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March 27, 1949 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1949-03-27

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Choral Group
'Will Be Led
By Johnson
When Thor Johnson comes to
the University as one of the fou
conductors of the May Festival
he'll be on home grounds-where
he organized the Little Symphon
in 1938 and served as Choral Un-
ion conductor.
Johnson, who will temporarily
leave his duties as conductor of
the Cincinnati Symphony to dir-
ect the Friday night and Sunday
afternoon May Festival concerts.
is the youngest conductor of a
major symphony in the United
* * *
BORN IN Wisconsin in 1913,
Johnson later moved to North
Carolina and did his first con-
ducting at the age of 13. He grad-
uated from the University of
North Carolina, a member of Phi
Beta Kappa and conductor of the
Carolina Ensemble. He was also
appointed assistant conductor of
the North Carolina State Sym-
Johnson first came to the
University in 1934 to get his
Master's degree in music. While
here, he was awarded a scholar-
ship providing two years of
study in Europe, but was a
member of the School of Music
faculty for a year before going
In Europe, Johnson studied un-
der Felix Weingarten and Bruno
Walter, and returned to the Uni-
versity in 1938 as assistant pro-
fessor of music.
IT WAS then that he organized
the University Little Symphony
which successfully toured the
country under his baton. He be-
came conductor of the May Fcsti-
val in 1940, as well as the Univer-
sity Symphony and the Grand
Rapids Symphony.
Johnson. had to interrupt his
musical, career briefly when he
went into the Army. He soon
resumed his musical activities
however, and organized the first
soldier symphony orchestra in
the Army.
During his service days, he was
also guest conductor of the New
York Philharmonic, the Boston
Symphony, the Chicago Sym-
phony and the Philadelphia Or-
Now completing his second sea-
son as conductor of the Cincinnati
Symphony, Johnson returns to the
University each Spring to lead the
Choral Union through the May
* * *
Choral Union
To Premiere
Gomer Work
Group Will Present
Three Choral Works
The Choral Union will celebrate
its seventieth birthday this year
with the world premiere of "Gloria
in Excelsis" at the fifth festival
concert at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, May
Guest conductor Thor Johnson
will lead the Choral Union chorus
in its singing of the traditional
mass text to the harmonic back-
ground provided specially for the
1949 festival by Llewelyn Gomer
Gomer is a young Welsh-Ameri-

can composer at Michigan State
THE PREMIERE piece marks
the latest addition to the group's
almost complete list of choral
works. When the group started,
as a 40-member coalition of local
church choirs, its repertoire con-
sisted of Handel's "Messiah."
Before the endof the first sea-
son, however, the group broaden-
ed its interests and in the second
year grew to 300 voices, the pres-
ent size.
Lester McCoy, the society's as-
sociate conductor, grooms the
chorus throughout the year for
its two big performances at the
May Festival and the annual
nre-Christmas presentation of


May Festival Programs
May 5-8

Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
Soloist: Set Svanholm, Tenor
All-Wagner Program
Prelude to "Parsifal"
"Gralserzahlung" from "Lohengrin"
Rome Narrative from "Tannhauser"
Set Svanholm
Alberich's Invocation of the from "Das
Nibelungs; Entrance of the Rheingold"
Gods into Valhalla
Siegfried's Funeral Music from
Siegmund's Monologue from "Die Walkure"
"Wintersturme" from "Die Walkure"
Forging Song from "Siegfried"
Mr. Svanholm
Prelude to Act III; Dance of the Apprentices;
and Entrance of the Masters from "Die
FRIDAY, MAY 6, 8:30
Thor Johnson, Conductor
University Choral Union
Soloists: Shirley Russell, Soprano
Martial Singher, Baritone
Benno Moiseiwitsch, Pianist

YOUTHFUL WARBLERS--Pictured above are tour of the 400
Youth Chorus members who will sing in the Saturday afternoon
May Festival concert. The Perry School students, left to right,
are Sylvia Thomas, Jacquie Jaques, Harlan Haywood and Stan
Larmee. Mrs. Marguerite Smith is shown accompanying the
quartet on the piano.
* * * *
l esi
Uhold Festival T'radition

Eugene' Ormandy, Conductor
Soloist: Gladys Swarthout, Mezzo-soprano
Theme and variations for Orchestra,
Op. 43b . . . . . . . . . Schonberg
"Ah, Spietato" from "Amadigi" '. . Handel
"Art thou troubled," from "Rodelinda" Handel
"Per lui che adoro" from "L'Italiana
in Algeri"'.G.dys......... . Rossini
Gladys Swarthout
E se un giorno Tornasse . . . . Respighi
Bailero: Malurous qu'o uno fenno; and
Brezairola . . . . . . . . Canteloube
El Vito... .... ....Obradors
Miss Swarthout
Waltzes from "Der Rosenkavalier" . Strauss
SUNDAY, MAY 8, 2:30
Thor Johnson, Conductor
University Choral Union
Shirley Russell, Soprano
Harold Haugh, Tenor
Tann Williams, Contralto
Martial Singher, Baritone
Gregor Piatigorsky, Violoncellist
Concerto in B minor for Violoncello and
Orchestra.... .. . . . . Dvorak
Gregor Piatigorsky
Choros No. 10, "Rasga O Coracao" Villa-Lobos
"Gloria in Excelsis" world premiere) . Gomer
Choral Union and Soloists
Mary McCall Stubbins, Organist
SUNDAY, MAY 8, 8:30
Eugene Ormandy, Conductor
Soloist: Pia Tassinari, Soprano
Adagio for Strings. . . . . . . Barber
"O del mio dolce ardor" from "Paride
ed Elena".... . . . : Gluck
"Deh vieni" from "Nozze di Figaro" . Mozart
"Stizzoso, o mio stizzoso" from "La Serva
Padrona" . ...... Pergolesi
Pia Tassinari
"Voi lo sapete" from "Cavalleria
Rusticana".... .... ..Mascagni
"L'altra notte in fondo al mare" from
"Mefistofele"... . . Boito
Primavera. ... . . . Tirindelli
Miss Tassinari
Symphony No. 4 in F minor . . Tchaikovsky

Musical Society
To Present 56th
Annual Program
Ph iladelpihia Symphony, Soloists
Two Choruses Will Perform Here
Ten major soloists. four conductors, two choruses and the Phila-
delphia Symphony Orchestra will combine to present the 1949 May
Festival on May 5, 6, 7 and 8 in Hill Auditorium.
The fifty-sixth annual Festival will climax a series of 18 concerts
and two performances of Handel's "Messiah" presented this year by
the University Musical Society.
* * * *
THE FOUR-DAY Festival will bring five soloists to Ann Arbor
for the first time--Pia Tassinari, soprano; Shirley Russell, soprano;
Tann Williams, contralto; Martial Singher, baritone; and Benno
Moiseiwitsch, pianist.
t_ _ A Metropolitan Opera soprano

Overture to "Prometheus" .
Concerto No. 3 for Piano and
Orchestra .


Benno Moiseiwitsch

Ann Arbor youngsters have been
disproving the old adage, "chil-
dren should be . seen and not
heard" for 35 years years now.
The Youth Chorus has become
a firmly established May Festival
tradition. This year, 400 fifth and
Bach After
Gregor Piatigorsky, called "the
greatest 'cellist of our day" by
Serge Koussevitzky, will return to
Ann Arbor after an absence of
five years to participate in the
Sunday afternoon program of the
May Festival.
The Russian born virtuoso has
played more concerts in this coun-
try and Canada than any other
cellist since he first came here in
A VETERAN performer here in
both Festivals and concerts, Piati-
gorsky was born in Dnepropetrovsk
in 1903. His musical gifts were so
extraordinary that he was play-
ing in public at the age of six,
and at 15 he was engaged as first
'cellist of the Imperial Opera in
With the coming of the rev-
olution, Piatigorsky made his
way to Poland, then Germany.
After a brief butbitter struggle
with poverty, his talents were
recognized and he found him-
self rocketing to fame.
On tour, Piatigorsky uses a fab-
ulous 'cello made by Domenico
Montagnana in 1739, one of the
most valuable 'celli in the world.
No one else is allowed to play his
unique Montagna because Piati-'
gorsky believes that an instru-
ment "adopts" the character of
anyone who uses it.

sixth graders will sing a lieder
cycle of eleven art songs with the
Saturday afternoon concert.
* * *
GROOMING 400 young indivi-
duals for the concert stage sounds
like a nerve-racking job, but Miss
Marguerite Hood, conductor, man-
ages to take the whole thing in her
"The children are often as
temperamental as primadonnas,
but they always come through
with a fine performance," Miss
Hood said.
At the first mass rehearsal the
young songsters are awe-stricken.
"They can't seem to focus their
attention on anything but my arm
movements which seem to fasci-
nate them," Miss Hood explained.
It doesn't take long for them to
gain confidence though, she add-
"OUR MOST distasteful job is
in curbing some of their abundant
enthusiasm," Miss Hood said. The
time children seem to like best in
the concert is when they applaud,
and they have to be restrained
from clapping between symphony
It's a great temptation for the
See YOUTH CHORUS, page 2
3' 3, ',,pg
Lieder Cycle
The "Lieder Cycle" which will
be performed by the Youth Chorus
in the Saturday afternoon pro-
gram has been orchestrated by
Dorothy Jamnes. of the music fac-
ulty of Michigan State Normal
College in Ypsilan ti.
Miss Jaynes has orchest rated art
songs of Wolf, Schuml nn. Schu-
bert, Brahms and Mozart specially
for this performance. The works
were assembled and translated into
English by Miss Hood.
Miss James has done similar
work at previous May Festivals.

Requiem........ .......ahms
Choral"Union. Shirley Russell, and
Martial Singher
Alexander Hilsberg and
Marguerite Hood, Conductors
Festival Youth Chorus
Soloist: Erica Morini, Violinist
Overture to "The Bartered Bride" . Smetana
Lieder Cycle (orchestrated by Dorothy James)
Youth Chorus
Symphony No. 40 in G minor . Mozart

Concerto in D minor for Violin
Orchestra.. . . . .
Erica Morini


Festival Includes Wide Range of Works

Almost every form of composi-
tion and period in musical history.
will be represented in this year's
May Festival, which includes an
all-Wagner program and a world
The works to be performed range
in time from Palestrina to Hinde-
mith, and in style from Mozart to
ONE OF THE highlights of the
festival will be Brahms' great
"Deutsches Requiem" for sopra-
no, baritone, chorus and orchestra.
One of the most profound works
of choral literature, it has become
universally popular since its first
performance in Leipzig in 189.
Another choral work to be
performed by the Choral Union
is Choros No. 10, "Rasga O Cor-
acao" by the contemporary Bra-
zilian Heitor Villa-Lobos.'
This composition, a colorful
"serenade" sung in Portugese and
primitive Indian dialect with
South American melodies and eso-
teric rhythms, will be given its
first May Festival performance.
* * *
THE WORLD premiere of

"Gloria in Excelsis" by the young
Welsh-American Llywelyn Gomer
will be a featured part of the
Gomer composed the work at
Michigan State College; it was
completed this year for the May
Festival. Scored for eight-part
chorus and orchestra, it pro-
vides a rich and powerful har-
monic background to accom-
pany the traditional text of the
A lieder cycle consisting of 11
No tie
ON TIME-Evenings at 8:30
and afternoons at 2:30 p.m.
during the numbers.
CAL SOCIETY reserves the
right to make such changes
in programs or personnel as
may be necessary.
BOOKS containing analyses
will be on sale in the lobby{
before each concert.

art songs by Mozart, Schubert,
Schumann, Wolf and Brahms is
the other major choral work. It
was especially orchestrated for the
May Festival by the gifted com-
poser, Dorothy James.
* * *
BEST-KNOWN of the orches-
tral works to be played is Mo-
zart's Symphony No. 40, one of
three he composed in six weeks
during his last year. Written in
the key of G Minor, which appar-
ently had deep significance for
Mozart, the symphony is often
cited as the supreme example of
profound feeling embodied in ex-
tremely classical form.
Tschaikowsky's Symphony No.
4, in F Minor, was composed
during a period of recuperation
after the abysmal failure of his
threemonths' marriage. It is
nevertheless one of his most
famous compositions.
The Dvorak Concerto in B
Minor for Violoncello, one of his
most diffuse yet inventive works,
is the one of which Brahms said:
"Why did nobody tell me that
one could write a 'cello concerto
like this?"

** *
Sink Tells--
Following is the annual May
Festival message from Charles A.
Sink, president of the University
Musical Society:
A word of greeting:
For the fifty-sixth consecutive
season, the Board of Directors of
the University Musical Society,
submits to the members of the
University, to the community as
a whole and to the country at
large, programs for the six con-
certs of the May Festival. An im-
posing list of performers, support-
ed by three major ensemble
groups, will present works of twen-
ty-four composers representing the
classic, romantic and contempo-
rary periods.
Of the ten soloists, five are new
to the Festival. Four have been
heard in pre-Festival concerts, and
one has been heard both at the
Festival and in concert.
The world-premiere of an im-
portant choral work will take
place. Several works will be pre-
sented for the first time by the
University Musica y Society, and
several of the other compositions
have not been heard in these
concerts in recent years.
The Board of Directors, first of
all, are desirous of maintaining
high artistic standards, worthy of
a great university, in all of their
endeavors. Opportunities are pro-
vided, particularly for the large
student population, as well as the
community. of hearing a wide va-
ri ety of compositions representing
the best efforts of composers of
recognized standing, whose works
have either survived the vicissi-
tudes of time; or give promise of
being remembered in the future.
The Board further trusts that
its efforts may meet with the
hearty approval of those who may
attend, and that the audiences may
feel that the Festival is making a
definite contribution to the sub-
stantial development of musical
culture in its most laudable tra-
ditions on a wide front--ever bear-
ing in mind the legend of the
Society's founding fathers, "Ars

and wife of the famous Ferruclo
Tagliavini, Mme Tassinari will
sing two groups of operatic aras
at the closing concert Sunday
Shirley Russell, an American so-
prano currently associated with
the Royal Opera at Covent Gar-
den, London, will be heard twice
-in the Brahms "Requiem" Fi-
day night, and in the world pre-
miere of Llewelyn Gomer's "Gl1or-
la", Sunday afternoon.
American contralto with a distin-
guished record in oratorio and re-
cital, will join Miss Russell in the
Gomer work Sunday afternoon.
Martial Singher, leading
French baritone at the Metro-
politan Opera, will make his
first appearance here in
Brahms' "Requiem" and will
also sing in the Gomer choral
Fifth of the newcomers is the
dynamic Russian - born pianist,
Benno Moiseiwitsch. He will per-
form Beethoven's Concerto No. 3,
under the baton of Thor Johnson,
Friday night.
FIVE SOLOISTS already famil-
iar to local audiencs will include
Gladys Swarthout, glamorous
American mezzo-soprano, who has
sung in Ann Arbor on two prev-
ious occasions. She will present
two groups of arias and songs at
the Saturday evening concert.
See TEN SOLOISTS, page 3
Set Svanhohn
In AllwWagne~r
Concert Here
Swedish Met Star
To Initiate Festival
The Metropolitan Opera's Swed-
ish tenor, Set Svanholm, will sing
in the opening performance of the
May Festival at 8:30 p.m. Thurs-
The handsome Swede who
switched from baritone to tenor
to sing Radames in Verdi's "Aida,"
will present a complete program
of Richard Wagner's compositions.
"Gralserzahlung" from "Lohen-
grin," the Rome Narrative from
"Tannhauser," Sigmund's Mono-
logue and "Wintersturme" from
"Die Walkure" and the forging
song from "Siegfried" are sched-
uled to be rendered by Svanholm.
Although he has been heard
chiefly in Wagnerian roles,
Svanholm can by no means be
He has been acclaimed for his
Radames role at the Metropolitan
and for Otello in San Francisco.
Paradoxically he began his career
as an organist and choir master
and subsequently as a music
IN STOCKHOLM, he sang in
addition to Wagnerian parts, roles
in "Carmen," "Trovatore," "Il
Pagliacci," "Samson and Delilah"
and "Fidelio."
A recognized authority in
Wagerian operas, Svanholm has
been hailed as without enal In

Ormandy, Hilsberg To Direct Symphony
______e , e * *__ ___ ___

The Philadelphia Symphony
Orchestra, the most travelled in
the world, will be the mainstay of
the May Festival for the four-
teenth consecutive year under the
baton of Eugene Ormandy.
When the orchestra has wound
up the Choral Union event, its 110
members will again take to the
road for a widespread tour of the
Rritic Tcip mwith rmandv on-

career in Budapest, where he en-
tered the Royal Academy of
Music at the age of five. As a
violinist, he made a number of
public appearances including
one before Emperor Franz Josef.
A long -cherished ambition was
fulfilled in 1921, when Ormandy
was invited to undertake a concert
tour of the United States. He hap-


His fame had spread so far
in 1931 that he was asked to
head the Minneapolis Sym-
phony when its regular conduc-
tor Henry Verbrughen fell ill in
In the five years which followed,
Ormandy built up the orchestra
technically, meanwhile making a
number of guest conductor ap-
pearnces with the Philadelphia

Receiving his musical education
at the Imperial Conservatory in
St. Petersburg, Hilsberg first went
to Siberia, in 1917, where he
taught in Tomsk. Meanwhile, he
formed a string quartet which
played for both Oriental and Eu-
ropean audiences in China.
* * *
IT WAS there that he made his
first acquaintance with the Phila-

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