May Festival: 'U' Society's grand finale
By DAVE FRIEDO
From one concertgoer to an-
other, last week's May Festival
was a real treat. I, for one, espe-
cially enjoyed the artistry of
Leontyne Price and Andre Watts
who, respectively, opened and
closed the Festival. They are
without a doubt two of the great-
est musicians of our time.
The University Choral Union
and two alumni, Barbara Niss-
man and Thor Johnson, distin-
guished conductor of the Nash-
ville Symphony, ably represented
the University in the Festival at
Presented by the University
Musical Society, the Ann Arbor'
May Festival has for the past 78
years been the resounding finale
of the Society's season. Since
1936, The Philadelphia Orches-
tra, under the direction of Eu-
gene Ormandy, has been the msu
cleus of the Festival programs.
The first concert, on Thursday
evening, contained a nicely var-
ied program of Bartok, Mozart,
Verdi, Schubert and Strauss. The
first piece, Bartok's Two Por-
traits, consisted of two move-
ments: "One Ideal" and "One
Written as a portrait of Stefi
Geyer, a Hungarian violinist with
whom Bartok was in love, the
music included nicet contrasting
orchestral colors. Norman Ca-
ol's violin solo in "One Ideal"
was beautifully done and the or-
chestra responded warmly to
Ormandy's disciplined direction.
Dove sono from Mozart's "Le
Nozze di Figaro" (The Marriage
of Figaro) and Ritorna vincitor
(Return victorious) from Verdi's
"Aida" were beautifully sung by
Her voice was deep, rich and
controlled and she gave these two
arias a nice dramatic contrast-
the first sorrowful and the sec-
ond revealing the tragic conflict
in Aida's heart over her lover
and her father who will fight
against each other in battle.
After Schubert's Unfinished
which was well - programed and
nicely done Miss Price returned
to sing Richard Strauss' Four
Last Songs which amply demon-
strated Miss Price's w onderfult
phrasing and control of melody.
She ended her performance
here with Pace and Pace (Peace
and Peace) from Verdi's "La
Forza del Detin" (The Force
of Destiny) in a breathtaking
consider the possibilities
NATAUE WOOD ROBERTCUP
ELLOTT GOLJLD YAN CANNON
Tonight & Tomorrow
Aud. A, Angell Ball
7:00, 9:00, 1 1 :00
performance; the audience loved
Till Eulenspiegel's M e r r y
Pranks by Richard Strauss con-
.luded the program. Ormandy
here displayed a wonderful con-
trol of tempo, which was slow-
er than usual for this piece.
The orchestra responded well
with the forceful punctuations of
the brass and smooth sound o:
the strings. The horn players did
a great job playing the f.omens
solo-the "Till" theme- which
appeared several times.
The second program the next
night conducted by Johnson con-
sisted of the Choral Union joined
by soloists Maralin Niska, so-
prano, and Donaht Bell, bari-
tone, singing with the orchestra,
A Sea Symphony, by Vaughan
Williams. And, after intermis-
sion, Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody
on a Theme of Paganini, for
Piano and Orchestra, was per-
formed with Barbara Nissman
as piano soloist.
The Sea S y m p h o n y by
Vaughan Williams was set to
parts of various poems about the
sea by Walt Whitman. Although
Vaughan Williams did not use
the poems in their entirety he
was very successful in conveying
the mood of them.
Donald Bell gave an especial-
ly moving rendition., along with
the chorus, of the first two sec-
tions: "A Song for All Seas, All
Ships" and "On the Boon. at
Maralin Niska joined Mr. Bell
and the chorus in the first sec-
tion and in the final section, "The
Explorers" and sang with a
smooth voice but a bit too con-
trolled for my taste. The orches-
tra, conveying a well-phrased
sense of contrasting colors and
undulating movements, provided
a striking contrast to she chorus.
The second half of the program
featured Miss Nissman in her
debut with the Philadelphia Or-
chestra. Having studied here at
the music school with Gyorgy
Sandor, Miss Nissman has been
concertizing in Europe and will
be a soloist again next year with
the Philadelphia O-hestra dur-
ing its regular seaso, The audi-
ence responded warmly to her
performance and no doubt Mich-
igan lums will be watching for
her in the coming years.
The Third concert held on Sat-
urday evening, consisted of or-
chestral music by Janacek, De
bussy and Prokofief.
The Sinfonietta by Janacek is
a five-movement work written in
the 20s. Most interesting in this
piece were . the special effects
created by the use of the in.tr,-
ments in choirs. Also it was
clearly not programatic, as the
"A Sea Symphony." The orchcs-
tra performed very well and the
strength of the secondary ptsy-
ers was especially appasen .
La Mer (The Sea) by Debussy
375 N. MAPLE RD.
is a programatic piece and it
beautifully describes three moods
of the sea. The strings here
The Prokofiev Symphony No.
5 concluded the third 'oacert.
The performance was very -good
but the orchestra appeared to
wane in vitality compared to the
first half of the program. Other
than a couple of-slight pitch prob-
lems in the high woodwinds the
perfermance was satisfying and
ended firmly with the ,'Altegro
giocoso." The audience, how-
ever, was moved to applaud
gaily. Ormandy responded with a
See MAY, Page 12
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