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May 03, 1959 - Image 10

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1959-05-03
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70 .iJ ~ --., .

Restoring Handel to His Proper Place

Sculpture: the Form and Method
Of the Many Arts, It is Probably Least Accepted
and Least Understood in the United States

Common Illusions Abou t Him Are Disappearing

TIS YEAR marks the two hun-'
dredth anniversary' of the.
death of George Frederick Handel.
Ann Arbor musicians in keep-
ing with musicians everywhere are
honoring the great master, devot-
ing much attentionato his works.
In addition to the annual perform-
ance of the "Messiah," an all
Handel concert was presented by
the Baroque Trio, and the Univer-
sity Symphonic Band commemor-
ated Handel's death at its an-
nual spring concert.
Visitors, notably the Societa
Corelli and Renata Tebaldi also
paid homage to Handel by includ-
ing short selections in their res-
pective programs. And at May
Festival this afternoon the ora-
torio, Solomon, will be performed..
All this is quite remarkable be-
cause Handel, though acknowl-
edged as a musical genius, custom-
arily receives very little attention
in the American concert hall. The

English have devotedly performed lived and soon disappeared from
many of Handel's oratorios for the the catalog. Westmninster has re-
last two hundred years. but in leased "Israel in Egypt" and "Ju-
America only the "Messiah" has das Maccabeus." Earlier Sherchen

not sunk into oblivion,
It seems somewhat of a shame
to play one work to death and ig-
nore more than thirty other ora-
torios to Handel's credit, especially
since many of them are of monu-
mental stature, containing some
of the finest music ever written.
tion will seemingly add impetus
to the Handel. revival which has-
been underway for some 35 years.
In Germany during the 1920's,
interest was renewed in Handelian
opera which had hitherto been
obscured by the operatic efforts of
Gluck, Mozart, and Weber.
Handelian opera seemed "stiff"
and "conventional" by compari-
son; arias and choral sections were
connected with "long, dull recita-
tives." To label earlier Baroque
opera as dull and lacking in pro-
fundity is perhaps somewhat justi-

recorded "Messiah" for West-
minster based on the Coopersmith
rest ation edition. While the per-
formance is subject to-Sherchen's
eccentricities, it is probably the
best Handelian choral effort avail-
able to date.
Angel also has a fine "Messiah"
on the market under Sargent. In
addition Angel has released "Solo-
mon" with Lois Marshal (who in-
cidentally will sing at the May
Festival performance of "Solo-
nion") and a more successful
"Israel in Egypt" tlan Westmin-
No less than five different re-
cordings of the twelve concerti
grossi comprising opus six are
available. Also available are organ
concerti, flute sonatas, some of the
Italian cantatas, and many suites
for harpsichord, ,not to mention-
other works.

HE AMERICAN people have a'
strange and traditional dis-
trust of their senses.
The American ethic has found
the Latin delight in the good
things of this world intriguing and
titivating, but not quite nice. To
a degree this attitude towards
the flesh and its comforts is
changing. Americans are begin-
ning to find that there is a dif-
ference between sensuous and
sensual, and that it is possible to
revel in the pleasures of this world
without being depraved libertines.
As a society, we are even coming,
to enjoy-the arts without having'
feelings of uneasy duty underlaid
with a vague sense that there is
something morally dubious about
the whole thing. While- we have
catered to our grosser senses for
some time-note the development
of overstuffed furniture and the
baroque opulence of automobile in-
teriors, . or the orgies of eating,
drinking, and smoking indulged in
by Americans-we-have perversely
maintained that visually we must
starve ourselves, that emotionally
we must repress ourselves.
strong convictions concerning
utility and function, have been
leary and censorious of anything
David Guillaume taught art
education in the architecture
college. He discussed the art-
ist's role in society in a Daily
Magazine article last fall.

or anyone who did not do or make
While leisure is a sought after
entity, it is desired in order to- do
something with it. Even today we
justify leisure by filling it with
"good" and "improving" activi-
ties: we, find it difficult to savor
things in, of, and for themselves.
- However, as we become more
aware of, and accepting of, our
emotional and intellectual aspects,
and realize the importance of these
somewhat indefinable, difficult-to-
measure components of our make
up, we are also beginning to more
freely and cheerfully appreciate
the arts.
OF THE many - arts, that of
sculpture is probably the least
accepted, least understood in
Basically sculpture, as any other
art form, is designed to be a de-
light to some several of the senses
-visual, tactile, emotional, intel-
lectual, among others. (In speak-
ing of the senses in this connota-
tion one wants to include the end-
less emotional senses such as sense
of propriety, accomplishment,
well-being and so on, not just the
usual five).
A sculpture, whether it be a low
relief, almost two d'mensional, or
free standing (or, recently, free
hanging), is primarily concerned
with appealing to the beholders'
senses on any of several levels.
The most obvious appeal for
many people is the idea or story
suggested or commented on. By
"story" is not meant simply the

gross telling of a tale, a literary
notion translated (usually badly)
into a three dimensional state-
ment. The content or idea must
include also the quality of its
treatment by the artist in the
terms of his materials.
THE ARTIST is interested In
making some statement or
comment about the world, and in
communicating this through his
medium and craft.
In order to do this he must have
a .control and sensitivity for the
materials and techniques of fab-
rication he has chosen to objecti-
fy his commentary; he must have
an understanding of the subject
he has chosen and of the values
and perceptions of the audience
to whom the expression is di-
rected; and he must be able to
synthesize these various elements.
into a complete, aesthetic form.
The beholder may not under-c
stand completley, or .in the same<
way, what the artist has said, any1
more than the student under-<
stands the teacher, or one per-1
son understands another who
comes from a different back-
ground of values and ideologies.
IN THE SAME way, a tree is
viewed by a lumberman, a land-
scape gardener, a poet, a painter,
someone seeking shelter from sun
or rain, very differently.
Each has his particular needs
and notions of how the tree can or
cannot meet them. While the ar-
tist may be making some com-1

Alexander Calde

Michael Cohen is a
reviewer for The Daily.




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fied, but Handel in exploiting the 0NE of the biggest problems of
form to an unprecedented degree both concerts and recordings
gave it new mneaning and greater alike, however, is that of restora-
depth. tion.
The advent of the long playing The music of Handel has been
record has stimulated much inter- unbelievably distorted since his
est in Handel. Before 1948, most death. The oratorios in particular
music lovers attended a rather have undergone drastic changes in
"drugged" performance of the the size of the chorus and orches-
"Messiah" annually, and spent the tra, in instrumentation, and in the
rest of the year being consoled by number of cuts.
their one, lone Handel recording Restoration is even more com-
of the Sir Hamilton Hardy ar- plicated since Handel often left
rangement of the Water Music. cadenzas to be improvised, marked
many passages ad libitum, and
(N E OF THE first groups to ap- left figured bass parts to be filled,
pear on the long playing rec- in by the performer. In the "Han-
ord scene was the so-called Han- del Gessellschaft" we find the ad-
del Society which released two mission that the manuscripts may
oratorios, "Judas Maccabeus" and not be identical with the instru-
"Saul." mental parts of Handel's day.
Undertaking these projects was , Nonetheless, efforts are being
a step in the right direction. Un- made to perform Handelian works.
fortunately,-however, a large num- Many of the newer recordings.
ber of arias and recitatives were notably Archives, approach Baro-
brutally slashed leaving only a que authenticity.
hodgepodge of the more "listen- - As the revival takes hold and
able" arias and choral sections. Handel is restored to his proper
These recordings were soon dis- place, the common illusions of
continued. "the boring church composer" and
L'oiseou Lyre released "Sosarme" "the English Bach minus profun-
and "Semele" but these were short dity" will disappear.

mentary on man's inhumanity to
man, one viewer may be more con-
cerned with the design qualities,
another may be contemptuous of
the manipulation of the material,
and another may be completely
bemused with thoughts of the his-
toric or monetary value of the
Often, the beholder is looking
for something which does not ex-
ist in the work. Perhaps he is
looking for a story (Little Girl
saved by Noble Canine), while
the sculpture is presenting some
ideas on the relationships of
shapes and textures in space.
The viewer may be looking for a
discussion of the human body and
the sculptor may be inviting at-

A Million Saturday Nights



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Vol. V, No. 8


S .3.9

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Sunday, May 3, 1959

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By Michael Cohen Page 2
By Al Phillips Page 3
By Eli Zaretsky Page 6.
By Fred Schoen Page 7
By Daniel Wolter Page 8
By Selma'Sawayc Page 9
By W. G. Rogers Page 1I
By Al Young Page 12
By Gordon Mumma - Page 13
By Jan Rahm Page 14
By David Guillaume Page 15
COVER-Glenn Gould, sculpture and Interlochen all are discussed in'
articles yin this special issue of-The Daily Magazine.
PHOTO CREDITS-Cover: National Music Camp; Museum of Modern
Art, New York; Daily-'Ion'MacNiven. Page 2: Metropolitan Mu-
seum of Art. Page.3: Daily-Michael-Rontal. Page 4: Daily-
Dick Gaskill. Page 7: Daily-Allan Winder. Page -8: National
Music Camp. Page 9; DailylanMacNiven. Page 13-Gordon
Mumma. Page 14:.,Daily-Allan Winder. Page 15: Museum of
Modern Art, New York.

(Continued from Page 6)
sheathed and slithering heroine, is
she a graceless lass? Give her a
clever arpeggio, then, just to make
her persuasive. If music is to be
used in this manner, as an enor-
mous crutch, then the arm of a
healthy body should be used as a
THE REAL difficulty with a
bad" movie is that we can-
not see it whole. The pot pourri of
cinema can only exist if it be-
comes a unique integration with
each of its aspects surrendered to
the whole.
The symbols of the screen, the
variety of visual units, must be
easily recognizable in their basic
design: we cannot turn back a
few reels to check what has hap-
pened before. Finally it must be,
an active art, if only because the
eye is such a lively and nervous
organ. But it is one art, a pat..-
tern of purpose and rhythm, unit-
ing as cinema.
Consistently, though, we are,
faced with the gulf between what,
they can do and what they have.
done. When we look to the cre-.
ators and perpetuators , of this art
the first thing we sense is a feel-'
ing of dissatisfaction and oppres-
sion. thnlike the'impulsive child of
a progressive school 'the movies
have never been allowed to choose
their own way. Rather they have
always been dictated by that
sternest of fathers - commercial-

OTIER factors, of course, have
been blamed for the state of
the movies.
Sam Goldwyn was accusing the
censors when he admitted "we
wind up with a lot of empty little
fairy tales that do not have much
relation to anything." And ever
since 1916 when the courts pro-
claimed that the movies were en-
tertainment, not an organ of pub-
lic opinion, the movies have been
subject to sometimes-hampering
Similarly the star system has
been attacked from within the
The first star was -one Florence
Lawrence. She was hired by pro-
ducer Carl Laemmle at an exorbi-
tant salary and immediately an-
nounced to the newspapers as
dead. The next day Laemmle
charged his competitors with in-
venting the story to deprive him.
of his most valuable actress-and
so the public had found a mem-
orable heroine.
But all this can be traced back
to the cost of production. A novel;
can be written for the price of
paper but a movie must command
a large audience. Most of the sores -
that oppress iollywood are the
result of one thing-the simple
It is this that has led to- the
self-disparagement of the industry,
the restless dissatisfaction and
often irresponsible attitude. It
takes a good deal of cleverness to

turn one's back on intelligence. in conveying emotion, if not rea-

Complete selection of your favorite pieces,
performed by the world's foremost artists.
We stock many of Glenn Gould's recordings.

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This self-conscious shrug of the
shoulders is not an act of stupid-
ity, it is rather a specific feeling,
a sense, and not a happy one.
SIXTYYEARS, then, of cinema,
and what has finally emerged?
The moving pictures began as an
inventor's playground of ingenious.
celluloid snippets.
The giant toy became a great
instrument and occasionally would
tell a story to people instead of re-
citing a myth to children. The
mechanical nature of the art be-
came explicable and controlable.
After the first few years no diree-
tor asked for or needed technical
innovations; these have all come
as a result of commercial needs,
never as part of the movie's es-
sential growth..
Through' sixty -years a hundred
fashions have been built and
scrapped but a tradition has failed
to emerge. The movies today, even
the bad ones, are oddly effective

Generally, this works, because
an audience has been dulled to
passive receptiveness. The audi-
ence is relatively as young as the
cinema itself. In an atmosphere of
dark, anonymous warmth and re-
laxed enjoyment, it is difficult to
feel responsible.
BUT A WORLD that takes itself
seriously cannot ignore the
.motion pictures.
When they succeed, the im-
mediate experience of the thing
observed, the sensuous imagery
and quickness are not easily erased
from our minds. What is needed
now is vitality and courage rather
than new techniques and material.
As always the movies are in a
state of transition rather than
tradition. A great art can at last
solidly emerge, or the aimless path
of the past can be perpetuated. To
this we can only say, God Forbid.




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