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March 04, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-03-04

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Wednesday, March 4, 1970

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, March 4, 1970




Following upon their success
with Handel's Theodora, Van-
guard has now released the first
recorded performance of Han-
del's last oratoria, Jephtha.
Written in a span of eight
months, with a break of three
months due to Handel's failing
eyesight and health, and re-
ceiving its first performance in
1752, Jephtha is based very,
loosely upon Chapter XI of
Judges, with new dramatis per-
sonae added and lines of Mil-
ton, Pope and others inserted by
the librettist Rev. Thomas Mor-
ell. Jephtha, illegitimate and
exiled, returns to lead the Is-
raelites in victory over the hos-
tile Ammonites. Before going
to battle, Jephtha, trying to
quell his own vainglory ("my
crested helm to reach the
skies"), promises to sacrifice
to God the first person he sees
upon a triumphant return. Need-
less to say, the first to meet his
eye is his most beloved (virgin)
daughter, Iphis.
Despite promotional adver-
tising and annotator W i n t o n
lean's efforts that would have
us believe that Jephtha is a
"neglected masterpiece," t h e
music itself reveals what PR
-words try to hide: there is little
of Handel's genius here. His
gift for melody and for expres-
sive instrumentation which he
revealed early in the Chandos
Anthems, which weaves through
the Opus 6 Concerti Groasi and
the" Organ Concerti, and which
culminates in 1742 in the Mes-
siah - a work in which every
number is original and engaging
- has sorely waned by the time
o Jephtha. Even Theodora,
composed in 1749, shows a dilu-
l ion' In strength.
In our allegiance to an artist
vho has provided us with mo-
ments of great aesthetic pleasure,
we too often strive to rank every
work of equal, or at least high,
merit. It thus becomes com-
- mon practice to say of a com-
poser's late and often feebler
works that they show a "mel-
lowing" (e.g. lack of thematic
tension) or a loftiness of intent
(e.g. monochromatic religlo-
-sity). The more youthful vigor
with which Handel animated O
earlier Biblical oratorios would-
seem to have given way to a
style in which the didactic in-
tent has excised spirit from the
spiritual. The cutting edge of
Handel's sense of drama has
teen blunted.
;Such criticism does not imply
that there is but little to ad-
inire in Jephtha; it does imply
however that the music is less
gripping, less "Handelian" in the
sense we associate with his com-
position of the first half of the
eighteenth century. Jephtha is
nothing if not a dramatic work,
but the drama and the music is
fairly static and monolithic, and
not conducive, at least to my
tastes, to absorbing at one sit-
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publication. - F o r more informa-
tion, phone 764-4270.

Day Calendar
Student Relations Comm. Mtg.: Fund-
ing of IM Bldg., Council Em., SAB,
10 a.m.
Statistics Seminar: M. . Jirina,
"Branching Processes", 2433 M a s o n
Hall, 4:00 p.m.
Physics Colloq.: T. Dunn, "Nuc-
lear Hyperfine Effects" P&A Colioq.
Em., 4:00 p.m.
. Botany Seminar: A. H. Smith,
"Thoughts on 'the Origin and Evolu-
tion of the Fleshy Basidomycetes" 1139
Nat. Sci. Bldg., 4:15 p.m.
General Notices
Society of the Sigma Xi Dinner for
Initiates: Dr.. A. S. Sussman, "Food and
the Future," Mar. 11! dinner, 6:30 p.m.;
lecture, 8:00 p.m. is open to the pub-
lic; today last day to send checks
($4.50) for dinner to Sigma Xi, Lack-
ham Bldg.
Nuclear Colloq.: W. P. Beres, Wayne
State "competing Modes of Nuclear
Excitation In Ti 51", P&A Colloq.
Em., Mar. 5, 4:00 p.m.
(Continued on Page 6)

last oratorio

'Cactus Flower': Putting Broadway on film

Many of the choruses are quite
stirring, especially that which
begins: "No more to Ammon's
god and king." Yet emphasis in-
evitably and rightly falls to the
attempted delineation of char-
acters. Jephtha proclaims nob-
ly and heroically, and his wife
Storge, fearful of the tragedy
she intuits, has been given in-
teresting arias in which t h e
music well describes her waver-
ing between devotion ("In gen-
tle murmurs will I mourn") and
anxiety ("Scenes of horror,
scenes of woe"). Iphis and her
lover Hamor have a pleasant,
idyllic duet. On the whole, how-
ever, I do not feel that the
music supports Mr. Dean's con-
tention that "the characteriza-
tion is masterly." The characters
seldom- thrust through their
type-masks. Furthermore, cer-
tain lovely moments, such as the.
Angel's "Rise Jephtha," are ex-
tended in duration beyond a
point where the music supports
Vanguard has gathered a
truly outstanding cast for this
premiere recording. Alexander
Young delivers Jephtha's redl-
tatives and arias with a precis-
ion and expressiveness that we
have come to expect from this
fine oratorio singer. Reri Grist,
who made her Met -debut in
1966, sings the role of Iphis with
an appropriate innocence that
recalls her slightly lustier Zer-
lina. As Storge, Helen W a t t s
makes the most of what per-
sonality lies in the role, and
Maureen Forrester as Hamor
is her usual lugubrious self -
' which implies excellence if you -
favor her special thick sound.
Bass John Lawrenson and boy
soprano Simon Woolf are both
Johannes Somary, Director of
the Amor Artis Chorale in New
York when not recording for'
Vanguard, achieves with his
singers and with the English
Chamber Orchestra a crisper
and tighter ensemble and pace
than he did in Theodora. (I
cannot help but feel-sacreligi-
ous as it might sound-that Sir
Thomas Beecham's baton-scis-
sors would have worked won-
ders.) On their medium-priced

Cardinal series, Vanguard has
provided the clean sound asso-
ciated with the Dolby process,
though choruses lack a certain
Other recent records of note:
For the Connoisseur Society
label, Joao Carlos Martins, a
young Brazilian pianist who has
already made a splendid record-
ing of the Ginastera concerto,
has begun his version of Bach's
Well-Tempered Clavier. On CS-
2014, he offers Book 1, Preludes
and Fugues 1-8 in a style that
might be described as lying half-
way between the metronomic
exegeses of Glenn Gould and
,the atmospheric strumming of.
Edwin Fischer. Martins opts for.
the melody rather than the,
arching structure in every case,
but he by no me-ns muddles
structure at any time. His touch
is warm and lingering, and he
is obviously more interested in
the beauty of the music than in
the abilities of his techniques.
With so many assaults on Bach
these days, it may be impossible
or even ridiculous to worry over
authenticity; I can only say that
Martin's interpretations are very
lovely-a healthy blend of mind
and heart. Connoisseur Society"
has provided excellent sound.
Carlo Maria Giulini conducts
the Philharmonia Orchestra (on.
Seraphim S-60101) in a per-;
formance of Brahms' Symphony
No. 3 that combines a Tosca-
nini-like excision of lard with
a largesse that never becomes
over done. Giulini reveals many
inner voices I have not been
aware of before without sacri-
ficing drama and drive. In a
word, Giulini's Brahm's Third
is exciting, a ' quality one does
not often associate with the

The comedy of complications
-"Oh! What have I gotten my-
self into! "-seems to be a per-
manent fixture on the Broadway
stage. The names are changed,
the situations re-located, but
the same plays keep coming
back at us. And even though
everyone in the theatre knows
exactly how the thing is going
to turn out, they are charmed
by its mad momentum.
Cactus Flower, now playing
at the Michigan Theatre, ad-
mirably follows the tradition.
Anyone who can't foresee the
denouement after the first fif-
teen minutes deserves a job in
the Nixon Cabinet. The com-
plications involve'- Dr. Julian
Winston (Walter Matthau), a
dentist who has kept his girl-
friend Toni (Goldie Hawn) off
the subject of marriage by tell-
ing her he was already married.
But when he decides to right his
errant ways and marry her, she
demands to see the wife we
know doesn't exist. So, Julian
convinces his devoted nurse of
ten years, Stephanie Dickinson
(Ingrid Bergman), to pose as his
misses. Now,.you fill in the rest.
The idea is not especially up-
roarious, but the film is very,
very likable, and considering

what has been in Ann Arbor re-
cently, that's a hell of a lot.
Matthau is perfect as the man
"waltzing in cement." While
Ingrid Bergman lacks the sting-
ing sarcasm of Lauren Bacall,
she is credible. The real scene-
stealer, however, is doe-eyed
Goldie Hawn. Surprised? She's
ten times as cuddly as Charmin'
tissue, and receives the high
accolade of being added to my
list of vicarious screen romances.
The problem is: She's so won-
derful, it's hard to believe any-
one could fall out of love with
Cactus Flower is a very solid
film, the kind of thing Holly-
wood used to do twenty-five
years ago, and the kind of thing
Broadway has never stopped do-
ing Gene Saks' direction is ade-
quate and never messy. And the
lighting, and cinematography
by veteran Charles Lang has the
stolid feel of the days when
Eisenhower rode high in his golf
cart, the studios were going full
blast, and technically, movies
all looked the same.
I hope you forgive me for ex-
ercising my cold critical judg-
ment on as cute a movie as
this, but I do find one weakness
-Igor Sullivan played by Rick

Lenz. Igor is Toni's next door
neighbor, and you can figure
out where he fits in on the love
rectangle. His performance is
incredibly weak, which disturbed
me, because I really hated to ;
see anyone get hitched up to
him. I mean, how can you have
a happy ending when one of the
romances is with the sort of fel-
low you wouldn't want your
sister to take home?
If you can overlook that, and
I think you can, you'll, love
Cactus Flower. Who can resist

After leveling a blast at shorts
last week, I must give the Mich-
igan Theatre credit. The Na-
tional Film Board of Canada
production Boomsville, which
showed with Viva Max, was
wonderfully intelligent. A 1 a n
Arkin's People Soup, playing
with Cactus Flower, is one of
the finest shorts I've seen in a
long spells The Campus and
State should take note. If you
can't have good films, at least
have good shorts.

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Watch the future hit you smack in the Lace before you're prepared.
Hear it live on HARVEST.
Record & Tape. Serving the U.S. Music Industry For Under A Year.

The dreddtd bDtato
produced by, directed by,° and starring.

1. ROY HARPER, c. timeless. Big & Bawdy Raver, Poet-Singer.
Filler of the Albert Hall. Beguiler of women. Whimsical.
Master of parody. Enormously popular in England. Imminent
tour of the U.S. Equipped with guitar and strange wit. About
records in general he says: "This generation's got a problem
on its hands in this society -how to waste our time. Scne of
us really kill it." About amplification: "Ego. It's never right.
It's never geared to people who've got something to say. It's
geared to the people who've got a lot of noise to make."
Roy Harper has something to say.... FLAT BAROQUE AND
2. FOURTH WAY, c. 1975. Roots going back and forth.
CHANGES called Fourth Way a "REAL super group." They're
devoted musicians. Between them, they've played with John
Handy, Roland Kirk, Charles Lloyd, Maynard Ferguson,
Herbie Mann, Buddy Rich, Stan Getz, Gary Burton. Drummer
Eddie Marshall has been called a "magician." Mike White,
violinist, was Downbeat New Jazz Star, 1967. The music is
not jazz or rock, but somewhere in between. Or beyond. Bob
Palmer, reviewer for CHANGES: "one super superlative will


4. KEVIN AYERS, born 18 August,1944, Herne Bay in Kent,
early morning. "German flying bomb exploded in neighboring
field ensuring a certain deafness, which I am fortunate
enough to possess to this day." We haven't noticed. Kevin
was former lead singer with SOFT MACHINE (who provided
some impressive arrangements on this album). Nonetheless,
the album is Ayers. Oboe, piccolo, flute, trombone,
electronics, cello,.numerous guitars, and kazoo. One English
reviewer said: "What Ayers does is find the essence of all
'pop' music and polish it to a high degree at the centre."
5. FOREST, post-renaissance. Three prolific musicians.
Martin Welham playsa12-string guitar, organ, harmonium,
piano, pipes, percussion; Derek Allenby plays mandolin,
harmonica, pipes, harmonium, percussion; Hadrian Welham
plays guitar, harmonica, pipes, cello, electric harpsichord,
harmonium, percussion, organ and mandolin. All 12 tracks
composed by members of the group. Something like
Incredible String Band. Not like them at all. These are modern
musicians, combining contemporary harmonics and medieval
polyphonics. Ah, magical. Without parallel in the U.S.

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