Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
University Musical Society
Beaux Arts Trio
Menahem Pressler, Pianist
Ida Kavafian, Violinist
Peter Wiley, Cellist
Monday Evening, April 18, 1994 at 8:00 Rackham Auditorium, Ann Arbor, Michigan
Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2 ...................Beethoven
Adagio Allegro vivace Largo con espressione Scherzo: Allegro Finale: Presto
Roots II (1992) ........................David N. Baker
Dance in Congo Square
(Roots U was commissioned by and is dedicated to the Beaux Arts Trio. World premiere February 25, 1993 at the Library of Congress.)
Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49..................Mendelssohn
Molto allegro e agitato Andante con moto tranquillo Scherzo: Leggiero e vivace Finale: Allegro assai appassionato
Large print programs are available from an usher.
Columbia Artists Management, Inc. Philips and Mercury Records
This concert recognizes Norman Herbert, former UMS Board President.
Fifty-fourth Concert of the 115th Season 31st Annual Chamber Arts Series
Trio in G Major, Op. 1, No. 2
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Born December 16 or 17, 1770 in Bonn. Died March 26, 1827 in Vienna.
In 1795 Beethoven published his first three trios as Op. 1, and with that designation, acknowledged to himself and to the musical community his transition from student works to mature compositions. These trios were dedicated to one of Beethoven's most influential patrons, Prince Carl von Lichnowsky, at whose salon they were first performed in 1793 with the composer at the piano. Haydn was present at the affair and, being Beethoven's teacher, offered some friendly advice to the young man about which of the three trios he should publish. The first two had been received with enthusiasm by the entire company, but the third met with a great deal of astonishment. Accordingly Haydn suggested that Beethoven publish the first two and not the third. Immediately Beethoven suspected the older man of jealousy and disregarded his teacher's advice, publishing all three.
The Trio in G Major, Op. I, No. 2 is perhaps the least know of all Beethoven's trios. It begins, as was the tradition before Beethoven, with an "Adagio" which travels through a wide-ranging circle of keys before alighting on the key of G Major for the subsequent "Allegro vivace". The "Largo con espressione" is tender and lyrical, and the "Scherzo," less animated than its name (which means "joke" in Italian ) would suggest, leads to a quiet end. However, the "Presto" springs into a dramatic tour de force, full of vim and vigor, ending in a grand operatic-style finale.
Roots II (1992)
David N. Baker
Bom December 21, 1931 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Notes by the composer:
In 1978 I wrote a work entitled Roots which was commissioned by and dedicated to the Beaux Arts Trio. Two movements of Roots, "Incantation" and "Sorrow Song", appear in Roots II, a five-movement suite completed in 1992.
Each of the five movements"Incantation," "Dance in Congo Square," "Sorrow Song," "Boogie Woogie," and "Jubilee" is a stylized portrait of a musical form from the African-American tradition. This tradition, which includes work songs, field hollers, blues, ragtime, boogie woogie, rhythm & blues, spirituals, gospel songs, calypso, rock &. roll, rap, and of course jazz, provided the rich resources on which I drew. In composing this work, I made use of some of the musical features common to these varied styles, among them, rhythmic pre-eminence, the spirit and attitude of the blues call and response and ostinato.
"Incantation" is an attempt to capture the musical mood of the voodoo rites which had their origins in ancient African traditions. An insistent and persistent drone or vamp is the basis for this movement.
II. Dance in Congo Square
"Dance in Congo Square" is an allusion to the area in nineteenth-century New Orleans where blacks periodically congregated to perform a wide variety of music, dances, and religious rituals that might have been explicitly forbidden in a less liberal environment. This movement is an attempt to capture the spirit and vitality of the music of the West Indies.
About The Artists
Recognized for well over thirty years as having set the standard for performance of piano trio literature, the Beaux Arts Trio continues to ignite overwhelming enthusiasm from audiences around the world. From the United States to Russia, from Japan to Germany, from Israel to Brazil, this renowned ensemble's extensive engagements have brought it the highest praise. The Trio has received ovations from all of the world's major music centers. The Beaux Arts Trio's superb musicians, distinguished history, comprehensive repertoire and expansive discography, contribute to its reputation as a hallmark of chamber music.
The Beaux Arts Trio, comprised of pianist Menahem Pressler, violinist Ida Kavafian and cellist Peter Wiley continue the musical tradition which saw its official public debut at the 1955 Berkshire Music Festival, known today as the Tanglewood Festival. Each member of the Trio brings a highly acclaimed and exemplary musical career to this ensemble, forming one of chamber music's most powerful collaborations.
Several contemporary composers have written pieces for the Trio, including works by David Baker and George Rochberg. Among the Trio's recent premieres are Ned Rorem's Spring Music, commissioned by Carnegie Hall as part of Carnegie's Centennial Celebration, as well as George Rochberg's Summer, 1990, commissioned by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society.
The Beaux Arts Trio's extensive discography on Philips Records encompasses the entire piano trio literature. The Trio's recordings have brought several coveted awards, including the Prix Mondial du Disque, three Grand Prix du Disques, the Unio do la Presse Musicale Beige Caecillia Award, the Gramophone Record of the Year, and the Stereo Review Record of the Year Award. The Beaux Arts Trio continues its exclusive relationship with Philips with a debut recording for Pressler, Kavafian and Wiley of the Beethoven Triple Concerto with Maestro Kurt Masur and the Gewandhaus Orchestra of Leipzig.
Menahem Pressler, founding member and pianist of Beaux Trio, has established himself among the world's most distinguished and honored musicians, with a career that spans nearly five decades. Both an outstanding chamber and solo performer, Pressler's talents have brought him to all of the world's major music capitals. His musical precision and
III. Sorrow Song
"Sorrow Song" belongs to the tradition of religious music which includes spirituals, laments, and church house moans. It is the plaintive cry of a downtrodden people.
IV. Boogie Woogie
"Boogie Woogie" is a stylized version of a popular black piano music which flourished from roughly 1938 to 1945. Also known as "fast Western," "juke," and "rent party music," this style was based on the blues form and a left hand ostinato. Boogie woogie was the basis of the rhythm & blues and rock &. roll of the 1940's and 1950's. As in the original, the piano is the focus of this movement.
"Jubilee," reminiscent of the festive celebratory dances which occurred on rare rest days, is perhaps the most complex and abstract of the five movements. It is built on a pedalpoint which represents an attempt to recall the drones that accompanied the sea chanteys of black workers on the levees of the South. The movement is rhythmically and harmonically intense and virtuosic in its scope.
David Nathaniel Baker, Jr., is a native of Indianapolis, Indiana, and currently holds the position of Distinguished Professor of Music and Chairman of the Jazz Department at the Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington. A virtuosic performer on multiple instruments and top of his field in several disciplines, Mr. Baker has taught and performed throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Scandinavia, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan.
Mr. Baker received both bachelor's and master's degrees in music education from Indiana University, where he studied with a wide range of master teachers, performers, and composers including J.J. Johnson, Bobby Brookmeyer, Janos Starker, George Russell, William Russon, and Gunther Schuller. A 1973 Pulitizer Prize nominee, Mr. Baker has been nominated for a Grammy Award (1979), honored twice by Down Beat magazine (as a trombonist and for lifetime achievement), and has received the National Association of Jazz Educations Hall of Fame Award (1981), the Arts Midwest Jazz Masters Award (1990), and the Governor's Arts Award of the State of Indiana (1991).
Mr. Baker has been commissioned by more than 500 individuals and ensembles, including Josef Gingold, Ruggerio Ricci, Harvey Phillips, Sonny Rollins, the New York Philharmonic, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Beaux Arts Trio, Fisk Jubilee Singers, and the International Horn Society. His compositions, tallying over 2,000, range from jazz works and sonatas to film scores.
A dedicated music educator as well as composer and performer, Mr. Baker's involvement in music organizations has encompassed membership on the National Council on the Arts, board positions for the American Symphony Orchestra League, Arts Midwest, and the Arro-American Bicentennial Hall of FameMuseum; and past chairs of the Jan Advisory Panel to the Kennedy Center and the JazzFolkEthnic Panel of the NEA. He has also served as president of the executive board of the National Jazz Service Organization and as consultant to the Institute of Black Music.
With over 50 recordings, 60 books, and 150 articles to his credit, Mr. Baker claims most proudly his status as the world's most avid and devoted fan of the Los Angeles Lakers and Earvin "Magic" Johnson.
Trio No. 1 in D minor, Op. 49
Bom February 3, 1809 in Hamburg. Died November 4, 1847 in Leipzig.
Felix Mendelssohn belonged to a cultivated and wealthy family, and consequently he received a thoroughly sound education in all academic disciplines. He was a close student
of the classics, and yet his music abounds in Romanticism. His works even the early ones are beautifully polished and constructed; they show much refinement and a finished craftsmanship.
Most members of Mendelssohn's family were dedicated amateur musicians, and the family hosted weekend "home musicales," in which the young Mendelssohn was exposed to the characters and idiosyncrasies of various musical instruments. On alternate Sunday mornings, musicians and friends of the Mendelssohns stopped by for the musicales, and as a teenager Felix took charge of them, choosing the programs, conducting and playing the piano. At age 11, Mendelssohn had already begun composing chamber music, but aside from an early attempt at age ten, he did not write his first Trio for the standard piano, violin and cello combination until age thirty.
Mendelssohn wrote his exuberant Trio in D minor, Op. 49 in the summer of 1839, during a joyful holiday spent with his family in Frankfurt and the Rhineland; the work was completed on September 23, receiving publication the following year. A second Trio, in C minor, followed in 1845. Of these two splendid, mature piano trios, the D minor Trio caught on immediately and is today considered one'of Mendelssohn's greatest achievements. Mendelssohn's friend and admirer, Robert Schumann, wrote of this work; "This is the master-trio of our time, even as Beethoven's B-flat and D, and Schubert's in E-flat were masterpieces in their day, it is an exceedingly fine composition which will gladden our grandchildren and great grandchildren for many years to come." In his praise for his colleague, Schumann went on to say: "Mendelssohn is the Mozart of the nineteenth-century; the most illuminating of musicians, who sees more clearly than others through the contradictions of our era and is the first to reconcile them."
Although the three instruments share motivic materials in this work, the piano stands a bit apart from the strings. In the second movement, for example, the strings form a duo behind which the piano spreads a backdrop. Likewise, the fourth movement treats the piano as the "star" of the ensemble, in its brilliant concerto-like passages. This may very well be on account that the virtuoso pianist Ferdinand Hiller asked the composer to "polish up" his part. Nonetheless, the writing flows effortlessly throughout, and no rough edges remain to mar the seamless expanse of melody.
The work begins with a great rush of energy which is maintained throughout the entire first movement in a passionate stream of thematic material. It opens with the broad, melodious and somewhat melancholy main subject, presented by the cello and taken up by the violin. Through its reappearance in a number of guises, and with the aid of ingenious contrapuntal writing, this theme builds tremendous momentum in the development. The subsequent "Andante con moto tranquillo" brings a short moment of quiet beauty, with the Schumannesque middle section lending a more dramatic mood. The abundance of melody is reminiscent of the composer's own Songs without Words. The capricious, airy "Scherzo" brings to mind the forest-world of A Midsummer Night's Dream, alive with elfin frolic. This sparkling movement requires great agility from the performers as the strings rush to overtake the piano which always seems to be puckishly scampering away. The final movement is more openly passionate, recalling the mood of the first movement; yet with Mendelssohn there is always a hint of reserve, as a sense of classical propriety exercises restraint on his emotional outpouring. The dance-like opening of the "Finale" presents a most charming subject; but still more delightful is the second theme, brimming with feeling, which later emerges triumphant in the key of D major, eventually yielding to the dance-like theme in the coda.
overwhelming knowledge of piano and chamber music literature have also gained him an international reputation as a remarkable teacher.
Menahem Pressler's world renowned career was launched after he was awarded first prize at the Debussy International Piano Competition in San Francisco. This was followed by his successful American debut with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the baton of Maestro Eugene Ormandy. Since then, Pressler's extensive tours of North America and Europe have included performances with the orchestras of New York, Chicago, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Dallas, San Francisco, London, Paris, Brussels, Oslo, Helsinki, and many others.
In addition to over fifty recordings with the Beaux Arts Trio, Menahem Pressler has compiled over thirty solo recordings, ranging from the works of Bach to Ben Haim.
Born in Magdegurn, Germany, Menahem Pressler received most of his musical training in Israel. His life has always been completely devoted to his music. When not on tour with the Beaux Arts Trio, giving solo performances, or teaching master classes, Pressler can be found in his studio at Indiana University in Bloomington, where he lives with his wife Sara.
Tonight marks Mr. Pressler's eighth UMS appearance.
The vast range of Ida Kavafian's versatility has gained her a truly unique position in the music world. Internationally acclaimed as one of the few artists to excel on viola as well as violin, musical travels have taken her from solo recitals and orchestral appearances to chamber music, duos with her sister Ani, teaching, and a highly acclaimed career as Artistic Director.
With a repertoire as diverse as her talents, Ms. Kavafian has electrified recital stages throughout North America including Kennedy and Lincoln Centers, and in the Far East and Europe. Her "bold," "powerful" and "fiery" interpretations of concerti have been heard with the orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Detroit, St. Louis, Montreal, Minnesota, Metropolitan (Tokyo), Rochester and New York.
Ms. Kavafian brings a twenty year career of extensive chamber music performing and recording to the Beaux Arts Trio. Since her founding membership in the legendary and innovative group TASHI, Ida Kavafian has appeared at numerous renowned chamber music festivals and has toured and recorded with the Guameri Quartet, jjazz greats Chick Corea and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, of which she has been an Artist Member. She also performs regularly with her sister, and their television credits include features on CBS Sunday Morning and NBC's Today Show.
Tonight marks Ms. Kavafian's third UMS appearance.
Peter Wiley, cellist, brings a rich background of musical experience to the Beaux Arts Trio. Mr. Wiley's many achievements have come in the wide ranging areas of concertos, recitals, chamber music and orchestral performance and teaching.
In 1986, Mr. Wiley made his highly acclaimed concerto debut at Carnegie Hall with the New York String Orchestra under Alexander Schneider. As a recitalist, he has appeared at the Metropolitan Museum of Art as well as at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall.
A native of Utica, New York, Peter Wiley attended the Curtis Institute of Music at just thirteen years of age where he was a pupil of David Soyer. He continued his impressive youthful accomplishments with his appointment as Principal Cellist of the Cincinnati Symphony at age twenty, after one year in the Pittsburgh Symphony. He held that position for eight years until he resigned in order to pursue his solo and chamber music career. He has been awarded an Avery Fisher Career Grant and currently serves on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music.
Mr. Wiley resides in Danbury, Connecticut with his wife Marcia, and their son, David.
Tonight marks Mr. Wiley's fourth UMS appearance. The Beaux Arts Trio has appeared eight times under UMS auspices.
Suppmted by the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.