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October 15, 1968 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-10-15

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Page Two


.Tuesdav. October 15. 1968


Tiie'Llu HnV CIrtnhir1 J 1 QV

Graf man:
Gary Graffman was one of
those kids whose childhood
makes us think that our early

Too cerebral

Romance languages begin self-evaluation


years were spent in a fog of re-
tarded silliness. At three, when
we were putting together jigsaw'
puzzles, of the Seven Dwarves,
Graffman had already switched
from the violin to'the piano. To-
day, New York concerts by
Graffman attract the cream of
his colleagues and his records
are eagerly awaited for their
powerful and thoughtful render-
ings of the landmarks in piano
Personally. I have found that
Graffman's performance excell-
ed in revealing structure and in
dramatic statements of major
episodes in a piano work. At the
same time, at least from his rec-
ordings, he seemed to give too
slight attention to minor epi-
sodes, to bridge passages, al-
ways being a bit anxious to re-
turn to the major thematic
Graffman's recital in Hill Aud.
last 'night was disappointing for
reasons, however, other than
this one musical propensity. It
certainly must be said that the
the pi rlist plays beautifully,
with. a velvety, not crystalline,
touch and with clean floating
upperregister trills and arpeg-
Somehow, nevertheless, for all
of his expertise, his approach
seems too judicious, too cere-
bral; for all of Graffman's ad-
mirable^ reluctance to play, to
the galleries, to whip up false
emotional scenes for the sake
of virtuosity alone, he yet fails
to reveal a true level of poetry,
be it sentimental or not, in his
intellectual largesse. T h e r e-
fore, the lyric line is too ofen
insufficiently brought out, too
often buried in his interest in
the weight of massed sounds and
in? the development of musical
His concert opened with
Haydn's delightful Sonata in G
major,' number 40. The adage
that in Haydn's music every-
thing follows logically yet every-
thing is a surprise certainly ap-
plies to his wonderful piano
music. I used to put Nadia Rei-
senberg's or Artur Balsam's
renditions of Haydn's sonatas
on my hi-fi immediately upon
rising in the morning; the
music's wit and good cheer suf-
ficed to get me through those
early morning lectures with a
minimum of establishment-di-
rected hostility.:
I am not so sure I would have
listened so regularly to these so-
natas had they been performed
by' Graffman. His touch was a
shade too heavy and his tempos
a bit unspritely to elicit the full
charm of, the music; serious-
ness crept into Graffman's
clear exposition.
After this apetizer, Graffman
offered two meat courses:
Beethoven's "Appassionata" So-
nata and Liszt's collage of mu-
sical -emotions, his B. minor
In the Beethoven, Graffman's
forte of revealing structure was
most aptly applied to the open-
ing allegro movement, which
builds up and tears down musi-
cal architecture in a most dra-
matic way. The andante move-
ment, in its inexorable progres-
sion, carries only one deviation
from the repeated theme and
that contrast comes like the
turning over of a leaf in the
soft wind, revealing for a mo-
ment a whole new color on the
alternate side.
Liszt's B minor Sonata is a
grand, piece, a journey through
apocalyptic landscapes all the
while stopping to admire the
beauty of small flowers. As'
Schumann wrote, "within a few
secqnds, tenderness, boldness,
exquisiteness, wildness succeed
one another." Without being

transportive or melodramatic,
Graffman played beautifully
and thoughtfully.
The second half of the con-
cert contained a heavily a n d
thickly rendered "Gaspard de
la nuit" by Ravel and a similar-
ly studied if vigorously "Islam-
ey' by Balakirev.

(Continued from page 1)
cussed." All instructors must also
take a course in applied linguistics.
0 The first three weekly quizzes
are given by the department to,
show the teaching fellows what
kind of material should be ,used.
They also discuss with Hagiwara'
the first three quizzes they give on~
their own.
. Three visits in the semester
--once by Hagiwara and twice byI

a superficial way" he charges. For
example, he points out that it is
very easy to put on a show when
Hagiwara or a senior faculty sits
in on a class.
When Hagiwara says the French
lower level instruction is among
the best in the country, he has
statistics to back him up. He
points out that University students,
do better on standard national
tests than students at comparable

senior faculty members. institutions, such as Harvard and
9 New instructors must visit Cornell.1-.

good "demonstration" teaching
fellows seven times in the first
Workshops are given, when
new techniques like reading -are
"The controls are very involved
,and very elaborate," Hagiwara
concludes, "They are a model
which other schools are trying to
But the rigidity of the controls,
besides achieving dubious success,
also comes under attack.
The charges about the way Hag-
iwara handles the teaching fellows
ranges from "treating them like
dirt" to "treating them like kids."
The treatment of teaching fel-
lows in the Spanish department is
markedly better, but even Hagi-
wara's critics see little difference
in the quality of instruction be-,
tween the two departments.
One instructor charges that
"looking over their shoulders does-
n't help, it doesn't allow them to
grow." The grading and teaching
of the teaching fellows is "done in

But Dugas challen'ges the mean-
ing of those tests ."They have, yet
to devise a test that can measure
communications," he says, "and:
until they do, language teachersj
will not consider it important." He
maintains that the technology of
testing tends to control what can
be measured, and thus what is
desired to be taught.
In defending the use of 'spch
tests, O'Neil points out that there
are correlations to speaking and
communications that can be meas-..
uied. "Speaking is a prime con-
cern," he says, "even though we
can't test it, so we don't worry
about it."
"It's true people can listen bet-
ter than they can speak, it's not
a perfect correlation," he admits.
But no matter what the tests
show, the success or failure of the
language programs is still being
debated. The questioning, however,
goes beyond the quality of tests.
Even defenders of the programs
as now handled admit tacitly to
its deficiencies, but they tend to

blame the students, not the in-
struction, for its failure.
"Although only a handful of the
freshman who enter in any year
haven't had any language,".
O'Neill points out, "hundreds of
students will take the 100 level
courses in many departments." He
cites two reasons for this-either
the. students are now attempting
a third language after success in a
second or they have failed in their
previous attempts.
"It is clear to me," he says,
"that students who take beginning'
languare here are already in
trouble. Most people who take a
language here are already in
ground once before without suc-
Hagiwara agrees. Citing the
same statistics, he says students
in French 101 are not good in
language or have had poor lan-
guage exposure.
People who oppose Hagiwara on
other grounds agree . with him
here, but view it in a different
light. Justin Vitiello, a Spanish
instructor in the Residential Col-
lege who won a teaching award
here last year, notes that high
school students "are pathetically
undertrained in languages. High
school teachers are singularly hor-
"One of the great defects of
high schools," he notes, "is that it
gives many students a huge nega-

tive motivation. It is very difficult
to overcome."
Dugas mentions this as well, but
stresses a different point. He says
children can learn language best
from 8 to 14 years of age and that
it is not the proper endeavor for a
university. "Language as now
taught," he says. "is as nhon-in-
tellectual as anyone can imagine.
Typing would be more stimu-
He also notes another tacit as-
sumption of the current language
program that ought to be reckoned
with. "According to some psych-
ologists, there are two types in col-
lege-the ear-minded and the eye-
minded," he says, "and the latter
can't handle language."
Whethr or not the different ap-
proaches show much in the way
of results is difficult to assess,
however. The failure rates of
Spanish and French students do
not show enough difference to be
statistically significant. Both are
high compared to other disciplines,
but not quite as high as the na-
tional average.
Whether language can or can
not be taught reasonable at this
level is clearly a question t h a t
cannot be ignored, since it bears
so directly upon how 'the problem
is handled. But the other problems
weigh heavily as well, and indica-
tions are currently that they will
be thrashed out this year to one
end oil another.

Pianist Graffmnan: .A heavy-handed prodigy


Chamusic, just fine

Maybe it was the Tigers' vic-
tory, or the Michigan win, or
even the Lions' successful game
Sunday afternoon, but the
Michigan Chamber ensemble,
on stage in ackham Aud. on
Sunday night, played as if they
had been inspired by something'
grand. Their confidence was
noticeable, and certainly justi-
flied by their excellent perform-
I had expected fireworks and;
not so musical splashes as a
newly-formed group set out to
establish its reputation in its
first concert with fire and bril-
liance-or, Just sound.
But instead of showy sound
or pyrotechnics I heard care-
fully controlled, artistically de-
lineated music. Music! It may
seem foolish to get so excited
about musicians just doing their
jobs well, but too often the drive
to sound brightly musical causes.
the substitution of technique
for artistry, and there just isn't
much music.
But the Chamber Ensemble
under Theo Alcantara was con-
centrating on interpretation, the
subtle but important differences,
which aren't necessarily recog-
nizable, but which project the
fact to me that real care was
taken in everything, from the
exactly appropriate tempos to
the dynamics between winds
and strings.
The program offered contain-
ed nothing really special, yet by
.means of this intense effort for
perfection, each piece turned
out special in its own way.
Baroque, classical, and modern
-just music and no more, but
more than sufficient.
Bach's "Brandenburg Con-
certo No. 2 in F. major" pro-
vided the start. Alcantara's
tempos were fast, fast, fast. I
think this pleased me more than

anything else. The varying con-
certino and repetino sections
whirring past were exciting and
the orchestra never wavered or
stumbled. Tight quick playing,
good ensemble-no comment is
Asst. Prof. Charles Avsharian,
the Ensemble's concertmaster, is
surely familiar with Baroque
sound. His violin solos were
clear and dry, never using that
sweet vibrato sound of the Ro-
mantic era. This involves know-
ledge of the violin of Bach's
time, as well as a feeling for
orchestral timbre.
The trumpet soloist, J a mines
Underwood, did have some dif-
ficulty with the extrem4ly high
and slippery trumpet line, but
his playing deserves recognition
\because he kept the pace strong
and fast. The andante move-
ment featured some beautifully
restrained melodies for violin,
continuo, and winds.
The same thing could perhaps
be said of the Mozart's "Sym-
phony No. 24" which followed,
fast and tight. The symphony

introduces the wit and c h a r m
which is only Mozart.
The smiling melodies over
bouncing bass lines, the gentle
andantino grazioso s e c o n d
movement, the often dynamic
changes - these are Mozart's
as everyone knows. And the big-;
gest compliment I can give the
group and Alcantara is that I
heard, quite simply, real Mo-
zart. No dreany Romantic in-
terpretation, no sloppy to o s e
playing; Mozart and no more,
but more than' sufficient.
The second half of the con,
cert featured two modern works
for chamber orchestra, by Dal-
lapiccola and Ginastera. I sup-.
pose some words like "marvelous
versatility" should appear here,
but it was no surprise to me that
the seatonal pieces were per-
formed as well as the Bach and
Dallapiccola's "Piccola Musica
Notturna" is an amorphous
piece, alternating brooding eerie
sections with loud crashes of
color and sound.
There were some sensitive and

attentive viola lines handled
well by Prof. Francis Bundra,
lines which weave in and out
through contrasting back-
grounds. The" viola was central
but never altered the delicate
balance necessary to keep the
piece intact. This klein nacht-
music floats away from the or-
chestra at the end; the music
does not die away, rather it
moves from the instruments in-
to the air. The final chord is
held while the music just leaves.
continuing nebulously without
the musicians. Tight ensemble
is necessary if this illusion is to
The final "Variaciones Con-
certates for Chamber Orchestra"
by Ginastera of "Bomarzo"
fame is a series of nine varia-
tions on -a theme introduced by
lyrical cello solo with a harp
accompaniment that belies the
rhythmic frenzy of the piece.

The variations each feature a
solo instrument backed by vary-
ing colors. Clarinet, viola, oboe,
violin, horn-each investigate
the theme, turning and shaping
it. I
I liked the wonderfully corny
ending 'to the clarinet section
and the repetition of the theme
in the double bass with harp
again.accompanying. These
solo can be faulted little. I
should mention also the very
difficult violin solo executed su-
perbly by Avsharian.
I realize that these musicians
are the best from the music
school and that several faculty
members were also playing, but
they playedwell exactly because
they are good musicians. Theo
Alcantara did the work of shap-
ing and deciding, providing the
impetus and drive to make
music. No big splashy show, just

-- TON IG HT -
Directed by D. W. Griffith
:.:.,""" ' ti"
K"~ "
The' second film of the Griffith Festival
7 :00 *& 9:45 ARCH ITECTURE
662-8871 75'C AUDITORIUMI






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