UMS Concert Program, October 28, 1990: The Shanghai Acrobats And Imperial Warriors Of The Peking Opera --
Power Center For The Performing Arts Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
Itzhak Perlman, Violinist
Pinchas Zukerman, Violinist and Violist
with Jonathan Feldman, Pianist
Tuesday Evening, October 30, 1990, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Sonata in C major for Two Violins and Piano, BWV 1037 .........Bach
Adagio Fuge Canon Gigue
Sonata for Two Violins, Op. 56 (1932) ...............Prokofiev
Commodo (quasi allegretto)
Allegro con brio
Duo in G major for Violin and Viola, K. 423..............Mozart
Allegro Adagio Rondo
Duo in B-flat major for Violin and Viola, K. 424 ............Mozart
Tema con variazione: andante grazioso
Suite for Two Violins and Piano, Op. 71..............Moszkowski
Allegro energico Allegro moderato Lento assai Molto vivace
Jonathan Fcldman plays the Stcinway piano available through llammcll Music, Inc., Livonia.
Itzhak Pcrlman is represented by IMG Artists, New York; Pinchis Zukerman is exclusively represented by Shirley Kirshbaum
& Associates, New York.
Mr. Pcrlman records for EMIAngel, Deutsche Grammophon, CDS Mastcrworks, LondonDecca, and RCA; Mr. Zukcrman
records for CBS Mastcrworks, Philips, EMIAngel, and Deutsche Grammophon.
Ninth Concert of the 112th Season 112th Annual Choral Union Series
Male Acrobats Pan, Lian-Hua Pan, Lian-Qing Zhang, Jia-Cheng Zheng, Jian-Qing Jiang, Song-Xian Lu, Wei-Zhong Tang, Wei-Feng Zhao, Ping-Sheng
Xing, Wei-Lian Ni, Jing Zhu, Wei-Zhen Yu, Wen-Tong
Xu, Bin Wu, Shuang Zhu,Jun
Zhang, Chong-Yi Liu, Cheng Yan, Qing-Gu Zhang, Fan Zhang, Xin-Tian
Xu, Zhi-Yuan, Leader Yang, Zhen-Dong, Leader & Make-up for the Opera Company
Zhang, Shun-Di, Wardrobe Mistress Huang, Xiu-Zhen, Interpreter Fan, Yang-Long, Chef
The Shanghai Acrobats and Imperial Warriors of the Peking Opera are represented by Columbia Artists Festivals, a division of Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York.
Special thanks to:
Xiao, Yan, Deputy Director, Shanghai Cultural Bureau; Wu, Dun-Hong, Manager, Shanghai Culiural Exchange Agency; Zhang, Jian, Vice Manager, Shanghai Cultural Exchange Agency; Li, Wei-He, Director of American Affairs Section, Bureau of External Cultural Relations; Chen, Shu-Yu, Cultural Consular, Consulate General of the P.R.C., Los Angeles; Liu, Maoyou, Advisor, Shanghai Cultural Exchange Agency
To Better Serve Our Patrons
Visit the UMSEncore Information Table in the lobby, where volunteers and staff members are on hand to provide a myriad of details about events, restaurants, etc., and register any concerns or suggestions. Open 30 minutes before each concert and during intermission.
Eighth Concert of the 112th Season Twentieth Annual Choice Series
Complaining to the Devil
The minions of the King of the Underworld perform intricate acrobatics to impress their master and to urge him to uphold justice in his realm.
Wu, Shuang; Zhang, Xin-Tian; Zhang, Chong-Yi; Zhao, Lei; Zhu, Jun; Zhang, Yong-Liang
Vaulting Bar Act
Zhu, Wei-Zhen; Lu, Wei-Zhong; Tang, Wei-Feng
This act features an acrobat who was declared the "Strongest Man in Shanghai" by competitive weight lifting. He places one bench upon another atop his head, creating a tower of nineteen benches weighing over 400 pounds.
More Kitchen Calisthenics
Pan, Lian-Hua and Xing, Wei-Lian
The Monkey King in the Heavenly Palace
Prior to this scene, also from Havoc in Heaven, the Jade Emperor tries to win the Monkey King over by granting him the grandiose title of "Great Saint," but conferring on him the insignificant chore of watching over the Peach Garden of Heaven. Then, because of not being invited to a feast given by the heavenly Queen Mother, the Monkey King starts out on an escapade of insubordination and vandalism. He eats the sacred peaches and other rare delicacies and drinks the celestial wine, all of which had been reserved for the Queen Mother's guests of gods and fairies. He continues by swallowing the most precious elixir of life and reduces the planned banquet to a shambles. Having destroyed his surroundings, he retreats to his cave on the Mountain of Flowers and Fruit.
Our action begins with a great stir in the court of heaven. The Jade Emperor orders his heavenly generals to capture the mischievous monkey. But the Monkey King uses his tremendous magic power, as well as his mischievous martial wizardry, to frustrate Heaven's attempts to crush him.
Yan, Qing-Gu as the Monkey King with all the Imperial Warriors of the Peking Opera
wrote for Paul Wittgenstein and the subse?quent Fifth Piano Concerto, in G. He was living in Paris in the early 1930s and decided to join a new music organization called Tri?ton, which boasted among its members Darius Milhaud, Francis Poulenc, and Arthur Honegger. Prokofiev was anxious for the opportunity to promote the music of his countrymen Shostakovich and Miaskovsky as well as his own compositions, therefore he agreed when Triton's representatives ap?proached him about writing a work to inau?gurate the new series. The Sonata for Two Violins received its first public performance at Triton's debut concert in December 1932.
At approximately 15 minutes, the So?nata is not particularly long, especially con?sidering that it has four movements. We are struck by the absence of virtuosic show for its own sake; this piece seems like a different work from the extroverted Violin Concerto. Prokofiev gives us lean, muscular music.
In the second movement, lightning quick reactions are essential, for the two parts are closely interwoven at rapid tempo. The players must have superb, precise ensemble to deliver this extraordinarily difficult move?ment, full of rapid-fire phrases that are gone in the twinkling of an eye. Both slow move?ments are mournful and Russian. They show that the distinct voice of young Dmitri Shostakovich was already making itself heard among his contemporaries. The half-playful, half-sardonic diatonicism peculiar to Pro?kofiev surfaces most strongly in the finale. At times the two parts are written so closely together that we can hardly tell who is playing what!
Duos for Violin and Viola: G major, K. 423, and B-flat major, K. 424
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mozart married Constanze Weber in August 1782. His father disapproved of the match and never warmed up to his daughter-in-law. Mo?zart was determined to win over his father, however, and hoped that by bringing his bride from their home in Vienna to visit his father in Salzburg, he could effect cordial relations among his family. The young couple arrived in Salzburg in late July, 1783. Mozart was
quick to make the social rounds in his former home town, eager to show off Constanze and to renew friendships.
Among those he sought out was his old friend Michael Haydn (younger brother of Franz Joseph), who was court musician, Konzertmeister and, since Mozart's summary dismissal from the post two years prior, Ka?pellmeister to Salzburg's Archbishop Col-loredo. Mozart was dismayed to find Haydn taken so ill that he was temporarily unable to fulfill his responsibilities to the Archbishop. Haydn seemed unduly distressed by his tem?porary incapacity. Upon inquiring further, Mozart learned that the Archbishop was with?holding the Kapellmeister's salary until Haydn could satisfy an incomplete commission for six duets for violin and viola. Haydn had written four of the pieces when he became sick and was unable to continue.
Taking prompt advantage of the oppor?tunity to help his friend, Mozart returned two days later with two freshly composed duos in fair copy. The manuscripts lacked only Mi?chael Haydn's signature before they could be delivered with the other four to the impatient Archbishop.
Though parts of this delightful story may be apocryphal, there is no doubt as to the authenticity of K. 423 and 424. Twice in December 1783, following his return to Vi?enna, Wolfgang wrote to his father asking him to forward the manuscripts of the duos. By then he had turned his attention again to his own six string quartets, the set eventually dedicated to the older Haydn. Composing these pieces for violin and viola gave Mozart a timely opportunity to experiment with the thinner texture and stretch the musical pos?sibilities of just two instruments.
The only prior instance of Mozart's pairing violin and viola together as solo instruments is the magnificent Sinfonia Con-certante, K. 364 (1779). Clearly he had plenty of additional ideas for the combination to spare. The violin-viola pieces overflow with imaginative ideas that must have helped him in his consideration of inner voicing and texture for the larger string quartet ensemble.
Another fascinating aspect of these two works is their subtle assimilation of Michael Haydn's style. Haydn's employer, Archbishop Colloredo, was knowledgeable about music and continued to have Mozart's works per?formed even after young Wolfgang was no longer in his employ. Mozart took care to
Joining the Shanghai Acrobats for this tour are the Incredible Acting Acrobats of the Peking Opera. The classical Peking Opera is grand opera, ballet, an acrobatic display, and an historical play rolled into one, and has remained unchanged for generations. The Imperial Warriors will recreate four of the most popular martial sequences in the Peking Opera repertoire, including two battle scenes from the famous opera Monkey King Creates Havoc in Heaven. All of these excerpts are fully staged with elaborate costumes and the spectacular make-up associated with this colorful art.
Together, the Shanghai Acrobats and Imperial Warriors of the Peking Opera bring an exciting presentation of two art forms that require absolute discipline and represent a centuries-old cultural tradition.
camouflage his style so that his duos would deceive the Archbishop and merge smoothly and plausibly with the four works that Haydn had already completed. In late eighteenth-century sets of six such works, it was custom?ary to write in six different tonalities. Haydn's four were in C, D, E, and F major. Mozart rounded out the set by continuing up the scale, to G and (skipping A) B-flat major.
Musicologist H. C. Robbins Landon has singled out the popular tunes in the last movement of K. 423 and the grace notes and trills in the first movement of K. 424 as evidence of Mozart's imitating Michael Haydn's style. But Mozart's own command of both string instruments and known prefer?ence for the viola as a chamber music instru?ment certainly inform the graceful writing in both works.
Suite for Two Violins and Piano, Op. 71
Moritz Moszkowski (1854-1925)
A German pianist and composer of Polish descent, Moritz Moszkowski was a household name at the turn of the cen?tury. His Spanish Dances, orig?inally for one piano, four-hands, became wildly popular, proliferating in arrangements for solo piano, orchestra, and numerous chamber combinations. As recently as 1954, the Friskin-Freundlich piano handbook de?scribed them as "too well known to require comment." The late Vladimir Horowitz re?tained some Moszkowski lollipops in his en?core repertoire, capitalizing on their dazzling brilliance and immediate appeal to audiences. Yet what do we know today of his music
As a composer, Moszkowski was far more successful with lighter works, especially those evoking the sultry, romantic cultures of the Latin countries. Those of his composi?tions still in print have colorful titles like Capriccio Espagnole, En Automne, La }ongleuse ["The Juggler"], and Etincelles ["Sparkles"]. His Piano Concerto in E, Op. 59 is occasion?ally revived, but he remains best known for his salon music.
The Suite for Two Violins and Piano is unusual because of its unexpected balance among the three players, and because it shows Moszkowski in a more skilled, less superficial light. An essentially serious work with no programmatic titles, the Suite reveals a fine
To Better Serve Our Patrons Visit the UMSEncore Information Table in the lobby, where volunteers and staff members are on hand to provide a myriad of details about events, restaurants, etc., and register any concerns or suggestions. Open thirty minutes before each concert and during intermission.
For the convenience of our patrons,
the box office in the outer lobby
is open during intermission for
purchase of tickets to upcoming
Musical Society concerts.
understanding of the violins' capabilities. While undeniably brilliant and often flashy, the writing also demonstrates a solid com?mand of counterpoint and an unexpected sense of humor.
Moszkowski's piece only loosely resem?bles the Suite of its title. The aggressive first movement merges elements of sonata and rondo forms, introducing harmonic twists that are Schumannesque in their sweep. The inner movements reveal the Moszkowski of the salon, bordering on sentimentality, but never sacrificing grace or elegance. Moszkowski's Allegro moderato is a minuet; his Lento assai reveals an admirable sense of melodic counterpoint between the two vio?lins. To close, he switches mood to a dazzling tarantella in G major, whose energy is tem?pered midstream by a leisurely, chromatic interlude.
-Notes by Laurie Shulman, O 1990
gling with both hands and feet were added to the repertoire of the acrobats. During the Ming (1368-1644) and Qing (1644-1911) dynasties, acrobatics were scorned by the rulers as an unrefined form of entertainment, but the townspeople loved it. Consequently, acrobats gave most of their performances at local open-air festivals and, by 1949, the art had been transformed by this change: perfor?mances were designed for large arenas, feats of physical prowess were added, and acts became shorter and more flexible.
In 1950, after the founding of New China, reconstruction took place, and the Ministry of Culture of the Central People's Government set about establishing an acro?batic troupe to revive the traditional acro?batic arts. Outstanding acrobats from major cities in China came together in Beijing, and each performed his or her own masterpiece. Soon China's acrobats were organized into large professional troupes, and today there are over 250 acrobatic arts organizations in China.
Acrobats are held in high esteem by the Chinese community, receiving the same kind of respect that is bestowed upon ballerinas and opera singers in the United States. Train?ing for an acrobatic troupe starts as early as age eight. The first two years are spent in basic training, which focuses on balancing, tumbling, dancing, flexibility, and strength training, and the next three to five years are spent training for a specific act. Acts may be selected by students, but are most often as?signed by the troupe's instructors according to need and recognized ability. Before becom?ing performers, students spend one year per?fecting their acts. The average age of first-time performers is about fifteen. Students are also given academic training, and they must pass an academic examination in order to perform.
For some of the performers, the acro-batic tradition often has been passed from generation to generation in their family-Others gain admission to the troupe with an audition or arc singled out in a gymnastic school.
The decision to join an acrobatic troupe is b lifetime commitment; the troupe Ivi nines the performer's life.
About the Artists
Itzhak Perlman's uniqueness in the rar?efied ranks of superstar musicians stems from something more than his supreme artistic credentials. The combination of talent, charm, and humanity in this Israeli-born artist is unrivaled in our time and has come to be recognized by audiences all over the world who respond not only to his flawless technique, but to the irrepressible joy of making music that he communicates. Pres?ident Reagan recognized these qualities when he honored Mr. Perlman with a "Medal of Liberty" in 1986.
Born in Israel in 1945, Perlman com?pleted his initial training at the Academy of Music in Tel Aviv. He came to New York and soon was propelled into the international arena with an appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1958. Following his studies at The Juilliard School with Ivan Galamian and Dor?othy DeLay, he won the prestigious Leventritt Competition in 1964, which led to a burgeon?ing worldwide career.
Since then, Itzhak Perlman has appeared with every major orchestra in recitals and festivals throughout the world. In November of 1987, he joined the Israel Philharmonic for history-making concerts in Warsaw and Budapest, representing the first performances by this orchestra and soloist in Eastern bloc countries. He also joined the Israel Philharmonic for its first visit to the Soviet Union in April and May 1990, cheered by audiences in Moscow and Leningrad who thronged to his recital and orchestral appearances.
Perlman's recordings on the EMIAngel, Deutsche Grammophon, CBS Masterworks, LondonDecca and RCA labels regularly appear on the best-seller charts and have won numerous Grammy Awards. Recent releases on the EMIAngel label include: the complete unaccompanied sonatas and partitas of J. S. Bach; a tribute to Jascha Heifetz (with Samuel Sanders, piano); the Beethoven Concerto and two Romances for Violin and Orchestra (BarenboimBerlin Philharmonic); and the Shostakovich First and Glazunov Concertos (MehtaIsrael Philharmonic). His vast repertoire encompasses all the standard violin literature as well as music by contemporary composers, whose efforts he has championed.
Numerous publications and institutions have paid tribute to Itzhak Perlman for the unique place he occupies in the artistic and humanitarian fabric of our times. Newsweek magazine featured him with a cover story in April of 1980, and in 1981 Musical America pictured him as Musician of the Year on the cover of its Directory of Music and Musicians. Harvard University, Yale University, Brandeis University, Yeshiva University and Hebrew University in Jerusalem are among the institutions that have awarded him honorary degrees.
On television, the artist has entertained and enlightened millions of viewers of all ages, on shows as diverse as "Sesame Street," the "Grammy" awards telecasts, several "Live From Lincoln Center" broadcasts, and the PBS specials "A Musical Toast" and "Mozart by the Masters," both of which he hosted. His presence on stage, on camera, and in personal appearances of all kinds speaks eloquently on behalf of the handicapped and disabled, and his devotion to their cause is an integral part of his life.
Prior to this evening's recital, Itzhak Perlman has made five Ann Arbor appearances: the May Festivals of 1970 and 1988 (Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky Concertos) and three recitals, all with Samuel Sanders, in 1970, 1982, and 1988.