Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
THE UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY OF THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAh Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Directed by IONA BROWN
Sunday Evening, April 1, 1990, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sinfonia No. 9 in C major .................................. Mendelssohn
Grave, allegro Andante Scherzo Allegro vivace
Cavatina, from String Quartet, Op. 130,
Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, Op. 133 .......................... Beethoven
Verklarte Nacht ("Transfigured Night"), Op. 4 .................Schoenberg
Philips, Oiseau, Argo (London), and Angel Recordings
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 Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City.
Columbia Artists Management Inc. acknowledges with thanks the cooperation of the American Federation of Musicians in making possible the appearance in the United States of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields.
Cameras and recording devices are not allowed in the auditorium. Halls Cough Tablets, courtesy of Warner Lambert Company, are available in the lobby.
Thirty-seventh Concert of the 111th Season Nineteenth Annual Choice Series
Sinfonia No. 9 in C major............................ Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn, one of the most naturally gifted German musicians of the nineteenth century, was an extraordinary child prodigy who performed in public and composed music well before the advent of his teenage years. Mendelssohn was reared in a cultured and intellectual environment; his father, Abraham, a wealthy banker, spared nothing in order to bring to full fruition the talents of the young Felix, once he was convinced of his son's musical genius. The Mendelssohn home regularly featured "musicales" on alternate Sundays and much chamber music; sometimes an orchestra or even an opera could be heard during these events. It was in this context that the young composer presented his early works. Many important touring musicians of the day attended the musicales while visiting the Prussian capital. For example, the composer Wilhelm Speyer wrote to the violinist Louis Spohr in November of 1824 the following: "I heard a symphony by the little Mendelssohn which filled me with great admiration. This boy is a phenomenon such as nature brings forth only rarely. This, his thirteenth symphony [later to appear as Symphony No. 1, Op. 11 ], is so excellent that it would do credit to the first masters. Imagination, originality, symmetry of forms, splendid melodies, coupled with the purest style of writing and contrapuntal art. ..." The same can be said of the String Symphony No. 9, composed in 1823, but only relatively recently drawn from oblivion.
The Sinfonia No. 9 in C major has become known as "La Suissc" from the nickname given by the composer to the Trio section of the third movement. The work commences with a Grafe introduction, very noble and powerful, which is followed by the Allegro proper featuring music of a lively, vivacious character. The slow movement, marked Andante, has an interesting and highly imaginative structure. The lyrical opening section, in the key of E major, is presented by the violins divided into a four-part texture. This is followed by a contrasting section in E minor, the lower strings engaged in contrapuntal dialogue. This first section is then reprised, and only in the coda do all the strings join together. The swift and gliding passages of the Scherzo (an early example of Romantic procedure) introduce the Trio, based on a Swiss yodel. The last movement, imbued with a highly dramatic character, is full of enthusiasm: Mendelssohn displays in it his genial imitative art, together with a delightful lyricism.
Cavatina, from String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130,
Grosse Fuge in B-flat major, Op. 133................Ludwig van Beethoven
The "Great Fugue" is one of the most massive fugues ever written. It was intended as the final movement of the String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130. A long and complex work in its entirety, Beethoven was persuaded to write a new and lighter final movement for the Quartet, and the Fugue was later published separately as Op. 133. The demands of the Fugue are so great that it is seldom played by a quartet, but finds its fullest expression in performance by string orchestra. As a fugue, the work is remarkably free in form, being divided into three contrasted sections: Allegro, Meno mosso e modcrato, and Allegro molio e con brio. Beginning with a short "Overtura," the theme is played several times in various ways, and the Fugue begins. In the course of its development, each version of the theme heard in the Overtura is set forth and elaborated.
While the "Great Fugue" has become standard repertoire for the string orchestra, the Cavatina, from String Quartet in B-flat major, Op. 130, which precedes the Fugue, has been added at the suggestion of Iona Brown. The Academy first paired the two works on a tour through Germany last year. The Cavatina is poetic, predominantly soft, and emotionally intense. Beethoven's friend, violinist Karl Holz, wrote that Beethoven "composed the Cavatina amid sorrow and tears; never did his music breathe so heartfelt an inspiration, and even the memory of this movement brought tears to his eyes." The movement is essentially one continuous outpouring of melody loosely organized into a three-part form.
Verklarte Nacht ("Transfigured Night"), Op. 4 ........ Arnold Schoenberg
Arnold Schoenberg was, of course, the creator of the twelve-tone system in composition, which has had tremendous influence on the composers of this century. Verklarte Nacht, however, written in 1899, predates his twelve-tone system. It is deeply imbued with the spirit of Romantic poetry and a harmonic idiom that stems directly from Richard Wagner. Com?posed in just three weeks, it is the first piece of genuine "program" music written for the chamber music medium. Originally composed for two violins, two violas, and two cellos,
Schocnberg first arranged it for string orchestra in 1917 and then created a second version in 1943. Inspired by German poet Richard Dchmel's poem of the same name, the following English paraphrase has been provided by Henry Krehbiel:
Two mortals walk through a cold, barren grove. The moon sails over the tall oaks, which send their scrawny branches up through the unclouded moonlight. A woman speaks. She confesses a sin to the man at her side: she is with child, and he is not its father. She had lost belief in happiness, and longing for life's fullness, for motherhood and mother's duty, she had surrendered herself, shuddering, to the embraces of a man she knew not. She had thought herself blessed, but now life had avenged itself upon her by giving her the love of him with whom she walked. She staggers onward, gazing with lacklustre eye at the moon which follows her. A man speaks. Let her not burden her soul with thoughts of guilt. See, the moon's sheen enwraps the universe. Together they are driving over chill waters, but a flame from each warms the other. It, too, will transfigure the little stranger, and she will bear the child to him. For she has inspired the brilliant glow within him and made him, too, a child. They sink into each other's arms. Their breaths meet in kisses in the air. Two mortals wander through the wondrous moonlight.
About the Artists
The Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields was founded in 1959 by Sir Neville Marrincr as a small, conductorlcss string group at the forefront of the 1950's revival of baroque music. Since those early days, when all of its concerts were centered around the eighteenth-century church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square, the Academy has expanded and ex?perimented, developing into a versatile ensemble that performs at home and abroad as a small ensemble, chamber orchestra, and symphony orchestra.
The Academy's nucleus, however, remains a small string orchestra of sixteen players that has performed extensively in Australia, Europe, Japan, and the Americas. During the 1988-89 season, Iona Brown led the Academy in two sold-out United States tours on the East and West Coasts. The orchestra also performed in a scries of concerts as Resident Orchestra of London's South Bank Centre and appeared throughout Europe and Australia.
The Academy is one of the most recorded orchestras in the world, with over 400 albums and a repertoire that extends from the seventeenthto the twentieth century. Among the orchestra's international recording awards are eight Edisons, the Canadian Grand Prix, and numerous "gold discs."
The Academy has been described in the past as "refugees from the conductor," preferring to work as a close-knit chamber ensemble. In keeping with this approach, Iona Brown continues to direct the string orchestra from the front desk of the violin section. A member of the Academy since its early days, she has directed the orchestra since 1974 and was appointed artistic director in 1986. She has directed the Academy in performances with such distinguished soloists as Mstislav Rostropovich, Heinz Holligcr, Heinrich Schiff, and George Malcolm.
Iona Brown was born in Salisbury, England, into a highly musical family and went on to study in Rome, Brussels, and Vienna, and in Paris with Hcnryk Szcryng. In 1974, she was appointed director of the Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields. As both director and soloist, she has made a glittering series of recordings with the Academy, notably Vivaldi's Four Seasons, the complete Mozart Violin Concertos, the Beethoven Violin Concerto, and the Mozart Sinfonia Concertante with Josef Suk.
In addition to her work with the Academy, Miss Brown has recorded David Blake's Violin Concerto, a piece written for and dedicated to her. She has also recorded Bartok's Violin Concerto No. 2 with The Philharmonia Orchestra and Simon Rattle.
Iona Brown has appeared as a soloist with all the major British orchestras and is in great demand worldwide as a conductor. In 1981, she was appointed artistic director of the Nor?wegian Chamber Orchestra, with which she has toured Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Norway, Sweden, and the United States. In 1985, as a result of her very successful collaboration with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Miss Brown was appointed guest director, a post she will hold until 1991. In February of 1987, she became music director of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. In the Queen's 1986 New Year's Honours list, Miss Brown was awarded an Order of the British Empire ("OBE") for her services to music.
In Ann Arbor, she appeared in 1980 as director and violin soloist on the ensemble's first North American tour, returning in 1987 as director and soloist with the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra.
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.
Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields
Violins Iona Brown Paul Ezergailis Philippa Ibbotson Elizabeth Layton Alan Loveday
Rita Manning Andrew McGee Briony Shaw Marilyn Taylor Julian Tear Ronald Thomas
Anthony Jenkins Leon King Matthew Souter Martin Humbey
Martin Loveday Nicola Thomas Susan Dorey
Double Bass Paul Marrion
Monya Winzer Gilbert, General Manager Katherine Adams, Orchestra Manager
FELD BALLETSNY Coming Wed. & Thurs., April 4 & 5, 8:00 p.m., Power Center,
first Ann Arbor visit since 1985 All Choreography by Eliot Feld
Wednesday, April 4
CONTRA POSE (1990) Music, C.P.E. Bach ASIA (1989) Music, Ravel's Scheherazade KORE (1988) Music, Steve Reich SKARA BRAE (1986) Music, Traditional
Thursday, April 5
AH SCARLATTI (1990) Music, D. Scarlatti MEDIUM:RARE (1985) Music, Steve Reich CHARMED LIVES (1990) Music, Ravel THE JIG IS UP (1984) The Bothy Band and John Cunningham
Jim Cullum Jazz 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 -May 9-12, 1990 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, 8:00 p.m.
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Andre Previn, Guest Conductor and Pianist
The Festival Chorus
Hei-Kyung Hong, Soprano Richard Stilwcll, Baritone Wednesday -Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F; Rachmaninoff: Symphony No. 2 Tltursday -John Harbison: Concerto for Brass Choir and Orchestra; Mahler: Symphony No. 4,
with Hei-Kyung Hong
Friday -Beethoven: Symphony No. 4; Shostakovich: Symphony No. 4 Saturday --All-Brahms: "Tragic" Overture; "A German Requiem," for Chorus, Orchestra, and Soloists
All presentations free of charge, in the Rackham Building one hour before the concert.
Saturday, Apr. 14, preceding Murray Perahia, pianist
Deanna Relyea, Director, Kerrytown Concert House
Topic: "Problems Peculiar to Pianists: Their Instruments, Their Careers" Saturday, Apr. 28, preceding The King's Singers
Kenneth Fischer, Executive Director, University Musical Society
Topic: "Adventures with Six Smashing Brits"
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Burton Memorial Tower, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1270 Telephones: (313) 764-2538, 763-TKTS