THE MICHIGAN GAILY
Thursday, 4ctaber .10, 1968
Stanley Quartet: Good to hear
poetry and prose
Throw out your new Gergoyle!
By JIM PETERS
From the size of the audience at Rackham Aud. lash; night, I
thought that perhaps all the fans of chamber music had died off
and that the literature itself would eventually be trapped .in vinyl,
heard only through recordings. But how can this form ever pass
away with champions like the Stanley Quartet to defend it?,
Formed years ago by members of the Music School faculty, the
Quartet gained national prominence through tours and recitals
on other campuses. But now, sadly enough, it must limit itself to
four concerts a year on the Michigan campus. Last night's concert,
though poorly attended, lacked little in inspiration and excel-
lent string techniques.
The Quartet's present roster includes Gilbert Ross and Gus-,
tave Rosseels, violinists, Robert Courte on viola, and Jerome
Jelinek as cellist. They sit somber and intent, but their music comes
from their hearts.
The "Quartet in F major," first from Beethoven's set, Opus 18,
opened the performance with its mixture of delicate Mozart-like
melodies shaped by the stern force recognizable as Beethoven.
But I missed the punch of the first movement, marked allegro
con brio; the playing was a little too mushy for rash Beethoven.
Of course, I may just be injecting the power and drive of his later.
quartets into this offering from his earlier period.
Ross's playing in the first movement, with its prominent first
violin line was, expectedly, effortless, and he seemed to infect the
other members with this same smooth, polished, unruffled mood.
Too smooth for me; the first movement demands that the con brio
really be felt. Surely a question of interpretation, but I felt 'the
inspirations lacking. '
But things changed quickly in the second movement, as usual
when dedicated musicians are involved. There was feeling here.
The passionate adagio writhes along, stopping and starting agon-
izingly. Good tight dynamics emphasized the hesitant mysterious
terror in the section, forte to piano keeping the mood intent.
The bouyant first violin lines of the final two movements in-
troduce and control some very intricate playing by the other
strings. I felt the bounce of these fast movements, but the Quartet
couldn't make me smile at their wit. Something wasn't working;
the movement was alive and well, but didn't move.
But now I can start using the superlatives and all the com-
plimentary adjectives I can think of. It was Prokofiev's "Quar-
tet No. 2, Opus 92" that made everything sunshine. In this piece
there is no outstanding first violin line subordinating the other
instruments; everyone must work together and Prokofiev pro-
vides a lot to do.
The first allegro movement's plodding thematic material,
flashes round and round' over quick and subtle key changes.
There are glimpses of the passionate romantic which appear amid
the atonal clamor. And the Quartet moved through the compli-
cated music with brilliance.t
The adagio was the highpoint for the Quartet. Here, begin-
ning with a sensitive cello solo, they made effusively melodic
music. This movement hints at Rimsky-Korsakov-type lyricism,
but the musicians never-allowed things to get out of hand.
Never did the pulsing stop. The men' found the music in its
every facet, never hesitating, never failing.
They played the music of the third movement richly; the
varied sections were distinct, but never too outstanding as the
men blended each' skillfully. ,Power, intensity. subtlety-power'
from Prokofiev and dynamism from the Quartet. As close to
perfection as I can imagine.
But what was lacking in the Beethoven quartet showed up
too strongly for, my tastes in Debussy's "Quartet in t minor,
opus 10." My objections are totally concerned with interpreta-
tion, rather than with, style of technique. The quartet is typical'
of Debussy's lush unstructured style, and I feel it should not be
articulated too powerfully or precisely.
The musicians' skill was remarkable in carefully delineating
each line in the 'music's rapid whirling. But I prefer Debussy
not so clear, so sharp; a breathier, softer sound seems to me to
Throughout the first, movement especially, I had the .urge
to turn the bass control way down as on a recording, and listen
to the strings whisper. The music requires much less vibrato and
more furtive blending.
Only in the muted section of the third movement did I hear
the. soft mutterings and shadows that I know as Debussy.
The excellence of the Stanley Quartet needs no repetition
here; but the very fact that they are around and do perform
needs to be repeated. If chamber music is to survive the fate of
the lieder recital or classical song, it needs audiences. With
such as the Stanley Quartet in residence on the campus, there is
By DANIEL OKRENT
The editors of Gargoyle were
taking a chance when they re-
leased their "Return to the
Womb" issue yesterday; there
were two possible tresults. First,
the issue could produce an in-
fusion of new, funny people into
the mag's operation, such peo-
ple being repulsed by what is
passed off as "humor" and.
charging themselves to correct
the sorry situation. Or, every-
one - funny people and unfun-
nies too, - could be so turned
off that none will ever buy Gar-
goyle again and it will be sen-
tence4 to the fate of bad me-
"Oh, boy, this issue really
stinks," (in other ',words).
After the final issue of Garg
last year, it looked as though
the weakest link in the. Student
Publications chain (and to be,
the weakest link here is not at,-
all easy) was 'beginning to show
signs of wit, taste, creativity.
But such a wish was clearly pre-
dicated on a one-shot fluke and
no possibility of continuing
From cover to cover, Gargoyle
is- so packed with tripe that it!
is not even suited for wrapping
garbage in. As usual, the ads are'
the best part, but even these
have degenerated. And the staff
has stooped so low that sontie
of the most passable of the edi-
torial material is lifted fiom
campus humor magazines else-.
Isnobody funny anymore?
Surely not the staff member
who conceived "Make-A-Girl-A-
Coed Night." This feature, based
on an inane tradition that is
not really a tradition at all, but
rather, I think, the fabrication
of some orientation director's
unfertile mind, is merely an
exercise in would-be staff lust-
And whoever is responsible for
the boring Gargoyle philosophy
and the aimless Dump and Buff
Show mnust be an inside-the-
staff saboteur who wanted to.
quash any pretense to a good
name that Garg ever possessed.
And "*Catch-69"? I thought
jokes based on this number fad-
ed when this year's senior class
spent their time in the dorm as
freshmen yukking over the fact
that the two 'digits followed all
their names in the Student
Credit, I suppose, should be
given for the only two funny
things in the issue: a nice meta-
phorical reference to the Adper-
ican voting' booth, and an in-
teresting re-drafting of a 1958
savings bond advertisement.
But other than that-well, a
52nd use for unwanted umbili-
cal chords might be added to
the unoriginal list thatnGarg
presentsh dwith: use one to
lynch the editor with.
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