Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
UNIVERSITY MUSICAL SOCIETY
BEAUX ACTS TDIO
MENAHEM PRESSLER, Pianist ISIDORE COHEN, Violinist
PETER WILEY, Cellist
Saturday Evening, March 21, 1992, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
The Beaux Arts Trio is represented by Columbia Artists Management Inc., New York City.
Recordings: Philips and Mercury Records
The University Musical Society is a member of Chamber Music America.
Activities of the UMS are supported by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and
the National Endowment for the Arts.
Thirty-third Concert of the 113th Season Twenty-ninth Annual Chamber Arts Series
Trio in G major, K. 496..............................Mozart
Spring Music, Trio in Five Movements
for Violin, Cello, and Piano (1990) ..................... Rorem
Commissioned by Carnegie Hall in honor of its Centennial (World premiere, February 8, 1991, at Carnegie Hall)
Trio in B-flat major, Op. 99 ..........................Schubert
Allegro moderato Andante un poco mosso Scherzo: allegro Rondo: allegro vivace
Trio in G major, K. 496
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791)
Mozart's piano trios show a prolonged vacillation be?tween the modern style of the trio and certain of its earlier stages. The cause of this is to be found firstly in the great tenacity of the older forms as demonstrated by Haydn's trios, which are practically violin sonatas with a bass-strengthening cello part. This was, at first, Mozart's model, too. It is also clear that he did not attach as much impor?tance to the piano trio as to the piano quartet or violin sonata. His contributions are, with few exceptions, light in character. It was only gradually that he began to take the trio seriously -influenced possibly by the piano quartets -and bring it up to date.
The Trio in G major, K. 496, was completed on July 8, 1786, and thus is contemporary with the piano quartets. This is obvious from the independent treatment of the cello part alone. But the grouping of piano and strings as separate masses hardly exists, though piano and violin both have their say, as in a violin sonata, while the cello again doubles the bass.
In the Andante, pure obbligato three-and four-part writing makes its appearance. By contrast, there is all the greater unity of structure. In this respect, the trio outdoes all its successors. There is also a marked diver?gence from the piano quartets in the impor?tance given to counterpoint, as is evident from the development in the first movement. Vigorous determination characterizes the whole work, and this, in the finale, becomes transformed into serene confidence.
Spring Music (1990) Ned Rorem (b. 1923)
Brought up in Chicago and trained partly in Paris (where he studied with Arthur Honegger on a Ful-hright Fellowship), Ned Rorem has long divided his residence be?tween New York City and Nantucket. He also ranks among the most distinguished compos?ers to have taught, and still to teach at Philadelphia's Curtis Institute, where he him?self was a student in the 1940s before going on to Juilliard and to private lessons with Virgil Thomson and David Diamond.
Gifted with as vivid a feeling for words as for music, Ned Rorem's published memoirs and essays are noted for their sensitivity and mordent wit. He is preeminent among Amer?ican composers in the setting of poetry; his songs number in the hundreds. Instrumental works form a much smaller part of his output, though it was with one of them, the orches?tral Air Music, that he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1976. "Even when building so-called abstract structures," Rorem observes, "I've always felt most at ease when guided by a concrete program." In the case of the work heard this evening, there is no detailed program, but the title already hints at an extramusical associa?tion that the composer explains with charac?teristic drollery in his own succinct note:
"Having already written The End of Summer and Winter Pages, I am beginning to round off a seasonal cycle, which is one reason for the title, Spring Music. Another " reason is the need for a tag. I've composed many works for three instruments (the first even called Trio) and have found that names help the auditor, not to mention the com?poser, to tell them apart. Finally, the work wishes to reflect (insofar as non-vocal music reflects anything) the season of optimism."
By way of further description, Rorem adds only that the structure of the work is "quite simple: 4 plus 1 movements," and that he never feels it appropriate to tailor an instrumental piece for specific performers, since he finds fewer differences among instru?ments than among voices. For the rest, there is one utterly characteristic quality in Spring Music that should be pointed out, and that is its deceptive simplicity. Looking at the music on the page, it may be judged to be very normal and even innocuous. Yet in actual hearing, as with many Rorem works, the listener is likely to be astonished at how much
passion, wit, and sheer individuality this composer can conjure from seemingly plain textures and unproblematic, basically tonal harmonies. Notable, too, is the way the little fragmentary phrases first heard as a brief respite in the furious progress of the Toccata second movement return in the rhythmically intricate finale Presto, to bind the whole work togethex in subtle but strong unity.
Spring Music was commissioned by Car?negie Hall in honor of the Hall's 100th anniversary and was given its world premiere by the Beaux Arts Trio February 8, 1991, at Carnegie Hall. Tonight, SpringMnsic is given its first Ann Arbor hearing.
Trio No. 1 in B-flat major, Op. 99 Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
m k ne glance at
? Schubert's Trio (Op. 99), and the troubles
r of our human exis?tence disappear and all
the world is fresh and bright again." So wrote Robert Schumann of this radiant and cheerful piece, with its wealth of melodic beauty, rhythmic inventiveness, and rich, Romantic harmonies.
The first movement, Allegro moderato, opens with an exultant melody played in octaves by the violin and cello, while the piano adds a simple accompaniment. An ascending chromatic scale on the piano leads to the cello holding a high pitch, after which the tender second subject is played first by the cello alone, then the violin and cello together, and finally by the piano. The de?velopment section that follows is long and attractive, with the two subjects splendidly varied and combined. The recapitulation re?calls the opening with very little change.
In the second movement, Andante un poco mosso, the cello is frequently called upon to play in its uppermost range. After two measures, during which the piano indicates the rhythm, the cello plays an expressive sustained tune, later adding a delightful coun?terpoint while the violin takes over the theme. A contrasting middle section has a syncopated string accompaniment to the pen?sive tune played by the piano. The theme is afterwards taken up by the strings, and then the opening tune, beautifully transformed, unassumingly returns.
The third movement, Allegro, is begun by the piano playing light-heartedly in oc?taves. The strings soon join in, after which the simple sustained melody of the Trio forms an ideal contrast.
The last movement is a Rondo, Allegro vivace, and is opened by the violin playing
the main theme, which is then repeated by the piano. A secondary subject is soon heard with a pompous opening played by all three instruments together, after which the violin adds an impudent, carefree dance rhythm. Out of this same material, Schubert builds the exciting, effective finale.
About the Artists
Over a span of nearly four de?cades, the Beaux Arts Trio has continued to nourish the public's passion for chamber music with concerts through?out North America, Europe, Japan, South America, the Middle East, Australia, and New Zealand. Their performances have re?ceived worldwide admiration. Following a Detroit concert last December, John Guinn of the Detroit Free Press wrote that "Sunday's audience witnessed the revelatory readings that have made the Beaux Arts the world's supreme chamber music threesome."
The Beaux Arts Trio made its official public debut at the 1955 Berkshire Music Festival at Tanglewood, now known as the Tanglewood Festival. Among the many con?certs the trio regularly performs are annual engagements at the Library of Congress, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Chamber Music of Chicago, Miami Friends of Music, Montreal's Ladies' Morning Musi?cal Club, Friends of Music of Kansas City,
and the Denver and Detroit Chamber Music Societies, to name a few. The Beaux Arts Trio also lends distinction season after season to many major music festivals, including Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, Tanglewood, and South Mountain. Its regular University per?formances include appearances at Harvard, Princeton, Johns Hopkins, and the Univer?sity of Missouri-Columbia. New credits in?clude performances in the "December Evenings" Festival in Moscow and appear?ances in Beethoven's "Triple Concerto" with the Berlin Philharmonic, the Munich Sym?phony Orchestra, and Washington's Na?tional Symphony Orchestra, among others. The 1990-91 season was highlighted by the Beaux Arts Trio's premiere of Ned Rorem's Spring Music at Carnegie Hall and their performance of Beethoven's "Triple Con?certo" with Rostropovich conducting the Na?tional Symphony at the Kennedy Center. In 1991-92, the Trio performs Mr. Rorem's Spring Music throughout the United States and abroad and premieres George Rochberg's
trio Summer, 1990, commissioned by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
The Beaux Arts Trio's extensive dis-cography on Philips Records encompasses the entire piano trio literature. It has brought the ensemble many coveted awards, including the Prix Mondial du Disque, three Grand Prix du Disques, the Union de la Presse Musicale Beige Caecilia Award, the Gramophone "Re?cord of the Year," and the Stereo Review "Record of the Year" Award.
In honor of its 30th anniversary, a number of publications ran exhaustive feature articles about the Beaux Arts Trio, among them London's Strad Magazine and The New York Times Magazine. The president of Indi?ana University awarded them the University's Medal of Excellence, and President Reagan commended the Trio's artistry, giving each member a special silver medallion. Also com?memorating the Trio's 30th anniversary sea?son was the book The Beaux Arts Trio -A Portrait, written by Nicholas Delbanco and published by William Morrow & Company, which details the individual lives, musical philosophies, and group history of these re?vered musicians in three decades of superla?tive music-making.
The Beaux Arts Trio made its Ann Arbor debut inthe 1962 Chamber Music Festival and now returns for its seventh per?formance in Rackham Auditorium.
Menahem Pressler, pianist, was born in Magdeburg, Germany, and received most of his musical training in Israel. He began his international career in 1946 when he won First Prize in the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco, an achieve?ment that led to solo appearances with major U.S. orchestras. He made his American debut with The Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Eugene Ormandy, and since then he has made extensive tours throughout the United States and Europe, appearing with many of the major orchestras including those of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pitts?burgh, and Dallas, as well as in London, Paris, and Brussels.
In 1955, Mr. Pressler first appeared as a chamber music pianist as part of the Beaux Arts Trio debut in Tangle wood. That same year, he commenced his association with Indiana University, where he holds the rank
of Distinguished Professor of Music, and where his teaching has gained him an inter?national reputation enhanced by his many master classes all over the world.
While expanding his field of activity, Mr. Pressler has kept up his appearances as soloist both in recitals and with orchestras. His most recent concerts have taken him to Washington, College Park (Maryland), San Francisco, Miami, Paris, London, Bath, and Zurich, among other cities.
Isidore Cohen, violinist, was born in New York City of Russian immigrant parents. Originally planning a career in medicine, he grew to love the violin while serving in the armed forces. Upon his discharge, he was accepted by The Juilliard School, where he studied with Ivan Galamian. Mr. Cohen has made frequent solo appearances throughout the United States, and his extensive chamber music background includes membership in the Juilliard String Quartet, the Schneider Quartet, and appearances with the Budapest Quartet and the renowned Music from Marl?boro ensembles. He is permanently associated with the Marlboro Festival in Vermont.
Peter Wiley, cellist, was born in Utica, New York. A performing member of the Beaux Arts Trio since September 1987, Mr. Wiley began cello studies at age seven, con?tinuing at the Curtis Institute as a student of David Soyer while only 13 years old. He joined the Cincinnati Symphony at age 20 as principal cellist and held that position for eight years. He appeared repeatedly as a soloist with the orchestra, both at home and on tour. Mr. Wiley made his New York recital debut in 1981, and in 1983, he resigned his position in Cincinnati to pursue a career as a soloist and chamber musician. Since then, Mr. Wiley has traveled to concert halls throughout the United States, Canada, Eu?rope, Russia, and the Far East. He has ap?peared as soloist with the New York String Orchestra in Carnegie Hall and at Washington's Kennedy Center. In 1985, the cellist was awarded the prestigious Avery Fisher Career Grant, which led to a highly successful recital at New York's Alice Tully Hall.
Prior to joining the Beaux Arts Trio in 1987, Mr. Wiley's chamber music credits included appearances with the Guarneri Quartet, as well as numerous performances at the world's leading festivals, including those of Naples, Cremona, Angel Fire, and the Chamber Music at the "Y" series. He has been a frequent participant at the Marlboro Music Festival, performing extensively with
the Music from Marlboro touring groups, and it was with Music From Marlboro that Peter Wiley made his Ann Arbor debut in 1985, followed by his first appearance as a member of the Beaux Arts Trio in 1989.
Mr. Wiley's work is found on the Phil?ips, Marlboro Recording Society, and Dy?namic labels. His first recording with the Beaux Arts Trio was released recently.
A limited edition of "Je Pense a Toi," by Emil Weddige
Internationally acclaimed printmaker and painter Emil Weddige is making available 80 lyrical and colorful prints of his new lithograph "]e Pense a Toi," a work inspired by and created for the University Musical Society. The new lithograph will be on display at Workbench Furniture in Kerrytown from March 8 through April 5, and all proceeds from the sale of the prints and posters will be donated to the Musical Society. For further information, please call (313) 764-8489.