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March 19, 1950 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1950-03-19

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TILE MICHIGA -bILY AG TI

iedfival //44is
By HARRIS CROHN
A look at the program of the forthcoming May Festival program
will be enough to convince anyone of its great diversity of styles
and periods, and also of its uniform excellence.
The first concert is a good example of these diversities. Here
we have selections ranging from Couperin to Richard Strauss, and
all of it is music of the very first -rank. Undoubtedly, the. climax of
the evening, however, will be the closing scene from "Salome" by
Strauss.
SALOME HERE ADDRESSES the imprisoned Hebrew who spur-
, ed her advances, and who, as a result, died for it. She crouches,
kneels, grovels on the ground, cursing the unhearing ears, and the un-
seeing eyes of Jokanon, and finally, kisses his cold, and bloody lips.
At that moment, the orchestra surges into a theme of ecstacy, pre-
sumably representing Salome's revolting passion, and breaks off sud-
denly into a terrifying blare of crosses, signifying Salome being crush-
ed under the shields of the guards at her horrified father's order.
Here is a wonderful dramatic piece which is tremendously
difficult to perform effectively. It takes a singer with unlimited
Y breath control and tremendous volume, as well as an orchestra
of the first rank. We are fortunate, then, in having both of these
pre-requisites in the persons of Ljuba Welitch and the Philadel-
phia Orchestra.
A work totally different than "Salome," and in its way quite
as great, and probably more so, is Bach's "Magnificat" in D major.
Whereas Salome is sensational, this is profound; whereas the one is
beastial, and its appeal lies in that very quality, the other is really'
human, and is an expression of faith. Both, in their respective places,
are legitimate works of art and shouldn't even be compared; but
still, one wonders if the Bach, because of its very nature, isn't worth
more than Salome.
SURELY OF GREAT INTEREST will be the All-Russian pro-
gram to hundreds of concert-goers. Two popular compositions -
the Rachmaninoff D minor Concerto, and the Tchaikowsky E minor
Symphony - will be presented. The Rachmaninoff Concerto, al-
though less popular than his Second, is nevertheless a fine melodic,
and well thought out composition. It may be virtuoso music, but vir-
tuosity isn't its goal. The composer was striving to turn out enjoyable
and inspired music, and it seems to this writer that he succeeded
admirably.
As for the Tchaikowsky E minor Symphony, let's not be blase.
True, it is extremely popular, yes, even hackneyed, but that is
the best proof of its greatness. It is inspired from beginning to
end and is masterfully carried out. If you don't believe this just
listen to the first theme of the first movement, and observe what
an astouding metamorphosis it has undergone when we reach
the last movement and it is stated triumphantly in a major key.
This, surely, is great music, whether hackneyed or not.
Turning now to a more contemporary work, we find Mahler's
Kindertotenlieder. Composed of five songs, this work encompasses
a range of emotions from the darkly brooding to that of charming
simplicity. Here, perhaps, Mahler has turned out one of his finest
creations, for the length of each of the lieder makes it impossible
for him to be diffuse, or to strive for empty effects. It isn't easy
music to like on just one hearing, but nevertheless, it grows on you
with repeated hearings.

Artist Adds
His Cadenza
To Concerto
Milstein To Play
Brahms Work
Sparking an all-Brahms pro-
gram, Nathan Milstein will pre-
sent the cadenza he composed for
the Brahms violin concerto in his
Sunday afternoon May Festival
concert.
The Russian-born violin virtu-
oso recently became a naturalized
U.S. citizen. "I esteem my new
citizenship above all honors I have
received in my life," he declared
proudly.
* * *
MILSTEIN made his American
debut in 1929 when he played with
the New York Philharmonic un-
der the baton of Leopold Stokow-
ski. Since the war he has made
two triumphal tours of Europe,
playing at all the great cities, and
at the Lucerne summer festival.
He is among the most sensi-
tive living interpreters of Bett-
hoven's and Bach's violin mu-
sic, according to a leading na-
tional magazine, while fellow-
artist Fritz Kreisler finds him
the greatest of today's younger
generation of violinists.
His quick wits saved the day,
when he recently vied with a bat
for top honors at a performance.
After fighting the winged animal
throughout the concert, only to
have the beast retaliate by pluck-
ing his 'A' string with a stray
wing, the violinist ended his recit-
al with a rousing chorus of "Flight
-of the Bumble-bee" and brought
down the house.
** *
ALTHOUGH MILSTEIN gave
his first recital at the age of ten,
he did not undertake a career as
a "child progidy." Instead he stud-
ied diligently, under such masters
as Leopold Auer in Petrograd un-
til he was 19, when he made his
first concert tour of Russia. His
tour-mate was Vladimir Horowitz,
destined to become one of the
great pianists of his generation.
Also, his water colors were cho-
sen to be included in the first an-
nual exhibition of "Art by Music-
ians." But that means of expres-
sion is in no way a rival to music,"
he declared.
The great popularity of the vio-
linist can be shown by the har-
assed populace of a Canadian town
who skied to his concert when a
tremendous snowfall blocked the
roads.

Opera Star
Jan Peerce
To Perform
Tenor Jan Peerce, .American
trained master of Italian operatic
technique, will appear here in the
third Vfay Festival concert, 2:30
p.m. Saturday, May 6, in Hill Audi-
torium.
Peerce, who is currently in his
ninth season with the Metropoli-
tan Opera, has shattered the tra-
dition of an Italian tenor being
solely the product of Italy, having
never even been abroad.
A NATIVE New Yorker, Peerce
received all his musical training
there, concentrating mostly on the
violin. Aiming towards a medical
degree, Peerce worked his way
through college by playing the
violin. After graduation, however,
he changed his plans and embark-
ed on a singing career.
Peerce is well known for his
versatility. He has appeared on
radio and in the motion pic-
tures, and his recording of the
well-known "Bluebird of Hap-
piness" has sold over a half-
million records.
The turning point in the star's
career came in 1938 when Arturo
Toscanini engaged Peerce as solo-
ist in Beethoven's Chorale Sym-
phony, the top tenor role of the
season.
* * *
IN THE PAST decade he has
had a dozen key assignments with
that maestro, and Toscanini has
termed him his "favorite tenor."
Peerce recently became the first
vocalist in the 73-year history
of New York College of Music to
be accorded an honorary Doctor-
ate of Music degree. He shares
this honor with such other vir-
tuosos as Jascha Heifetz and Fritz
Kreisler.

LIKE GRANDPA DID:

Festival Youth Chorus
To Repeat Original Wor

I3

CARILLONNEUR-Prof. Percival Price sits at a weird keyboard
with two long rows of wooden pegs, which he pounds with his
fists, and another row of foot peddles.
Price To Give Traditional

By LEONARD GREENBAUM
As they sing "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Fletcher mem-
bers of this year's Youth Chorus will bring back fond memories to
their grandparents who sang the same work in the original group in
1913.
The Youth Chorus of 400 school children from Ann Arbor has
become a civic pride and family tradition during its 37 years of
existence.
* * * *
AT THE TURN of the century the idea of a youth choral group
was only a gleam in the Musical Society's eye. When the May Fes-
tival moved out of "U", Hall and into the then recently constructed
Hill Auditorium a stage capable of holding the horde of children wag
available.
Every pupil in the Ann Arbor school system learns part of
the work chosen for the festival. The schools then pick their best
singers to fulfill a specified allotment determined by the enroll-
ment.
Each group practices at their school under the guidance of their
teachers and Marguerite Hood, director.
** * *
THE CHORUS rehearses as a unit approximately ten times prior
to the concert. They rehearse only once with the Philadelphia Orches-
tra and that for forty minutes.
A repeat recital is given by the Youth Chorus as part of the
Public Schools May Festival for the benefit of those parents un
able to attend the original concert.
Though the technical quality of the performance varies from
year to year it remains at a consistently high level and never fails
to inject a warm wholesome atmosphere into the ultra-professional
Festival.
THE LONG ORDEAL of preparing for the concert takes a great
deal of energy and spunk on the part of the children, according to
Miss Hood, conductor of the group.
New Hill Auditorium Far
Cry from Old Concert Stage

Festival Caril
Once again the traditional eve-
ning carillon concert by Prof. Per-
cival Price, University Carillon-
neur, will usher in the May Fes-
tival programs with selections re-
lated to the orchestral pieces.
Composers of carillonmusic
needn't die in the usual garret be-
fore their music is played and
recognized, according to Price, who
is professor of campanology in
the music school.
"NEW BELL MUSIC is given an
immediate hearing," he asserted.
"The biggest part of the job is to
keep abreast of new works." Car-
illon music is all in manuscript
form, he pointed out. He, himself,
is continually writing and arrang-
ing new music.
Price spent two winters in
Europe after World War II help-
ing recover and examine about
5,000 carillon bells stolen from
occupied countries by the Ger-
mans. Bell metal is one-fifth
tin, a very essential war metal.
"Bells were practically the only
source of tin for the enemy,"
he explained. Nazis' confiscat-
ed up to 90 per cent of the bells
in many occupied countries, in-
cluding some rare bells dating
back to the twelfth century. His
book, "Campanology, Europe,"
was published in 1948.
The Charles Baird Carillon in

lon Concerts

Burton Memorial Tower is the six-
th largest in the world, Price stat-
ed. It was made in Loughborough,
England, in 1935. "The best caril-
lons are made in Europe," he said,
"although four or five have been
produced in this country."
TO SOUND THE hours and re-
lease students from classes, a huge
banner hits the E flat bell. It has
the lowest pitch and is the heavi-
est, weighing twelve tons. A light-
weight of 12 pounds has the high-
est tone - A flat - of the 53
bells.

Harpsichord To Be Featured
In 'Magnificat' Orchestration

* * *

*

TO BE PRESENTED are a number of fine modern compositions,
but the one which seems to show the most promise is the Concerto
for Vfola and Orchestra, by the late master, Belo Bartok. This work,
the last Bartok wrote, is said to be radically different from most of
his music, but, nevertheless, tremendous. Not having heard the music,
I couldn't possibly venture any opinion on it, but this I can .say; if
it is half as good as Bartok's other works of his late period, as, for
example, the Concerto for Orchestra, it will be very, very good indeed.

"A harpsichord will augment the
performance of Bach's Magnificat
in an attempt to keep as nearly as
possible to the original orchestra-
tion," Charles A. Sink, head of the
University Musical Society, said.
Using the harpsichord is part of
a modern attempt to rediscover
the treasures of ancient music.
"TO THE MEN who originally
saw the need to play music as it
was originally intended, correct-
ness was not the only motive. They
wanted to be faithful to art," he
added.

Ile went on to explain that the
difference in tone between the
harpsichord and the piano is
largely due to the fact that the
piano has a cloth-covered ham-
mer which hits the strings with
a rotary motion, whereas the
harpsichord has a square jack
which goes up and plucks the
strings.
The harpsichord will be used as
Bach intended when the Univer-
sity Musical Society presents
Bach's "Magnificat."

Audiences that gather for the
fifty-seventh annual May Festival
will be hearing the concerts in a
music hall which can perhaps be
called "finer than the finest in the
world."
For Hill Auditorium, which Ig-
nace Jan Paderewski called "the
finest music hall in the world,"
was improved and renovated last
summer to provide even finer
acoustics and greater audience
comfort than before.
* * *
THE NEW HILL is a far cry
from old University Hall, where
the first May Festivals were held.
The old auditorium held 2500
people, while Hill Auditorium
holds nearly 5000. On occasions,
concertsat Hill have been at-
tended by approximately 6000
persons, counting standees.
It was in 1894 that Dr. Albert A.
Stanley, in association with James
B. Angell, President of the Univer-

University Musical Society's board
of directors, took a bold forward
step. For the annual closing or-
chestral concert of a series which
it provided with the Choral Un-
ion, the board substituted a series
of three concerts and designated
it the "First Annual May Festi-
val."
THE BOSTON Festival Orches-
tra, directed by Emil Mollenhauer,
was invited to Ann Arbor for
the event. The University Choral
Union, under the direction of Dr.
Stanley, performed Verdi's "Man-
zoni" Requiem. Important New
York soloists participated.
This event, the first major
musical gatherig in these parts,
was a great success. Music-
lovers from far and near flocked
to Ann Arbor, ,and University
Hall was packed to overflowing.
The following season four con-

sity, and other members of the certs were given.

-- -

These MAY FESTIVAL concerts include

FOUR

GREAT

CHORAL,

WORKS

by BACH, BRAHMS, FLETCHER and PETER MENNIN

Friday, May 5, 8:30
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor
University Choral Union
Soloists:
NORMA HEYDE, Soprano
BLANCHE THEBOM, Mezzo-soprano
HAROLD HAUGI, Tenor
MACK HARRELL, Baritone
WILLIAM PRIMROSE, Viola
ALEXANDER HILSBERG, Violin
WILLIAM KINCAID, Flute
JAMES WOLFE, Piano
PROGRAM
"Brandenburg" Concerto No. 5, for
Piano, Violin, Flute and Strings .... BACH
Don Quichotte a Dulcince"......... RAVEL
MAcK HARRELL
Concerto for Viola and Orchestra. . . BARTOK
WILLIAM PRIMROSE
INTERMISSION
"Magnificat" in D major. . ... . BACH
CHORAL UNION AND SOLOISTS
ALICE LUNDGERSHAUSEN, Harpsichord

Saturday, May 6, 2:30
ALEXANDER HILSBERG and
MARGUERITE HOOD, Conductors
Festival Youth Chorus
Soloist:
JAN PEERCE, Tenor
PROGRAM
Overture to "Benvenuto Cellini". . ..BERLIOZ
"The Walrus and the Carpenter".. FLETcHER
YOU1t CHORUS
"No, oh iDio" from "Alceste"..... .HANDEL
love H as Eyes ....................uiwio
"Enjoy the Sweet Elysian Grove"
from "Alceste" ... . . . ....... . . .HANDEL
JAN PEERCE
INTERMISSION
Tomb Scene from "Lucia di
Lammermoor"................ DONIZETTI

Sunday, May 7, 2:30
THOR JOHNSON, Conductor
University Choral Union
Soloist:
NATHAN MILSTEIN, Violinist
PROGRAM
"Schicksalslied" (Song of Destiny),
Op. 54.......................BRAHMS
"Ihe Cycle," Symphony No. 4 for
Chorus and Orchestra . ....PETER MENNIN
tCHORAL UNION
INTERMISSION
Concerto in D major, Op. 77, for
Violin and Orchestra............BRAHMS
Allegro non troppo
Adagio
Allegro giocoso, ma non troppo vivace
NATHAN MILSTEIN .

BLANCHE THEBOM
soprano, will sing in
Bach's "Magnificat"
Friday, May 5, at 8:30

") Paradiso" from "L'Africana" . .MEYERBEER
MR. PEERCE

11

ii

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