Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Guarneri String Quartet
ARNOLD STEINHARDT, Violinist MICHAEL TREE, Violist JOHN DALLEY, Violinist DAVID SOYER, Cellist
Saturday Evening, October 7, 1989, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Quartet in D major, Op. 50, No. 6 ("The Frog") ....................Haydn
Allegro Poco adagio Menuetto: allegretto Finale: allegro con spirito
Quartet (1964).............................................. Lutoslawski
Introduction, Main movement
Quartet in F major, Op. 41, No. 2 ............................. Schumann
Allegro vivace Andante, quasi variazioni Scherzo: presto Allegro molto vivace
Philips and RCA Red Seal Records
Following this 24th Ann Arbor performance of the Guarneri Quartet, concertgoers are invited to greet the artists at a reception in the lobby, hosted by Charles and Michael Avsharian of Shar Products Company.
The Guameri Quartet is represented by Harry Beall Management Inc., New York.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Second Concert of the 111th Season Special Concert
Quartet in D major, Op. 50, No. 6 ("The Frog") ...... Franz Joseph Haydn
In the eighteenth century, it was still traditional to publish string quartets in sets of six. Haydn created many such groups, including the set published as his Opus 50. This set of quartets was completed in 1788 but not published until the following year. An earlier set of quartets, his Opus 33, written some seven years earlier, had garnered him much acclaim and consolidated his position as the preeminent master of the genre. It was to be a fertile decade for string quartets, however, for in 1785 Mozart published his superb set of six quartets dedicated to Haydn, and Haydn was encouraged to return to the challenge in his Opus 50, of which this quartet is the sixth and last.
The six quartets of Opus 50 are known overall as the "Prussian" quartets from their dedication by Haydn to the King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm II. The king was an enthusiastic amateur cellist and a great patron of music. The composer and cellist Luigi Boccherini was his court composer, and both Mozart and Beethoven dedicated works to him. For the last quartet of the group, No. 6 in D major, the nickname "The Frog" has arisen on account of the last movement, which is built around a special coloristic string technique of playing the same pitch simultaneously on two different strings. This occurs throughout the movement and is used by all of the instruments.
Two things should immediately be noted, the first trivial, the second rather more signifi?cant. First, this technique produces, especially on the low instruments, a particular kind of sound that might, with some stretch of the imagination, be compared to the croaking of frogs. Second, and much more interesting, the technique of building a movement around an in?strumental color is generally regarded as the special province of the twentieth century. Both Schoenberg and (in the realm of the string quartet) Bartok specialized in this supposedly revolutionary approach to melody structureIt is not often mentioned that the technique appears quite overtly and brilliantly utilized in a work of one hundred and fifty years earlier.
The other movements are just as masterful, if less unconventional. All of them are in some form of D, which provides a sense of overall unity. Not many composers could elicit so much variety from a single key. The opening Allegro is varied and colorful, with the cello playing an important melodic role (out of deference to the king), though the main weight of the figuration lies, as usual, with the first violin. The slow movement begins in D minor and is cast in two-measure phrases; shortly before the end, however, the music shifts back to the major mode and adopts a forceful, elaborate outline before settling to a peaceful close. The Minuet and its central Trio section propound the wittiest play with expectation and rhythm. This is Haydn at his witty best. In the Finale, the coloristic device is notjust an opening gambit. It is the impetus for the entire movement. Haydn never invented a gesture simply for the sake of innovation. He was interested in making music.
String Quartet (1964)................................ Witold Lutoslawski
Witold Lutoslawski is one of the best-known of the older generation of twentieth-century Polish composers. He was born in Warsaw in 1913 and studied at the Warsaw Conservatory. For many years he performed actively as a concert pianist and later appeared often as a conductor in performances and recordings of his own compositions. As a composer he has not been especially prolific, but every work is a dense and significant achievement. His main output has been in the field of orchestral music, vocal music (both with piano and with orchestra), and chamber music. In the last twenty years he has won many of the most prestigious international prizes for composition.
Lutoslawski's String Quartet is his only work in this medium. It was written in 1964 as the result of a commission from the Swedish Radio and given its first performance in Stockholm in 1965. It is based upon a most original tonal system, developed by Lutoslawski in some of his other works, in which particular chordal groupings are invested with special focus. The quartet falls into two sections -an introductory section and a main section -which are linked without pause. The most striking feature of the music is its concentration upon sheer sound, which is varied in kaleidoscopic fashion throughout the piece.
Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 41, No. 2.................. Robert Schumann
Robert Schumann's father was a small-town bookseller who encouraged his son's inclina?tion toward the arts. At the age of six, the boy began to play the piano and to compose. By the time he was fourteen, he was a published poet. At eighteen, he entered Leipzig University as a law student, but the call of music was too strong to resist. In his third year he abandoned the university, determined to become a great pianist. When accident or illness injured his hand, he gave up hope of a career as a performer, turned to composition and wrote the several brilliant collections of short, descriptive, and atmospheric piano pieces that established his position as Germany's leading composer.
In 1838, Schumann wrote to Clara Wieck, who was later to be his wife, "The piano has become too limited for me," and confided that he was working on ideas for string quartets. In 1839, he mentioned quartet-writing again, in letters to a friend, and added that he was "living through some of Beethoven's last quartets." In 1840, the year of his marriage, he wrote almost nothing but songs, more than 130 of them, in a great outpouring of love and gratitude. His attention was diverted to the orchestra in 1841, when he wrote four symphonic compositions and the first movement of his Piano Concerto.
In 1842, he finally put other work aside to concentrate on chamber music. That April, he ordered scores of all the Mozart and Beethoven quartets available and then studied them for two months. Between June and October, in a furious burst of creative energy, he composed three string quartets, a piano quartet, and a piano quintet. The Quintet is one of the great master?pieces of the nineteenth century, and the others are also very important works.
Schumann finished the first of the string quartets on June 24, and eleven days later, July 5, the second was done. On September 13, Clara's twenty-third birthday, four friends came to the Schumann home in Leipzig to play through the set of three quartets. The first violin part was taken by Ferdinand David, the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig. At David's house, on September 29th, the three quartets were repeated for a little audience of friends, Felix Mendelssohn among them. After each reading, Schumann made minor revisions, and in February 1843 the quartets were published with a dedication to Mendelssohn.
The second of the quartets opens with a brilliant movement, Allegro vivace, simple and direct in its classical structure; music with the wonderful clarity that Schumann found in the works of his friend, Felix Mendelssohn, and full of the lyric passion that would one day appear in the music of Johannes Brahms. Next is one of the greatest of his many beautiful slow movements, headed Andante, quasi variazioni, "quasi" because it is not a conventional, linear series of variations on the given opening theme. After the first two variations, Schumann finds himself with a new theme, which becomes the subject of the next two variations.
The third movement is a spirited scherzo, Presto, in which the first violin takes the leading voice with a far-ranging theme that is harmonically simple but elaborately presented and extended. The contrasting trio section is impishly rhythmic. The finale is a rondo, Allegro molto vivace, an athletic movement whose subject and style are very close to those of the finales of Schumann's symphonies.
About the Artists
Now celebrating its 25th anniversary season, the Guarneri Quartet is hailed as the world's premier quartet. Most remarkably, all four men are the original members -a fact that establishes the Guarneri as the longest surviving quartet in the United States.
In this special anniversary season, the Guarneri makes three appearances at Carnegie Hall -two recitals and as guest of The Philadelphia Orchestra, and performs its 16th sea?son of "Guarneri and Friends" at Lincoln Center and its 24th season of recitals at the Metro?politan Museum of Art. On March 8, the Guarneri will give the world premiere of Mario Davidovsky's new Concerto for Quartet and Orchestra with The Philadelphia Orchestra under Erich Leinsdorf. Five days after the premiere in Philadelphia, the Concerto, commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra, will be repeated by the same forces in Carnegie Hall.
A new full-length movie about the Guarneri Quartet just opened last month at New York's Lincoln Center. Entitled "High Fidelity," it was directed and produced by Allan Miller, whose film "From Mao to Mozart," which dealt with Isaac Stern's visit to China, won an Academy Award for best documentary. "High Fidelity" received its first Ann Arbor showing last evening.
During its 25 years, the Guarneri Quartet has given well over 2,000 recitals, more than 350 in New York City alone. It has been featured on many television and radio specials, documentaries, and educational presentations both in North America and abroad. The Quartet is also the subject of several books, including Quartet by Helen Drees Ruttencutter (1980) and
The Art of Quartet Playing: The Guameri in Conversation with David Blum (1986). Among the Guarneri's recordings, several of which have won international awards, are collaborations with such artists as Arthur Rubinstein, Pinchas Zukerman, and Boris Kroyt and Mischa Schneider of the Budapest Quartet. In addition to these many activities, the Quartet finds time to serve on the faculties of the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and the University of Maryland. Annual residencies at the University of South Florida began in 1972, and in 1976 that institution awarded the members with Honorary Doctorates of Music. They were similarly honored with Honorary Doctorates by the State University of New York in 1983. Other honors include the first New York City Seal of Recognition Award, presented to the Quartet in 1982 by Mayor Koch.
The "anatomy of a string quartet" is summed up by violinist Arnold Steinhardt, in an essay he wrote on his memories after 20 years as a member of the Guarneri Quartet:
"There will be hours and hours of brute labor involved in the technical problems of intonation, ensemble, and the critical shadings of four like-sounding instruments. More important will be the uncharted process in which four people let their individual personalities shine while finding a unified quartet voice. There will be endless musings, discussions, criticisms that will finally end up as an interpretation -that almost mystical amalgam of the four players that hovers somewhere in between their music stands."
Violinist Arnold Steinhardt was born in Los Angeles where he began his studies with Peter Maremblum and Toscha Seidle. At the Curtis Institute of Music he studied with Ivan Galamian and later under the sponsorship of George Szell with Joseph Szigeti in Switzerland. Bronze medalist of the Queen Elisabeth Competition in Brussels, Mr. Steinhardt also won the Leven-tritt Competition in 1958. At the age of 14, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and has subsequently appeared with many major orchestras and in recital.
Violinist John Dalley made his debut at the age of 14. Formerly on the faculty of the Oberlin Conservatory, a member of the Oberlin String Quartet, and artist-in-residence at the Univer?sity of Illinois, Mr. Dalley has since concertized extensively in the United States, Canada, Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand in recital and as soloist with orchestra.
Michael Tree, violist, was born in Newark, New Jersey, and received his first violin instruction at the age of five. Later at the Curtis Institute of Music he studied with Efrem Zimbalist, Veda Reynolds, and Lea Luboshutz. At the age of 20, he made his Carnegie Hall recital debut as a violinist. Subsequently Mr. Tree has appeared as violin and viola soloist with major orchestras, in recital, and at leading festivals.
Cellist David Soyer was born in Philadelphia. His distinguished cello teachers include Diran Alexanian, Emanuel Feuermann, and Pablo Casals. As a youngster, he won the Youth Competition of The Philadelphia Orchestra and appeared as soloist with Eugene Ormandy conducting. He was later a member of the Bach Aria Group, the Guilet String Quartet, and the New Music Quartet. His association with the musicians of the Marlboro Festival led to his becoming a founding member of the Marlboro Trio.
To make concertgoing a more convenient and pleasurable experience for all patrons, the Musical Society is implementing the following policies and practices throughout the season:
Starting Time for Concerts The Musical Society will make every attempt to begin its performances on time. Please allow ample time for parking. Ushers will seat latecomers at a predetermined time in the program so as not to disturb performers or other patrons.
Children Children attending a University Musical Society event should be able to sit quietly in their own seats throughout the performance. Children not able to do so, along with the adult accompanying them, may be asked by an usher to leave the auditorium. (Every child must have a ticket.)
Of Coughs and Decibels Reprinted from programs in London's Royal Festival Hall: "During a recent test in the hall, a note played mezzo forte on the horn measured approximately 65 decibels of sound. A single 'uncovered' cough gave the same reading. A handkerchief placed over the mouth when coughing assists in obtaining a pianissimo."
Please take advantage of Warner Lambert's generosity in providing Halls Cough Tablets in the lobby prior to and during intermissions of the concerts.
A Modern Distraction With the advent of the electronic beeping and chiming digital watches, both audience members and performing artists will appreciate these being turned ofTor suppressed during performances.
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 764-2538; 763-TKTS