine with the New Orleans Philharmonic and has since concertized extensively as concerto soloist and as recitalist in North America, Europe, and Japan. He has performed with the orchestras of Baltimore, Houston, Saint Louis, Hartford, Oklahoma, and with the National Symphony at Carnegie Hall. In 1982, he made his London orchestral debut at Queen Elizabeth Hall, returning to London in 1985 for his London Symphony Orchestra debut at the Barbican Centre. An accomplished recitalist, he has appeared throughout the United States, Canada, and South America. His recent schedule has included a tour of Japan, orchestral engagements in North America and Mexico, and television appearances on CBS and the Cable News Network. The artist has recently released six critically acclaimed recordings on the Elan label.
Nathaniel Rosen gained instant recognition in America in 1977 when he won the Walter W. Naumburg Competition and global recognition in 1978 when he became the first American cellist to win the Tchaikovsky International Competition's Gold Medal. Since that time he has performed throughout North and Central America, Europe, and Asia, in recital and with many of the world's greatest orchestras. Other career highlights include seasons as principal cellist of both the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and associations with Music from Marlboro. In the spring of 1988, Rosen and violinist Elmar Oliveira gave the first performance of Ezra Ladcrman's Concerto for Violin and Cello, dedicated to and commissioned by the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the two soloists' Gold Medal triumphs at the Tchaikovsky International Competition in Moscow. Rosen's work has been featured on NBC's "Today Show" and on the PBS network, and his recordings include Bach's Gamba Sonatas and the complete works for cello and piano by both Chopin and Schumann.
As a young cellist in his native California, Rosen met the legendary Gregor Piatigorsky, who became his teacher and mentor. He soon became Piatigorsky's assistant, a post he retained until the master's death in 1976.
New Group Ticket Sales Policy
The Musical Society is pleased to offer a new group discount policy for tickets to all concerts in the Choral Union, Chamber Arts, and Choice Series, and for "Messiah" concerts, subject to availability depending upon prior sale.
Group discounts as follows:
Minimum of 20 to 49 tickets -10 percent discount
50 tickets and above -15 percent discount
For students and seniors: Minimum of 10 tickets -20 percent discount For information and to reserve tickets, call 763-0611 or 764-2538.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538

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