UMS Concert Program, February 16, 1990: International Presentations Of Music & Dance -- Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
LEON FLEISHER Conductor
John O'Conor, Pianist
Friday Evening, February 16, 1990, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Serenade No. 13 in G major, K. 525 .............................. Mozart
("Eine kleine Nachtmusik")
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414 ........................ Mozart
Allegro Andante Allegretto
John O'Conor, Pianist INTERMISSION
Adagio for Strings (1936) ......................................... Barber
Serenade in C major for Strings, Op. 48.......................Tchaikovsky
Andante non troppo, allegro moderato
Andante, allegro con spirito
The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra, Leon Fleisher, and John O'Conor appear by arrangement with Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City.
The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra acknowledges the valued assistance of . American Airlines in furnishing air transportation for the ensemble.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Twenty-fourth Concert of the 111th Season Twenty-seventh Annual Chamber Arts Series
Serenade in G major, K. 525 ................. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
("Eine kleine Nachtmusik") (1756-1791)
On August 10, 1787, Mozart entered into his notebook the work he had finished that day. Nothing had been listed for the entire month of July, but it had been a busy time due to his constant work on his opera Don Giovanni. In his records, Mozart wrote about "Eine kleine NachtMusick (sic), consisting of an allegro, minuet and trio, romance, minuet and trio, and finale. Two violins, viola and basses." Even Mozart scholars have had to admit that this best-known of all Mozart's chamber pieces is also one of his most enigmatic. The Serenade was never performed during the composer's lifetime. It is not known why he wrote it, or where or when it was first performed. It could possibly be associated with the satirical piece he had written in June, Ein musikalischer Spass ("A Musical Joke"), and it is likely that these two lighter works were dashed ofTto ameliorate the gravity of Don Giovanni. Mozart probably did not mean for the title, which in English is "A Little Night Music," to be taken literally. The term Nachtmusik (in modern spelling) was probably meant as a German equiv?alent to the French nocturne. Like all the serenades of Mozart, this piece originally had more than four movements, two of which were minuets, but one of them was lost.
The instrumental requirements were not strict in Mozart's time, and when he listed bassi after the violins and viola, he surely did not mean only double basses, but also celli as well. Mozart preferred his ensemble pieces to be played by as many musicians as possible, but would not complain if a symphony had to be performed with only one musician on each part. It is therefore quite correct for this Serenade to be performed by a string orchestra, a quintet including a bass, or a string quartet.
The opening Allegro is a model of textbook sonata form, although the development section is little more than a modulation. The original second movement was a Minuet and Trio, which has been lost. The Romanze movement is in C major. Its serene melody is interrupted by a dialogue between the bass and treble voices. Following the present third movement (the Minuet that has survived) is the Rondo, which is based on a popular Viennese song of the day.
There is no hint in this good-natured piece of the difficulties, both personal and financial, that Mozart was facing. In four years, he would be dead at the age of thirty-five. His reputation for composing effortlessly began during his lifetime, and it persists to this day. In a letter, Mozart wrote, "People make a mistake who think that my art has come easily to me. Nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as 1."
Piano Concerto No. 12 in A major, K. 414.......................... Mozart
On December 28, 1782, Mozart wrote to his father from Vienna describing three piano concerti (K. 413-415, written shortly after his marriage to Constanza), with which he hoped to establish himself as a virtuoso composer-performer. His letter declared "these concerti are a happy medium between what is easy and what is difficult: they are very brilliant, pleasing to the ear, and natural, without being vapid. There are passages here and there from which connoisseurs alone can derive satisfaction; but these passages are written in such a way that the less learned cannot fail to be pleased ..."
The first movement, Allegro, opens with the orchestra stating the first theme in a long melodic line. The soloist repeats this subject, followed by a second theme. The development section features fragments of the expositional material exchanged between the soloist and orchestra, and the recapitulation restates the first and second themes, which are extended until the cadenza. The movement is concluded with a short coda.
The Andante second movement is in three-part form. The opening theme is a quote from an overture by J. C. Bach, who had recently died, and is widely regarded as an homage to him. It is first presented by the orchestra and repeated, extended, and embellished by the soloist. The middle section is in a contrasting minor key and is introduced by the soloist. The orchestra is, for the most part, subordinate in this section, providing a subdued accompaniment, occasionally completing a phrase. After a brief solo passage, the opening theme is given to the pianist, then repeated by the orchestra. There is a cadenza, and the movement ends with a brief coda.
The last movement is a Rondo based on three themes: the first is humorous, the second a sequence of ascending unison octaves, and the third, which is first presented by the soloist. The movement contains alternating recurrences of these themes, either fragmented or quoted in full. Following the cadenza, the piece fades away with a happy farewell from the orchestra.
Adagio for Strings........................................ Samuel Barber
Adagio for Strings is an arrangement of the second movement of Barber's String Quartet, Op. 11, and remains the composer's most popular and frequently performed piece. Arturo Toscanini had requested some orchestral pieces from Barber, to be performed by the NBC Symphony. The composer submitted this arrangement and his First Essay, Op. 12, both of which were premiered by the NBC Symphony on November 5, 1938.
The score of Adagio for Strings bears the dedication "To my aunt and uncle, Louise and Sidney Homer" and indicates a tempo of Molto adagio espressivo cantando. The strength of the piece is in its simplicity and melodic tension, which reaches great expressive heights. Both qualities are evident in the opening measures, in the slowly climbing opening phrase presented in the first violins. After the complete melody has been stated in three long phrases by the first violins, it is taken up in turn by the
violas and celli. The opening phrase is used to build to a strong emotional climax on long sustained fortissimo chords. An abrupt pause leads to the soft conclusion that again recalls the opening phrase of the piece and dies away into silence.
Serenade for Strings in C major, Op. 48 ...........Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
The Serenade for Strings was composed between September 21 and November 4, 1880. While still engaged in the preliminary sketches of the Serenade, Tchaikovsky envisioned a work that fell somewhere between a symphony and a string quartet. The Serenade could be described as the Romantic equivalent to an eighteenth-century Divertimento. The composer wrote to his friend and benefactor Nadezhda von Meek, "I wrote from an inward impulse: I felt it; and I venture to hope that this work is not without artistic qualities." The Serenade, acclaimed for its lyric beauty, received its premiere in Moscow on January 16, 1882.
The first movement features a lyrical introduction marked Andante non Iroppo, which is followed by the main section marked Allegro moderato. This Allegro is in classic sonata form and presents a passionate first theme and a second theme of a more playful nature. After the recapitulation of these themes, the movement concludes with a reprise of the introductory material, this time treated with more energy and animation. The composer wrote to Mme. von Meek, "The first movement is my homage to Mozart: It is intended to be an imitation of his style, and I should be delighted if I thought I had in any way approached my model."
The second movement, Valse, is marked Moderato. It is interesting to note that there are no repeats; all material is written out, and seemingly recurrent sections have in fact been subtly altered. The third movement, Elegie, has a darker feel that is lightened somewhat in the middle section. It is musically similar to the second movement of Tchaikovsky's Pathetique Symphony. For the return to the opening material, the entire orchestra is muted to produce a delicately veiled tone.
The Finale begins with an Andante introduction based on a Russian folk tune, a Volga "hauling song." This introduction serves as a bridge between the somber third movement and the Allegro con spirito main section of the Finale. The first theme of the main section is melodically similar to the slow introduction to the first movement. The second theme is presented by the celli with a pizzicato accompaniment in the violins. Near the end of the piece, the first movement's introductory material is reprised, and the Serenade ends with a coda based on thematic material from the Finale.
About the Artists
Now making its Ann Arbor debut, the internationally celebrated Stuttgart Chamber Orches?tra returns to American shores for its tenth tour since an acclaimed debut on this continent in 1950. To mark the 40th anniversary of that debut, the orchestra performs for the first time under the baton of conductor Leon Fleisher, with renowned Irish pianist John O'Conor as soloist on the tour.
The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra was founded by Karl Miinchinger in 1945 and gave its first performance on September 18, little more than a year after the end of World War II. Miinchinger sought to create a special ensemble with a definite purpose: in the devastating aftermath of the war, he wished to establish a German orchestra to act as musical ambassadors of good will, able to tour easily throughout the war-shattered European continent. Musicians were hand-picked from among hun?dreds who assembled to audition, each sharing the same goal. Today, the orchestra membership is international, chosen from among the very best musicians of many countries, including Hungary, Japan, Britain, the United States, France, Turkey, Romania, and Austria, in addition to Germany.
The Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra has made countless tours of Europe, North and South America, the Soviet Union, Asia, the Orient, and Africa. In addition, it has performed at many renowned music festivals, among them the Vienna, Holland, Edinburgh, and Salzburg Festivals and those of Aix-en-Provence, Lyon, Versailles, and Granada. The orchestra continues its busy touring schedule and is expanding a newly developed concert season at home, in association with the highly respected Bach Academy. The orchestra has made numerous recordings on the LondonDecca label; virtually the entire chamber music repertoire is now on records, tapes, and compact discs.
Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra
February 1990 U.S. Tour
Concertmaster Wolfgang Kussmaul Alfred Csammer Adriana Ringler Manfred Wetzler
Second Violins Henning Triibsbach Attila Dcmus Iain MacPhail Onur Kestcl
Tetsuya Hayashi Hans-Joachim Dann Slanislas Bogucz Emanuel Wicck
Adriana Contino Reinhard Werner Zela Terry
This activity is supported by the Michigan Council for the Arts. The University Musical Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer and provides programs and services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, age, sex, or handicap.
Born in San Francisco in 1928, Leon Fleisher began playing the piano at the age of four, and five years later he was accepted as a pupil by the legendary Artur Schnabel. At sixteen, his debut at Carnegie Hall with Pierre Monteux and the New York Philharmonic was called by Monteux "the pianistic find of the century." In 1952, Fleisher was the first American to win a major European competition, the prestigious Queen Elisabeth Belgium International Competition, and the next dozen years he performed constantly throughout the world. He was the favorite collaborator of George Szell, and their recordings of the five Beethoven piano concertos with the Cleveland Orchestra are still considered definitive and the monumentual achievement of the time; these classic recordings have recently been re-released on compact disc.
During the 1964-65 concert season, Leon Fleisher was at the height of his career when a muscular problem in his right hand and forearm made it increasingly difficult, and finally too painful, to play the piano. He turned to conducting and, with a colleague, founded the Theater Chamber Players of Washington's Kennedy Center in 1967, still maintaining its directorship. In the summer of 1970, he made his New York conducting debut at the Mostly Mozart Festival, and in 1973 he was appointed associate conductor of the Baltimore Symphony, a post he held for five years. He has also conducted the orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, San Francisco, Detroit, Cincinnati, Dallas, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. In the summer of 1986, he was designated artistic director of the Tanglewood Music Center, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
The current tour marks Mr. Fleisher's debut with the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra as well as his conducting debut in Ann Arbor. He first appeared here in the 1948 May Festival, performing Rachmaninoff's Second Piano Concerto.
John O'Conor studied piano in Dublin and Vienna (where he was awarded an Austrian government scholarship) before launching his career with successes in international competitions. In 1973, he was unanimously awarded First Prize in the International Beethoven Competition in Vienna, soon followed by another First Prize at the distinguished Bosendorfer Piano Competition. He made his Paris debut with Lorin Maazel conducting the Orchestre National de France, and he has been a regular visitor to North America since his New York debut at Lincoln Center in January 1983. He has performed as soloist with the National Symphony of Washington, D.C., the Dallas Sym?phony (in the opening weeks of its new concert hall) under Yehudi Menuhin, and in the 1985-86 season toured throughout the United States as guest soloist with the New Irish Chamber Orchestra. Abroad, he has made multiple tours to the Soviet Union and Japan and has performed in Europe with orchestras including the Vienna Symphony-, Czech Philharmonic, Philharmonia Hungarica, and the many orchestras of London.
This season, Mr. O'Conor completes his eight-concert series of the 32 Beethoven Sonatas at New York's Metropolitan Museum. His recordings of these sonatas for Telarc Records have met with both critical and public acclaim. Among his many recordings for solo piano music, a Beethoven album for RCA was selected as Grammophon's "Critics Choice of the Year," and Stereo Review chose his recording of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words (Columbia) as a "Recording of Special Merit." Mr. O'Conor now records exclusively for Telarc.
Tonight, the pianist is heard in his Ann Arbor debut.
All presentations free of charge, in the Rackham Building one hour before the concert.
Sunday, Feb. 25, preceding Borodin String Quartet
Natalie Challis, Lecturer in Slavic Languages and Literatures, U-M Friday, Mar. 16, preceding American Contemporary Dance Festival Final Concert
Debra Cash, Dance Critic, The Boston Globe
"Desert Island Discs" -A New Program on Michigan Radio
Co-produced by the University Musical Society and Michigan Radio, "Desert Island Discs" is heard every Saturday morning from 8:00 a.m. to 10 a.m., each program featuring a distinguished local "castaway" guest who is asked, "If you were stranded on a desert island, which five recordings would you like to have with you and (perhaps most revealingly) why" Feb. 17 --Philip H. Power, U-M Regent Feb. 24 -Elsa Kircher Cole, U-M General Counsel
Mar. 3 -Nicholas Delbanco, Award-winning author, U-M Prof, of English WUOM-FM (91.7, Ann Arbor), WFUM-FM (91.1, Flint), WVGR-FM (104.1, Grand Rapids)
University Musical Society Board of Directors
David B. Kennedy, President, Ann S. Schriber, Vice President, Thomas Kauper, Secretary Norman G. Herbert, Treasurer, Gail W. Rector, President Emeritus
RobertG. Aldrich, CarlA. Brauer,Jr.,JamesJ. Duderstadt, RichardL. Kennedy, PatrickB. Long.Judythc R. Maugh, Rebecca McGowan, John D. Paul, John Psarouthakis, Herbert E. Sloan, Lois U. Stegeman, Gilbert R. Whitaker, Jr., Kenneth C. Fischer, Executive Director
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
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