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UMS Concert Program, February 9, 2019 - Israel Philharmonic Orchestra

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 Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Yoel Levi
Saturday Evening, February 9, 2019 at 8:00 Hill Auditorium
Ann Arbor
29th Performance of the 140th Annual Season
This evening’s performance is supported by Patti Askwith Kenner; Matt and Nicole Lester Family; Peter and Elaine Schweitzer; the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs; Max Wicha and Sheila Crowley; Yoshiko and Gregory Margolies; Andrew and Lisa Bernstein; Gil Omenn and Martha Darling; James and Nancy Stanley; The Zelenock Family; the Medical Community Endowment Fund; Ross and Samantha Partrich; and Honigman.
Special thanks to the Jewish Federation of Ann Arbor, Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, and Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest.
Media partnership provided by WRCJ 90.9 FM.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra appears by arrangement with Opus 3 Artists.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra gratefully acknowledges the American Friends of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra as the principal underwriter of this tour.
In consideration for the artists and the audience, please refrain from the use of electronic devices during the performance.
The photography, sound recording, or videotaping of this performance is prohibited.
Ödön Pártos
Concertino for Strings
Franz Schubert
Symphony No. 3 in D Major, D. 200
Adagio maestoso — Allegro con brio Allegretto
Menuetto: Vivace
Presto vivace
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 6 in b minor, Op. 74
Adagio — Allegro non troppo Allegro con grazia
Allegro molto vivace
Finale: Adagio lamentoso
Ödön Pártos
Born October 1, 1907 in Budapest, Hungary Died July 6, 1977 in Tel Aviv, Israel
UMS premiere: This piece has never been performed on a UMS concert.
 Snapshots of History...In 1932:
· The Michigan Marching Band debuts the Script Ohio formation at the Michigan versus Ohio State game in Columbus
· A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley is published
· Adolf Hitler becomes a German citizen by naturalization
Ödön Pártos was a founding member of the Israel Philharmonic (originally Palestine) Orchestra. At the invitation of Bronisław Huberman, he took
the post of principal violist in the new group in 1938. Trained by two legendary  gures in his native Budapest (he had studied violin
with Jenő Hubay and composition with Zoltán Kodály), Pártos brought impeccable credentials to his new homeland, where he became one of the founding fathers of Israeli music. In 1951, he was appointed director of the Rubin Music Academy in Tel Aviv, a position he held until his death.
After his graduation from the Budapest Conservatory, Pártos worked in Switzerland and Germany, before returning to Hungary in 1934. During those years, he had an opportunity
to become familiar with new German music, and with the works of fellow violist Paul Hindemith in particular, and these new impressions served to counterbalance the in uence of Bartók and Kodály to which he had been exposed in Hungary. The Concertino for String Orchestra, written in 1932, shows these expanding horizons. It
is a compact, single-movement work in which Hungarian stylistic elements (echoes of Bartók’s then-recent Fourth Quartet in particular) are combined with international neo-Classicism to form a dynamic unity. Originally written for string quartet, Pártos arranged the work for string orchestra in 1952, at the request of Ferenc Fricsay, the great Hungarian conductor then working in the West.
SYMPHONY NO. 3 IN D MAJOR, D. 200 (1815)
Franz Schubert
Born January 31, 1797 in Himmelpfortgrund, near Vienna Died November 19, 1828 in Vienna
UMS premiere: Minneapolis Symphony Orchestra conducted by Stanislaw Skrowaczewski; February 1967 in Hill Auditorium.
 Snapshots of History...In 1815:
· The War of 1812 of cially ends and Fort Mackinac is returned to the Americans
· The Handel and Haydn Society, the oldest continuously performing arts organization in the US, gives its  rst performance in Boston
· The  rst commercial cheese factory is founded in Switzerland
It has often been noted that Schubert’s  rst six symphonies were written in an idiom rather close to Haydn’s and Mozart’s symphonic style. Just how close, however, is an interesting question. The in uences are unmistakable. Some of the themes sound almost identical to melodies
by the older masters, and particularly the formal aspect (the organization and succession of themes) appears
to be heavily indebted to Schubert’s models. But quite often, the themes, the harmonies, and the modulations are completely original. The early Schubert symphonies are no student compositions but independent statements by a composer who, having made the tradition his own, had also found his own voice. Or,
to use a linguistic analogy: having mastered the grammar of Classical style, Schubert was forming his own sentences, even coining new words to express his new ideas.
Schubert was 18 years old when he wrote this symphony, which was, as its number in the Deutsch
catalog indicates, exactly his 200th composition. The year 1815 saw the completion of no fewer than 206 Schubert compositions (D. 125–330), including some great songs (Erlkönig, Rastlose Liebe, Nähe des Geliebten), four operas (!), and the second and third symphonies. In other words, Schubert completed a new piece (were it only a short song) almost every single day. A longer piece, such as this D-Major symphony, occupied him a little longer; but we shouldn’t believe he devoted himself to it full- time for the entire 56-day period between the beginning and ending dates written in the score. In fact, the symphony was set aside shortly after it was begun at the end of May, and the bulk of the work was done in little more than a week in the month of July. In the meantime, on May 26 alone, Schubert wrote  ve songs. He wrote 24 more in June and the  rst half of July and, between June 27 and July
9, he composed the one-act opera Fernando on the libretto of his friend Albert Stadler.
It is hard to believe, but 1815, one
of Schubert’s most proli c years, was also the year when he was closer to having a regular job as he ever was to be. Between the fall of 1814 and the spring of 1816, Schubert was assisting his father, a schoolteacher, in teaching the young children in the Vienna suburb of Lichtenthal. We don’t know what subjects he taught or how he taught them; his heart was certainly not in the job, and it is likely that his mind was not often on it either.
At 18, Schubert had already completed his musical education, although lessons with his teacher, the famous Antonio Salieri, were to continue for another year. But a young man who could write a symphony like the present work clearly didn’t need any further instruction.
Maybe the most original aspect of this symphony is its orchestration. For instance, Schubert didn’t hesitate to give the opening melody of the  rst movement’s fast section to the clarinet, which had already played some solos in the slow introduction. In general, Schubert’s woodwind parts are always independent from the strings. It was of course from Beethoven that Schubert learned to orchestrate this way, but he applied this technique to an earlier, Haydnian type of composition. The result is an 18th-century symphony with a 19th- century sound (plus a few more 19th- century features).
There are also foreshadowings of later masterpieces of Schubert. In his 1951 book on the composer, Alfred Einstein noted the similarity between the above-mentioned clarinet melody and the corresponding theme from the “Great” C-Major
Symphony (1825). The last movement is one of Schubert’s  rst  nales
in “tarantella” rhythm; Schubert
was to use the patterns of this folk dance from Southern Italy in such mature pieces as the String Quartet in d minor (“Death and the Maiden,” 1824) and the posthumous Piano Sonata in c minor (1828). In the Third Symphony, this tarantella dance has none of the dramatic overtones it was to acquire later; still, it reaches
a level of excitement here that is unprecedented in Schubert’s previous works. The music is constantly on
the move; its harmonic progressions and modulations are more daring
than before. Einstein noted the Italian “buffo” character of this movement, which he called “an overture rather than a  nale.” It was an overture
in more ways than one, since it opened the door to signi cant new developments in Schubert’s music.
Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Born May 7, 1840 in Kamsko-Votkinsk, Russia Died November 6, 1893 in St. Petersburg
UMS premiere: Boston Festival Orchestra conducted by Emil Mollenhauer; May 1898, venue unknown.
 Snapshots of History...In 1893:
· The Columbian Exposition (World’s Fair) opens in Chicago
· The Washington National Cathedral is chartered by Congress
· Michigan’s  rst state Capitol building burns to the ground in Detroit
On October 28, 1893, Tchaikovsky conducted the premiere of his Sixth Symphony in St. Petersburg. Nine days later, he was dead. His death was sudden and unexpected, and in all probability due to the cholera epidemic that had broken out in Petersburg (the suicide story that used to enjoy a certain currency
in the music world is now widely discounted). Yet there is no mistaking the funereal character of this
work, which bears witness to what Tchaikovsky biographer David Brown describes as the “deepening inner gloom” of the composer’s last years. And still, these were also the years
in which Tchaikovsky arrived at the zenith of his international fame; at 53, he was at the height of his powers.
The “Pathétique” (so called by the composer himself) is not only the most intensely emotional of Tchaikovsky’s symphonies: it is also the one in which Tchaikovsky reached the pinnacle of his art in terms of compositional technique and sophistication —and it is the combination of these two aspects,
exceptional emotional richness and supreme craftsmanship, that makes the “Pathétique” Tchaikovsky’s crowning masterpiece.
Technical devices, such as the re-use of the bassoon theme of
the opening “Adagio” as the  rst theme of the “Allegro non troppo” main section, produce an immediate dramatic effect, enhanced by the brilliant orchestration with divided violas and cellos answered by a quartet of woodwinds. The gulf between this “active”  rst theme
and the expansive, warmly melodic second idea is maximized by the circumstance that the two themes
are separated by a lengthy transition section, and a signi cantly slower tempo (andante) for the second theme. The development section carries the tension to a high point through intense contrapuntal activity punctuated by violent syncopated  gures in the woodwinds; then we hear an almost Mahlerian tragic march whose rumbling bass accompaniment is derived from the main theme.
The full orchestral sonorities of the
recapitulation change the character of the  rst theme from painful and languid to desperate and dramatic, with the return of the expansive second melody bringing much- needed solace. The subdued morendo (dying away) ending of the movement anticipates the fourth-movement “Finale: Adagio lamentoso.”
In between, however, there are
two lighter movements: a graceful waltz with a limp (written in 5/4 time, that is, with every other 3/4 measure shortened by a beat), and a lively march whose theme unfolds only gradually and that seems, at least momentarily, to suggest triumph and happiness.
But in the end, the respite brought by the two middle movements proves to be only temporary. The “Finale” is one of the most heart-rending adagios in the history of music. Its doleful b-minor theme (whose notes are played alternately by  rst and second violins) is followed by a second idea that is no less sad in tone despite being in the major mode. Tchaikovsky
marked this D-Major theme “con lenezza e devozione” (softly and with devotion). Twice, the music rises to triple fortissimo in a state of utter despair, only to fall back each time into the pianissimo in which the symphony  nally dies away.
Program notes by Peter Laki.
This evening’s performance marks the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra’s ninth performance under UMS auspices, following the Orchestra’s UMS debut in October 1972 in Hill Auditorium under the baton of Zubin Mehta. The Orchestra most recently appeared under UMS auspices in March 2014 in Hill Auditorium
in a performance of Bruckner’s Eighth Symphony conducted by Zubin Mehta. Maestro Yoel Levi makes his third appearance under UMS auspices this evening, following his UMS debut in October 1989 in Hill Auditorium conducting the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra. He most recently appeared under UMS auspices in March 2004 conducting the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in Hill Auditorium.
Yoel Levi (conductor) is one of the world’s leading conductors, known for his vast repertoire, masterly interpretations, and electrifying performances. He is chief conductor of the KBS Symphony Orchestra in Seoul, a position he has held since 2014. In 2017, Maestro Levi and the KBS Symphony were awarded the grand prize at the fourth Seoul Arts Center Awards.
Having conducted some of the most prestigious orchestras throughout the world and appearing with esteemed soloists, Maestro Levi has led orchestras in North America including the Cleveland and Philadelphia orchestras; the Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco symphonies; and the New York Philharmonic. In Europe, he has led orchestras in London, Paris, Berlin, Prague, Budapest, Rome, Frankfurt, Munich, and in the Far East, as well as in South Korea, Japan, and China. He has conducted some of the world’s leading opera companies, including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, in addition to leading productions in Florence, Genoa, Prague, Brussels, and throughout France.
His extensive discography includes over 30 recordings with the Atlanta Symphony on the Telarc label. Maestro Levi was music director of the Atlanta Symphony from 1988–2000. Other posts have included principal conductor of the Brussels Philharmonic from 2001–07 and principal conductor of the Orchestre National d’Ile de France from 2005–12. He was the
 rst Israeli to serve as principal guest conductor of the Israel Philharmonic. With the Israel Philharmonic, he has conducted tours of the US and Mexico, as well as
a special concert celebrating the 60th anniversary of state of Israel.
In 1997, Maestro Levi was awarded an honorary doctor of  ne arts degree by
Oglethorpe University in Atlanta. In June 2001 he was named Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government. Born in Romania, Maestro Levi was raised in Israel where he studied at the Tel Aviv Academy of Music. Receiving
a master of arts degree with distinction,
he also studied under Mendi Rodan at the Jerusalem Academy of Music, Franco Ferrara in Siena and Rome, and with Kirill Kondrashin in the Netherlands and at London’s Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
The Israel Philharmonic Orchestra (IPO) was founded in 1936 by Bronislaw Huberman and its inaugural concert, on December 26, 1936, was conducted by Arturo Toscanini. The
IPO plays in subscription series in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa, in special concerts, and in various concert series throughout Israel. The IPO regularly tours the world’s cultural centers and prestigious festivals. Israel’s creative artists are promoted by many IPO premieres of works by Israeli composers. The IPO has contributed to the absorption
of new immigrants and includes in its ranks new immigrant musicians. The Orchestra has hosted the world’s greatest conductors and soloists, as well as young talents from Israel and abroad. As part of KeyNote, the IPO’s music education and outreach program, IPO musicians perform in numerous schools and concerts for school pupils at the Charles Bronfman Auditorium in Tel Aviv. In 1969, Maestro Zubin Mehta was appointed music advisor to the IPO and in 1977 he became
its music director. Leonard Bernstein (1918– 1990) was named IPO laureate conductor in 1988, in 1992 Kurt Masur (1927–2015) was appointed honorary guest conductor, and since 2011, Gianandrea Noseda has held the position of principal guest conductor.
Music Director / Zubin Mehta
The Music Director’s position is endowed by the William Petschek Family
Laureate Conductor (1947–90) / Leonard Bernstein Honorary Guest Conductor (1992–2015) / Kurt Masur Principal Guest Conductor / Gianandrea Noseda
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Max Wicha and Sheila Crowley Yoshiko and Gregory Margolies —
Andrew and Lisa Bernstein
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The Zelenock Family
Medical Community
Endowment Fund

Ross and Samantha Partrich Honigman
Supporters of this evening’s performance by the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.

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