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October 05, 1941 - Image 11

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1941-10-05

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I I

~U~&,QEBU~ 91THE MICHIGAN DAILY.4N1 M I M Iil
Choral Union ConceertSe riestHas ad Interesing Exii

PAsE THREE
stene

'f

Church Choirs
Present Initial
Group Concert
organization First Called
'Messiah Club'; History
Shows Advancement
The Choral Union Concert Series
has had an intresting existence. Its
history comprises the old story of
"the little acorn and the mighty oak".
Its first concert was given in the Con-
gregational Church, its second in the
Methodist, and its third in the Pres-
byterian. It came about in this way.
In the fall of 1879, members of the
choirs of these churches, together
with the Episcopal Church, united in
forming a singing organiation and
called themselves the "Messiah Club."
Their chief interest was to sing chor-
uses from Handel's great oratorio.
Meetings were held at frequent inter-
vals and the evenings were spent in
discussing procedure, choral rehear-
sals, and social entertainment. They
finally pledged themselves to give
four concerts for the benefit of the
Ladies' Societies of the four churches.
Time passed so rapidly that, by the
end of the University year, only one
of the four concerts had been given,
that in the Congregational Church.
First Assembly
When the group assembled in the
fall, they found that about half their
membership had fallen away, either'
through graduation from the Uni-
versity or removal from the city. Nev-
ertheless they became more amitious.
They changed their name to "Choral
Union." They admitted singers other
than those from the four churches,
but they remained faithful to their'
pledge to give benefit concerts for the
four churches. Accordingly, in the
early winter, their second perform-
ance took place in the Methodist
Church. At a\ later date, a concert
was given in the Presbyterian Church
the proceeds of which were divided
between the ladies' societies of that
church and of the Ep copal Church.
This concert was a joint program.
Cady Chosen To Direct
Calvin C. Cady had come to Ann
Arbor that year and was chosen con-
dutcor of the group. He remained in
that capacity until 1888, during which
time the chorus participated in many
public concerts, in some of which
solo roles were taken by artists im-
ported from Detroit, Chicago, and
New York. Attendance was meager
and on most occasions income was
not sufficient to pay expenses. Fre-
quently more" people were in the
chorus than in the audience. During
this period, the chorus frequently
united with similar choral groups in
Ypsilanti, and the same program was
put on in the two cities. This plan,
however, soon proved impractical.
In spite of the lack of interest at
times, meager support from the pub-
lic, and insufficient funds, definite

progress was made year after year.l
By 1888, the Society had earned a
creditable reputation, the repertoire
of its performances was growing, and
its offerings become more substantial.
Stanley Succeeds Cady
Mr. Cady resigned his position as
conductor, and was succeeded by Dr.
Albert A. Stanley, who for more than
three decades, up to 1921, guided the'
Society's artistic destinies. His lead-
ership brought new enthusiasm into
the organization, the chorus grew
in number, and new choral works of
greater importance were presented.
The number of concerts was increas-
ed, distinguished artists and great
orchestras were included in the series.j
Until 1913, University Hall was the
scene of its activities. With the con-:
struction of Hill Auditorium through
funds bequeathed for a music hall
by the late Regent Arthur Hill, the
concerts wlere trarsferred to this
larger edifice. Again new interest
was added to the Society's activities.
First May Festival
In the meantime, in 1894, the'
Choral Union Series was brought to:
a close by the inauguration of the
first May Festival. Three concerts
were given in which Dr. Stanley and
the chorus were assisted by the Bos-
ton Festival Orchestra under the
baton of Emil Mollenhauer. For
eleven seasons this organization made
annual pilgrimages to Ann Arbor.
In 1905, it was replaced by the' Chi-:
cago Symphony under Frederick
Stock This organization, in turn,
continued to come to the May Fest-
ival for thirty-one years, up to and
including the Festival of 1935. Since
that time, the Philadelphia Orchestra
has performed at the Festival. Con-
ductors such as Leopold Stokowski,
Eugene Ormandy, Jose Iturbi, Saul
Caston, and others, have participated.
Pianist. Finds
FamilyName
Httrd For U.S.
What's in a name? So far as Rob-
ert Casadesus is concerned, his is a
great asset except in this country
where, sometimes, it is a bit of a
liability. In Europe the name Casa-
desus is to music what Morgan is to
money. It belongs to one of the First
Families of French art. Every Casa-
desus is a musician and Robert-like
his forebearers and his sons-learned
Bach and Chopin with his letters.
But here, in the United States, his
name is often, a stumbling block to
diffident American audiences who
don't know how in the dickens to
pronounce it. They hear him play,
they adore his performance, they
clap their plams off, and then they
are afraid to talk about the concert
for fear of mispronouncing the name
of the pianist. And so, for the benefit
of puzzled music-lovers, we give the
authorized pronunciation of the
name: Kah-Zah-Seh-Su.

Popular

Singer

i

Basso Pinza,

Was Almost
Bicycle-Rider
If his boyish ambitions had first
been realized, Ezio Pinza, famous op-
era basso, might have made his New
York debut in Madison Square Gar-
den during a six-day bicycle race
rather than at the Metropolitan
Opera House.
For that was what he wanted first
to do,-be a professional bicycle-
rider-and singing in opera was the
last thing that entered his head.
"Bicycle races covering 189 mile
stretches were more in my line than
acting or singing," the basso said.
"Some day I'd be on the bicycle for
twelve hours without stopping, car-
rying food in a little basket on the
handle-bars. I kept in training at this
for a whole year, entering all the{
races."
"When, after a whole year, I didn't
bring home even one little prize, my
father said, 'You spend without gain
-you must go back to studying civil
engineering in Ravenna. Do some-
thing worthwhile!'"
"But I didn't go back to engineer-
ing," he added, "at least, not for long.
I took up singing in Bologna, under
Maestro Vizzani. I was ready for my
debut when the war broke out. But
that changed every plan again. I
joined the Italian artillery, and kept
my voice on ice for four years-four
years of war in the Italian Alps,
where the lowest altitude I got down
to was 6,000 feet above sea-level!"
Escaping the war without so much
as a scratch, Pinza finally made his
long-postponed debut in Rome, at
the Teatro Reale dell' Opera, in
"Tristan and Isolde." A few years
late'; he was leading basso at the
famous La Scala in Milan, under the
diretion of Tscanini, and while sing-
ing there, was heard by Giulio Gatti-
Casazza of the Metropolitan and en-
gaged for New York. Pinza's success
at the Metropolitan has been spec-
tacular, and his recent concert tours
have repeated his opera success. He
will be heard here in a joint concert
program Nov. 18 at Hill Auditorium.

Joseph Szigeti
Began Career
At Young Age
Violini Virtuoso Was Born
In Budapest; Was Pupil
Of Distinguished Hubay
Joseph Szigeti, violin virtuoso, was
born in Budapest, was a pupil of the
distinguished Hubay and made his
debut at the age of thirteen. Shortly
threafter he was heard with over-
whelming success in practically every
music tapital of Europe.
Then his fame spread toAmerica
and to the. Orient. He first came
to the United States in 1925, where
he has become a perennial favorite.
His visits are considered indispeis-
able to American musical life.
Leopold Stokowski was instrumen-
tal in bringing him before the Ameri-
can public. His performances, whe-
ther in recital or with orchestra, are
always works of beauty. Intellectual
precision, supplemented by an under-
standing temperament, have com-
bined in him those qualities and fac-
tors so necessary and so worthy of a
true artist.
Although world. renowned, each
year sees his American popularity
and prestige ever advancing. Last
season he was heard in 11 nationwide
broadcasts; he participated in 18 or-
chestra appearances, and in recitals
from New York to Honolulu and
Mexico City.
Composers, critics, fellow musicians
and the people as a whole, have unan-
imously singled him out as one of the
_-crId's most distinguished.
Benny Goodman,
Szi eti Are Pals
"Szigeti is my musical idol," says
Benny Goodman, the King of Swing,
of Joseph Szigeti, the great violinist.
Szigeti got to know Goodman sev-
eral years ago as a result of his vio-
lin recordings which Benny bought
as enthusiastically as the average
jitterbug does Benny's swing classics.
Benny came to see him and admire
his work. Soon Szigeti in-turn found
himself admiring the technique of
this young clarinetist whose name
was synonymous with "swing." He
went to Benny's swing concert at
Carnegie Hall and as a result, per-
suaded his friend, the composer Bela
Bartok, to write a work for the two
of them.
First Benny Goodman paid Szigeti
a visit at the latter's home on the
French Riviera. Szigeti then wrote
to Bartok in Budapest, suggesting
that he compose a work for clarinet
an* violin and asserting that any-
thing that could be played on the
clarinet, Benny Goodman could play!

rr

N .

I

f
JI

JOSEPHL SZIGEJI
His performances, whether in recital or with orchestra, are works of beauty.
Last season he was heard in eleven nation-wide broadcasts; he participated in
eighteen orchestra appearances, and in recitals from New York to Honolulu
and Mexico City.
Joseph Szigeti has been singled out as one of the world's most distinguished
violin virtuosi by composers, critics, fellow musicians, and the people as a whole.
Thursday evening, February 19

I .

- I * W

Joseph Szigeti

SUEL FUERMA
At the age of eleven Emanuel Feuermann made his debut as a violoncellist with
the Vienna Symphony Orchestra. At sixteen he became a professor at the
Conservatory at Cologne. Everywhere he has been pronounced as one of the
foremost living musicians.
After his great success at the 1940 May Festival it was obvious that Ann Arbor
should again be favored by his artistry.

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