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UMS Concert Program, October 12, 1989: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Atlanta Symphony Orchestra

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Season: 111th
Concert: Third
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
YOEL LEVI Music Director and Conductor
JOSHUA BELL, Violinist
Thursday Evening, October 12, 1989, at 8:00 p.m. Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
PROGRAM Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin (1926) .......................... Bartok
Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47 (1903) ........ Sibelius
Allegro moderato Adagio di molto Allegro, ma non troppo
Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55 (1884) ........................Tchaikovsky
Valse melancholique
Theme and Variations
Telarc, New World, Nonesuch, Pro Arte, and MMGVox Records.
For the convenience of our patrons, the box office in the outer lobby will be open
during intermission for purchase of tickets to upcoming Musical Society concerts.
The piano used in this evening's concert is a Steinway available through Hammell Music, Inc.
The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra is represented by Columbia Artists Management, Inc., New York City.
Joshua Bell is represented by IMC Artists, New York City.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium.
Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Third Concert of the 111th Season 111th Annual Choral Union Series
by Nick Jones Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Georgia
Suite from The Miraculous Mandarin, Pantomime in One Act
(to a scenario) by Menyhert Lengyel, Op. 19...................Bela Bartok
The period immediately following the First World War was one of turmoil in all spheres, including the fine arts. In a world where governments were falling and national boundaries being redrawn, the arts reflected the general feeling that the old order was coming apart. These were the years when Ravel composed his apotheosis of dissolution, La Valse, when Stravinsky abandoned the opulence of his prewar ballets for the austerity of A Soldier's Tale, when Hindemith wrote such satirical works as his one-act opera Murder, the Hope of Women. Bartok, too, felt the temper of the times and produced The Miraculous Mandarin, a surreal tale shocking in its frank depiction of sensuality and violence.
Remaining in Hungary during the war, Bartok found his patriotic feelings intensified by the war, while his folksong researches were restricted by the closing of borders. He was increasingly drawn back to composition, having given it up some years before because of lack of public appreciation for his music. In 1917, he scored a success in Budapest with a fairy-tale ballet, The Wooden Prince. This led in 1918 to a belated premiere for his neglected prewar opera, Bluebeard's Castle, and encouraged him to embark on another danced work, The Miraculous Mandarin. The work is truly a story told in pantomime, with little of the pure dancing characteristic of a ballet.
Although the scenario accords well with that period's atmosphere of disillusionment and cynicism, Bartok may have sensed that it was too lurid even for the new era, for he put off finishing the orchestration for another four years after the actual composing was done. Con?troversial it certainly was, causing a scandal at its 1926 premiere in Cologne and banned after a single performance. The Miraculous Mandarin was staged in Prague the following year without incident, but a Budapest production scheduled in 1931 was canceled after the dress rehearsal, and another attempt to stage it in 1945 was also abandoned. The Hungarian capital did not see this work by its greatest composer until 1946, a year after his death. Most subsequent pro?ductions, including the United States premiere by the New York City Ballet in 1951, have presented a toned-down version of the story.
Seeing that The Miraculous Mandarin was already having a difficult life on the ballet stage, Bartok authorized a portion of it for performance as a concert suite. The suite is not an arranged set of discrete excerpts, but takes in almost all the pantomime's music from the beginning to a point about three-fourths of the way through. Rather than prepare a separate score for the suite, the composer had only to indicate two brief cuts in the score for the complete stage work and to add a short concert ending at the chosen place.
In omitting the latter third of the pantomime, Bartok has strengthened the form of the suite. It begins with the bustling cacophony of a busy city and closes with another frenetic sequence, the mandarin's wild chase after the girl. In between are three episodes of enticement, each musically more elaborate than the last, and the girl's dance of seduction before the mandarin. The score, calling for the largest orchestra he ever used, also contains a synopsis of the scenario:
In a squalid metropolitan neighborhood, three vagabonds force a girl to lure men in from the street to be robbed [seductive clarinet solos]. A shabby gentleman [sliding trombones] and a shy youth [wistful oboe solo] whom she attracts are thrown out as too poor. The third quest is the terrifying mandarin [pentatonic trio of muted trombones]. The girl tries to overcome his stiffness with an erotic dance [beginning with celesta, piccolo, and harp], but when he embraces her she flies shuddering from him. There is a wild chase [pounding timpani].
The suite ends here. The synopsis of the complete work continues:
The three robbers leave their hiding place, rob him, and smother him under the bed covers, but he rouses himself and stares longingly at the girl. They stab him with a sword; he staggers but his desire is stronger than his wounds. He hurls himself at the girl. They hang him, but he cannot die. [The stage directions call for his wounds to glow with a greenish-blue light while the orchestra is joined by a wordless chorus, the result of Bartok's admiration of Debussy's Si'ren.] They take him down, and the girl takes him in her arms. Finally his wounds begin to bleed, and he dies.
Concerto in D minor for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 47 .........Jean Sibelius
This is a violinist's concerto, a work written not for any particular soloist but for the virtuoso Sibelius himself would like to have been. In later years he wrote, "From the age of fifteen, I played my violin for ten years practically from morning to night. . . . My preference
for the violin lasted quite long, and it was a very painful awakening when I had to admit that I had begun my training for the exacting career of an eminent performer too late."
Through much of the period of his composing career, Sibelius played as a regular member of a string quartet. Unlike Brahms and Dvorak, he did not need to consult with a violinist on technical matters when he wrote his Violin Concerto (his only concerto of any kind). But though he speaks through the solo instrument with authority in this work, the character of that speech is different from what is usually heard in a violin concerto. The gypsy passion and Italian fire are replaced with an icy brilliance, a remote and mysterious restraint or control. In fact, the concerto partakes of that same Scandinavian individuality that sets apart his symphonies from those of the other late-Romantic composers.
In its earliest version of 1903, the work was not greatly successful. Sibelius withdrew it for revision, and the final version was first heard in Berlin in 1905. Karl Halif was soloist and Richard Strauss conducted. Strauss, who had lavished great care in preparing the orchestra, later said, "I know more about music than Sibelius, but he is the greater composer."
The Violin Concerto's first movement follows the outlines of sonata form without introduction. Over a misty layering of muted strings the soloist enters, on an off beat and a note outside the D-minor chord, with the long, somber main theme. Much of the development portion of the movement is given over to a cadenza-like solo, avoiding exhibitionistic virtuos?ity in favor of organic extemporization. Two of the principal themes arc combined contrapunt-ally at the close. A lonely melody for woodwinds in thirds introduces the slow movement, a long, bardic song for the solo violin, with lyric underpinning from the orchestra.
The finale is a primitive-sounding rondo, full of cross-rhythms and unexpected colors. Sibelius was said to have called this movement a danse macabre, though he did not label it so in the score. Sir Donald Tovey's delightfully apt description of the opening was, "evidently a polonaise for polar bears." By the end, with tonality changing from D minor to major, the violin is making wild, chromatic sweeps up and down the scale amid triumphant interjections from the brass.
Suite No. 3 in G major, Op. 55.................... Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Following his disastrous and hastily abandoned marriage in 1877, Tchaikovsky ex?perienced a creative depression for several years. Entangled in legal problems with his wife and fearful that the whole world was gossiping about his unsuitability as a husband, he grew despondent, avoiding public appearances and finding himself unable to concentrate on any serious work. He wrote smaller pieces of greater or lesser worth and even his Second Piano Concerto and a couple of now-forgotten operas, but he did not follow the Fourth Symphony of 1878 with a Fifth until ten years later (if one discounts the unnumbered and pictorially descriptive Manfred Symphony).
To that decade also belong the Serenade for Strings, the "1812" Overture, and the Capriccio Italien, as well as all four of his suites for orchestra. As Brahms had done with his serenades in a comparable period of uncertainty, he shunned the symphony for a form less demanding of personal expression or careful construction. The suites are light music, but some of his most pleasant. Among their best moments are the opening-movement fugue in the First Suite, the Mozart arrangements of the entire Fourth Suite ("Mozartiana") and the Theme and Variations that make up the finale of the Third.
The Suite No. 3 was composed in the spring and summer months of 1884, but not without difficulty. Tchaikovsky began by trying to write a symphony, but he confided to his diary that he was "not really satisfied" with it. Even after turning to thoughts of a suite, he found the going slow: "Angry with myself at lack of success. All my ideas are banal and displease me thoroughly." Things began to improve when he got to the variations, however, and soon he could write facetiously to his publisher, "I work contentedly and diligently. There never yet was a work of greatereniMi than the new Suite!!!! Such is my usual disinterested attitude toward my offspring."
He had planned a five-movement work, beginning with a movement entitled "Con?trasts," but he was dissatisfied and removed it from the suite, using it instead in the middle of his Concert Fantasy for piano and orchestra.
The success of the suite at its first performance far exceeded what he had dared hope for, as he wrote to his patroness, Nadezhda von Meek: "I have never before experienced such a triumph. I saw that the entire mass of the audience was moved and was grateful to me. These moments are the finest adornment of the artist's life. Thanks to these it is worth living and laboring." The work was received with almost as much enthusiasm a week later in Moscow. These triumphs, plus the Order of Saint Vladimir that the Tsar had conferred upon him in March, helped Tchaikovsky to begin putting his depression behind him and ending his self-conscious isolation from society.
Shorn of its intended first movement, the Third Suite now begins with an Elegie, none too sad despite its title. The flow of lovely melody provides occasion for considerable interplay of contrasting triple and duple rhythms. The following "Melancholy Waltz" associates its in-
ventive main theme, played first by a trio of flutes, with a short ostinato, introduced softly by violas. Next is the Scherzo, a brisk souffle of changing textures and colors, foretelling much of the enchantment of The Nutcracker.
The finale occupies almost half the entire work. The composer introduces a simple theme in three balanced parts and follows it with twelve variations. (In 1947 George Balanchine set this movement as a ballet called Theme and Variations, featuring Alicia Alonzo and Igor Youske-vitch.) Some of Tchaikovsky's variations preserve the theme's ternary form; others go their own way. The entire set demonstrates the kaleidoscopic variety of his genius.
About the Artists
The largest cultural organization in the southeastern United States, the Atlanta Sym?phony Orchestra is one of the nation's major symphony orchestras. In 1988, with its award-winning 200-voice chorus, it made a highly successful European tour, performing in East and West Germany, Switzerland, France, and England. Now in its 45th season, the orchestra presents more than 200 concerts each year in its various subscription series and tours. More than half a million people attended ASO concerts last season.
Recordings by the ASO have drawn international praise, winning an Audio Excellence Award, Gramophone and Ovation Magazine Awards, and eleven Grammy Awards. The orchestra's broadcasts include a national radio series, annual Christmas programs on the Public Broadcast System, and weekly local radio programs of its subscription concerts.
The ASO plays a significant role in presenting important new works by living composers. Under an ongoing program of commissions, the orchestra presents two or more world premieres each season. It has also given southeastern premieres of works by Leonard Bernstein, Samuel Barber, and William Schuman. ASCAP has recognized the ASO's leadership with the John S. Edwards Award, given for the "strongest commitment to American music."
Yoel Levi, former resident conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra, became music director of the ASO in August 1988. At that time Robert Shaw, who like the late Henry Sopkin before him had led the orchestra for 21 years, assumed the lifetime position of Music Director Emeritus and Conductor Laureate.
The third music director in the Atlanta Symphony's 45-year history, Yoel Levi has pursued a distinguished international career as guest conductor of leading orchestras in North America and Europe since 1984, when he completed six years as resident conductor of The Cleveland Orchestra.
Mr. Levi was born in Romania in 1950 and moved to Israel with his family shortly thereafter. He studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music, where he received a Master of Arts degree with distinction, and at the Jerusalem Academy of Music under Mendi Rodan. He also studied with Franco Fcrrara in Siena and Rome, with Kiril Kondrashin in Holland, and at London's Guildhall School of Music. In 1978 he received First Prize in the Conductors' International Competition in Besanqon, France. An experienced instrumentalist, he plays the violin, piano, and percussion.
Noted for his extensive repertoire, Yoel Levi is in great demand as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout the world. His appearances abroad have included engagements with the Berlin Philharmonic, all the major orchestras in London and Paris, the Bavarian Symphony Orchestra of Munich, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Philharmonic Orchestras of Stockholm, Oslo, and the Hague, and the Berlin, Frankfurt and Baden Baden Radio Orches?tras, as well as the Israel Philharmonic and the Yomiuri Orchestra ofjapan. In North America, he has conducted the New York Philharmonic and the orchestras of Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, and Minnesota, as well as the National Sym?phony Orchestra and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, among many others.
Yoel Levi has made two recordings with the Atlanta Symphony for Telarc International: an all-Copland disc containing Music for the Theatre and Symphony No. 3 and an all-Hindemith disc containing the symphony, Mathis derMaler, the ballet suite from Nobilissima visione, and the Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes of Carl Maria von Weber. His two widely acclaimed record?ings with The Cleveland Orchestra, also on Telarc, contain excerpts from Prokofiev's ballet Romeo and Juliet and the Second Symphony of Sibelius coupled with Finlandia. He has also recorded works by Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Dohnanyi.
From the extraordinary fourteen-year-old who in 1982 performed as the youngest guest soloist at a Philadelphia Orchestra subscription concert, Joshua Bell has evolved into an artist of world stature. In 1985, he made his Carnegie Hall debut with the Saint Louis Symphony, which he subsequently joined on its first European tour. His 1987 tour of Germany with the Indianapolis Symphony and his London debut with the Royal Philharmonic led to engage?ments with the top orchestras of England and the Continent, and he has performed in Australia and Japan, where his debut recital in Tokyo was shown on the NHK television network. In North America, Mr. Bell is a frequent guest soloist with the orchestras of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Washington, D.C., Montreal, and Toronto, among others.
Equally active as a recitalist, Joshua Bell has performed in the music capitals of the United States and Europe and was presented in his New York recital debut in the spring of 1988 as part of Lincoln Center's Great Performers Series. His festival appearances include Wolf Trap, Mostly Mozart, Great Woods, Casals, Spoleto, Marlboro, the Hollywood Bowl, the Hong Kong Festival, and Germany's Schlcswig-Holstein Festival.
As the first violinist in ten years to be signed exclusively by DeccaLondon Records, Mr. Bell began building his discography three years ago with recordings of the Bruch and Mendels?sohn concertos and an album of virtuoso cameos with pianist Samuel Sanders. Subsequent recording projects include the Tchaikovsky and Wicniawski D-minor concertos with The Cleveland Orchestra under Vladimir Ashkenazy and the Saint-Saens Concerto No. 3 and Lalo's "Symphonie espagnolc" with the Montreal Symphony and Charles Dutoit.
Born in Bloomington, Indiana, in 1967, Joshua Bell showed unusual musical promise at a very early age, and by age twelve he was studying with the distinguished violin pedagogue Josef Gingold. His young career has been documented on the MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, and he has been the focus of films on public television by KQED of San Francisco and WKAR of East Lansing. His extraordinary achievements were recognized with the award of the coveted A very Fisher Career Grant in 1986. Mr. Bell plays a Stradivarius violin, dated 1727, whose unusual guitar shape is unique among instruments attributed to Antonio Stradivari.
Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Yoel Levi, Music Director
Robert Shaw, Music Director Emeritus and Conductor Laureate
George Hanson, Affiliate Artist Resident Conductor
Jere Flint, Conductor, ASO Youth Orchestra and Symphony Street Series
Stephen Paulus, Composer in Residence
Martin Chalifour
Acting Concertmaster
The Mr. and Mrs.
Howard R. Peevy Chair Jun-Ching Lin
Assistant Concertmaster Willard Shull
Assistant Concertmastcr David Arenz
Principal Second Violin Frances Jeffrey
Assistant Principal
Second Violin Jaqueline Andersson Eleanor Arenz Sharon Bercnson David Braitberg Martha Reaves Head Stephen Horvalh Ruth Ann Little Karen Matthews Thomas O'Donnell Alice Oglesby LorentzOttzen Oscar Percira Benjamin Picone Susan Pi lard Carol Ramirez Juan Ramirez RondaRespess Alex Sabbeth Sanford Salzinger Edward Scruggs Denise Berginson Smith Carolyn Toll Patricia Vas Dias Frank Walton Marie Yadzinski Lisa Wiedman Yancich VIOLA Reid Harris
Principal Paul Murphy
Associate Principal Peter Bertolino Aidath Week Cohen
John IX'inno Enid Jones Robert Jones Marian Kent Heidi Moss Nilchie Brek Renzelman CELLO Christopher Rex
Principal Dona Vellek Klein
Assistant Principal Edmond Basson Jere Hint Kay Gardner Kathleen Kee Bruce Klingbeil Larry LeMaster Nan Maddox Bonita Potts Paul Warner BASS' Ralph Jones
Principal Jane Little
Assistant Principal Gloria Gibson Jones
Assistant Principal Jeffrey Grabbs" Michael Kenady Dale Schmidt Douglas Sommer Thomas Thoreson Randolph Ujcich FLUTE Warren Little
Principal Linda Toote
Assistant Principal Paul Brittan
Carl Hall PICCOLO Carl Hall OBOE Jonathan Dlouhy
Principal Jeffrey Rathbun
Assistant Principal
Deborah Workman Patrick McFarland ENGLISH HORN Patrick McFarland CLARINET Laura Aidan
The Robert Shaw Chair TedGurch
Assistant Principal William Rappaport Douglas Smith BASS CLARINET Douglas Smith E-FLAT CLARINET TedGurch BASSOON Cart Nilchie
Principal Elizabeth Burthardt
Assistant Principal Daniel Dowdakin CONTRABASSOON Daniel Dowdakin HORN Brice Andnis
Principal Susan Hughes
Assistant Principal Thomas Witte Richard Deane Brace Kenney TRUMPET John Head
Principal Joseph Walthall
Assistant Principal-Principal Second Trumpet Larry Black
Harry Maddox
Principal Stephen Wilson Donald Wells BASS TROMBONE Donald Wells
Michael Moore
Principal TIMPANI Mail Yanckh
The Walter H. Bund Chair William Wilder
Assistant Principal PERCUSSION Jack Bell
The Julie and Arthur
Montgomery Chair William Wilder Eugene Rehm HARP Judith Beanie
Principal KEYBOARD Norman Mackenzie
77k Hugh and
Jessie Hodgson
Memorial Chair Alice Oglesby Sharon Bcrenson PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT Joseph WallhaU LIBRARY Robert O'Brien
Librarian Crozet Duplantier
Associate Librarian Stephen Horvath Steve Sherrill Frank Walton STAGE PERSONNEL Robert Russell
Production Stage Manager Lee Freeman Mark White
?Pljym lined alphabetically Orchestra Fellow
Stephen Paulus's residency is administered by Meet the ComposerOrchestra Residencies Program. This national program is funded by major grants from The Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Eleanor Naylor Dana Charitable Trust, the Hewlett Foundation, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, and the Lila WallaceReader's Digest Fund, Inc. Additional funding is made possible by a grant from Mrs. M. G. Woodward.
John W. Reed, President
David B. Kennedy, Vice President
Thomas E. Kauper, Secretary Norman G. Herbert, Treasurer
Gail W. Rector, President Emeritus
Robert G. Aldrich James J. Duderstadt Richard L. Kennedy
Patrick B. Long Judythe R. Maugh John D. Paul
John Psarouthakis Ann S. Schriber Herbert E. Sloan
Concert Guidelines
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. Latecomers are asked to wait in the lobby until seated by ushers 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 off or suppressed during performances. In case of emergency, advise your paging service of auditorium and seat location and ask them to phone University Security at 763-1131.
Pre-concert Presentations
In the Rackham Building at 7:00 p.m. -free and open to the public.
Saturday, October 28, preceding New England Jazz Ensemble Speaker: Barton Polot, Jazz Pianist and Educator Topic: Ragtime: Gateway to Modern Jazz
Thursday, November 2, preceding Orchestre de la Suisse Romande
Speaker: Russell Collins, Executive Director, The Michigan Theater Topic: Performing Arts in the Global Village
Coming Concerts
Chanticleer.................................................. Sun. Oct. 15
Vienna Chamber Philharmonic................................. Sun. Oct. 22
Claudius Traunfellner, conductor; Nigel Kennedy, violinist
Pinchas Zukerman, violinist; Marc Neikrug, pianist................. Fri. Oct. 27
New England Ragtime Ensemble Gunther Schuller............... Sat. Oct. 28
Orchestre de la Suisse Romande...............................Thurs. Nov. 2
Armin Jordan, conductor; Martha Argerich, pianist
Kazuhito Yamashita, guitarist...................................Mon. Nov. 6
Michigan MozartFest Roger Norrington .............Thurs.-Sat. Nov. 16-18
Samuel Ramey, bass; Warren Jones, pianist ......................Mon. Nov. 27
Handel's "Messiah" Donald Bryant, conductor............. Sat., Sun. Dec. 2, 3
Kathryn Bouleyn Day, soprano; Gail Dubinbaum, contralto; Carroll Freeman, tenor; Stephen Bryant, bass; members of the Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. Underwritten by Great Lakes Bancorp.
Free brochure with complete information available upon request.
Full service box office hours in Burton Tower: Mon.-Fri. 10:00-6:00, Sat. 10:00-1:00, 764-2538. For telephone charges only: 763-TKTS, Mon.-Sat. 8 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 764-2538; 763-TKTS

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