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March 21, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-03-21

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturdav. March 21. 1970

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

adS a.1..rdov MnreIiI- I I,1L 17 rI ./ r V

,,

theatre

A shoddy guide to chea pie Lps

Rp
By ANN L. MATTES
Broadway has corrupted the
imagination. As soon as you
hear the words "rock musical,"
visions of light shows, nude
dancers and other such gim-
micks are bound to erupt.. Last
night's Shoppin', a campus orig-
inated rock musical, did not sue-
sumb to commercial enterprise.,
Written and created by Rich-
ard Lees and Stephen Welkom,
Shoppin' displayed many levels
of creative theatre. From the
opening set, the stage was a
constant source of intriguing
vignettes, shifting smoothly by
means of a turntable. While
individual sets. remained simple,
often no more than a bed, door
and piano, the actors were be-
decked in bright colored cloth-
ing and assumed wierd char-
acterizations. John Lubens, as
Mark ("The Prophet"), and
Ned Gershenson as Bennie were
bit player highlights.
John Slade offered a rather
well chosen interpretation of
the main character, H., who is
like any other guy on campus
except that he tends a bit more
toward the philosophical. Chris
Lahti, his tragic partner "M,"
never seems to believe in her
role and comes off as something
quite less than a real person.
However, part of the blame must
be placed in the writing. In her
several appearances, Chris sel-
dom completed a sentence, and
I think if you tallied the aver-
age length of the words she did,
speak, they would average about'
one syllable per word. Not that
monosyllables can't be used ef-
f'ectively, but when "H" and
"M" hold a prolonged conver-
sation in a vertical bed and
never convey a thought, the ab-
surdity becomes transparent.
Members of the Floating
Opera, among them Steve Wel-
kom, performed on the upper
deck of the stage. The group,
popular in Ann Arbor, offered
excellent musicianship through-
out. While at times the volume
threatened excess, there were

on S-oppin'

I

no amp distortions or mike feed-
back to contend with. Artie
Alinikoff's final drum solo re-
ceived a round of applause when
extended to the entire band,
but had been held back, politely,
until then.
Director Doug Sprigg should
pick up the pace in the opening
and subsequent sets that involve
the main "actors. After the
steady rhythm of the band,
these performances seem excep-
tionaly drawn out and distorted.
The question of the relation-
ship between the music and the
drama always comes up in a
musical. In Shoppin' a fragile
balance is achieved. The drama
did not seem written to string
together a number of incon-
gruous songs. Nor could there
have been the plot without the.
music. In this way are the two

=Daily-Thomas R. Copi
harmonious - an artist must
live in two worlds: the world of
existence and the world of per-
formance. On stage "H" lives
in his world of silence, broken
only by the intrusions of voices
and noises from "him" in the
closet. Above stage is his world
of performance, music that
drowns out the silence. Only at
one point do the two worlds
meet, and that is when "H" grabs
the mike from lead singer Steve
Welkom At this moment the life
of Prof. Kenneth Rowe's play-
whiting class, the parties of the
Floating Opera and the private
lives of the audience all blend.
But the product is not a tragedy
as the subtitle (An Electric
Tragedy) would suggest. It is
a discovery that really finds
the worlds merging together.

A local book store recently
held a sale on cheap classical
records; the prices were in-
credibly low and the crowds un-
usually large. The store manag-
ed to unload hundreds of record-
ings on the Period label to peo-
ple who had obviously never
heard anything on the Period
label before; those who had,
knowythat Period discs almost
always sound as if they were
pressed on cheesecloth. T h e
store also passed off, onto the
unwary, opera recordings on
the Cetra/Everest label, a label
known for half-way decent per-
formances presented in distor-
tion-laden sonics.
Indeed customers need more
information on recordings -
information no longer provided
by the once easily accessible
"listening booth".
It would seem then that Her-
bert Russcol's new book, Guide
to Lowpriced Classical Records
(Hart Publishing, $2.95 in paper-
back), would be a highly desir-
able item, especially for stu-
dents. Unfortunately, Mr. Rus-
scol, who has played French
horn in the Boston Pops and has
contributed articles to High Fi-
delity and House and Garden,
has written a really stinko book.
One can forgive, perhaps, the
fact that the book is only semi-
literate; a symphony is declar-
ed "listenable," and Peter
Frankl's playing of some De-
bussy piano works is called "en-
tirely hearable." "Madame Nov-
aes," Russcol comments, "is at-
mospheric." Such excruciatingly
illiterate glibness could be for-
given if only Russcol had ac-
complished the practical ends of
his manual. One could also pass
over such stupidities as calling
Beethoven's "Moonlight" Son-
ata one of "the 100 classical
compositions played most fre-
quently by modern orchestras,"
if only Russicol evinced actual
experience with the records he
evaluates. When we read about
Ravel's Pavane Pour Une In-
fante Defunte on Vox 9220 that
"Horenstein's direction (of the
orchestra) is lively, but the play-
ing is indifferent," and we know
that the work is actually per-
formed there by solo pianist
Vlado Perlemuter, we easily lose
confidence in Russcol's involve-
ment in his task.
Certain problems with such
a compendium cannot be thrown
at the author's feet. Any cata-
log of records becomes outdated
the month following its publi-
cation, and thus some absences
from this book's listings are un-
avoidable. Nevertheless, t h i s
problem can be serious. For in-
stance, Russcol lists only one
Shostakovitch quartet as being
available on a budget label,
when actually they are now all
available in excellent perform-
ances by the Borodin Quartet on
the Seraphim label. (Actually,
Russcol lists two as 'available,
but -the Quartet No. 8 will only
be found listed under Borodin-
as the flip side of the Borodin
D major - since the author

has forgotten to relist it under
Shostakovitch.) Even granting
the problem of new issues, Rus-
scol still did not include all
that was available to him; he
lists only Werner Haas's vol-
ume of Debussy piano music, for-
getting Frankl's on Vox and De-
mus's on Musical Heritage So-
ciety.
In this book, composers are
listed alphabetically, and their
works arranged as in Schwann
- with certain erratic excep-
tions. Eachcomposition receives
a brief introduction (e.g., of
Geminiani's Opus 2 Concerti
Grossi: "this is conservative, un-
eventful, unimportant writing,
modeled after Corelli.") Then
follows a listing of the available
budget versions; each entry gets
one, two, or three stars - one
star signifying "acceptable,"
two stars meaning "recommend-
ed," and three stars equated
with "the best at any price."
Following this listing, each en-
try is very briefly discussed.
It soon becomes apparent from
Russcol's comments that t h e
star system is exceedingly arbi-
trary. For instance, in regard-
ing Evelyn Crochet's outstand-
ing Vox Boxes of the complete
piano music of Faure (wonder-
ful music, seldom heard), Rus-
scol comments that the playing
is "elegant" and "kinetic" and
goes on to quote critic Harris
Goldsmith as saying that he
"could hardly conceive of these
interpretations being bettered."
Yet, for some inexplicable rea-
son, only one star is placed next
to Miss Crochet's name.
Other examples abound and
contribute to the lack of rigor
in Russcol's star system. Of
Toscanini's performance of
Respighi's Feste Romane, the
author notes: "comfortably be-
yond challenge," yet only
awards it two stars. In regard to
Sarasate's Carmen Fantasy,
Russcol lists Kogan's perform-
ance (forgetting Rosand's on
Vox), calls it "brilliant," b u t
gives it two stars.
Some of Russcol's preferences
must also be challenged, though
one is here dealing with much
more subjective matters of per-
sonal taste. European conduct-
ors such as Jascha Horenstein,
Hans Rosbaud, and Vaclav Ta-
lich never'receive their due ac-
colades, while more familiar
conductors on the American
scene, of lesser stature, get rank-
ed well-up on the author's list-
ings. Somehow Horenstein is
almost always "out-classed," a
favorite word of Russcol's. Typi-
cal of all the problems mention-
ed above is the entry of the Ko-
gan-Barshai-Rostropovich p e r-
formance of Beethoven's String
Trios Nos. 1 and 3, Opus 9, on
the Artia label. Russcol calls is
"well-played," and "worth hav-
ing just for the exciting cellist
Rostropovich;" he awards it,
however, one star. Actually, this
recording is one of the most
exciting performances of cham-
ber music to be had at any

price; the trio achieve a con-
tinuous level of inter-communi-
cation while maintaining their
individual musical personalities
-a feat especially rare when
each performer is a virtuoso
soloist.
Yet, for all of Russcol's fact-
ual errors, redunduncies, mean-
ingless evaluations, and obvious
periuries of his true inexper
ience with a number of re-
cords, the book still will help
many student record collectors
now that listening booths no
longer exist to serve the public.
Mr. Russcol does indicate that
Szeryng's renditions of Bach's
Sonatas and Partitas for Solo
Violin on Odyssey are a tre-
mendous buy, that Bach's St.
Matthew Passion under the
baton of Mogens Woldike on
Vanguard is an outstanding edi-
tion, and that Toscanini re-
cordings sh oul d be acquired
regardless of monophonic sound.
Although Mr. Russcol's book is
a very shoddy product, it
may still serve, for those over-
whelmed by the absurd market-

BACH

cinema
Wishing it had been Ularooned'

ing practices of today's record
companies, as a guide of some
use.
Cinema V
Great Director's Festival
STARTS TUESDAY
Tues., Wed.-Mar. 24, 25
FRANCOIS TRUFFAUT'S
"The Soft Skin'-
JAN NEMEC'S
"Oratorio for Prague"
Thurs., Fri--Mar. 26, 27
"Alexander"
MILOS FORMAN'S
"Firemen's Bail"
Sat., Sun.-Mar: 28, 29
PETER SELLERS'
MASTERPIECES
"Heavens Above'-
"I'm All Aight, Jack"
Mon., Tues.-Mar. 30, 31
SHIRLEY CLARKE'S
"Cool World'.
MICHAEL ROEMER'S
"Nothing But A Man"
Wed., Thurs.-Apr. 1, 2
JOSEPH LOSEY'S
"The Accident"
MICHAEL TRUMAN'S
"The Model Murder Case"
Fri., Sat.-Apr. 3, 4
BO WIDERBERci'S
"Elvira Madigan'
KAREL REISZ'S
"Morgan'
Sun, Mon.-Apr. 5, 6
CLAUDE BERRI'S
"The Two of Us'
BRUCE BROWN'S
"The Endless Summer'
Tues., Wed.-Apr. 7, 8
ROBERT DOWNEY'S
"Putney Swope"
BOULDING BROTHERS'
"Rotten to the Core"
SPECIAL FESTIVAL TICKETS
Tickets may be purchased at
regular prices at the time of the
show, or in advance in blocks of
8 tickets for $10,00 - these ad-
vance tickets can be used at
any show. You may come to see
each of the eight double fea-
tures, or bring yourself and a
friend to only four, or any way
you like.
Advance sales now through
Wednesday, March 25
SFIRTH AV NUS AT LIDURTY
DOWNTOWN ANN ARBOR
INFORMATON 761-9700

I SKI ARGENTINA!I
SIGN UP FOR THESE TRIPS:
ARGENTINA: Aug. 15-Sept. 1 (about) $460
TUCKERMANS RAVINE} N.H.:
April 25-May 5 (about) $25
ALTA, UTAH: April 28-May 10 (about) $150
Get More Details
MON DAY, MARCH 23
7:30 P.M IN THE UNION

CLUB

PRESENTS
THE BACH CLUB ENSEMBL E
in its Second Annual Concert
PROGRAM:
Selected Movements from
Sonatas for Violin and Piano..........J.S. Bach
Piano Concerto in D Minor.............J.S. Bach
INTERMISSION
Three Short Pieces ............Randolph G. Smith
(dedicated to Ruth Pierson)
Concerto Movement for Piano
Fantasia for Piano ( **WORLD PREM I ERE'**)
Sonata Movement for Flute, Violin, and
Cello (***WOR LD PREMIERE*** )
Concerto in A Minor for
Flute, Violin, Piano and Strings.......J.S. Bach
JENNIFER BURKARD, Conductor
SUNDAY, MARCH 22-3 P.M.
East Quad South Lounge (E. Univ. and H ill St.}
ADMISSION 75c
2nd EXCITING WEEK-ENDS MONDAY

S

By DONALD KUBIT
Along with the plastic astro-
nauts free in every box of your
favorite cereal and the NASA
T-shirts your little brother re-
ceived for .Christmas, Marooned
is a movie attempting to cash
in on the aura of America's
space program. However, it has
become obvious that spaceshots
are no longer inherently excit-
ing. We have b e e n saturated
with America's progress in this
field; days and even weeks of
thorough television coverage
which has created an. a i r of
disinterest.
Marooned, which uses docu-
mentary elements, as well as a
touch of science fiction, never
really develops into anything
that could be classified as
"thrilling" and instead appears
as an elongated Mattel' com-
mercial for Johnny Space Pilot.
' The story deals w i t h three
astronauts, w h o after a five
month mission in outer space,
discover their ship has failed
them and they are unable to re-
turn to earth; thus setting the
stage for a fantastic rescue
plan. Throw in the reactions of
their courageous wives, and the
frenzy of preparing such a res-
cue in only 42 hours (before the
astronauts oxygen supply runs
out) and you have a film that
is supposed to keep the viewer
on the edge of his seat, but of-
fers little in the way of tension
'or drama to keep him there.
The cast is filled with many
competent names, but with lim-

iting roles they are puppets go-
ing through the motions with a
-dialogue as inspiring as "Roger
Wilco, over and out."
Gregory Peck, as the head of
the space program, relies on the
omniscience of t h e computer.
Believing that accidents are in-
evitable and even ,necessary for
the program's future, he is hard
core and willing to shrug off
the entire incident as a statis-
tical error. Only a phone con-
versation with the ' President
(concerned over the American
image and worried about public
outcry) and the persistent opti-
mism of one of his associates
(David Jansen) that the rescue
mission can work, alters the
chief's staunchness and puts the
gears of the plan in motion.
Of the three astronauts, Gene
Hackman does the best job as
a man who cracks under the
pressure.
James Franciscus is the whiz
kid of the trio, continuing work
on his Ph.D. thesis while the
oxygen runs out. His "devotion
to truth" seems a bit inhuman,
but his ability to keep calm
changes the ,fate of the crew.
Director John Sturges, who
also did "Ice Station Zebra", has

apparently neither lost his fasci-
nation for glittering machines
nor improved his inability to
develop the human condition be-
yond the point of hollowness.
Marooned is long, over two
hours, and in order to keep peo-
ple interested for that length of
time, you have to literally knock
them out of their seats. Unfor-
tunately, during this movie
you're lucky if you can sit
through it without adjusting
your position at least f i f t y
times.
Part of the reason Maroon-
ed fails to make the grade could
be related to a change of atti-
tudes, away from the fascination
of the American space program
to more important national in-
terests. The producers of t h e
film have even put in a plug
for continuing space explora-
tion at its present rate, in
order to shoot for the stars.
Marooned does indeed make an
attempt to reach the moon and
beyond, but comes to a screech-
ing halt before it even gets off
the pad.
Thank God the Fox Village
has good popcorn (and com-
fortable seats) otherwise, it
would have been a totally dis-
appointing evening.

V

47I-

UNIVERSITY REFORMED (HURCH
East Huron at.Fletcher (behind Rackham) I

/1A CAMILA SPARVl OWNHILL RACER
.niw .JAMFS SALTFR ncm e-DR -AAmwr wrov

r-

o IFTH P rUM Sun.-7:10, 9:00
FIPYi IEN$E At IBERTY
DOWNTOWN ANN ARBAO" Fri. . 7:E 9,FR T:57
INOMTO 6.70 Fri. & St. 7: 19, 11 :50

n4

NEW MUSIC FOR ORCHESTRA
SATURDAY, MARCH 21, 8:00 P.M.
Hill Auditorium
CONTEMPORARY DIRECTIONS ENSEMBLE

"The last wr
in thrillers.
T 1,
--Gone Shalit, Look Magazine

'I

GERALD PLAIN
ROBERT MORRIS

aCHATtaNOOgaCHOO
Sydney Hodkinson, conductor
Wireless
Richmond Browne, conductor

SUNDAY
10:30 A.M.-"Those Hopeless Situations"
CALVIN S. MALEFYT speaking
5:30 P.M.-Collegiate Supper
7:30 P.M.-Concert-Hope College
Chapel Choir, Holland, Michigan

11

i

UNIVERSITY PHILHARMONIA

I

I

e ,p TAIE

HELD OVER!
2nd WEEK
SHOWS AT:
1:00-3:00-5:00
7:00 & 9:10 P.M.

I

11

AI
14

I

NOMINATED FOR 9 ACADEMY AWARDS

I

I

I

.

.

t # "BEST
PICTURE
OF THE YEAR"
-National Board
of Review
A-! -

0.1

I

I

at .'U:,. 4 * '" '"' ' 'i '., "

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