UMS Concert Program, November 1, 1992: University Musical Society -- Kirov Orchestra Of St. Petersburg
Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University Musical society
KIROV ORCHESTRA OF ST. PETERSBURG
Valery Gergiev, Conductor Vladimir Feltsman, Pianist
Sunday Afternoon, November 1, 1992, at 4:00 Hill Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Excerpts from Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66"...........Tchaikovsky
Introduction: La fee de lilias
Valse: Allegro tempo di valse
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23.......Tchaikovsky
Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso
Allegro con spirito
Andantino simplice Prestissimo Tempo 1 Allegro con fuoco
Vladimir Feltsman, Pianist
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27"...........Rachmaninoff
Largo Allegro moderato Allegro molto meno mosso Adagio Allegro vivace
'This repertoire was premiered by the Kirov Orchestra.
The Kirov Orchestra records on the Philips Classics label. Vladimir Feltsman may be heard on the Musicmasters and CBS Masterworks labels.
Mr. Feltsman plays a Steinway piano. The Kirov Orchestra appears by arrangement with Columbia Artists Management Inc.
The University Musical Society extends special thanks to Mr. Joe Laibman, composer and co-owner of L & S Music, for this afternoon's Philips Pre-concert Presentation.
1 lth Concert of the 114th Season 114th Choral Union Series
Excerpts from Sleeping Beauty, Op. 66 Pyotr llyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
JNo ballet score has made quite the same impact as those of Tchai?kovsky. His full-length ballets Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker are arguably the three most popular ballets in the world and essential repertoire for any large ballet company. Luscious melodies, masterly orchestration, and the way the music so brilliantly fits the action have certainly contributed to their universal popularity.
When Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake was first produced in 1877, the work was poorly staged and ineptly danced and choreo?graphed. This, in combination with the prevailing opinion that ballet was merely a dismissable amusement for "starched dan?dies and youthful old men," and the fact that the music was severely cut, contrib?uted to the work passing without real notice. In 1888, however, the second act was produced in Prague during the composer's visit there. Its warm reception gave Tchaikovsky "a moment of absolute happiness," as he wrote in his diary.
The belated success of Swan Lake in?fluenced the composer to accept a commis?sion from Ivan Vsevolozhsky, director of the Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg, to write another ballet. After several scenarios were discussed, it was decided to create a work based on the famous fairy tale La belle au bois dormant by Charles Perrault (1628-1703). The scenario closely followed the original story, in which the beautiful Prin?cess Aurora is cursed by an evil witch to sleep for one hundred years only to awaken upon receiving a kiss from a daring and handsome prince. The choreography was entrusted to the theater's chief ballet-mas?ter, Marius Petipa, an immensely resource?ful and imaginative artist who had yet to make his mark in the history of ballet. Fascinated by the symbolic themes of death and rebirth, good vs. evil, and light vs. darkness in the story, Petipa created a detailed libretto. Tchaikovsky found it "po?etic [and] so adaptable to music." The two
creative geniuses were to collaborate again when they worked on the balletic realiza?tion of Alexander Dumas fils version of E.T.A. Hoffmann's story, The Nutcracker and the King of the Mice.
Sleeping Beauty was first performed on January 3, 1890, at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, with the Italian conduc?tor Riccardo Drigo leading the Kirov Or?chestra. The production aroused unprecedented enthusiasm, particularly among theater people and Russian youth, thus renewing interest in ballet and its music as forms of artistic expression.
As on many other occasions, however, the critics were not impressed with the music, which was described as too "serious and heavy." One critic, referring to Aurora's christening, pronounced: "judging by the music, one might think its intention was to describe Macbeth and his witches." Early critics notwithstanding, Sleeping Beauty has become a classic, with music that transports listeners into the magical kingdom of fairy tales. Thanks to Tchaikovsky's uncanny feeling for dance rhythms, melodic gift, orchestral wizardry, and sense of compositional organization, he elevated ballet music to its highest expres?sion.
Piano Concerto No. 1 in B-flat minor, Op. 23
Pyotr llyich Tchaikovsky
In the winter of 1874, Tchai?kovsky presented his newly written First Piano Concerto one of the best-loved in the repertoire today to his much admired and entrusted senior colleague at the Mos?cow Conservatory, Nikolay Rubinstein, for an opinion on the work. Tchaikovsky suf?fered one of the biggest disappointments of his career when, on Christmas Eve, Rubiiin-stein who had been so supportive of the composer in the past-rejected the concerto with a torrent of scathing criticism, declar?ing the work ill-composed and unplayable. This unexpected reaction left the composer totally devastated, and he sank into a
severe state of depression. Tchaikovsky then sent his concerto to Hans von Biilow, who found it "original, noble and power?ful." On October 25, 1875, Biilow pre?sented the work in Boston with great success. After this, Rubinstein reconsid?ered his position, recognizing the concerto for the masterpiece it is, and added it to his repertoire, playing it throughout Russia.
The first movement begins with a lengthy introduction marked Allegro non troppo e molto maestoso. At the outset, the horns present a four-note descending motif, punctuated by sharp chords from the rest of the orchestra. The piano then enters with a long series of chords, as the violins play an impassioned theme based on the opening motif. Eventually, the first move?ment proper, Allegro con spirito, arrives as the piano introduces the main theme with minimal support from the orchestra. Rubin?stein had found this an unseemly theme for a piano concerto: it is derived from a Ukranian folksong commonly sung by blind beggars. The somewhat more relaxed and stately second theme begins with an as?cending scalar motif and ends with de?scending leaps. Both themes are subjected to a brilliant double exposition, with the exchange of virtuoso and expressive ele?ments and argumentative tension between soloist and orchestra. The soloist has occa?sion to shine in many ornate and rhapsodic passages as well as several demanding ca?denzas.
The contrasting second movement, Andantino simplice, takes the form of a scherzo, but in reverse. Instead of the normal fast-slower-fast pattern, a soulful episode surrounds a jaunty middle section. It begins with a tender love theme played by a solo flute against pizzicato strings, and then taken over by the piano. After a contrasting phrase is heard, the oboe once again takes the main melody. Then the piano embarks on a frolicsome scherzando episode marked Prestissimo. Soon the violas and cellos join in with their own melody -the French song "II faut s'amuser, danser et rire" ("One must have fun, dance, and laugh"), which was a favorite of Desiree Artot, to whom the composer was briefly engaged. After an ingenious reference to the first movement's second theme, the
soloist plays a short cadenza that leads into the main love theme once again to con?clude the movement.
The last movement, Allegro con fuoco, is a rondo with elements of sonata form. After a few introductory measures from the orchestra, the piano presents the main recurring theme an assertive mazurka-like theme derived from another Ukranian folksong. Two other subjects come into play here: one of great significance bearing a syncopated dance rhythm and another, of a subsidiary nature, with a gentler char?acter. The two principal themes appear in a different context in each recurrence. At the coda, now in the major key, the subsidiary theme finally realizes its full import. Then, with minimal orchestral in?tervention, the piano rushes to the work's exhilarating conclusion in a flurry of virtu?oso playing.
Symphony No. 2 in E minor, Op. 27
Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)
vlthough Rachmaninoff was always in great demand as a pianist and conductor, he usually found performance requests to distract him from his "true calling" composition. Trying to avoid performance opportunities, and fleeing from political unrest, Rachmaninoff moved from Moscow to the German city of Dres?den in 1906 for two years. This was to be one of the composer's most prolific compo?sitional periods, during which he wrote some of his most freely imaginative works, including the First Piano Sonata, the Fif?teen Songs (Op. 26), the Third Piano Concerto, the symphonic poem The Isle of the Dead, and his Second Symphony.
The Dresden period helped restore Rachmaninoff's confidence. For almost a decade after the disastrous failure of his First Symphony, the composer had been in the grip of a depressive neurotic crisis that undermined his creative endeavors. The condition was somewhat alleviated by the composition of the Second Piano Concerto in 1901. Yet the concerto was only written after the composer had undergone exten?sive hypnotic treatment administered by a neurologist, Dr. Nikolai Dahl (to whom
the work is dedicated). By the time the Second Symphony was completed, Rachmaninoff had finally recovered from his malaise; the outpouring of inspired melodies certainly attest to this fact.
In the slow introduction, marked Largo, Rachmaninoff presents three con?trasting motifs that are heard throughout the work. The first and main motif is hauntingly sung by melancholic cellos and basses; the second consists of a quasi-litur?gical fanfare for the winds; the last is a variant of the first in a higher register, presented by the violins. With a change of tempo to Allegro moderato the first theme proper makes its appearance. This is a long, lyrical melody that expands on the third motif of the introduction. Eventually the tempo shifts to Moderato and the tonality moves to G major with the arrival of the glorious second subject. The development section begins with a violin solo based on the third motif, now heard in longer note values, or augmentation. The other two motifs and the main theme are also sub?jected to development. After a climax, the two themes return and the exultant coda based on the third motif brings the move?ment to its conclusion.
The second movement, marked Allegro molo meno mosso, bears the character of a scherzo with an arch-like (A-B-C-A-B) form. The main (A) theme which will have its final say in the last movement is a galloping and exhilarating melody in A minor, of undisputable Russian origin in its folk-like quality. The second theme, in C major, is expansive and romantically lyri?cal; it presages the slow movement to
follow. The middle trio section consists of a chattering fugato episode, in which the second motif from the introduction makes a sudden appearance. Towards the end the first motif is liturgically intoned by the brass.
With the Adagio comes one of Rachmaninoff's most inspired melodies. The movement opens with an introductory romantic theme in the violins, alluding to the first movement. The clarinet then enters with a yearning melody, one of Rachmaninoff s most memorable. Elements from the third motif are present in this melody which, with its characteristic up?ward momentum, surges in an impassioned flow of lyricism.
The blazing finale, marked Allegro vi?vace, is dominated by an urgent triplet rhythm. The march-like, festive main theme is presented twice. The secondary theme brings with it a melancholic mood, but this is quickly dispelled by the recur?rence of the main theme. A finale being the natural place for recalling earlier themes, Rachmaninoff freely inserts remi?niscences of the preceding movement. Clearly indebted to Tchaikovsky in its orchestral wizardry, and with the inclusion of additional percussion instruments, the work concludes in a blaze of glory.
The symphony was first performed by the Kirov Orchestra on January 25, 1908, in St. Petersburg. A week later the com?poser conducted another performance in Moscow. The work earned him the coveted Glinka Prize, the second time he was thus honored. -Notes by Edgar Colon-Hernandez
About the Artists
The Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg
1 he Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg is known to music lovers inter?nationally through its performances at the world-renowned Kirov Theater and for its frequent foreign tours and extensive discog-raphy. During the Kirov Theater's 200-year-old history, generation after generation of Kirov Orchestra musicians have taken part in the premieres of the symphonies, operas and ballets by Russia's greatest composers.
In 1860, the Kirov Theater (formerly known as the Mariinsky Theater) was built in St. Petersburg. It was there, in the nineteenth century, that the first perfor?mances of a series of operas by Russian composers were given, including Mussorgsky's Boris Godunov, Rimsky-Korsakov's The Maid of Pskov and The Snowmaiden, and Tchaikovsky's The Queen of Spades. Works were written for the Kirov by such composers as Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Prokofiev, Khachaturian, Rachmaninoff, Shaporin, and Shostakovich. It was there, for example, that the first performances of Rachmaninoff's Symphony No. 2 and Tchaikovsky's Symphony No. 6 took place. In addition, it was at the Kirov that many of the works of such composers as Mozart, Verdi, Wagner, Puccini, Richard Strauss, Berg, and Britten were heard in Russia for the first time.
During its long history, many well-known singers regularly appeared at the theater, whose opera company remains one of the best in the commonwealth of Inde?pendent States (formerly known as the USSR). The Russian theater's fame was increased by its excellent ballet company, which Marius Petipa directed from 1869 to 1910. This became the birth place of such ballet classics as Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker by Tchaikovsky, and Raymonda by Glazunov.
In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Kirov Orchestra, then known as the Mariinsky Theater Symphony Or-
chestra, began concertizing actively. It was E. F. Napravnik who, during his fifty years with the theater, established the high ar?tistic standards for which the orchestra became famous. Today, the orchestra con?tinues its tradition of diverse programming through the direction of Yuri Temirkanov and Principal Conductor Valery Gergiev.
The Kirov Orchestra consists of 160 musicians, many of them prize-winners of Soviet and international competitions. Many orchestra musicians have also played solo programs in the major halls of the Com?monwealth of Independent States and abroad. The ensemble of the orchestra's soloists, headed by oboist Viacheslav In-pachiov, has also earned a reputation for excellence.
The orchestra's frequent tours have taken it throughout Europe, as well as to India and the United States. Recently the Kirov Orchestra, under Gergiev's direc?tion, recorded, for BBC and Philips Clas?sics, the full Romeo and Juliet score, highlights of the opera The Fiery Angel by Prokofiev, and Mussorgsky's Khovanshchina in the Shostakovich version for BBC and Philips Classics.
The Kirov Orchestra makes its Ann Arbor debut in this afternoon's concert.
Valery Gergiev, Artistic Director and Principal Conductor of the Kirov Theater of St. Petersburg since 1988, has led the Kirov to international prominence through its tours, broadcasts and recordings.
Born in Moscow in 1953 of Caucasian parents, Maestro Gergiev studied piano and conducting in Ordzhonikidze and conduct?ing at the Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) Conservatory. While still a student, he won the All-Union Conductors Competi?tion Prize in Moscow. At 23, he won the prestigious Herbert von Karajan Conduc?tors Competition in Berlin.
Principal Guest Conductor of the Rot?terdam Philharmonic from 1989 to 1992, he has conducted orchestras throughout Europe, including the Berlin Philhar?monic, Dresden Philharmonic, London Philharmonic, London Symphony, Royal Philharmonic, Royal Concertgebouw Or?chestra, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Orchestre National de France, Swedish Radio Orchestra, Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome and La Scala Philharmonic with soloist Mstislav Rostropovich, which was televised throughout Italy. He has also conducted the Japan Philharmonic.
In its first season under his leadership, the Kirov presented a festival of five Mussorgsky operas, including
Khovanshchina, which was televised
throughout the Soviet Union and Europe. In subsequent seasons Maestro Gergiev and the Kirov presented festivals of operas and orchestral music by Tchaikovsky and Pro?kofiev. Over the last two years, Gergiev and the orchestra have toured Europe widely. Last summer, Maestro Gergiev led the Kirov on its first tour of Israel.
Under Gergiev, the Kirov Opera has also become better known around the world. The company made its American debut last summer with two weeks at the Metropolitan Opera, where it presented Boris Godunov, The Queen of Spades, and Prokofiev's The Fiery Angel to unanimous acclaim. In April 1990, Maestro Gergiev and the Kirov presented Covent Garden's production of Boris Godunov. The live telecast of the performance in the United Kingdom was the first such BBC broadcast from St. Petersburg. A CD video will be released by Decca.
Gergiev records exclusively for Philips Classics. With the Kirov he has recorded Khovanshchina and The Queen of Spades, which have also been released on video, and the complete Prokofiev Romeo and Juliet and Tchaikovsky's Sleeping Beaury. He has also made several recordings with other orchestras including Mussorgsky's Pictures at an Exhibition and Tchaikovsky's Franceses da Rimini with the London Phil?harmonic, Borodin Symphonies No. 1 and 2 with the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the debut recording of the Russian baritone Dmitri Hvorostovsky with the Rotterdam Philharmonic.
In the 1992-93 season he guest con?ducts many major orchestras in Europe and the U.S., makes his Covent Garden debut with a new production of Eugene Onegin, and leads the Kirov on a European tour. Valery Gergiev and the Kirov Orchestra now make their first tour of the United States, which will include concerts in Washington, Chicago, and New York. This afternoon marks Gergiev's Ann Arbor debut.
Vladimir Feltsman is internationally recognized as one of the most important pianists of his generation. He brings his prodigious technique, command of sonor?ity, penetrating musical imagination and evocative poetic gifts to an extensive rep?ertoire that ranges from Bach to 20th-cen?tury composers and includes over thirty concertos. Mr. Feltsman concentrates on music from the central German tradition, but is also strongly committed to new music, having premiered works by contem?porary Soviet composers Alfred Schnittke and Nikolai Karetnikov.
Since his dramatic arrival in the United States from the Soviet Union in the summer of 1987 and his triumphant Car?negie Hall and Kennedy Center debut recitals, Mr. Feltsman has become one of the most sought after pianists on the inter?national scene. He has performed with virtually all the major orchestras of the United States, with many leading ensem?bles in Europe, and with the NHK of Japan and the Israel Philharmonic.
Mr. Feltsman has made numerous re?cordings for the Sony Classical label, in?cluding a recent disc featuring Tchaikovsky's First and Third Piano Con?certos with Mstislav Rostropovich conduct?ing the National Symphony. His discography also includes concertos by
Rachmaninoff and Prokofiev, an all-Liszt recital, and a recording of his United States debut concert at Carnegie Hall. In addition to his recording and performing activities, Mr. Feltsman has been featured on nation?ally-televised programs, including CBS's 60 Minutes and CBS This Morning, ABC's Good Morning America and 2020, PBS's Live from Lincoln Center, and NBC's Today show and The McLaughlin Group.
Last season, Mr. Feltsman returned to the former Soviet Union for the first time since his departure for several sets of con?certs, including orchestral and recital ap?pearances in Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Born in Moscow in 1952, Mr. Felts?man made his public debut at the age of 12 as soloist with the Moscow Philharmonic Orchestra. His first prize victory in the Concertina International Competition in Prague in 1967 led to his enrollment in the Moscow Conservatory. Four years later, Mr. Feltsman won the Marguerite Long Competition in Paris, a triumph that re?sulted in appearances with all of the major Soviet orchestras, tours of several European countries, and recordings.
In 1979, Mr. Feltsman announced his intention to leave the USSR, and during the following eight years, his musical activ?ities were severely curtailed. He was finally granted permission to leave the Soviet Union, and came to the U.S. in August 1987.
Since his arrival in this country, Mr. Feltsman has occupied a Distinguished Chair at the State University of New York at New Paltz, where he teaches a course in piano literature, conducts a series of master classes, and instructs a limited number of piano majors. Deeply committed to the education and training of young music students, he plans to establish a music school for gifted children in the United States.
Mr. Feltsman has performed in Ann Arbor twice before, in the 1988 May Fes?tival, and in 1990 as a last-minute substi?tute for Maurizio Pollini.
The Kirov Orchestra of St. Petersburg
Valery Gergiev, Music Director
FIRST VIOLINS Iury Zagorodnuik' Liudmila Malian Rafael Hismatullin Alexsandr Shirokov Leonid Veksler Tatiana Ruseckaia Madlena Zakarian Vsevolod Vasiliev Iury Ivanov Genrik Chtchian Ivan Krasilnikov Boris Vasiliev Nataliia Gentcelt Elena Berdnikova Lolita Silvianin Pavel Fainberg Sergei Zakurin Grigorii Unanian Aleksandr Semianniko
SECOND VIOLINS Georgii Shirokov' Viktor Kirjakov Georgii Tirakian Elena Voropaeva Aleksandr Soloviev Igor Kachanov Svetalana Juravkova Aleksandr Vasiliev Vladimir Ivanov Elena Haitova
Vladimir Litvinov' Olga Maksimova Aleksandr Kitaev Viktor Zaharov Irina Dihtiar Stanislav Popov Hamit Aliev Vladimir Baryshev Pavel Guchev Aleksandr Miheile Aleksei Kopiev
CELLOS Viktor Simon' Zenon Zalicailo Aleksandr Ponomarenko Mihail Poznahirko Nikolai Vasiliev Boris Mejvinskii Dmitrii Kirillov Riza Gimaletdinov Georgii Tleubaev Mihail Slavin Nataliia Baikova Sarkis Ginosian
BASSES Kirill Karikov Rostislav Iakovlev Vladimir Shostak Aleksandr Alekseev Vasilii Rakitskii Aleksandr Belokon Denis Kashin Pavel Karpin
Valentin Cherenkov' Nataliia Shlykova" Aleksandr Abashkin Vasilii Viland, Piccolo
Viacheslav Lupachev Aleksandr Trushkov" Leonid Sirotkin, English Horn
CLARINETS Andrei Kazakov' Grigorii Volobuev" Ivan Terskii Anatolii Shoka Vladislav Verkovich,
Bass Clarinet Aleksandr Umanskii,
BASSOONS lgorGorbunov Sergei Shulga' Valentin Kapustin
Vladimir Smirnov' Dmitrii Voroncov' Viktor Mitroshin Valerey Papyrin Andrei Antonov
TRUMPETS Iury Fokin Vasilii Kan' Konstantin Baryshev Aleksandr Smirnov
TROMBONES Andrei Smirnov' Igor Iakovlev Dmitry Zorkin Nikolai Timofeev, Bass Trombone
TUBA Nikolai Slepnev
PERCUSSION Aleksandr Borovkov Viktor Kanatov" Sergei Antoshkin" Iury Miscenko Mihail Peskov Iury Alekseev
Adarka Voscak Bojeno Chornak
PIANO, CELESTE Nataliia Arzumanova
ADMINISTRATION Vladimir Ivanov,
Orchestra Director Ekaterina Sirakanian,
Administrator Nataliia Morozova,
Valentin Cooss, Staff Evgeny Gavrin, Staff