Press enter after choosing selection

UMS Concert Program, April 3, 1991: The New World Symphony -- America's National Training Orchestra

Download PDF
Rights Held By
University Musical Society
OCR Text

Season: 112th
Concert: Thirty-Sixth
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

The New
'Anerica's National Training Ovdiestm
Michael Tilson Thomas Artistic Director and Conductor
Wednesday Evening, April 3, 1991, at 8:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream Scherzo (No. 1) Nocturne (No. 7) Wedding March (No. 9)
Suite from The Red Pony ..........
Morning on the Ranch: broadly
The Gift: very expressive and quite slow
Dream March: march tempo
Circus March: fast
Walk to the Bunkhouse: moderately
Grandfather's Story: slowly
Happy Ending: broadly
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathetique" Adagio, allegro non troppo Allegro con grazia Allegro molto vivace Finale: adagio lamentoso
. Copland
The Coca-Cola Company is the major underwriter of this tour.
The New World Symphony is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc.. New York City.
Yamaha and Dcagan percussion instruments and Yamaha flutes, clarinets, and brasswinds are used and preferred by The New
World Symphony.
The box office in the outer lobby is open during intermission for tickets to upcoming Musical Society concerts.
Copies of this title page are available in larger print; please contact an usher.
Thirty-sixth Concert of the 112th Season
112th Annual Choral Union Series
Program Notes
Incidental Music to
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Felix Mendelssohn was all of 17 when he completed his Overture to Shakespeare's Festive Comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream. That cel?ebrated miracle of youthful ardor and elfin grace was not only Mendelssohn's masterpiece, but was also, with Mozart's 25th Symphony and Schubert's song Gretchen am Spinnrade, the finest single musical work ever written by a teenager. Seventeen years later, Mendelssohn's interest in the play was re?vived when he was approached by no less a figure than King Wilhelm IV of Prussia to write the incidental music for a new produc?tion at Potsdam.
While the performance of the play itself, designed to celebrate Wilhelm's birth?day, was not uniformly well received Fanny Mendelssohn overheard one of his majesty's fops telling her brother, "What a pity your music had to be wasted on such a silly play" Mendelssohn's contribution quickly estab?lished itself with Beethoven's Egmont as the most significant set of incidental pieces ever composed; in the century-and-a-half since, only the music Grieg composed for Ibsen's Peer Gynt has ever rivaled its popularity. Of the thirteen items that were written for the 1843 production, three of them the Scherzo, Nocturne, and Wedding March somehow managed to recapture the freshness and inspi?ration of the miraculous Overture.
The Scherzo is perhaps the most bril?liant example of a form that Mendelssohn made uniquely his own. Like the fairy music of the Overture, this gossamer wonder, which Franz Liszt described as "rainbow dust, [pos?sessed] of a mother-of-pearl shimmer," is an orchestral rondo based on a mercurial theme announced by two flutes. In part a vivid description of a dialogue between Puck and a fairy "How now, spirit, wither wander you.'" "Over hill, over dale, through bush, through briar..." the eerie, slightly menacing under?tone hints at the dangers of the Athenian forest, while the movement is rounded off by one of the most nightmarish solos ever com?posed for the flute.
The Nocturne serves as an entr'acte between Acts III and IV. At the end of Act III, Puck has put the four ditzy, completely interchangeable lovers to sleep like Hamlet's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hermia and Helena are as intentionally difficult to tell apart as Demetrius and Lysander -and the music, with its ravishing writing for the horns, describes their untroubled slumbers.
With the Bridal Chorus from Wagner's Lohengrin, with which it is usually heard, the Wedding March is one of the most familiar pieces of serious music ever composed. Writ?ten for the scene at the beginning of Act V in which the wedding of the Athenian duke Theseus and the Amazon queen Hippolyta is being celebrated, the March has of course been used in countless such celebrations over the years: untold millions have heard it as they have trooped off to join the ranks of the Living Dead, beginning in 1848 with the marriage of one of Queen Victoria's numerous daughters.
Suite from The Red Pony
Aaron Copland (1900-1990)
Unlike some of his snobbish col?leagues who out of jealousy or sheer ignorance made depre?cating remarks on the subject, the late Aaron Copland had enormous respect for film music and for the men who wrote it. Once, over dinner with his old friend David Raksin, the composer of Laura and other classic film scores, Copland said in his typically guileless manner: "You know, I go to concerts of new music in New York and I say to myself, 'What's all the fuss about Those fellows in Hollywood do this every day in the week and think nothing of it.' "
Given his acutely visual and dramatic imagination, to say nothing of his growing resolve from the mid-1930s onward to speak increasingly to a mass audience through the then-burgeoning mass media, it was only natural that Copland should have been drawn ro film. While he was never a working Hollywood studio composer, he devoted con?siderable energy to film music in the decade between 1939 and 1949. Beginning with the music he supplied for a documentary called
Aaron Copland (left) ivith Eugene Ormandy in the green rocrm during the 1976 Bicentennial May Festival Copland conducted his Clarinet Ctmcerto, at this, his last ippearance in Ann Artxrr.
The City, Copland worked on eight films in all, including the screen adaptations of John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men and Thornton Wilder's Our Town. For the brilliant score he produced for The Heiress, William Wyler's stylish version of Henry James1 Washington Square, he won the 1950 Academy Award.
Written in 1948, the music for The Red Pony would not only prove to be one of Copland's best film scores, but also one of the most durable, thanks to the popular suite he arranged at the suggestion of the conductor Efrem Kurtz.
Copland was particularly drawn to Steinbeck's tale of a ten-year-old boy growing up on a California ranch largely because, as he would later recall, "There was a minimum of action of a startling or dramatic kind. The story gets its warmth and sensitive quality from the character studies of the boy Jody, Jody's grandfather, the cowhand Billy Buck, and Jody's parents, the Tiflins. The kind of emotions that Steinbeck evokes in his story are basically musical ones, since they deal so much with the unexpressed emotions of daily living. It seems to me that Lewis Milestone, in directing the picture, realized that fact and, therefore, left plenty of room for musical
treatment which, in turn, made the writing of the score a grateful task."
Although the music for The Red Pony captures much of the same frontier sound and spirit of the composer's cowboy hallets, Rodeo and Bill}1 the Kid, Copland was quick to point out that "although some of the melodies in The Red Pony may sound rather folk-like, they are actually mine. There are no quotations of folklore anywhere in the work."
Of the six movements of The Red Pony Suite, Copland wrote the following:
"I. Morning on the Ranch. Sounds of dayhreak. The daily chores hegin. A folk-like melody suggests the atmosphere of simple country living.
"II. The Gift. Jody's father [Robert Mitchum] surprises him with the gift of a red pony. Jody shows off his new acquisition to his school chums, who cause quite a commo?tion about it. 'Jody was glad when they had gone.'
"111. Dream March and Circus Music. Jody has a way of going off into daydreams. Two of them are pictured here. In the first, Jody imagines himself with Billy Buck at the head of an army of knights in silver armor; in the second, he is a whip-cracking ringmaster at the circus.
"IV. Walk to the Bunkhouse. Billy Buck was 'a fine hand with horses,' and Jody's admiration knew no bounds. This is a scene of the two pals on their walk to the bunk-house.
"V. Grandfather's Story. Jody's grandfa?ther retells the story of how he led a wagon train 'clear across the plains to the coast.' But he can't hide his bitterness from the boy. In his opinion, 'Westering has died out of the people. Westering isn't a hunger any more'
"VI. Happy Ending. Some of the title music is incorporated into the final move?ment. There is a return to the folk-like melody of the beginning, this time played with boldness and conviction."
Symphony No. 6 in B minor, Op. 74, "Pathetique"
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
For a man who always insisted he disliked and distrusted program music "Whenever 1 compose a program symphony," he wrote, "I invariably experience the sensation of hoodwinking the public" Tchaikovsky's addiction to symphonies inspired by explicit or implied non-musical ideas was all but absolute. In addition to the Manred Sym?phony, after the poem by Lord Byron, and the early works in the form, which all bear descriptive and, hence, programmatically sug?gestive subtitles ("Winter Dreams," "Little Rus?sian," "Polish"), each of Tchaikovsky's last three symphonies was composed to spe?cific programs, including the Symphony in B minor, which he had originally intended to call A Program Symphony.
While Tchaikovsky was reluctant to discuss the exact nature of the program "Let them guess it who can," he wrote to his nephew Vladimir Davidov, the Symphony's dedicatee the work has the unmistakable aura of a requiem, filled with premonitions and presentiments of death. The bleak, starkly pessimistic Finale, the adoption -at his brother Modeste's suggestion of the subtitle Pathetique and the quotation of the hymn "And Rest Him with the Saints" from the Russian Orthodox funeral service, have all been pointed to as evidence that Tchai?kovsky was fully aware that he was writing his final work. Even the circumstances of his death, which resulted from drinking a glass of unboiled water during a cholera epidemic only a week after the Symphony's premiere -an act of astonishing recklessness that has long fed the speculation that the composer had in fact killed himselfhave led many to hear the Pathetique as the most elaborate musical suicide note ever written.
Yet whatever programmatic baggage and emotional burdens the Symphony was designed to carry, it is also the most profound and closely-argued of Tchaikovsky's sym?phonic works and one of which the composer was understandably proud. "I give you my word of honor," he wrote to his publisher Peter Jurgenson on August 24, 1893, "that never in my life have I been so contented, so proud, so happy in the knowledge that I have written a good piece." To another friend he would write, "My new symphony is quite the
best and especially the most 'sincere' of all my works. I love it as I never loved any of my musical offspring before."
The opening movement the lengthi?est and most dramatic of the four begins with a sinister rumble in the lowest reaches of the orchestra, out of which rises a soulful threnody tor the solo bassoon. After a change of key and a quickening of the tempo, the bassoon melody becomes the nervous princi?pal theme of the first movement, heard first in the strings and soon thrown with increased frenzy from one section of the orchestra to another. Following a brilliantly fashioned rransirional passage and in none of his symphonies are the seams between the major ideas quite so invisible -Tchaikovsky pres?ents the celebrated second subject, a poi?gnant, sinuously beautiful love song for muted cellos and violins.
The violent development section ex?plodes with a deafening crash, out of which ferocious, chaotic quotations of the principal theme erupt; as the wild commotion reaches its heights, the trombone unexpectedly quotes the ominous melody from the Russian liturgy. The movement rises to an agonized climax, only to resolve itself in a compressed recapitulation and a striking coda, in which a solemn, oddly consoling brass figure is accom?panied by descending pizzicato strings.
A gracious, charmingly off-center waltz in 54 time marked Allegro am grazia takes the place of the traditional slow movement. Al?though for the most part light-hearted and amiable, a wistful melancholy pervades the entire movement; in the contrasting central section, a lugubrious echo of the first movement's second subject is heard over the insistent throbbing of the timpani.
For its first eight bars, the Symphony's third movement appears to be a conventional scherzo, full of bustling strings and clucking winds. In the ninth bar, a fragment of a march theme is heard in the oboe and is quickly taken up by other voices. Throughout a series of climaxes, punctuated by reappearances of the scherzo figure, the march theme gradually gains in volume and momentum until it sops all before it.
That this march ot affirmation is merely an illusion becomes bitterly clear in the opening bars of the Adagio lamentoso, as heart-wrenching a cry of pain as exists in Western music. This astounding essay in and self-pity grows from only two
themes: the lacerating string figure that opens the movement, and the pitiable melody in?troduced by the violins and violas that offers only quiet resignation. The muffled pealing of a gong announces the final descent into utter blackness, as the music is slowly en?gulfed in silence.
Tchaikovsky himself introduced the Pathetique to cool reviews from the press and polite indifference from the St. Petersburg public on October 28, 1893. Barely three
weeks later and only twelve days after the composer's death, a second performance led by the Czech-born Eduard Napravnik created a sensation. The Symphony was suddenly heard as the composer's Requiem, his musical last will and testament, the most probing, courageous, and deeply personal of all his work a view that has not changed in nearly a hundred years.
Notes by )im Svejda
About the Artists
The New World Symphony, America's only full-time ad?vanced training orchestra, was established to provide a contin?uing learning environment and creative performing experience for America's most talented young musicians.
Based in Miami, Florida, the Sym?phony serves as a bridge between the comple?tion of formal education and entry into a full time professional music career. In addition to giving concerts, orchestra members study and perform with internationally renowned con?ductors and solo artists and also take masterclasses and coachings with distin?guished musicians from this country's most prestigious orchestras.
Serving as the Symphony's artistic di?rector is Michael Tilson Thomas, who is also principal conductor of the London Symphony
Orchestra. Mr. Tilson Thomas had long seen a need in America for an advanced training orchestra in which exceptional players could spend a few years refining their skills, explor?ing the repertoire, and acquiring the kind ot experience necessary to enter their profession at the highest possihle level.
The musicians, all graduates ot tup music schools and conservatories, are selected for the Symphony on the basis ot highly competitive national auditions. Since the orchestra's formation, about 50 musicians have successfully auditioned for positions with professional orchestras worldwide, many as principals, including the Boston and Chi?cago Symphony orchestras; the Hartford, San Diego, Honolulu, Spokane, Charleston, In?dianapolis, Barcelona, Puerto Rico, Jackson?ville, Nashville, and Savannah Symphony orchestras; the Hong Kong Philharmonic; the
Rochester and Buffalo Philharmonic orches?tras; the Philharmonic Orchestra of Florida; and numerous other orchestras and chamber ensembles in the United States and Europe. Mr. Tilson Thomas and the Symphony embarked on their first international tours in the summer of 1989, performing in Paris, in three South American cities, and at the prestigious Wolf Trap summer music festival in Virginia. Highlights of the 1989-90 season were the Symphony's Carnegie Hall debut, a four-city tour with actress Audrey Hepburn for UNICEF, featured appearances on na?tional prime time television, and a two-week residency at Montana's annual Big Sky Arts Festival.
This month, new audiences will dis?cover "America's National Training Or?chestra" during a four-city tour that takes the Symphony to Columbus, Ohio, and Winston-Salem and Raleigh, North Carolina, in addi?tion to Ann Arbor.
The New World Symphony, which was founded in 1986 under the auspices of the Miami-based National Foundation for Ad?vancement in the Arts, is an independent not-for-profit corporation. The Symphony also administers the SeaverNational Endow?ment for the Arts Conductors Award, a major career development grant given biennially to promising young American conductors.
Michael Tilson Thomas is ar?tistic director of The New World Symphony, which he inaugurated in Miami in February 1988. During the 1989-90 season he conducted the orchestra on its first international tour to Paris, South America, and the Wolf Trap music festival in Virginia; in its New York debut at Carnegie Hall; and on a four-city American tour for UNICEF with actress Audrey Hepburn,
which featured the world premiere perfor?mances of his composition, From the Diary of Anne Frank.
In 1988, Mr. Tilson Thomas also launched his first season as principal conduc?tor of the London Symphony Orchestra. The following year, he and the LSO made their first transcontinental tour of the United States, followed by their debut appearances together in Japan. In addition, they have appeared at the Salzburg Festival, and on tour in Austria, France, Switzerland, Spain and Germany.
His European activities also include appearances with the Bayerische Rundfunk, Berlin Philharmonic, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Concertgebouw Orchestra, L'Orchestre National de France, and the Israel Philhar?monic, among others. In the United States he conducts the orchestras of Boston, Chi?cago, Cleveland, and San Francisco.
Born in Los Angeles in 1944, Mr. Tilson Thomas is the third generation of his family to follow an artistic career. His grand?parents, Boris and Bessie Thomashefsky, were founding members and stars of the Yiddish Theater in America. His father,Ted Thomas, was a member of the Mercury Theater Com?pany in New York before moving to Los Angeles, where he worked in films and tele?vision. His mother, Roberta Thomas, was the head of research for Columbia Pictures.
Michael Tilson Thomas began his for?mal studies at the University of Southern California, whore he studied piano with John Crown and conducting and composition with the Swedish composer Ingolf Dahl. Ar age 19, he was named music director of the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra. He worked with Stravinsky, Boulez, Stock-hausen, and Copland on premieres of their compositions at Los Angeles' Monday Eve?ning Concerts. During the same period he acted as pianist and conductor for Gregor Piatigorsky and Jascha Heifetz, and, as a student of Friedelind Wagner, was music assistant and assistant conductor at the Bayreuth Festival.
In 1969, after winning the Koussevitzlcy Prize at Tanglewood, he was appointed assis?tant conductor of the Boston Symphony Or?chestra. That same year he made his New York debut and gained international recogni?tion after replacing music director William Steinberg in mid-concert. He was later ap?pointed principal guest conductor of the Bos?ton Symphony Orchestra, where he remained until 1974. He was music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic from 1971 to 1979 and was a principal guest conductor of the Los Angeles Philharmonic from 1981 to 1985. From 1985 to 1988, he was principal conductor of the Pittsburgh Symphony's Great Woods Music Festival.
An exclusive Sony Classical recording artist, Mr. Tilson Thomas has been the recipient of numerous international awards tor his recordings. His wide-ranging repertoire
includes works by Bach, Beethoven, Mahler, and Prokofiev, as well as pioneering work with the music of Charles Ives, Carl Ruggles, Steve Reich, John Cage, and George Gersh?win.
Current releases include the first re?cording of the critical editions of Charles Ives' Symphonies No. 1 and 4 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and with the London Symphony Orchestra, Gustav Mahler's Sym?phony No. 3 and Rucken Ueder (Janet Baker), Strauss's Em Heldenleben and Till Eulenspiegel, and a Brahms recording featuring the sere?nades and overtures. Future LSO recording plans include works by Ravel, Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Janacek, and Stravinsky. This year also sees the release of his first opera recording, Tosca, with Eva Marton and Jose Carreras.
Mr. Tilson Thomas's extensive televi?sion work includes a series of programs with the London Symphony Orchestra for BBC Television, including productions of Till Eh-lenspiegel and Sibelius's Symphony No. 6, as well as the highly regarded three-hour inter?national celebration of the music and life of George Gershwin. "From the New World," a documentary about Mr. Tilson Thomas and The New World Symphony, aired in 1989 on British Television's "South Bank Show" and in the United States on the PBS series "Great Performances."
Committed to music education, Mi?chael Tilson Thomas has given lecture-dem?onstrations at Carnegie Hall, and from 1971 to 1977 he conducted the nationally broad-
cast New York Philharmonic Young People's Concerts. He has been artistic director of two American summer orchestral training pro?grams the Los Angeles Philharmonic Insti?tute and the Great Woods Summer Institute in Massachusetts. Along with Leonard Bern?stein, he was artistic director of the first Pacific Music Festival, held in Sapporo, Japan, during the summer of 1990.
The New World Symphony is the re?alization of his vision to develop an ensemble of gifted young American musicians. Michael Tilson Thomas now brings the Symphony for its Ann Arbor debut appearance, and the maestro returns for his fourth concert after leading the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra in three concerts of the 1988-May Festival.
Leif Bjaland led The New World Symphony in two children's con?certs and ten in-school programs in 1988-89 and officially joined the Symphony in 1989-90 as resident conductor and artistic coordinator. In this capacity, he works with Michael Tilson Thomas in formulating and implementing artistic policies. His duties include audition?ing and evaluating orchestra members, coor?dinating school concerts and other special programs, selecting repertoire for reading and full-orchestra rehearsals, and planning and conducting the Symphony's popular family concerts.
Prior to his appointment to The New World Symphony, Mr. Bjaland was Affiliate-Artists Assistant Conductor of the San Fran?cisco Symphony for three years, leading the orchestra in many of its subscription concerts
and serving as music director of the award-winning San Francisco Symphony Youth Or?chestra. During this time, he was nominated for San Francisco's prestigious Golden Gate Award for his service to the community and leadership of the Youth Orchestra, which he took on tour to the Far East in the summer of 1989. In 1988, he was one of three outstanding conductors selected to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra under the auspices of the American Symphony Orches?tra League's American Conductors Program. He has also led the National and Detroit Symphony Orchestras, the New Orleans Symphony, and the Rochester Philharmonic.
A Native of Flint, Michigan, Leif Bja-land received his master of music degree from the University of Michigan, where he studied with Gustav Meier and Elizabeth A. H. Green. During this period, he was assistant conductor of the Musical Society's University Choral Union for two years and conductor-in-residence with the Flint Symphony Or?chestra from 1980-83.
Mr. Bjaland's extensive experience in working with young musicians also includes two years as associate conductor of the Mich?igan Youth Symphony, two years as music director of Detroit's Metropolitan Youth Sym?phony Orchestra, and three years as music director of the Yale Symphony Orchestra, which he led on a successful tour of Europe in 1985.
The New World Symphony Michael Tilson Thomas, Artistic Director Leif Bjaland, Resident Conductor and Artistic Coordinator Scott Nickrenz, Chamber Music Advisor
Jill Arhetter Joan Beck Jana Brauninger Laura Caballero Angela Caporale Gustavo Correa Ruth DeGraw Catherine Emes Sheila Falls Wyn Hart Laura Hilgeman Chin Le
Francesca Manheim Laurel Mascarenhas Jennifer Moreau Darin Quails Nina Saito Tanya Schreiher Josef Siegworth Philip Spletzer Claudio Vasquez Kelly Waliace-Faiz Lisa Wiggins Steve Winkler Linda Yu
Jacqueline Capecci Steve Fryxell Louise Guerrieri Alison Heydt Harold Hill Susan Pardue Fergus Scarfe Hasan Sumen Elizabeth Tercek Richard Woehrle Steven Wright
Lise Blomquist Orna Carmel Betsy Federman Paula Fehrenhach Gretchen Gettes Christopher Glandsdorp Damian Kremer Rung Lee Mark Lekas Susan Moyer Leslie Nash
Double Basses William Clay Rolf Erdahl Joseph Farley John Miller Luis Roncayolo Laura Ruas
Lisa Byrnes Suzanne Duffy Jennifer Keeney
Mami Hougham Renate Sakins Ronald Sipes
Tom B. Apple Todd Levy Erika Shrauger
Christopher Donovan Eric Hall Philip Pandolfi
Kristin Davidson Kendall Gray Daniel O'Connell Theodore Peters Ed Tschoepe Larry Williams
Trumpets Daniel Bowling Anthony DiLorenzo Thomas Purdie Richard Stoelzel
Bruce Blomquist Julie Josephson Tom Hornig
Craig Knox
Kenneth Every David Fishlock John Kapenekas Patricia Niemi
Janet Harriman
Gary Corrin, Music Librarian, Skip Hamilton, Technical Director, Martha Levine, Assistant Music Librarian, Jodi Royer, Artist Liaison, Brent Winters, Stage Manager, Adam Zeichner, Orchestra Manager
Sherwood M. Weiser, Chair, Board of Directors, Jeffrey N. Babcock, President and Chief Executive Officer, Robert Babko, Vice PresidentGeneral Manager, Josanne LaValley, Vice PresidentNational Campaign Director, Ellen Carr Miller, Vice PresidentMarketing and Public Relations

Download PDF