Press enter after choosing selection

UMS Concert Program, April 29, 1992: The Cleveland Quartet --

Download PDF
Rights Held By
University Musical Society
OCR Text

Season: 113th
Concert: Fortieth
Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan

William Preucil, Violinist James Dunham, Violist
Peter Salaff, Violinist Paul Katz, Cellist
Norman Fischer, Guest Cellist
Wednesday Evening, April 29, 1992, at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5 ................Haydn
Largo, cantabile e mesto Menuetto: allegro Finale: presto
Quartessence (1990)....................Stephen Paulus
In a Frenzy
With Resignation
Perky; Agitated
Gently, with a Touch of Melancholy
Written specially for and premiered by the Cleveland Quartet on October 5, 1990
Cello Quintet in C major, Op. 163, D. 956............Schubert
Allegro ma non troppo
Scherzo: presto; Trio: andante sostenuto
The Musical Society wishes to thank Mr. Paul Katz, cellist of the Cleveland Quartet and president
of Chamber Music America, for his interview with UMS executive director Kenneth Fischer in
tonight's Philips Pre-concert Presentation.
The Cleveland Quartet is represented by 1CM Artists, Ltd., New York City.
Recordings: RCA Red Seal, Philips, CBS Masterworks, Telarc, and Pro Arte
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.
Fortieth Concert of the 113th Season Twenty-ninth Annual Chamber Arts Series
Program Notes
Quartet in D major, Op. 76, No. 5
Franz Joseph Haydn (1732-1809)
In 1795, Joseph Haydn returned from his second visit to London and settled in Vienna to live out his remaining years as music's grand old man, the greatest living composer. Mozart, whom he so greatly admired, had died too young four years before, and Beethoven, who was to be the leader of the next generation (and of the entire next century), was then only the musical season's best debutant. Eng?land had showered wealth and honors upon Haydn, and he had lingered there for two months after his last concert, before going home to the Continent.
By standards of the time, he was an old man -sixty-three. What no one knew was how different the work of his last years would be. He had written more than a hundred symphonies, but after the dozen masterpieces that he had composed expressly for his Lon?don audiences, he never wrote another. Yet, with the new knowledge of Handel's oratorios that he had acquired in London, he modern?ized and revitalized that form in The Creation and The Seasons. He also wrote six masses for the princely family that he had served as staff conductor and composer for 30 years, and some other sacred works.
Haydn's greatest music until this time had always been found in his instrumental works, but in his last few years he wrote almost none except a few string quartets, music that sums up a lifetime of invention of the highest order. In 1797, he wrote the six quartets we know as Opus 76, and in 1799, the two of Opus 77. He started another in 1803, but gave up after two movements, which he allowed to be published in 1806 with the apologetic message, "All my strength is gone; I am old and weak." The last eight completed quartets are written with the kind of controlled freedom that comes only with great maturity, and their rich instrumental texture looks far forward into the future, perhaps as far as the time of Brahms.
The works of Opus 76 are sometimes called the Erdody Quartets, after the Hungar?ian Count who commissioned them. For the fee of 100 ducats, Haydn withheld them from publication until 1799, so that the Count could have exclusive use of them for two
years. The Erdodys, who were related by marriage to Haydn's employers, the Esterha-zys, were a family of great music lovers who, a generation later, were closely involved with Beethoven, and they also helped launch the career of a ten-year-old boy named Franz Liszt.
The music of this fifth work in the Opus 76 set tells us that these quartets, contrary to the custom of the time, were not intended to make their charms easily avail?able to amateur chamber music players. This is concert music, written for performance by true professionals to an attentive audience. The first violin part soars to great heights unattainable by the unskilled. The harmonic and rhythmic complexities of the music would have thrown any but the most sophis?ticated musicians of the time into confusion. The full texture keeps all four players almost constantly occupied, with hardly a moment of rest for any of them. The subtle interrela?tionships of the themes in all four movements place an interpretative burden on the players, as does the extraordinary key in which the slow movement is written.
The unique structure of the monothematic first movement may be read in a number of different ways, for its changes of key and of tempo seem to overlap and to cross the expected boundaries of the sections. It is perhaps most clearly heard as this se?quence of musical events: first, a very long pastoral theme; second, a minor-key varia?tion of it; third, a return of the theme, ornamented; and fourth, a development of it, speeded up to Allegro and running into the descending scale passages of the coda.
The next movement is another ex?traordinary one. It is cast in something like the sonata-forms usually found as first move?ments, but because the tempo is slow, it is made quite compact so that it does not last too long. The heading is Largo, cantabile e mesio, "broad, singing and sad," and the key, F-sharp, is one hardly expected to follow D major. Furthermore, the six sharps in the key signature make it excruciatingly difficult for many string players. In German musical ter?minology, the word for "sharp" is the same as that for "cross," which led musicians to call this movement the "Churchyard Largo."
Twenty-five years earlier, in his Fare?well Symphony, Haydn depicted or at least
evoked the fatigue of his orchestral musicians by writing for them in F-sharp, which almost guaranteed wrong notes and a good deal of out-of-tune playing. The reason he chose it here must be rather different. Very fine play?ers, like those for whom this quartet was clearly intended, will apply themselves to the music with great concentration that will at once overcome its difficulties and add an intensity to their reading that might other?wise be absent.
The third movement is a Minuet, Al?legro, or, in some editions, Allegretto, of rather serious cast, with a contrasting central trio that features a cello solo in its grumbling low register. The Finale, Presto, is wittily devel?oped from a little fragment of a folk dance tune.
-Leonard Burkat
Quartessence (1990)
Stephen Paulus (b. 1949)
Stephen Paulus is currently com-poser-in-residence with the At?lanta Symphony Orchestra under the Meet the Composer Orchestra Residencies Program. In this ca?pacity, he has worked with both music direc?tor Yoel Levi and conductor laureate Robert Shaw. In addition to his 20 works for orches?tra, he has also written extensively for cham?ber ensemble, chorus, solo voice, and has four operas to his credit. This season, his works are receiving performances throughout the United States and abroad.
Quartessence, heard this evening, was written specially for and premiered by the Cleveland Quartet in Washington, D.C.'s Corcoran Gallery on October 5, 1990. The composer provides the following note for Quartessence:
"The title for this work is derived from the rather commonly held belief among many composers, performers, and informed music listeners that a string quartet is one of the supreme and most rarefied of music-making efforts. The performance of a quartet has often been compared to four articulate people carrying on an animated and intelligent dis?cussion at a dinner party. For many compos?ers, this art form is also considered to be one of the greatest compositional challenges and the essence or distillation of one's writing skills.
"This work has been commissioned by Linda and Jack Hoeschler of Saint Paul, Minnesota, in honor of their 25th wedding
Stephen Paulus
anniversary. These dear friends and arts pa?trons have also commissioned the Partita for Violin and Piano (premiered by William Preucil and Arthur Rowe at the 1986 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival) and numerous other compositions in which I have been fortunate to collaborate with excellent cham?ber musicians.
"The five-movement suite is anchored in tonality and lyricism with some qualifica?tions. The lyricism is often angular, and the tonality glides easily in and out of dissonant episodes. The piece is laced with many cross references of themes, and snippets, or even whole ideas, occur in various guises through?out. The first movement, In a Fren, opens with falling and rising sixteenth-note figures passed among the members of the quartet. Occasional glissandi and repeated notes add to the drive and forward motion of the move?ment. The second movement, With Resigna?tion, begins with a theme in the first violin that is re-stated throughout. Additional per?formance instructions indicate that the move?ment is to be played 'slowly, march-like, but always singing and moving forward.'
"No. Ill, Perky; Agitated, is character?ized by rapidly rising and cascading groups of seconds, juxtaposed in frequently changing meters. The undercurrent is one of agitation and volatility, but always with a little bit of a playful or a quirky sense. The fourth move?ment, Gently, with a Touch of Melancholy, is a complete contrast to all that has come
before. Its feeling is one tinged with an element of sadness, but it continues to sing, even though it occasionally has to resort to a staggered vocal line. No. V, Exuberant, is a sprightly gigue in 128 time, where the main thematic material moves fluently among the four partners and brings the entire work to an effervescent close."
Stephen Paulus has been composer-in-residence with the Atlanta Symphony since September of 1988. He has been a resident composer at the Tanglewood Festival, the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival. He is a recipient of both NEA and Guggenheim Fellowships. His Violin Concerto, written for former Atlanta Symphony Orchestra concertmaster William Preucil (now first violinist of the Cleveland Quartet) and the ASO, won Third Prize in the Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards in 1988. In addition to co-founding the Minne?sota Composers Forum in 1973, Mr. Paulus served four years as composer-in-residence with the Minnesota Orchestra under Sir Nev?ille Marriner. The composer is also on the Board of Directors of ASCAP.
In addition to Quartessence, Stephen Paulus' recent premieres include a Trumpet Concerto for Doc Severinsen and the Phoe?nix Symphony and the Concerto for Brass Quintet commissioned by the Walter W. Naumburg Foundation for the Saturday Brass. Current commissions include a Double Con?certo for violin and cello for the 150th anniversary of the New York Philharmonic and a Violin Concerto for Robert McDuffie and the Aspen Festival Orchestra. A new work, Sinfonietta, was composed for the At?lanta Symphony's Fall 1991 European tour.
Recordings of Mr. Paulus' works in?clude the New World CD of the Atlanta Symphony performing his Violin Concerto, Concertante, and the Symphony for Strings (with Yoel Levi and Robert Shaw). His Symphony in Three Movements is recorded on the Nonesuch label, and his "Carols for Christmas" recording with the Dale Warland Singers is available on the Ten Thousand Lakes label. Mr. Paulus' most recent release is a recording of "Songs" -three song cycles as sung by baritone Hakan Hagegard, tenor Paul Sperry, and soprano Ruth Jacobson.
In addition to composing, Mr. Paulus has become increasingly active as a conductor of his works and as a guest composer with major ensembles, colleges, and universities.
Cello Quintet in C major,
Op. 163, D. 956
Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
As his short life neared its end, a furious burst of creative en?ergy exploded in Schubert. During his last eight months, he composed the Mass in E-flat, a large number of songs (including the 14 collected into a cycle as his Schwanengesang, "Swan Song"), three great piano sonatas, and this glorious quintet. The Cello Quintet was probably written in August and September of 1828, but otherwise it has no real history. No one knows why he wrote it, and no scholars' guesses are very convinc?ing. It is unlikely that it was a challenge to the reputation of Beethoven, a year and a half after the old lion's death, for his one complete and original string quintet is a relatively early work and not a weighty one. The idea that it is somehow related to the chamber music sessions of Schubert's boy?hood in his father's house is too far-fetched. We shall never know.
The five-part string ensemble has not had the same hold on composers' imagina?tions as did the quartet. There are not as many quintets, and few of them, perhaps only those of Brahms, Mozart, and this one, ap?proach the greatness of the best quartets. Composers seem to have been unsure of what to add as the fifth instrument to the standard quartet's two violins, viola, and cello. There is no important quintet with a third violin. Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms added sec?ond violas; Dvorak, in one work, a double bass. Only Boccherini, in the eighteenth century, and Schubert in the nineteenth, are remembered for quintets with two cellos. Brahms tried his hand at one, which was the original version of the work we now know as his Quintet for Piano and Strings, but he found the medium unsatisfactory for his pur?poses and destroyed the score.
Schubert clearly took great pleasure in the enriched texture made possible by the two cellos. Their huge range gave him an extra voice to use as bass, tenor, or alto, and opportunity for noble-sounding duets for the two. In much of the slow movement, the ensemble is not controlled by the first violin, but by the second cello's simple but critical bass line, played pizzicato. At the very begin?ning of the Quintet, there are two long
phrases for just four instruments, the first with a single cello and the second with only one violin, but after that, all five instruments are in almost constant play.
On October 2, 1828, some six weeks before he died, Schubert wrote to a publisher about a quintet he had written that was to be played through sometime during the next few days. If that reading did take place, it was the only one that the work was to have for many years. After the composer's death, it simply disappeared, along with many more of his scores, into the storage trunks and attics of friends. The first public performance was given on November 17, 1850, in Vienna, at a concert of the Hellmesberger Quartet, whose first violinist was the son of Schubert's childhood friend Georg Hellmesberger. In 1853, the Quintet was published.
Schubert's Cello Quintet is a grandly spacious work, with proportions very much like those of the "Great" C-major Symphony, so admired by Robert Schumann for its "heav?enly length." The Quintet's first movement,
Allegro ma non croppo, opens quietly, almost mysteriously, and, after a forceful build-up, subsides into one of the most beautiful themes in all Schubert's works, set as a lyrical duet for the cellos. Next is an Adagio of transport?ing beauty in a simple three-part form, the last part an enriched version of the first.
In the last two movements, the char?acter and the temper of the music change. The Scherzo, Presto, is not a light-spirited interlude, but a kind of demonic, dark drama with heavy "horn-calls" and smashing chords. Its central Trio section offers all the contrast that Schubert could invent: a shift without transition into a remote key, duple meter, and a new slow tempo, Andante sostenuto. The last movement, Allegretto, is a complex combina?tion of rondo and sonata-form, with a main theme whose syncopated accompaniment gives it the Hungarian gypsy flavor that was a popular finale formula in Austria for a century and a half.
-Leonard Burkat
About the Artists
Now in its 23rd year on the international music scene, the Cleveland Quartet is recog?nized as one of the premier string quartets of our time, ac?claimed for its performances in the world's music capitals and for its award-winning re?cordings of more than 50 chamber works. In addition to regular tours of the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan, the Quartet has also performed in the former Soviet Union, South America, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, and Israel. Highlights of previous seasons include more than 25 complete Bee?thoven Quartet cycles in such cities as New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Florence, and Tokyo; regular performances at prestigious music fes?tivals including Salzburg, Edinburgh, Lu?cerne, Berlin, and Helsinki; annual appearances at New York's Mostly Mozart Festival; and a Presidential Inaugural Concert at the White House.
The subject of many radio and televi?sion programs, the Cleveland Quartet has made two appearances on NBC's "Today" show and was the first classical ensemble ever invited to perform on the Grammy Awards telecast. A one-hour television film by
Dokumenta Productions, "In the Main?stream: The Cleveland Quartet," was pre?miered at the Carnegie Cinema in New York and has been aired nationwide in the U.S. and Canada on the Arts and Entertainment Network.
During thecurrent season, the Cleve?land Quartet makes two extensive European concert tours that take them to five countries and include performances in Paris and Berlin and a complete Beethoven cycle in Antwerp, Belgium. They also give their usual full com?plement of concerts across the United States.
In July 1991, the ensemble embarked on a major recording project for Telarc -the complete Beethoven string quartets, their second recorded Beethoven cycle. In October 1991, Telarc released their recording of two Dvorak string quartets, in honor of the 150th anniversary of the composer's birth. A Mozart disc featuring the Quartets in G major, K. 387, and in D minor, K. 421, was released in February 1992.
The repertoire performed by the Cleve?land Quartet in recent seasons reflects the broad range of their musical interests. It includes works from the central Vien?neseGerman tradition by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert, and Brahms, as well as music by the twentieth-century masters Schoenberg, Berg, Barber, and Prokofiev. In addition, the Quartet has presented the world premieres of string quartets written for them by American composers Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus and other works by contem?porary composers who have written works for the ensemble including Morton Feldman, Raymond Fuller, Joel Hoffman, George Perle, Robert Pollack, and Toru Takemitsu.
Winners of "Best of the Year" awards from Time and Stereo Review, the Cleveland Quartet's recordings have also received seven Grammy nominations. Among the distin?guished artists with whom the ensemble has recorded are Emanuel Ax, Alfred Brendel, Bernard Greenhouse, Yo-Yo Ma, John O'Conor, Richard Stoltzman, and Pinchas Zukerman.
Dedicated teachers as well as perform?ers, the Quartet's members are on the faculty of the Eastman School of Music, where, in addition to teaching individual students, they offer a special program of intensive coaching for young professional quartets who are just developing their careers. Since 1972, they have taught and performed at the Aspen Music Festival, where they were co-founders of the Center for Advanced Quartet Studies. Among the noted ensembles that have stud?ied with the Cleveland Quartet in the East?man and Aspen programs are the Augustine, Cavani, Charleston, Chester, Colorado,
Franciscan, Lafayette, Lark, Lydian, Meliora, and Ying Quartets. The prestigious interna?tional awards garnered by these young quar?tets include seven Naumburg Foundation Prizes, Banff International String Quartet Competition Awards, Coleman Chamber Ensemble Awards, Fischoff National Cham?ber Music Awards, European chamber music awards, and numerous Chamber Music America Ensemble Residency Awards.
Playing on a matched set of Stradivar-ius instruments once owned by the legendary Paganini, on loan from the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Cleveland Quartet now returns to Ann Arbor for its second performance.
William Preucil, a native Detroiter, became first violinist of the Cleveland Quar?tet in July 1989, after serving as concertmas-ter of the Atlanta Symphony for seven seasons. During his tenure in Atlanta, Mr. Preucil appeared as soloist in over 60 concerto performances with the ASO. His recording of the Violin Concerto by Stephen Paulus, which was written for and dedicated to him, is available on New World Records.
Mr. Preucil's involvement with cham?ber music began in childhood: his father has been a member of the Stradivari Quartet for more than three decades, and as a youngster, he frequently attended the group's rehearsals and concerts and traveled with them on tour. For the past five years, Mr. Preucil has been an active chamber musician, performing with several ensembles that have collaborated with such outstanding guest artists as Emanuel Ax, Shlomo Mintz, and Andras Schiff. He also appears regularly at major American chamber music festivals and at leading European festi?vals.
William Preucil began his violin stud?ies at the age of five with his mother, Doris Preucil, a leader in the Suzuki movement in the United States. After graduating from the Interlochen Arts Academy, he entered Indi?ana University to study with Josef Gingold and was awarded the prestigious Performer's Certificate. Upon graduation, at age 22, he was appointed concertmaster of the Nashville Symphony and served in the same capacity with the Utah Symphony before going to Atlanta in 1982.
Mr. Preucil now returns to Ann Arbor after a solo performance with the Northwood Orchestra in 1981 and a 1984 appearance as concertmaster of the Atlanta Symphony.
Peter Salaff studied violin at the East?man School of Music, where he was soloist with the Eastman-Rochester Symphony Or?chestra and was awarded a Performer's Certif?icate. In addition, he did graduate studies at the Yale University School of Music, appear?ing there with the Collegium Musicum as concertmaster and soloist. His teachers were Cedric Bennett, Sophia Pimenides, Joseph Knitzer, and Broadus Erie. He was subse?quently honored by the Yale University School of Music Alumni Association.
Prior to the formation of the Cleveland Quartet in 1969, Mr. Salaff spent summers at the Aspen and Marlboro Music Festivals and served three years as a member of the Peace Corps in Chile, where he taught violin at the Universidad de Concepcion. He has per?formed in recital and with orchestras in the United States and South America, and on disc he has recorded the Violin Sonata of Ernst von Dohnanyi with pianist Barry Sny-der for Pro Arte Records.
James Dunham studied at the Inter-lochen Arts Academy, Carleton College, and the California Institute of the Arts. In 1990, as part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the California Institute Music School presented Mr. Dunham with its first Distinguished Alumni Award. Prior to joining the Cleve?land Quartet, he was a founding member of the Sequoia String Quartet, which won the 1976 Naumburg Chamber Music Award. With the Sequoia Quartet, he toured in the United States and abroad and recorded tor the Nonesuch and Delos labels.
An advocate of contemporary music, Mr. Dunham, with violists Walter Trampler and Marcus Thompson, has recently been awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission Grant to perform new works for viola by composers Roger Bourland, William Thomas McKinley, and Gary Philo. As a soloist, Mr. Dunham was repeatedly awarded touring grants from the California Arts Council for recitals, concerts, and master classes.
James Dunham has participated in the Berkshire Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Marlboro Music Festival, in addition to touring with the Music From Marlboro ensembles. His album of new music for viola and winds can be heard on the Crystal Records label. He has been a member of the faculties of the California Institute of the Arts and California State University, Long Beach.
Paul Katz was a student of Gregor Piatigorsky, Gabor Rejto, Janos Starker, Ber?nard Greenhouse, and Leonard Rose, and in 1962 was selected nationally to perform in the historic Pablo Casals master class at Berkeley, California. He was drawn to cham?ber music at an early age and, while in his early twenties, was a member of the Univer?sity of Southern California String Quartet and the Toledo Quartet, both international prize-winners in the Munich and Geneva competitions, respectively. For three sum?mers, he was a participant in Rudolf Serkin's Marlboro Music Festival.
Mr. Katz has appeared as a soloist in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Cleveland, and other cities throughout North America, and was chosen to perform before the Vio?loncello Society of New York. He has re?corded the cello sonata of Ernst von Dohnanyi with pianist Barry Snyder for Pro Arte Records.
In addition to his performing and teaching activities, Mr. Katz is now in his fifth year as president of Chamber Music America, the national service organization that has in its membership virtually all of the
Norman Fischer is one of this country's foremost champions of the cello. After com?pleting his studies with Richard Kapuscinski, Claus Adam, and Bernard Greenhouse, he helped found the renowned Concord String Quartet. As cellist with that ensemble throughout its sixteen-year career, Mr. Fis?cher concertized extensively in the United States and abroad, recorded over 40 works, appeared frequently on radio and television, and received numerous accolades, including the Naumburg Chamber Music Award, sev?eral Grammy nominations, and an Emmy Award.
Mr. Fischer's New York solo debut of the Bach Six Suites in one evening was hailed by New York Times critic John Rockwell as "inspiring." The artist performs many of the standard concerto classics as well as champi?oning new works for the genre, such as Robert Sirota's Cello Concerto (Tanglewood, 1985), August Reed Thomas' Vigil (Cleveland Chamber Symphony, 1990), and Steven Stucky's Voyages (recorded, 1991.)
Since 1971, Mr. Fischer has collabo?rated with pianist Jeanne Kierman, as the Fischer Duo. They have appeared frequently throughout the United States, including Ann Arbor's Kerrytown Concert House, and have made a specialty of blending the standard repertoire with newly commissioned works and unusual scores from the past. An example of their work is the recent recording of French music called lmaginees, which features music of Debussy, Boulanger, Auric, Messiaen, Ravel, and Poulenc. He has also performed with the Juilliard, Cleveland, and Audubon String Quartets, the American Chamber Players, Da Camera Society of Houston, and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival.
country's 600 professional chamber music ensembles, as well as hundreds of concert and festival presenters, including the University Musical Society. He also enjoys writing and authored the liner notes for the Cleveland Quartet's three-volume set of the complete Beethoven Quartets on RCA Red Seal. Mr. Katz has served as editor of the column "Chamber Music Forum" in American String Teacher magazine and continues to write a regular column for Chamber Music magazine as president of Chamber Music America.
Mr. Fischer began cello studies at the age of ten, and after completing his studies at the Interlochen Arts Academy and Ober-lin Conservatory, he spent 16 years with the Concord Quartet. He resides in Oberlin, Ohio, where he is an artist faculty member of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music and, beginning this year, will be Professor of Vio?loncello at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston. During the sum?mers, Mr. Fischer is a member of the Tangle-wood Music Center faculty. His instrument is an eighteenth-century Florentine cello.
Mr. Fischer makes his third appearance for the Musical Society this evening, after two concerts as cellist of the Concord Quartet in 1977 and 1980.

Download PDF