Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
ISRAEL PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA
Zubin Mehta Music Director and Conductor
Maxim Vengerov, Violinist
Thursday Evening, March 21, 1991, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Symphony No. 2 .........................Josef Tal
(in one movement)
Concerto for Violin and Orchestra in D major, Op. 35 ........Tchaikovsky
Maxim Vengerov, Violinist
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70..................Dvofik
Allegro maestoso Poco adagio Scherzo: vivace Finale: allegro
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra is represented by 1CM Artists, Ltd., New York City. The Orchestra gratefully acknowledges American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as a prin?cipal underwriter of the Orchestra's North American tour.
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Thirty-third Concert of the 112th Season
112th Annual Choral Union Series
Symphony No. 2
Josef Tal (b. 1910)
Honoring the composer's 80th birthday
The Polish-born Israeli composer Josef Tal was born September 18, 1910, near Poznan. After study?ing at the Hochschule fur Musilc in Berlin, he emigrated to Pales?tine in 1934 and taught composition and piano at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, serving as its director from 1948 to 1952. He was later on the faculty of Hebrew University in Jerusalem and headed its musicology de?partment from 1965 to 1971.
Tal received a generous UNESCO grant in 1957 to study electronic music, after which he was appointed director of the Israel Center for Electronic Music. Named a Fellow of the West Berlin Academy of the Arts in 1971, Tal applies a variety of techniques in his music. Patriotic Hebrew themes often appear in his productions.
Josef Tal's Symphony No. 2 was com?posed in 1968 on commission from the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. It is characterized by great sweeping drive, strength, and inter?nal logic. It is not a symphony in the usual classical sense that refers to a defined form. Rather, it is a symphony in the original meaning of the word: a combination of sounds.
In a conversation with Dr. Uri Toeplitz, the composer gave the following explanatory remarks:
"A new approach demands a new con?ception in musical thought, which in this work has many elements in common with twelve-tone technique.
"The work is written in one movement. In order to obtain the most pliable organiza?tion of events, the following formal structure is followed: there is a main group, which in the course of the work is twice repeated in varied versions. Between these, there are different episodes, which are in contrast to what preceded, and they pave the way for what follows.
"There is no real theme in the begin?ning. Instead, minor motives are gradually assembled until maximal density and strength are reached, when all twelve notes are repre?sented. This is followed by a separation into different elements, containing a minimum of
transparent figures. The episodes that follow are in the same vein, based either upon linear, melodic formulation or, as in the last episode, upon strong rhythmic patterns. The work comes to its climax in the last episode, in which all the previously heard elements participate. After this, there is a more sub?dued atmosphere and, towards the conclu?sion, the full twelve-tone-row is heard in a melodic presentation."
Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 35
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
The year of the Violin Concerto, 1878, was marked by a time of rich harvest in Tchaikovsky's creative life. The year witnessed the completion of his remarkable opera Eugene Onegin as well as of the Fourth Symphony, the First Suite for Orchestra, and a group of smaller compositions.
Tchaikovsky counted on the Hungar?ian violinist Leopold Auer to play the solo part at the premiere of the Violin Concerto and sent the finished score to Auer for his perusal. The violinist's reaction was entirely unfavorable. "Some of the passages," Auer insisted, "are outright unperformable!" Nor was he alone in finding fault with the new work. Mme Nadezhda von Meek, Tchai?kovsky's friend and benefactress, was critical of the score, especially of the first movement. In a letter, Tchaikovsky replied with his customary courtesy to the woman he was never to meet, but he refused to make any revisions of the opening movement. As it happened, Tchaikovsky had doubts regarding other sections of the music and rewrote the slow (second) movement.
At this point, Tchaikovsky was advised by his friends to approach another violinist, likewise of outstanding reputation. Adolf Brodsky had been a child prodigy and became famous both for his innate musicianship and virtuosity. Tchaikovsky was pleased when the brilliant violinist agreed to be soloist at the premiere.
But Brodsky was in no rush to perform the work. Undecided, he waited for two years before playing the demanding solo part in public, complaining to Tchaikovsky that he had "crammed too many difficulties into the music." Nor did Brodsky hesitate to point out
that the orchestral parts "swarmed with er?rors." And it was not an easy task to induce Hans Richter, the celebrated music director of the Vienna Philharmonic, to conduct the challenging concerto. After much bickering, Richter and the Philharmonic scheduled the premiere of the concerto for December 4, 1881. It took all of Brodsky's persuasiveness to discourage Richter from making extensive cuts in the score. Despite his grumbling, Brodsky remained ever-loyal to Tchaikovsky and emerged as the protagonist of what was to become one of the most popular concertos in music literature.
Tchaikovsky was in Rome during the Vienna premiere and therefore anxiously awaited his work's most important critique, the one by Eduard Hanslick, music editor of Vienna's Neue freie Presse and, at that time, Europe's most renowned music critic. Hanslick, when writing the review of the Tchaikovsky Concerto, seems to have dipped his pen not in ink but in vitriol:
"For a while the concerto has propor?tion, is musical, and is not without genius, but soon savagery gains the upper hand and lords it to the end of the first movement. The violin is no longer played. It is yanked about. It is torn asunder. It is beaten black and blue. I do not know whether it is possible for anyone to conquer these hair-raising difficul?ties, but I do know that Mr. Brodsky martyr?ized his hearers as well as himself. .. Friedrich Vischer [a German writer on the philosophy of art] once asserted in reference to lascivious paintings, that there are pictures which 'stink in the eye.' Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto brings to us for the first time the horrid idea that there may be music that stinks in the ear."
To the end of his days, Tchaikovsky remembered Hanslick's review with bitter?ness. But he had the satisfaction of experi?encing the ever-increasing success of the concerto that, before long, was performed in all music centers of Europe and America.
In general, the fabric of the Violin Concerto and its three movements is of lighter weight than that of Tchaikovsky's symphonic scores, but the music is original and imaginative. At times, high and low tone colors are placed side by side, as in a Byzan?tine mosaic. Certain aspects of the concerto's Slavic expression bewildered the work's first audiences outside of Russia. Tchaikovsky's orchestration calls for woodwinds in pairs,
four horns, and two trumpets. The heavy brass and battery are avoided. The string quintet, particularly the first violin section, is discreetly treated to afford continuous prominence to the solo part.
The concerto renounces the traditional introduction by the full orchestra. Instead, we hear the first violins playing an allegro. This beginning announces the chief subject, not in its totality, but only in fragments, until finally the complete theme is heard, moderate) assai, with its appealing, lilting tone lines. The second subject is likewise entrusted to the solo violin con molto espressione. The development assigns more prominence to the orchestra. Tchaikovsky reverses the order of the classical concerto: the extended tutti follows -rather than anticipates -the expo?sition of the solo. The cadenza, likewise, assumes an unusual place: it is heard prior to the recapitulation. (Here Tchaikovsky ap?pears to be influenced by the design of Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto.) The reprise is brought by the flute. The chief theme and the final ornaments of the violin cadenza dovetail.
The second movement is a melancholy serenade. An octet of wind instruments sets the stage for the entrance of the lovely canzonetta, as Tchaikovsky called this middle movement. Resembling a sad folk tune, the theme rises from the muted principal violin. The solo also sings the second theme, which is more animated. Delicate embellishments are spun around its graceful strains. The canzonetta is designed as an ABA form. The elegiac main theme returns. In its epilogue, the andante leads without break into the racy finale.
There follows a short, capricious intro?duction, allegro vivacissimo, followed by a cadenza. The ensuing rondo is a somewhat robust dance. The solo violin part, as one may expect, is replete with brilliant and difficult passage work. The second theme is heard in the solo over a drone bass of the cellos. A third theme, molto meno mosso, evolves as a conversation between woodwinds. Mean?while, the solo excels in a series of unaccom?panied passages prior to the return of the full orchestral forces. The entire ensemble, set homophonically, is now geared to an exuber?ant conclusion.
-Dr. Frederick Dorian
Symphony No. 7 in D minor, Op. 70
Antonin DvoRAk (1841-1904)
While DvoMk has always been one of the most be?loved of composers, it was not so long ago that the affection felt for his music, particularly in this country, was based on a mere handful of works, and the chance of hearing any of his symphonies other than the famous From the New World, which he com?posed here, was about as remote as that of hearing any symphony of Mahler. That is not to say that these works were totally unknown, but it was only after World War II that the Mahler symphonies and the "other" sympho?nies of DvoMk (most of whose works had been considered the reserve of Czech musi?cians) emerged from the "novelty" and paro?chial categories and took their rightful places in the general repertory. And it is only since then that the four early symphonies unpub?lished during Dvorak's lifetime have been rehabilitated resulting in the generally ac?cepted renumbering of his nine works in this form according to the actual chronology of their creation.
The Symphony in D minor, which now is acknowledged as No. 7, was originally published as No. 2. It was written during the winter of 1884-1885 on commission from the Philharmonic Society of London (the same organization for which Beethoven had com?posed his Ninth, also in D minor, some sixty years earlier), and DvoMk himself conducted the first performance in London on April 22, 1885. The work was a great success then, and in recent years critical rethinking about the Dvofik symphonies has tended to place the Seventh in the highest position, above both the well-loved New World (No. 9) and the robust No. 8 in G major.
No. 7 is the only symphony Dvof&k wrote on commission, and it is the only one of his mature symphonies characterized by a dark and passionate nature: indeed, it might almost have been titled "Tragic." This may be said to reflect a certain inner conflict, for at the time he composed this work Dvofak was troubled by uncertainty as to whether to proceed in his creative effort in the Czech national character with which his music had by then become inseparably identified, or to adopt a more "international" i.e., more German approach in a bid for still broader recognition. Moreover, he had recently heard
the new Third Symphony of his friend and benefactor Brahms and wanted to try his hand at a work of the same sort.
It might be said that a major work of music or literature, once begun, takes on a life and direction of its own to a certain degree; the outcome in this case not only confirmed Dvorak's mastery in the realm of the symphony, but confirmed as well the integrity of his spontaneous and deepfelt response to his native stimuli. It is true that the Czech influences are subdued in this Symphony, particularly in the first move?ment, whose second subject seems an overt gesture in Brahms's direction: an altered but recognizable citation of the cello theme from the slow movement of that master's Second Piano Concerto, a work introduced two years before this Symphony's London premiere.
The Poco adagio is one of the most glorious of all DvofaVs slow movements -noble, expansive, a great ingathering of strength, with a rapturous horn solo in the rhapsodic Bohemian frame, which is the emotional high point of the work. (DvoMk trimmed some 40 bars from this movement after the premiere, whereupon he advised his publisher, Simrock: "Now I am convinced that there is not a single superfluous note in the work!")
In the Scherzo, with its strong sugges?tions of both the polka and the furiant, the Czech elements come to the fore, showing a glimpse of DvoFa'k in his familiar sunlit manner, but the tragic mood returns in the suppressed outburst with which the finale begins. Out of this opening grows a vigorous Slavonic march, which leads in turn to a new theme, more lyrical and warm-hearted. This is taken into the march itself as it proceeds, but later in the movement breaks away on its own momentarily to assume the character of an expansive pastoral hymn, unmistakably Czech in character. The march then resumes with renewed vigor and assertiveness, and the end is defiant rather than jubilant.
About the Artists
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra was founded in 1936 by famed Polish violinist Bronislaw Huber-man to create a center of musical activity in Israel (then Pales?tine). Since then, it has been one of the most active touring ensembles in the world. The orchestra performs over 200 concerts a year throughout its native country and abroad and appears in the United States almost every year. Its current tour marks the 40th anniver?sary of the orchestra's first United States tour. In Ann Arbor, the orchestra has given three concerts 1972, 1976, and 1989 all with Zubin Mehta.
In Israel, the orchestra gives special concerts in Kibbutzim (collective farm settle?ments throughout Israel), performs at na?tional parks and Army bases, and gives free summer concerts in Hayarkon Park, which often draw audiences of over 200,000 people. Within the first two weeks of its found?ing, the orchestra toured Egypt with Arturo Toscanini and, during the war years, per?formed more than 150 concerts for the allied troops based in the Middle East. In 1951, the orchestra undertook its first major tour to North America with Serge Koussevitzky and Leonard Bernstein guest conducting, and in 1960, under the batons of Carlo Maria Giulini, Josef Krips, and Gary Bertini, made its first major world tour, performing through?out France, the United States, Canada, Mex?ico, Japan, and India. The next several years included highly acclaimed tours of Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Great Britain, Italy, and a return to North America.
In 1971, the Israel Philharmonic made its first major European festival tour, with concerts in Salzburg, Lucerne, Edinburgh, Berlin, Venice, and London. The following
year the orchestra toured South America with Zubin Mehta. Ever since, the orchestra has made major international tours almost every season.
Throughout its distinguished history, the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has collab?orated with many of the greatest conductors of this century, including Sir John Barbirolli, Leonard Bernstein, Serge Koussevitzky, Zubin Mehta, and Eugene Ormandy. Its ros?ter of soloists has included pianists Claudio Arrau, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Baren-boim, and Arthur Rubinstein; violinists Shlomo Mintz, Itzhak Perlman, Isaac Stern, and Pinchas Zukerman; cellists Pablo Casals, Jacqueline DuPre, Yo-Yo Ma, Gregor Piatigorsky, and Mstislav Rostropovich; flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal; and singers Montserrat Caballe, Sherrill Milnes, Roberta Peters, Leontyne Price, Beverly Sills, and Richard Tucker. The orchestra has enjoyed a long and prosperous relationship with Zubin Mehta who, in 1981, was elected by the orchestra to be its Music Director for Life.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra has recorded extensively, particularly for London, Deutsche Grammophon, and Sony Classical (formerly CBS Masterworks) and takes great pride in sharing its musical heritage with music lovers around the world. The orchestra is noted for providing gifted musicians oppor?tunities through scholarship funds, and many of its members are among the leading and most respected music teachers in Israel. Ad?ditionally, the Israel Philharmonic regularly commissions new works that are performed both in Israel and abroad.
The permanent home of the Israel Philharmonic (originally named the Palestine Symphony) is the Frederic R. Mann Audito?rium in Tel Aviv, inaugurated in 1957.
Zubin Mehta's long association with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra began in 1962 as a guest conductor, and in 1969 he became the orchestra's first permanent music advisor. In 1981, the orchestra's members demonstrated their respect and admiration by electing him their Music Director for Life. He recently led the orchestra on its first tour of the Soviet Union.
Bom in Bombay, Mr. Mehta grew up in a musical household. His father, Mehli Mehta, co-founded the Bombay Symphony Orchestra. At 18, the young Mehta aban?doned medical studies to pursue a career in music at the Academy of Music in Vienna, where he studied piano, composition, string bass, and conducting. Seven years later, at age 25, he conducted the Vienna Philhar?monic, and the following season, the Berlin Philharmonic, orchestras to which he still returns annually. From 1961 to 1967, Mr. Mehta was music director of the Montreal Symphony, and in 1962 he was appointed music director of the Los Angeles Philhar?monic, a post he held for 16 years. His reputation as one of the world's leading con?ductors was established during his tenure with these two ensembles, and in the 1978-79 season he succeeded Pierre Boulez as music director of the New York Philharmonic, a position he has held concurrently with his Israel Philharmonic duties.
Zubin Mehta is in his thirteenth year as music director of the New York Philhar?monic, holding the post longer than any other music director in the orchestra's modern history. With the opening night program of the Philharmonic's 149th season, Mr. Mehta conducted his 1,000th public concert with that orchestra. Highlights of his season have also included two "Live from Lincoln Center" telecasts: an October Pension Fund Concert featuring Daniel Barenboim and the New Year's Eve Concert with soloist June Ander?son. Mr. Mehta conducted a world premiere and several premieres in January and February and led members of the Philharmonic and the Juilliard Orchestra in Lincoln Center's open?ing celebration of the Mozart Bicentennial on January 27, 1991. In May, he will conclude his distinguished tenure with the New York Philharmonic in a series of performances of Schoenberg's "Gurrelieder."
At the final performance of the 1990 summer Parks Concerts, Zubin Mehta con-
ducted the New York Philharmonic and so?loist Isaac Stern in a salute to Carnegie Hall on the occasion of its 100th anniversary. He then led the orchestra on a tour of North America. Throughout his tenure, Zubin Mehta has led the Philharmonic on a number of other major tours. In June 1988, he con?ducted the Philharmonic on a ten-day tour of the Soviet Union that culminated in a his?toric joint concert in Moscow's Gorky Park with the State Symphony Orchestra of the Soviet Ministry of Culture. Other tours have included Asia, Europe, Latin America, Israel, South America, the United States, Mexico, and a tour of Argentina and the Dominican Republic.
Zubin Mehta's successes also extend to the opera stage. He conducts at the Vienna Staatsoper and the Royal Opera at Covent Garden and serves in an advisory capacity to the Maggio Musicale Florentino, the summer festival of Florence, Italy. Recently at the Maggio Musicale, Mr. Mehta conducted Don Giovanni, produced and directed by Jonathan Miller. It is the first opera in a Mozart cycle scheduled to continue under his direction. This year he begins a five-year "Ring" cycle with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
As a guest conductor, Zubin Mehta has led virtually every major orchestra on every continent, and he has recorded an almost unequaled volume of music. With the New York Philharmonic he has made more than
30 recordings. Recent additions include Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Symphony in Three Movements, a Gershwin collection, Paine's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, DvoMk's Violin Concerto with Midori, and "Domingo at the Philharmonic." With the Berlin Phil?harmonic, he has recently recorded Strauss's "Alpine Symphony" and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Miraculous Mandarin, and Vi?olin Concertos No. 1 and 2, featuring Midori; and with the Vienna Philharmonic the "New Year's Concert 1990."
Maestro Mehta and the Israel Philhar?monic have recorded Chopin's Piano Concer?tos Nos. 1 and 2 with Murray Perahia and three settings of Pelleas et Melisande (Faure, Schoenberg, and Sibelius). Soon to be re?leased are two Bruckner Symphonies and Lalo's Symphonie Espagnole, featuring Shlomo Mintz.
Of Mr. Mehta's many honors and awards, two that are particularly meaningful to him are the Nikisch Ring, bequeathed to him by Dr. Karl Bohm, and the Vienna Philharmonic Ring of Honor to commemo?rate the 25th anniversary of his Vienna Phil?harmonic conducting debut. He is an honorary citizen of the city of Tel Aviv and was awarded a Padma Bhushan (Order of the Lotus), the highest award given in India to people of outstanding accomplishment in the arts and sciences.
This evening's concert marks Zubin Mehta's sixth Ann Arbor appearance. He has twice conducted the Los Angeles Philhar?monic and three times appeared with the Israel Philharmonic.
The exceptionally gifted sixteen-year-old Russian violinist Maxim Vengerov first dazzled the music world in the summer of 1989, when he gave a tremendously acclaimed recital at the Concertgebouw, Am?sterdam. His recital debuts in London, Tokyo, and Salzburg were received with equal enthusiasm. Most recently, in February 1991, he made his American debut with the New York Philharmonic, the blew York Times proclaiming him "well on the way to being an important artist."
In July 1990, Vengerov won First Prize at the Carl Flesch International Violin Com?petition and also took a special prize for interpretation and the "Audience Prize." This past autumn, the violinist moved from the U.S.S.R. to Tel Aviv, where he now makes his home. Shortly thereafter he met with Maestro Zubin Mehta and was immedi?ately engaged by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra for performances of the Tchaikov?sky Violin Concerto in December 1990. As a result of this great success in Tel Aviv, he was also invited by Zubin Mehta to join the Israel Philharmonic on its current United States tour. Other forthcoming engagements include a major tour of Japan, appearances with Shlomo Mintz and the Israel Chamber Orchestra, and a recital at the 1992 Salzburg Festival.
Maxim Vengerov has made several re?cordings for Melodiya and has recently re?leased an acclaimed recital album on compact disc for Biddulph Recordings. He became an exclusive Teldec Classics recording artist in September 1990.
While living in the Soviet Union, Vengerov gave frequent performances in Moscow and Leningrad, as well as concerts throughout Austria, including Vienna and Salzburg, and at the Schleswig-Holstein Fes?tival. During the 1988-89 season, in addition to making his Amsterdam debut with the Concertgebouw Orchestra led by Yuri Tem-irkanov, he was guest soloist with the U.S.S.R. State Symphony Orchestra on its tour of Italy. The artist made his British debut at the Lichfield Festival in 1987 and has twice appeared as soloist with the BBC Philhar?monic Orchestra.
Maxim Vengerov was born in Novosibirsk, the capital of Western Siberia, in August 1974.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Zubin Mehta, Music Director Leonard Bernstein, Conductor Laureate (1947-90)
First Violins Menahem Breuer Moshe Murvitz Lazar Shuscer Yigal Tuneh
Concertmasters? Saida Bar-Lev Marina Dorman Raphael Frankel Eliezer Gantman Rodica losub Rimma Kaminkovsky Zinovi Kaplan Raphael Markus Avraham Melamed Robert Mozes Ron Porath Anna Rosnovsky Zvi Segal Alexander Stark Eva Strauss-Marko Paya Yussim Second Violins Elyakum Zaltsman" Yitzhak Geras Amnon Valk'' Shimeon Abalovitch Shulamit Alkalay Emanuel Aronovich Elimeleh Edelstein Nachum Fruman Shmuel Glaziris Celita Goldenberg Nathan Greenberg Levia Hofstein Elizabeth Krupnik Kalman Levin Yoram Livne Wolfgang Valk Alon Weber Violas
Daniel Benyamini" Yuri Gandelsman' Miriam Hartman"' Avraham Levental"" Michael Appelman Avraham Bornstein Amihud Elroy Ferenz Gabor Rachel Kam Yuval Kaminkovsky Shimon Koplanski Zvi Litwak Nahum Pinchuk Abraham Rozenblit Cellos Michael Haran
Harps Judith Liber Tali Glaser
Lior Eitan Piccolo Lior Eitan Oboes
Bruce Weinstein' Chaim Jouval" Merrill Greenberg Hermann Openstein English Horn Merrill Greenberg Clarinets Richard Lesser Yaakov Barnea"" Rashelly Davis Israel Zohar Avigail Arnheim Piccolo Clarinets Yaakov Barnea Rashelly Davis Bass Clarinet Israel Zohar Bassoons
Mordechai Rechtman Zeev Dorman Acting) Uzi Shalev'' (Acting) Walter Meroz Carol Patterson
Contrabassoon Carol Patterson Horns
Yaacov Mishori Meir Rimon Jeffrey Lang' James Cox" Anatol Krupnik Sally Ben-Moshe Ezra Molcho Yossef Rabin Shelomo Shohat Trumpets Robert Frear Ilan Eshed' Raphael Glaser Yigal Meltzer Trombones Ray Parnes Stewart Taylor Yehoshua Pasternak Micha Davis Bass Trombones Mattiyahu Grabler Micha Davis Tuba
Shemuel Hershko" Timpani Gideon Steiner" Alon Bor' Percussion Alon Bor" Gabi Hershkovich Ayal Rafiah Eitan Shapiro Keyboard Israel Kastoriano Milka Laks Chief Librarian Marilyn Steiner Stage Manager Uzi Seltzer Technical Assistant Yaakov Kaufman
JCM Artists Touring Division Byron Gustafson,
Vice-President ami Director Leonard Stein, General Manager Richmond Davis, Stage Manager
? Canada Concertmaster Chair
' Assistant Principal
On leave or Sabbatical