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February 14, 1969 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-14

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, February 14, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY Friday, February 14, 1969

records

6Lum 0% so 00%

/

Bach's well-tempered outlet

By JOE PEHRSON
[f Bach were living to exper-
ice his new vestments, I
arantee he would be donsider-
ly more surprised and delight-
than the cover of Switched-
iBach would suggest. Tran-
iptions. are nothing new..
is, -however, is the first at-'
npt- to apply all the resources-
contemporary electronic mu-
to works of the past.
By this fact alone, Walter
rlgs' album is revolutionary.
hile many electronic com-
hers are content to let the
pes of sound direct the form
their music, Carlos has, both
his former compositions and
this new release, recognized
e full potential and resources
modern sounds. Before, he4
tempted -to combine. tradi-
)al musical instruments and
ntemporary sound-producing
vices in his own serial-type
rks. Now, he has taken music
the past and has illuminated'
d clarified: the music as an
ea.
Puie Bach is clear Bach. Each
ice of an elaborate contra-
nta style must be not only
ard, but clearly distinguished
Dm the others. The difficul-
s encountered here are a!-
Dst insurmountable, particul-
ly- when a work is performed
one instrument.
Works which were the con-
ual frustration of performer
d listener !alike are now heard.
nean really heard.
The types of sounds available
rough the use of electronic
uipment are pratically un-
sited in number. Each sound
s its own distinctive quality.
id the range of sounds is so
eat it is possible to use sounds
.ich are different enoughi to
separate and similar enough
be used in works intended for
e instrument:
This album didn't appear now
.nere chance. Until the in-
ntion-of the Moog synthesizer
ss than two years ago, such
project would be impossible.
)bert Moog- has designed an
ectronic device with a key-
ard and simplified controls
r volume changes.
This makes it possible to
tually play traditionally no-
ted music on a new instru-
ent. The selections in Switch-
kon-$ach are a result of both
is new instrument and Carlos'
iginalildea:

They reflect a year of careful
experimentation by Carlos and
musicologist Benjamin Folkman
with new sounds and appro-
priate transcription of the orig-
inal manuscripts to the new
sound medium. Although the al-
bum cover tends to suggest a
popularization of Bach, the ac-
tual enterprise has a much more
serious purpose. Here is music
of the future, and methods of
performance of the future.
Getting down to particulars,
there are important innova-
tions with sound techniques in
practically e'v e r y cut. The
baroque style is unusually com-
patible with electronic realiza-
tion due to the crisp and metri-
cally well-defined nature of the
music. This is best seen in
"Sinfonia to Cantata No. 29"
(Bach's own transcription of
the "Phorion" prelude) which in
my opinion is the brightest and
most exciting of all the works on
the album.
A series of repeated notes in
the theme are so. precisely timed
they produce the feeling; of
exact rhythm and perfection in
Bach. This theme is elaborated
with shimmering punctuation'
by the electronic chorus (which,
I might add, replaces an organ,
three trumpets, tympani, strings
and oboes). This ascends in
parts to the upper limits of the
audible range - an appropriate+
first selection.
The second selection "Air on
a G String" originally for
strings and continuo has been
transformed to a reed quality.
Watch for the subtle rubato and
swells; the beautiful oboe-like
sounds in this cut show the
range of the synthesizer. Carlos
pays particular attention to
some of the lower voices which
were never before emphasized.
The two-part inventions are
not the most memorable. The
contrast however, between the
soft xylophone-like voices of
the B-flat major and the reedy
sund of the D minor is really
striking. The sound of the B-
flat major is really hard to ex-
plain. I get the feeling the
synthesizer is sticking its tongue
out at us. Here's real musical
buffoonery.
\ "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring,"
that proverbial Bachism, is
gracefully performed. The mu-
sical phrasing is of note here
along with a background chorus

which, in having both a bell-
like and a sustained quality, is
indescribable.
Of the "Prelude and Fugue in
E-flat Major" the fugue is par-
ticularly noteworthy. This' is
the most important illustration
of the clarity of voices possible
in the, electronic idiom. Three
voices of the fugue are distinct
in quality while all sounding a
bell-like similarity. One has
overtones similar to the reed
instruments," one combines a
clarinet and bell, and the last
combines bell and flute.
The prelude of "The Prelude
and Fugue in C Minor" is remi-
niscent of a Bach sawmill. This
thing really moves, and is per-
fectly suited to the picture of
the prelude. The bottom voi'ce
breaks away from the pattern
in an indignant manner and.
changes tone color depending
on its expression. Perhaps this
is a bit heavy on'the rubato, but
the app gaturas near the end
more than make up for this.,
The theme from the chorale
prelude "Wachet Auf" is natural
fun. Carlos' main contribution
to this work is the 'lear tenor
chorus which maintains a sepa-
rate type of cantus firmus.
Now to the finest and most
elaborate production on the en-
tire album: The "Brandenburg
Concerto Number 3." Here is

ai full-scale baroque orchestra
comprised of different electron-
ic sounds. This more than any
other selection, shows the fu-
ture of electronic transcription.
Some of ithe sounds in she first
movement are quite tympanic in
character-particularly on re-
petitive figures.
This is the "Brandenburg
Three" as it should be heard,
but' there's no mistaking this
version from traditional orches-
trations. I still refuse to believe
the Second Movement: Bach on-
ly has provided a "Phrygian"
Cadence which leaves almost
total freedom for improvisation.
And Carlos improvises, using
exotic effects common to the
contemporary works and for-
merly strangers to Bach. Still,
the effects are in keeping with
Bach's style at its most ostenta-
tious. The modern listener will
freak on this. I get the impres-
sion it won't be as easily ac-
cepted by traditionalists as the
rest of the album.
Perhaps albums like Switched-
on-Bach will show the truly
spectacular nature of both art
and invention in the twentieth
century. The possibilities ure
practically unlimited as great
technological advances .ire ar-
tistically applied. "B'ach Turn-
ed-On" certainly shows the re-
sult of this application.

r
i
I
i

"THE SWEET BEAST"
Stratford companthe sacred name of
ssr pie VALENTINE
sets --presented by
The Stratford National Theatre Hirsch who staged Shakespeare's
of Canada will return to Ann Ar- Midsummer Night's Dream in Ann
bor March 25 for a second season Arbor last Aril. remnA
following its exclusive U.S. engage- "Hamlet will be presented in a,
ment here last spring. style differing from Ellis Rabb's
The Stratford Festival which is version presented here in Octo-zof Sul
sponsored by the University Pro- ber." says Robert Schnitzer, exe-;
fessional Theatre Program will cutive director of the PTP. He ^F y-y
perform two new productions, Ben says the Stratford production will riday, ruary 14
Jonson's The Alchemist and give theatre goers "a unique op- r 9'.
Shakespeare's Hamlet. The Jonson portunity to contrast the artistic from 9 P.M. tilllate
comedy will open the two week approach to a great dramatic clas- at the
engagement on March 25 and sic by two major directors."EH
"Hamet"wil prmiee Mrch28- Tickets for the March produc-
Jean Gascon, the executive ar- tions are on sale at the PTP ticket
tistic director of the Stratford (corner Jefferson
Festival, will stage The Alchemist offic in Lydia Mendelssohn150 F F d
Fesivl, il stgeTheAlhemstTheatre weekdays from 10 a~m. to- $1 .50 Free Food
in settings designed by James Hart T
Stearns, principal designer for the 1 p.m. and from 2-5 p.m. Seats - o -o<--<--<->c
Lincoln Center Repertory Theatre are also available through the
in New York. Hudson and Grinnell ticket serv- DAILY CLASSIFIEDS:

11ETITIONING
for
CIA EMIA GUILT)
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Sign Up 2538 SAB
Program Information 8-6416
TODAY: 2 features 2
Shows at 6:45 & 8:00 P.M.
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Hamlet will be directed by John ices,

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BRING QUICK RESULTS

TONIGH AND- A
TON1GHT AND SATU

.IRDAY - '

g t itg
AN EVOLUTION
IN.FILM!
AD T NSTUDENT FILM FESTIVAL
Place: Michigan League Ballroom
Date & Times: Feb. 19 & 20 at
C"LC " F7:00 & 9:30 P.M.
Price: $1.50 students, $2.00 general
SAWYSponsored by: Symposium '69
Advance tickets at the Michigan League
Office, University Activities Center

1421 Hill St.
8:30 P.M.

11

of

Sat.-1 P.M.
WORKSHOP
with Michael Cooney
--25c--
Sat. Nite-Late
"After Hours"

MICHAEL
COONEY
"HE PROCEEDED TO DAZZLE THE
AUDIENCE 'WITH AN ASTOUNDING
PERFORMANCE."
-Abany Times Union
"HE IS A SINGING ENCYCLOPEDIA
OF EVERYTHING THAT HAS TO DO
WITH A SOLID, RESPECTFULKNOWL-
EDGE OF THE PAST AND A CONCERN
FOR THE PRESENT."
--Sing Out!

i.

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TONIGHT
MORNING GLORY
Directed by LOWELL SHERMAN, 1936
KATHERINE ADOLPHE
HEPBURN '?MENJOU
The cindefella story of a young actress who becomes
a Broadway star. Hepburn won her first Oscar for
this role.
Short: LAUREL AND HARDY
Tomorrow: NINOTCHIKA (Greta Garbo)
662-8871 ARCHITECTURE
7:00 & 9:05 75c AUDITORIU

it

p

MARK'S COFFEE HOUSE
605 E. WILLIAM 769-1593
JWILLARD,
Classical guitarist
Feb. 14, 15, Fri., Sat.
9:301 10:30, 11:15 p.m. $1.5
"DISHONORED"
JOSEF VON STEINBERG, dir.

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