Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Alicia de Larrocha
Thursday Evening, March 30, 1989, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Two Impromptus, Op. 90, D. 899 .............................. Schubert
No. 1 in C minor No. 4 in A-flat major
Sonata in A major, Op. 120, D. 664 ............................. Schubert
Sonatine pour Yvette...............................Xavier Montsalvatge
Vivo e spiritoso Moderato molto Allegretto
Suite caracterfstica, Op. 54, Book V .......................... Oscar Espla
Habanera Ronda serrana Sonatina playera
Sanlucar de Barrameda, Sonata pintoresca, Op. 24...........Joaqui'n Turina
En el torrc del Castillo
Siluctas dc la calzada
Los Pescadores de Baio de Guia
Alicia de Larrocha is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City. Mine de Larrocha plays the Steinway piano available through Hammell Music, Inc.
The University Musical Society expresses thanks to Ford Motor Company Fund for underwriting the printing costs of this program.
Cameras and recording devices arc not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner-Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Thirty-eighth Concert of the 110th Season 110th Annual Choral Union Series
PROGRAM NOTES by Leonard Burkat
Two Impromptus, Op. 90, D. 899, Nos. 1 and 4........... Franz Schubert
The word "impromptu" first entered the musical vocabulary to denote an improvised piece, but by 1822, when the first published composition appeared that used it as a title, it meant simply a work of spontaneous character without fixed, specific form. In December 1827 a publisher called the pieces he issued as Schubert's Op. 90 Impromptus, probably because the name already had considerable market value. That month Schubert wrote four more pieces, which, in his manuscript, he too called Impromptus, but when they were published for the first time in 1838 as his Op. 142, Robert Schumann observed that they were, in effect, a four-movement sonata. If his supposition is correct, perhaps Schubert had hoped that the music would make its way into the world more easily as a divisible set of single pieces than as a cohesive whole. In the spring of 1828, Schubert began still another set of four Impromptus, but he finished only three of them, and when they were first published in 1868 in an edition prepared by Brahms, they were entitled simply Three Piano Pieces, rather than impromptus.
No. 1 in C minor, Allegro molto moderato, is song-like, yet expansive and loosely organized. No. 4 in A-flat, Allegretto, contrasts pearly arpeggios and blocks of staccato chords until a new tune is heard in a cello-like low register. There is a contrasting central Trio section in C-sharp minor.
Sonata in A major, Op. 120, D. 664............................... Schubert
The short life of Franz Schubert, cut off by typhus before his thirty-second birthday, is difficult to deal with historically. Mozart and Mendelssohn, in their thirty-six years, had important public careers, though very different ones, and were well-known figures in the musical world. Schubert, during his lifetime, was not unknown, but he never really had an important place in public musical life.
He was born when Beethoven was twenty-seven years old and died sixteen months after him, but they inhabited different Viennas. Schubert had few connections with the city's great families, wealthy and noble, who were for several generations involved in the careers of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Some of his friends were people of "quality," but for the most part, he conducted his life as a Viennese of the lower middle class, son of a schoolmaster and for several years, one himself.
It was a simple life of the kind that might later have been called "Bohemian," spent with a group of friends of his own age, many of them talented and some of them from families of means, compared with Schubert's. They attended public musical events when they could, admired the great and famous musicians of their time, and adored Beethoven from afar.
In the summer of 1819, Schubert and the singer Johann Michael Vogl, the only member of Vienna's musical "establishment" who took him seriously, set off on a walking tour of Upper Austria that took them to Vogl's home town of Steyr, where they spent a great deal of their time in hilarious good fellowship that centered on music-making -little of it with the solemnity that had already become an essential part of formal concert life. Among Vogl's friends in Steyr was an enthusiastic amateur cellist named Sylvester Paumgartner, who asked Schubert to write a quintet for piano and strings like the one by Hummel that was then popular. The glorious Trout Quintet was the result.
Other friends were the Kollcr family, with whom they dined daily. "The daughter is extremely pretty, plays the piano well, and is going to sing some of my songs," Schubert wrote home to his brother. He composed this Sonata for her that July, but on another visit to Steyr a few years later, ungallantly took the manuscript back.
"Pepi" Roller's good looks and talent are perhaps responsible for the Sonata's great melodic warmth and for the brilliant simplicity of its piano-writing. Although the structure of its short phrases is not simple, its beautiful themes are so nearly whole songs, complete in themselves, that they sometimes seem to resist the development that is very nearly the whole point of a sonata.
The first movement, Allegro moderato, starts out directly with one of those beautiful instrumental songs. The second movement, Andante, is based entirely on a single theme that is one of Schubert's finest lyrical inspirations, extended into a very simple, three-part form. The Allegro finale is a sonata-form movement whose development section, rich in harmonic interest and tightly written passage work, leads through rippling arpeggios to the recapitulation.
Sonatine pour Yvette............................... Xavier Montsalvatge
The Catalan composer Xavier Montsalvatge is best known here for vocal works like his Canciones negras and for a few other pieces influenced by the music of Spanish America and the
Caribbean lands. He has worked in widely varied styles, however, and in addition to the familiar miniatures, he has written several operas and ballets as well as many concert works for orchestra.
Several of his compositions are associated in some way with childhood or youth, and this Sonatiue pour Yuette, first published in 1962 in Paris, was intended to be youthfully supple and charming, like his daughter, whose name it bears. The piano writing is elaborate and difficult, letting us know that it is about a young person, but by no means intended to be played by one. The Vivo e spiritoso first movement is "lively and spirited," rippling and fluid. Next are a somewhat more somber Moderato molto, and to close, a brilliant rondo, Allegretto, that quotes a popular children's folk song.
Suite caracterfstica, Op. 54, Book V............................ Oscar Espla
For a century or so, Spain's finest creative musicians have sought to broaden their artistic experience by leaving their peninsula for study in the artistic centers of the rest of Europe, especially in Paris. Oscar Espla studied both engineering and the arts at the University of Barcelona, until, as a self-taught composer, he won a prize in a competition held in Vienna with Richard Strauss and Camille Saint-Saens on the jury, and he decided to devote himself entirely to music. He spent a year of intense work under the exuberant German contrapuntist, Max Reger, and another with Saint-Saens, who was then France's great classicist.
Under both the monarchy and republic, Espla held official positions of great importance, including the directorship of the Madrid Conservatory and the presidency of the Music and Opera Council, but when the republic was overthrown he left his homeland. In Brussels he was the director of the Laboratory of Musical Science, and in Paris he worked on a UNESCO study of international standards of musical pitch, among other things. In the late 1950s he returned to his hometown of Alicante and became director of the conservatory there that bears his name. Espla" s personal style seems to be a combination of elements from his two mentors -the textural complexity of Reger with the formal precision of Saint-Saens, onto which were superimposed certain Hispanic elements specific to the province of Alicante.
Late in his long life, between 1952 and 1954, Espla prepared a series of publications that he called Llrica espaiiola, Op. 54, in which the fifth and last book is this Suite caracteristica in three movements. The first is a Habanera, the Cuban dance-song that takes its name from Havana and that acquired great popularity in Spain during the nineteenth century. Next is a Ronda serrana, as sung by young men who make the rounds of a mountain town, serenading its young women. The last movement is Sonatina play era, in the Andalusian folk tradition.
Sanlucar de Barrameda, Sonata pintoresca, Op. 24...........Joaqui'n Turina
The works ofjoaquin Turina are highly flavored by the folk music of Andalusia, his native region. He first studied piano in Seville, then enrolled in the Madrid Conservatory, and from 1905 to 1914 lived in Paris, where he was a pupil of d'Indy and a friend of Debussy and Ravel. He was a fine pianist and conductor, an important educator, and a serious critic.
Turina seems to have found the formality of the sonata more sympathetic than did most prominent Spanish composers of his time, and his works include several violin sonatas and piano sonatas, as well as large-scale sonata-based chamber music compositions. The first of the piano sonatas is an early work, Op. 3 of 1909, entitled Sonata romdntica. The Sonata pintoresca, or "picturesque sonata," was completed in June of 1921 and was played in public for the first time on September 11, 1922, in the town hall of Sanlucar de Barrameda.
It was from this ancient port city near the mouth of the Guadalquivir River on southern Spain's Atlantic coast that Columbus sailed on his third transatlantic expedition in 1498, and later it was an important center of trade with the Americas. When Turina used to spend his summers there, it was still a colorful fishing port, crowned by medieval Moorish fortifications. In the program of the premiere, the composer wrote that the work's "only reason for existence is to pay homage to this marvelous 'silver city' sentinel of the Guadalquivir and to its enchantments, which subtly combine the color of its sea and the perfume of its manzanilla," a pale dry sherry that'is one of its principal exports.
Each of the sonata's four movements pictures one of Turina's favorite places in Sanlucar. Their musical forms are generally simple and straightforward, and a recurring melody from the middle of the first movement binds them all together, in the manner handed down from its inventor, Cesar Franck, to his pupil, Vincent d'Indy, who taught it to Turina. The first movement is En la tone del Castillo, "In the Castle Tower"; the scherzo-like second, Siluetas de la calzada, "Silhouettes on the Path." The slow movement, Laplaya, "The Beach," runs without pause into the fugal rondo-finale, Los pescadores de Baio de Guia, "The Fishermen of Bajo de Guia."
About the Artist
A favorite of audiences throughout the world, the Spanish pianist Alicia de Larrocha has toured the United States three times each year since her return here in 1965, building a fervently devoted public that cheers her in recital, with orchestra, and in chamber music. She plays regularly with the great orchestras and in the most prestigious recital series of the world, and her unique recordings have delighted music lovers around the globe.
A native of Barcelona, Alicia dc Larrocha made her first public appearance in 1929 at the age of six. The great Arthur Rubinstein was a close friend of her teacher and predicted a great career for her, encouraging her to continue her studies with Frank Marshall, then head of the Marshall Academy in her native city. Today, Mme dc Larrocha serves as president of the same academy.
In 1947, she first toured outside of Spain and made her British debut in 1953, followed by her American debut in 1955 with the Los Angeles Philharmonic under Alfred Wallenstein. Although she subsequently received the Paderewski prize in London, as well as international honors for her early recordings of Granados and Albeniz, it was only in 1965 on her return to the United States (in what amounted to a second debut here) that she earned the reputation as one of the world's great classical artists.
Mme de Larrocha records exclusively for London Records and has the distinction of winning two consecutive Grammy Awards: in 1974 as Best Classical Solo Performance in Albeniz's Iberia, and in 1975 as Best Soloist with Orchestra in the two piano concertos of Maurice Ravel. In 1978, Mme de Larrocha received the Dutch Edison Prize for her complete recording ofGranados's Goyescas, which also won the 1979 Deutsches Schallplattcn prize. Just last month, the pianist garnered another Grammy Award for Best Classical Solo Performance of a new Albeniz album that includes Iberia, Navarra, and Suite espanola.
Musical America honored Alicia de Larrocha at the 50th anniversary of her debut by naming her 1979's "Musician of the Year." In 1982, the City of Barcelona awarded her the Mcdallo d'Oro for artistic merit, and in that same year the Spanish National Assembly voted to award her its gold medal "al merito en las bellas artes," which was bestowed upon her by King Juan Carlos at a formal reception in Madrid. Mme dc Larrocha is also an honorary member of the Los Lazos de Dama of the Spanish Order of Civil Merit and the Order of Isabella la Catolica.
Alicia de Larrocha first performed in Ann Arbor in 1969, the first of several appearances here in the 1970s. Her previous concerts number three recitals (1969, 1972, and 1976), a duo-recital with soprano Victoria de los Angeles in 1979, and May Festival appearances with The Philadelphia Orchestra in 1970 and 1979.
Stuttgart Wind Quintet ...................................Wed. Apr. 5
Dennis Russell Davies, pianist
Thuille: Sextet, Op. 6; Ligeti: "Six Bagatelles";
Bolcom: "FiveFoldFive" (1985); Poulenc: Sextet Munich Philharmonic Sergiu Celibidache................Thurs. Apr. 13
Bruckner: Symphony No. 4 ("Romantic") Note: This will be
the only work on the program, performed without intermission. St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Leonard Slatkin .........Thurs. Apr. 20
Steven Stucky: Dreamwaltzes; Haydn: Symphony No. 85;
Shostakovich: Symphony No. 10
96th Annual May Festival -April 26-29, 1989 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, 8:00 p.m.
Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig
Kurt Masur, Music Director and Conductor
The Festival Chorus, Donald Bryant, Director
Annerose Schmidt, Pianist
Anne-Sophie Mutter, Violinist
Gail Dubinbaum, Mezzo-soprano
Vinson Cole, Tenor
Hermann Baumann, Horn
Jessye Norman, Soprano
Stephen Bryant, Bass-baritone
J. Patrick Raftery, Baritone
Wednesday -Mendelssohn: "Ruy Bias" Overture; Beethoven: Piano Concerto No. 4;
Schubert: Symphony No. 9 ("The Great") Thursday -Beethoven: "Leonore" Overture No. 3; Strauss: Horn Concerto No. 1;
Tchaikovsky: Symphony No. 4 in F minor
Friday -Brahms: Violin Concerto in D major; Mendelssohn: "Die erste Walpurgisnacht" (Festival Chorus, Dubinbaum, Cole, Raftery, Bryant)
Saturday -Strauss: "Four Last Songs" (Norman); Bruckner: Symphony No. 7
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1270 Telephone: (313) 764-2538