Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Vienna Chamber Philharmonic
CLAUDIUS TRAUNFELLNER Music Director and Conductor
NIGEL KENNEDY, Violinist
Sunday Afternoon, October 22, 1989, at 4:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 in G major, BWV 1048.................. Bach
Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546 ............................ Mozart
Holberg Suite, Op. 40 ............................................. Grieg
"The Four Seasons" from cimento dell'Armonia
e dell'lnvenzione, Op. 8 ....................................... Vivaldi
Violin Concerto in E major ("La primavera") Allegro Largo Allegro
Violin Concerto in G minor ("L'estate") Allegro non molto Largo Allegro
Violin Concerto in F major ("L'autunno") Allegro Largo Allegro
Violin Concerto in F minor ("L'inverno") Allegro Largo Allegro
Nigel Kennedy, Soloist and Conductor
The Vienna Chamber Philharmonic and Nigel Kennedy are represented by Columbia Artists 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.
Fifth Concert of the 111th Season Twenty-seventh Annual Chamber Arts Series
Brandenburg Concerto No. 3, BWV 1048 .......... Johann Sebastian Bach
In 1717, Johann Sebastian Bach began a six-year term as kapellmeister to Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Cothen; this post was to provide him the most agreeable interlude in a life-long career that was mostly dedicated to the church. Prior to this, Bach had spent nine years as chamber musician and organist to Duke Wilhelm Ernst of Saxe-Weimar, who imprisoned him when the composer expressed a desire to leave; this period saw the creation of the great organ works. Prince Leopold, on the other hand, was far more musically intelligent and appreciative of the composer's obvious talents, and he put a small orchestra of excellent musicians at the com?poser's complete disposal. Thanks to Prince Leopold, Bach was able to write some of his most important instrumental works, such as the violin sonatas (which were likely intended for the Prince to play), the first volume of The WellTempered Clavier, some of the orchestral suites, and the six Brandenburg Concertos.
Among the friends of Prince Leopold was Christian Ludwig, Margrave of Brandenburg, who commissioned Bach to write a set of six concerti for court celebrations. As the concerto form at that time had not yet become clearly defined, the composer was free to write for any combination of instruments that seemed fitting. In March 1721, Bach forwarded the score of the six concerti to the Margrave with a humble letter of dedication in French. It is not known what Christian Ludwig replied or even if he ever heard the music performed, but his name has been perpetuated because of these works.
The choice of instrumentation for the six concerti offers the utmost variety, no two of them being for the same combination. The third concerto is the most individual, and therefore perhaps most interesting of the set. It is not a concerto grosso at all in the traditional sense of a group of solo instruments set against a ripieni (accompaniment) of other instruments. Instead, it is written for three equal choirs of strings -three violins, three violas, and three cellos -with double bass and continuo, hence omitting any wind instruments. At times the instruments play in unison within each group, creating an ensemble of only three distinct voices; at other times, each instrument of the ensemble carries its own line, providing an infinite variety and wealth of contrapuntal imitation. This work also varies from the preponderant concerto grosso style of the other concerti in the collection, in that it has no slow movement interposed between its two Allegro movements.
The opening Allegro is forceful in character. The figural motive of its opening theme is akin to that which one would expect to encounter in many a fugue subject by Bach. The second theme develops the brief rhythmic figures initially presented. The recapitulation section, which follows an episode in a minor key functioning as a bridge from the development section, concludes the movement in a brilliant manner with all of the instruments playing.
As has already been noted, there is no slow movement in this concerto to provide a contrast between the opening and final movements. The opening Allegro is followed, however, by two solemn chords played Adagio. Some scholars have conjectured that Bach actually intended for a harpsichord to improvise a substantial cadenza to conclude the first movement, or perhaps to improvise an entire slow middle movement ending with these two chords. The final Allegro has a different character from the prior movement. Its theme -a popular and light-hearted dance melody -would seem equally at home in one of Bach's inventions. The fleeting melody is thoroughly developed throughout the movement.
Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K. 546...........Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Mozart had become acquainted as early as 1782 with the music of Bach and Handel. Bach's music, in particular, held a profound influence on him that grew and deepened with the years. Mozart, however, did not merely copy or superficially imitate the methods of these masters, but rather assimilated them creatively to his own genius. Mozart often set for himself discipli?nary tasks and, accordingly, composed a number of works in a severe contrapuntal manner. Some of these works were for study purposes solely, and therefore many remain unfinished. Nevertheless, he completed fugues, preludes, and suites, and cultivated the fantasie and rondo.
This inclination toward works imbued with strict counterpoint receded in the course of time to return again in the period following his opera he nozze di Figaro. In June 1788, Mozart arranged for string quartet a four-voiced fugue that he had composed for two claviers in 1783. To this re-worked piece he added a short Adagio by way of preface as a replacement for, in all probability, a C-minor Allegro for two claviers, which Alfred Einstein believed to have been the original introduction to the fugue.
The Fugue in C minor is Mozart's most considerable achievement in the form up to that time. Its subject, with the downward leap of a diminished seventh, is more or less of a type that was common property in an older day. The fugue is four-voiced and strict. Both imperious and compelling in nature, it displays all the devices of stretto (overlapping of entries in fugue composition) and inversion (statements of the theme "upside-down") within its terse 52
measures. Musicologist Herman Abert pronounces the fugue "purely abstract in conception" and declares it follows an aim similar to Bach's The Art of the Fugue. He finds in it contrasted moods of heroic pathos and weary resignation. The introductory Adagio, in which the same contrasts appear "as behind veils," offers something of a "true romantic twilight of mood." This work alternates measures of noble Handelian statement with soft, mysterious passages that, with their chromaticism and obscure harmonies, presage the late quartets of Beethoven.
Holberg Suite, Op. 40 ...................................... Edvard Grieg
Ludwig Holberg, a contemporary of Bach, was Scandinavia's greatest literary figure of the eighteenth century. Born in 1664 in the town of Bergen, his satiric dramas earned him the title of "The Moliere of the North." Edvard Grieg, also born in Bergen, was commissioned to write works commemorating the bicentennial of Holberg's birth. For the occasion, he composed a cantata for male choir a cappella, as well as a suite entitled "From Holberg's Time" that was scored for piano.
Regarding the Holberg Suite, Grieg felt it was only right to compose a piece more or less in the "old" style, so the piece is cast in the form of an early keyboard suite. But because he did not feel quite at home in this realm, he chose a few stylized dance forms of the period and tried to fuse the rococo manner with Norwegian melody and his own harmonic style. Of the old dances remains little more than the titles; the new contents are refined, colorful, and full of Norwegian spirit. French classicism precision, the tonal language of romanticism, and Grieg's own personal style are combined to create a work of unparalleled beauty and of immediate appeal.
At the same time the composer was working on the original version for piano, he devised the version for strings that we hear in this performance. Marking the culmination of Grieg's ingenious mastery of the string orchestra, the suite was so idiomatically conceived that one is hardly aware it is an "orchestration" of a work for the keyboard.
The Suite opens with a Praeludium in G major, notable for its fanfare rhythm, baroque cadences, and a perpetuum mobile style. An introspective Sarabande that has lost most of its dance character follows; also in G major, but with a middle episode in G minor, it strikes a profound note. This is followed by a graceful Gavotte, still in the same key, but containing a roguish folk-like Musette in C major. The Air, in G minor, is both sincere and tragic, providing one of Grieg's most beautiful melodies supported by a most original harmonic framework. The Rigaudon, in G major, bubbles with eruptive vitality, and the Trio section exhibits a sweet, childish manner. Treated with a teasing humor, this movement provides a particularly captivating conclusion to the suite.
"The Four Seasons," Op. 8............................... Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi was without a doubt the most original and influential Italian composer of his generation. His contributions to musical style, violin technique, and the practice of orchestration were substantial. He was also a pioneer in the creation of orchestral program music, his Opus 8 "Four Seasons" concerti being the most salient example. Vivaldi's major achievement, however, was laying the foundations for the mature baroque concerto. His influence on the form was so strong that some older established composers felt obliged to modify their style in mid-career. Practically all his concerti are in three movements -quick, slow, quick. This "Vivaldian mode" was adopted in most of Italy and in France by 1725 and remains to this date as the standard form throughout Western culture.
The concerti for violin solo and string orchestra (with continuo) known as "The Four Seasons" are the first four of Vivaldi's Opus 8, cimento dell'Armonia e dell'lnvenzione ("The Contest between Harmony and Invention"). They were published in Amsterdam in 1725 and represent the peak of Vivaldi's work. Each of these "programmatic" concerti describes the events in four anonymous sonnets, suspected to have been written by the composer himself. Vivaldi, while not the first to employ such devices, was unique in his care to make the music agree perfectly with the subject matter of the poetry. The murmuring stream, the approaching storm indicated by lightning and thunder, the oppressive atmosphere of the summer heat, the melody depicting the hunter's call, or the snow propelled by freezing winds -all this is made a living experience in Vivaldi's music.
Structurally, the concerti conform to the fast-slow-fast pattern of movements, with a reliance on the ritornello principle in the flanking movements. The interior movements are more like arias, often scored for reduced forces. Following are brief descriptions of the sonnets, corresponding to the movements of the concerti.
Spring Spring is here, with joyous bird songs and the murmuring of fountains to the breath of zephyrs. Then there is lightning and thunder. The storm over, the birds resume their singing. On the flowering meadow, to the rustling of the foliage, the goatherd sleeps, while the guard dog keeps watch. At the sound of the pastoral pipe, nymphs and shepherds dance to celebrate spring.
Summer Man languishes under the summer heat. The cuckoo is heard, followed by the turtledove and the goldfinch. The gentle zephyr sighs, but the north wind suddenly picks a quarrel with it. The little shepherd weeps. He fears the merciless squall and the rigors of fate. Dread of the lightning and the hail prevents his rest. Terror justified! The sky thunders and the lightning bolts strike down the proud ears of corn.
Autumn The peasants dance and sing to celebrate the rich harvest. They drink, and their joy ends in the drunkard's sleep. Each man gives up his song and sleeps. At dawn the hunter advances with his horn, his gun, and his dog to the pursuit of the game. The hunted, frightened by the shouts, is overpowered and finally dies.
Winter The horrible wind and the freezing snow causes one to stamp the feet and the teeth to chatter. While the storm strikes the walls of the house, the fireside of peaceful days is sought. To walk on ice, to stumble and get up again, to run until the ice breaks and cracks, to hear all the furious winds battling: such is winter with its joys.
About the Artists
The Vienna Chamber Philharmonic was founded in the spring of 1985 by Claudius Traunfellner and twenty string soloists, all graduates of the two leading Viennese music schools: the Vienna Music Academy and the Conservatory of Music of Vienna. Retaining the same players since its inception, the ensemble plays to sold-out houses each season at the Brahmssaal of the Musikverein in Vienna and in 1986 made a tour of the Far East, giving concerts in Osaka, Tokyo, and Taipei.
During the 1988-89 season, the Chamber Philharmonic completed the first of several recording projects for Pacific Records. The repertoire for this first endeavor includes the symphonic dances of Schubert and the string serenades of Robert Fuchs, an Austrian composer who died in 1927. The season continued with appearances throughout Austria, highlighted by concerts at the Salzburger Schlosskonzerte and four concerts at the Vienna Musikverein as part of the group's own subscription series. Last spring, Maestro Traunfellner and the ensemble toured in Spain, performing in Madrid, Barcelona, and Valencia, and in June and July they performed concerts throughout Italy that included the cities of Rome, Milan, and Bologna.
The current North American concert tour marks the debut of the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic in the United States and Canada. The ensemble will return to Vienna for its full concert season and recording projects and then will make a second visit to Japan for a fifteen-city concert tour in June 1990.
Born in Vienna in 1965, Claudius Traunfellner began his musical studies at the age of five as a student at the Conservatory in Vienna, where he first began violin studies under Professor Schich. Upon graduating from the Vienna High School of Music in 1984, he continued intensive studies at the Conservatory, majoring in orchestral and choral conducting. In 1985, the year of his graduation from the Conservatory, he founded the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic.
In addition to his duties as music director and conductor of the Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, Maestro Traunfellner conducted the Czech State Orchestra in 1987, and in the current season he will make his operatic conducting debut with the Istanbul Opera.
From Wiener Zeitung: ". . . the effect of the Holberg Suite was absolutely breathtaking. The precision of the ensemble playing gave as much pleasure as the quality of the solo lines (and) the ensemble also showed an acute sensitivity to the intentions of their conductor . . . con?gratulations to Claudius Traunfellner for his outstanding work in building this orchestra."
The multi-faceted artistry of British violinist Nigel Kennedy comes to the fore in over 120 worldwide appearances each season and through his unprecedented three-sided contract with EMIAngel Records. He has established himself as a musician equally at home in jazz, rock, or the standard classical repertoire.
Since his London debut in 1977 with the Philharmonia Orchestra under Riccardo Muti, Nigel Kennedy has appeared with all the major British orchestras and in most United Kingdom festivals, collaborating with such conductors as Vladimir Ashkenazy, Antal Dorati, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Neville Marriner, Yehudi Menuhin, Andre Previn, Sir John Pritchard, Jeffrey Tate, and Yuri Temirkanov. In North America, he has performed with The Cleveland Orchestra and the orchestras of Washington, D.C., Houston, Dallas, Detroit, Montreal, and Toronto, among others. The current season marks his third orchestral tour of the United States, following tours with the BBC Symphony and Sir John Pritchard in 1986-87, and last season with the Berlin Symphony under Klaus Peter Flor, the latter highlighted by a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto in New York's Avery Fisher Hall.
In the classical recording field, Kennedy has recorded the violin concerti of Elgar, Tchaikovsky, Sibelius, Mendelssohn, Bruch, and Walton's violin and viola concerti, as well as solo works by Bach and Brahms. Most recently, he recorded Vivaldi's Four Seasons with the English Chamber Orchestra. In the field of rock, Kennedy has made his own album entitled Let Loose and has recorded with Kate Bush, Paul McCartney, and Talk Talk. In the jazz idiom is his
Stradjazz album and Mainly Black, his own violin arrangement of Duke Ellington's orchestral suite Black, Brown and Beige.
Born in 1956 in Brighton, England, to a family of distinguished cellists, Nigel Kennedy began piano studies at the Yehudi Menuhin School at the age of seven. While there, he turned his attention to the violin and developed an intense interest in jazz. Encouraging that interest, Menuhin introduced him to jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli, with whom Kennedy made his Carnegie Hall debut at age 17. He studied violin at The Juilliard School with Dorothy DeLay and continued his involvement in jazz by playing in Greenwich Village clubs with Stan Getz and Helen Humes, among others.
This afternoon's concert marks the violinist's first Ann Arbor appearance.
Vienna Chamber Philharmonic, Claudius Traunfellner, Music Director
First Violins Bettina Gradinger, Wolfgang Redik, Martin Tuksa
Concerttnasters Claudia Federspieler Verena Stourzh
Second Violins Albert Karl Fischer Principal
Rinta-Kohtamaki Caroline Schultz Magdalena Kumpf Aleksandra Keglevic
Anna Kathrin Overmann
Christian Schulz, Markus Trefny
Soloists Uta Elisabeth Korff
Bass Michael Hula
Sergio Posada Gomez
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 3pianissimo."
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.
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 -1989-90 Season
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.
Aulos Ensemble ............................................ Mon. Dec. 11
Donald Bryant Tribute Concert..................................Sun. Jan 14
Dr. Bryant conducts his new composition "Genesis"; Festival Chorus, soli, and orchestra.
Kodo, Japanese drummers............................... Fri., Sat. Jan. 26, 27
Hungarian State Folk Ensemble ................................ Wed. Jan. 31
St. Olaf Choir Kenneth Jennings................................ Sat. Feb. 3
Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra ................................ Wed. Feb. 7
Kazimierz Kord, conductor; Zoltan Kocsis, pianist
Faculty Artists Concert (free admission) ......................... Sun. Feb. 11
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra ................................... Fri. Feb. 16
Leon Fleisher, conductor;]ohn O'Conor, pianist
New York City Opera National Company................ Sat., Sun. Feb. 17, 18
Puccini's "La Boheme"
Borodin String Quartet ....................................... Sun. Feb. 25
Maurizio Pollini, pianist......................................... Fri. Mar. 9
Contemporary American Dance Festival................. Mon.-Fri. Mar. 12-16
Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra................................Sat. Mar. 17
Dmitri Kitaenko, conductor; Vladimir Krainev, pianist
Thomas Allen, baritone....................................... Wed. Mar. 21
Baltimore Symphony Orchestra................................ Sun. Mar. 25
David Zinman, conductor; Isaac Stern, violinist
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Iona Brown ................ Sun. Apr. 1
The Feld Ballet...................................... Wed., Thurs. Apr. 4, 5
Jim Cullumjazz Band........................................... Sat. Apr. 7
William Warfield, narrator; Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess"
Murray Perahia, pianist......................................... Sat. Apr. 14
Concerto Soloists of Philadelphia Marc Mostovoy............... Sun. Apr. 22
The King's Singers ............................................ Sat. Apr. 28
Underwritten by Parke Davis Research Division of Warner Lambert.
97th Annual May Festival ...............................Wed.-Sat. May 9-12
Los Angeles Philharmonic Andre Previn, conductor-pianist
Free brochure with complete information available upon request.
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Board of Directors
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
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1270 Phones: (313) 764-2538; 763-TKTS