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February 27, 1968 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1968-02-27

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Page 1 wo

THE MICHIGAN DA1LY

Tuesdov. Februarv 27. 1968

Page Iwo THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tu .i y iv ..F whrIinv7 {I1 96R

.P

music
New Directions: Sound of Sounds

theatre

'Impossible

Really Is

30OU Waslitenaw, Ph. 434-1782
Between Ypsilanti and.Ann Arbor

By JIM PETERS
It was sound, pure aural sen-
sation, that shook the dust off
the gold leaf in Rackham Aud.
on Saturday night and startled
the unsuspecting audience; no
appreciation of form or har-
mony or strict . counterpoint
seemed very relevant. The
group of performers in the mu-
sic school's Contemporary Di-
rections series dealt with tim-
bre, rhythm and volume only
and these were more than
enough.
Two complex compositions
provided the vehicle: Le Mar-
teau sans Maitre (The Master-
less Hammer) by Pierre Boulez
and Karlheinz Stockhausen's
Kontakte (Contacts). They
represent the differing, yet
modern, methods composers
are using; Boulez in this early
piece stays in the historical
traditions and relies on voice
and instruments, while Stock-
hausen has roamed entrane-
ingly far into the electronic
field.
Boulez's cantata divides into
nine sections around three
poems by Rene Char and is
scored for seven instruments
and alto solo. The parts are
very difficult because - Boulez
uses two seemingly conflicting
techniques in composition. Not
only does he divide a melodic
line between instruments in the
° style of Webern, but individ-
ual instruments also develop
their own lines. And these
styles intertwine, bits of the
whole melodic line of one in-
strument serving to complete a
melody developed in ensemble.
The sound effects are intri-
-cate and fascinating, with
bits and pieces of sounds flash-
ing and turning from one color
to another, jumping from per-
cussion to flute to vocalist.
The things Boulez expects
from a guitar! Byron Dailey
pulled strings and popped notes,
and imitated glissandoes; yet
he was always the musician
performing, playing a "musi-
cal" instrument. It takes skilled
musicians to prevent Boulez's
pointillism from turning into
machine-racket.
The conducting and inter-
pretation of Sydney Hodkin-
son took all Boulez's ~sounds
and made s-re they remained
music. His control of rhythm
seemed to make everyone a bit
too tense in the beginning as
evidenced by the breakneck
speed of the first movement --
faster than I could imagine
anyons performing the com-
plexities in Le Marteau. But
his control was valuable in the
perfect fading of the endings,
each sound drawn-out and let
fade.
But, despite the intricacies
and convoluting form of the
Boulez work, it was paled by
the sheer impact of Stockhau-
sen's Kontakte.
The control center for the
work was sprawled in the aisle

By STEVE WILDSTROM
Tom Ewell closed the perform-
ance of The Impossible Years at
Hill Aud. last night with a five-
minute monologue. While his
jokes were not the cleverest thing
to hit Ann Arbor in recent
months, they did mark the high-
light of a rather dismal evening
of quasi-comedy.
For Ewell fans, the show is
saved from total disaster by his
delivery and, more importantly.
by his foot-shuffling gestures.
But even as polished a performer,
as Ewell is at something of a loss
when required to deal with lines
supplied him by a pair of brassiere
fetishists.
Ewell and accomplices are stuck
with at least four bra lines, in-
cluding gems like: Little sister:
"I don't have a clean bra to wean 2r

sent the writer's attempt to make
the play contemporary and "in
tune." His part as hippie Bar-
tholomew Smuts, a name which
does the writers little credit, is
reminiscent of a type-cast early-
1a~0s beatnik. Tynan kiever talks
L.eiow a shout and jabbers ava v
in '50's-like jazz jargon and gen-
e-:ally makes an ass of himself,
much to the discomfiture o peo-
ple who have daily contact with
r'eal-life hippies.
Eric James. as Ewell's collabor-
ator on -a book about teenagers
another of the play's clever de-
vices), is hopeless. Apparently,

the character he plays, who ends
up as Ewell's son-in-law, is in-
tended to be some sort of dip.
Yet his execution of the r,1e is so
flawed that it is impossible to
tell where the insipid oharactec
ends and gte insipid acting brns.
Even had Impossible Years bee)
the best of comedies, it is doubt-
fil mrat it could have mi.'n corn-
pletely successful at HI 'he
P ofessional Theatre Program s
att mpt to bring plays to large
a idiences is commendable but,
aespite Hill's outstanding quai-
ties Ps a concert hall, it just is
not a theatre.

In Iv,. *(l;nLtJK sndlF'NQ
Wed.. S;-t.. Sun. 1.-5-7-9.
.Mon_ I*rus., r~hur., Fri., 7-9

WJBK-TV Censors Seeger
Detroit television station WJBK tertainers blacklisted from the

"Electronic music... is difficult to comprehend in any overview.. ."

behind my seat: two huge am-
plifiers, . a professional tape
deck, snares of wires - all
connected to four huge speak-
er systems glowering, analytic-
ally positioned, around Rack-
ham.
And this is the other road
music has taken, the other
idea, of moving on beyond in-
struments and human skills to
something which I'd dare to
call "pure sound." But where
and how this "tradition" in so
short a time? Names such as
Cage and Varese come to mind,
pioneers convinced that music
can only remain relevant by
using contemporary forms. But
they are also artists fascinat-
ed by the new possibilities of
actually creating sound.
Imagine charging armies and
stampeding elephants and the
sound of numming-bird wings
and the growl of shoelaces and
the splatter of cracking ice
coming from all sides, or pass-
ing from back to front or side
to side.
Imagine all these, yet think
of none of them; for Stockhau-
sen's tape does not flash real
sounds across the aural screen.
Rather, they are frequencies
and distortions and mechanic
onomatopoeia. Don't think of
life images because electronic
music removes the crutch in
appreciating music which links
all enjoyment to recognizing
human experience contained in
sound.
On stage were William Al-
bright and Jerome Hartweg,

each surrounded by a barri-
cade of percussion instruments.
Albright maneuvered between
piano, gourds and foot-played
cymbals, while Hartweg played
seven timpani, wooden chimes,
snare drum, gongs, wooden
logs and xylophone. Running
around on stage they shared
the duties of striking two huge
gongs.
By the end of the piece they
both looked exhausted, for each
had executed gymnastic con-
tortions in stretching to reach
every instrument. Their sense
of rhythm and timing live up
to the demands imposed by the
computer-like score, but as the
tempo grew faster and faster
near the end, their occasional
slips were reminders that there
is indeed a difference between
man and machine.
Electronic music such as this
is difficult to comprehend in
any overview. Certainly it can
evoke individual emotions by
its piling-on of sounds and vol-
umes, but to discuss it as mu-
sic requires the perspective of
"sound." Playing one sound

against another, tone clusters.
real and artificial, the compos-
er derives form from harmon-
ic contrasts and differentia-
tion of timbres.
Electronic music uses sound
as an end, an inevitable, neces-
sary combination of pure
sounds. It is an attempt at pure
expression which must be un-
derstood in terms of form rath-
er than content, since any rec-
ognizable relation to human ex-
perience is missing.
The audience was smiling
the whole time Kontakte was
performed. At first I thought
it was derisive laughter, but I
found myself smiling, too. And
it was because I was thrilled;
each new sound was really new,
demanding me to experience it,
to attempt some kind of cata-
loguing of sensations.
In the 18th century when
Bach tempered the chromatic
scale, little did he know what
would follow. His tw2lve notes
passed eventually into myriad
quarter-tones, and now have
stretched into the infinity of
electricity.

Big sister: "Why don't you t ry (Channel 2) edited out part of
a band-aid?" Pete Seeger's performance on
"The Smothers Brothers Comedy
Situation comed:y stands or falls Hour" Sunday because station ex-
on writing and the team of Bob ecutives felt a verse of one of his
Fisher and Arth'ur Marx offers songs was in bad taste.
very little. Their approach to sex The station inserted a comrner-
is particularly disturbing. "Risque"
lines, surprisingly tame by c- cial in place of the last verse of
temporary thealre standards, are Seeger's anti-war song, "Big Mud-
thrown in with a lee: and the cast d." Station WJIM (Channel 6),
stands around snickering lamely another CBS-affiliate in Lansing
while the audience sits around in carried the full song.
embarassment. The play is smutty WJBK General Manager Larry
in the truest sense. Carino said the decision to cut the
verse, which is about President
Ewell's talents are further hin Johnson, was "a matter of tasty."
dered by a supportingr cast which, The song, Carino said, refers to
despite impressive credentials, the President as "a big fool."
seems to have come straight from He said the decision was in no
a high school senior production. way political but that the cut was
Michaele Meyers, psychiatris t made because the song was a slur
Ewell's long-suffering wife. is in "on the office of the President of
stiff contrast to Ewell's relaxed the United States." If a similar
style. She suffers stylisticaLy, I situation arose in the future,
sighs stylistically and is happy Carino said he would do the same
stylistically, doing a b s o l u t e 1 y thing.
nothing naturally. Considerable controversy was
Lynn Bilek, as -The Teenrge raised several months ago when it
Daughter who causes Impossible was learned that CBS has refused
Years for her parents, is supposed to let Seeger sing the song on the,
to develop during the course of show and had also censored sev-
the play from Teenage Girl to eral skits with political references.
Young'Wife. The only things she Carino said phone calls to the
does to make the development station had been numerous and
convincing is change clothes and predominantly opposed to the sta-
lose her virginity. tion's editing of the song. He de-
Connie Otto is the perfect pre- clined to disclose the number of
cocious brat as the younger complaints the station had re-
daughter. Unfortunately, she fails ceived.
totally to develop beyond the con- Seeger's initial appearance on
ventional stereotype of the role. the Smothers show last fall was
Bearded William Tynan, who the first time he had been on
has performed with the highly- television in over 15 years. In the
acclaimed American Shakespeare early fifties, he was one of a
Festival Theatre, seems to repre- ' number of na'tionally known en-
The "DARLING" of
"DOCTOR ZHIVAGO"

networks during the McCa tily in-
vestigations.
At that time, Seeger was called
to testify before a congressional
investigating committee. When-
ever any of the committee mem-
bers asked him a question, Seeger
would strum his guitar once and
say nothing. Finally, the com-
mittee members threatened him
with being charged with contempt
of c(,mimittee.
His reply: "Sir, I have nothing
but contempt for this committee."

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1968-1969
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