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April 14, 1970 - Image 2

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1970-04-14

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, April 14, 1970

age,11twoTHMCHGA DIL

music

A long, mixed evening of Blues

A cente
By ,JOE PEHRSON
First of two parts
Yes, we all know about Hill
Auditorium. Yet behind that
familiar eggshell, housed in one
of the many rooms of a back-
stage labyrinth, is a creative
center. This is the School of
Music's Electronic Studio - a
strange sight to the uninitiated.
Looking like a cross between a
gigantic model t r a i n control
panel and the Wizard of Oz's
electronic antechamber (no one
quite knows w h a t he did in
there), this equipment might
seem incomprehensible. Actual-
ly, it is not at all foreign to the
world of electronics - though
the arrangement, the combina-
tion of electronic g e a r. indi-
cates some purpose other than
that of your television repair
man.
Electronic music is n o w.
thanks to the Moog revolution
which supposedly has everyone
"switched-on," a rather famil-
iar development. Mixed media
is also popular - people are be-
coming aware that technology
can be used to create something
enjoyable. The new interest of-
ten makes these art forms seem
an immediate development. This

'r for creativity

MUSKET

is not the case; the popular-
ization is recent, but composi-
tion in electronic sound h a s
been going on since the 1950's
aid music concrete - the use
of natural or recorded sounds -
since the early days of radio. A
changing conception of sound
forced experimentation in new
types of sound, reproduction,
and the School of Music, under
the leadership of Ross Lee Fin-
ney, initiated a program to
bring electronic music to this
campus.
Although modern music was
studied at the University before
the 1960's and student works
were heard in Composer For-
ums, there was no performance
of current music from outside
the University.
George Wilson, the present di-
rector of the electronic studio,
established the Contemporary
Directions series shortly after
the studio was designed (1963).
New music from outside t h e
community- could be performed,
and the increasing involvement
w i t h contemporary practice
could find a creative outlet in
the electronic studio.
The studio is constantly in
use. The schedule now r u n s
throughout the night and the

A offerng
in black and' white

By JI PETERS
Considering the last minute
obligations of finals and over-
due term papers, I'm sure not
too many people knew about the
spring choral concert held at
Huron High School on Sunday
night. Stemming from graduate
work ,requirements, the per-
formance marked the conduct-
ing debut of Carolyn Dameron
in a program which was ambi-
tious in its conception, but less
than perfect in realization.
Conductor┬░ Dameron's offer-
ings included some seldom-
heard works by Stravinsky and
Charles Ives, but the ad hoc
chorus a n d instrumentalists
never seemed to get beyond the
notes of their music, technique
without emotional+ content.
Stravinsky's short Pater Nos-
ter and Ave Maria are highly
reminiscent of the declarative
DAILY OFFICIAL
BULLETIN
TUESDAY, APRIL 14
Day Calendar
Trumpet Student Recital: Sch. of
Music Recital: Hall, 12:30' p.m.
Botany Seminar: B. L. Haines, Duke,
"Plant Growth Responses to Nutrient
Accumulation in Refuse Dumps of Leaf-
cutting Ants" 3082 Nat. Sei CA!; n m
Physics Seminar: P. Federbush, "Model
Field Theories", P & A Colloq. Rm.,
4:15 p.m
Psychiatry Lecture: E. Anthony, M.D.,
Washington U., "The Response ~o the
Irrational": Aud., Children's Psychiatric
Hospital, 8:00 p.m. \
Continuing Educ. of Women Recep-
tion: "Milestone 1970" - honoring Con-
tinuing Ed. of Women Scholars: West
Conf. Rm., Rackhamn, 8:00 p,.
Degree Recital: Carol Muehlig, organ:
2110 SBch. of Music, 8:00 p.m.
Degree Recital: Haldis Pyle, piano;
Sch, of Music Recital Hall, 8:00 p.m.
General Notices
Attn. Faculty Members of: College of
LS&A, Sch, of Educ., Sch. of Music, Sch.
of Pub. Health,, & Bch. of Bus. Ad. Stu-
dents expecting degrees May 2, 1970.
are advised not to request grades of I
or X. When such grades are abso-
lutely imperative, work must be made
up in time to allow you toxeport make-
u.p grade not later than noon, Thurs.,
Apr. 30, 1970.
May Festival Ushers: Still a few usb-
ering positions open for 1970 M a y
Festival; if interested, call Mr Warn-
er, 668-8597. \-
Attn. U of M grad students who did
underground work at U. of Western
Ontarion: Henry Lewis Caul:Ins Schol-
arship avail., value approx. $2,000 (Ca-
nadian), submit applics. to Dean of
Graduate Studies, The Univ. of W. On-
tario, call D. E. Durner for further
info., 764-2218.
(Continued on Page 7)

style of his Mass period, the cul-
tivated atonality before his 12-
t o n e adventures; and , the
group's a capella voices were
well-balanced. Yet .both pieces
require broader overviews to
handle the tightly-knit sound;
Dameron was not concerned
enough with phrasing, essential
in these short pieces.
The song cycle, Quartette,
opus 92, of Johannes Brahms
which followed featured some
fine solo work, but the choir
lacked the ensemble and posi-
tive emotional unity to achieve
any real effectiveness. The con-
trapuntal "Spaetherast" moved
well, but was dry; and the com-
plex dialogue of'voices in "War-
um?" suffered from weak tenor
and bass lines.
The enigmatic Harvest Home
Chorales of Charles Ives used
brass choirs of trumpets and
trombones to color the simple
statements of the chorus. Dam-
eron's group did not have the
power to stand equal to their
brass protagonists. The problem
in performing Ives is to sustain
the tension of each piece from
the first discord, building from
it as a brief but cOmplete intro-
duction to the relative tonali-
ties of the work. Sunday night's
performance was too relaxed,
the dynamics too controlled -
tension without breath.
Mozart's festive Vespe'rae Sol-
emnes de Confessore, K. 339, di-
vided itself into seven uneven
sections. During the concerted
sections with trumpets and tim-
pani, the choir's sound w a s
muddy; only during more deli-
cate piano passages was clarity
restored.
Soprano Nancy Seabold was
outstanding as soloist in t h e
piece, soft and lyric, with a wise
ear for embellishments; the or-
chestra itself seemed somewhat
a burden to her in the "Lau-
date Dominum" section. The
brisk' "Laudate, pueri" which
proceeded it was marred by too
legato an approach stylistically.
But, suddenly, things turned
out much better. The closing
"Magnificat" brought chorus,
orchestra, and soloists together;
and, this time, hearts and voic-
es were exalted. It was another
concert which should have be-
gun again from that point, of-
fering music in more than black
and white.

equipment gets little more rest
than the composers. Compared
to some of the larger electronic
centers in the country, this is a
small unit, It is designed, how-
ever, in a way that perhaps il-
lustrates the popular belief that
new media need not be separate
from personal experience.
The equipment has been con-
structed for simplicity of op-
eration. Henry Root, the engin-
eer in charge of technical main-
tenance, insists on direct con-
tact between a composer and
the medium. Everything is cen-
tralized - the composer need
not be a technician. In, fact,
Wilson believes anyone with an
average amount of intelligence
can operate the studio. A com-
poser can choose and tape the
sounds he 'wishes, with little in-
terference from technical de-
tails.
In many ways, this involve-
ment is peculiar to electronic
studios in this country. It seems
we are part of what Wilson calls
the "do it yourself" syndrome
- the composer, pipe in hand,
enjoys twisting knobs and ad-
justing tapes. In Europe this is
not the case: a composer with a
particular musical idea will pre-
sent h I s concept, in notated
form, to a technician. The tech-
nician then gets to push the
buttons.
The advantages to this direct
type of composition are obvious.
As in the physical sciences,
many of the more important in-
novations have been accidents.
The composer can sculpt his
sound, blending and altering his
original intention, and it just
may turn out that the "mis-
take" is preferable. The techni-
cian follows the prescribed pat-
tern with no alteration. Chance
has been eliminated.
Even worse for the Creative
process is the time lag between
a composer's conception on pa-
per and the actual rsult. The
composition comes back from
the electronic laundry complete,
but if changes are to be made,
the whole business must be sub-
mitted again. Step by step al-
teration is impossible, and an
important part of the compo-
sitional process has been lost.
The manual transcription of
sounds to tape is a tedious pro-
cess. Tape must be measured to
achieve the proper duration of
each sound event. Sound gener-
ators, each producing a partic-
ular type of audio wave, must
be mixed and filtered, and tape
splicing is frequent. In short,
this is a chore which requires
a tremendous amount of pa-
tience. A complex ,sound idea
requires dubbing - one record-
er serves as a master, and pre-
recorded sounds are combined
for the final two-channel ver-
sion.y
Wilson looks forward to some
immediate modifications of the
present equipment - most of
which will not change this type
of studio but will make the me-
chanical process a bit less fa-
tiguing. A computer, program-
med for certain types of sound,
could be used to eliminate some
detail - it would function like
a stop for change in organ reg-
istration: patterns, types of
sounds, would be immediately
available.
The Moog operates essentially
in this way, and a keyboard fa-
cilitates the choice of sound.
The electronic studio has pro-
visions f o r a small keyboard,
but Wilson questions the use of
a keyboard as a total substitute
for manual work. A keyboard
has its own limitations, a n d
sound events must be heard in
the time it takes to press two
co secutive keys. The Moog,
the , of the type displayed on
any of the "switched-on" rec-
ords is not the ultimate elec-
tronic machine, but is an in-
strument of convenience,
Continued tomorrow

By BERT STRATTON
Otis Rush is a great blues
guitarist. Unfortunately, many
people didn't stay at the Blues
Festival Preview concert Sun-
day night long enough to find
that out.
Apparently most of the au-
dience thought that John Jack-
son's country blues act was the
grand finale. When he finished
at 11:30 p.m. a good deal of the
crowd left, probably driven by
tiredness and guilt complexes
over unfinished term papers.
Now I say that's too bad, be-
cause Rush's performance was
worth all the other three acts
put together. Backed-up by a
solid group of Chicago rhythm
and horn players, Otis' vibrant
sound sponged into the various
empty corners of Hill Aud. Al-
ternating between his domineer-
ing guitar picking and his high-
pitched vocal lyrics, Rush dis-
played a talent that only B. B.
King can match. He played it
all, the jazz of Lou Donaldson
in "Blues Walk," his own blues
"I Can't Quit you Baby," and
the soul of Wilson Pickett in
"Knock on Wood."
Rush also pointed out just
how badly the preceding Chi-
cago blues band of John Little-
john had done. Littlejohn was
second on the program, and with
any degree of "togetherness" he
could have had the crowd rock-
ing. But he didn't. Accompanied
by the most unrhymthic; unco-
ordinated black band in exis-
tence, Littlejohn tried some B.
B. King licks on his guitar. For
the audience it amounted to a
case of "we've seen this all be-
fore, and better too."
Almost as an afterthought,
about three-quarters through
his act, Littlejohn pulled out
his slide, which was the reason
he was invited in the first place.
On "Dust My Broom," the El-
more James sli d e classic, he
played a moving rendition, but
it came too late to save his per-
formance. Littlejohn's act was
the =only one of the evering that
didn't get a standing ovation, a
rare occurence for any musical
group in Ann Arbor these days.
The hit of the evening, un-
expectedly was John Jackson:
A Virginia gravedigger, a tat-
tered-clothed backwoodsman, at
times an outstanding git-ar
picker . . . all in all everything
that makes a good o1' nigga. So
naturally he was drunk on his
ass.
Buy one of his records if you
want to know what he can real-
ly do. They're good, but Sunday
night he was pathetic, just gen-
erally incoherent and bumbling.
It was hard to t e 11 if the
crowd was laughing at him or
with him. I suspect it w a s a
mixture. A lot of people were
genuinely moved by Jackson's
unassuming "woodsy" sincerity,
Premiere Production
PUT-ON
A Comedy of Sorts
by
LAWRENCE KASDAN
APRIL 16-19
Thurs., Fri., Sat.-8:30 P.M.
Sat., Sun.-3:00 P.M.
RM. 2065 FRIEZE BLDG.
DONATION: 50c

MUSIC DIRECTOR
CHOREOGRAPH ER
Pick up petitions UAC office,' 2nd floor Un'ion

A'

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