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February 18, 1969 - Image 2

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1969-02-18

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, February 18, 1969

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, February 18, 1969

records
Ormandy and RCA: Sweet fruits of a new union

NO 2-6264
HRRY!! LASTZ2BIG
ST'EVE
McICU1JEEN
AS
"IBL UIT~

SHOWS AT
1:00-3:00-5:00
7:10q and 9:15
'DAYS . ..

By R. A. PERRY
When Eugene Ormandy and
the Philadelphia Orchestra di-
vorced Columbia Records for
RCA, you can be sure that the'
new alliance was a. marriage
for money. Whatever went on
between these two giants of the
entertainment business, I f o r
one hoped that the future aug-
ured better for Ormandy and
the P. O. Columbia had been
treating the orchestra as their
house-organ Mantovani, a n d
were putting out trashy discs of
"Ormandy's Greatest Hits"' and
other treacle. In turn, the P.O.
has become sloppy and slack -
witness their "vacations" in Ann
Arbor - and Ormandy, essen-
tially, a painter and not a phil-
osopher, has not come up with
any really definitive recording
in some years.}
From the six records that RCA,
have unleashed to celebrate
their new contract, it seems that
Ormandy and the P.O. are by no
means a lost cause. They have
tightened their belts and brush-
ed the cobwebs from their ears
for t h e occasion in order to
achieve an ensemble unity and
sheen that they haven't display-
ed on Columbia for some time.
Furthermore, RCA eschews the.
gimmicky engineering that Co-
lumbia goes for in a big way;
we can now appreciate the or-
ehestra from the eighth r o w
rather than, from a seat, on the
edtge of each instrument. In-
deed, the orchestra never sound-
ed better and all that yet holds
back the P.O. is the somewhat
limited imagination of their,
conductor.'
The best recording by far in
this RCA sextet finds Artur
Rubinstein joining Ormandy for
a sublime reading of Chopin's
F minor Piano Concerto (LSp-
3055). I must tell you that Har-
ris Goldsmith in the recent is-

sue of High Fidelity conedemn-
ed Rubinstein's rendition as ex-
aggerated a n d "roughneck."
(Can you imagine Rubinstein as
a "roughneck"?) I cannot be-
lieve that we, heard the same re-
cording for at no time has Ru-
binstein's playing 'seemed more
beautifully controlled and more
subtlely understated. In the
larghetto, Rubinstein effects
the most natural flow of piano
playing it has ever b e e n my
pleasure to hear. The virtuosity
that Alexis Weissenberg brought
to hisAngel recording finds its
converse with Rubinstein, where
the only virtuosity lies in the
almost self-effacing lack of all
pretention. From his first en-
trance in the maestoso to the
closing flourish of the allegro,
1 Rubirstein places each note in
perfect succession with not one
phrase seeming the least bit
arbitrary.
T h e orchestral accompai-
ment that Ormandy provides, if
unbalanced in favor of the
strings, does not intrude upon
Ru b i n stein's unmelodramatic
conception of the work; RCA
has provided a bass rich and
translucent sound. Goldsmith
notwithstanding, I think this is
one of the finest piano record-
ings in quite a while; though in
its reticent manner it may even-
tually go unnoticed in compari-
son to recordings of more blat-
ent strength.
One of the implications of the
switch from Columbia to RCA
lies in the fact that soloistsun-
der exclusive contract to RCA
can now record with the P.O.
One of these soloists is Van Cli-
burn and he has recorded for
the occasion thd Grieg and Liszt
E flat Concertos. This disc
(LSC-3065), while containing
' some fine pianism, cannot be
recommended as enthusiastical-
ly as the above.
For one thing, Cliburn's in-

tellectual purity, shorn of ex-
pressive sentiment, simply does
not work well in these overtly
romantic pieces. Cliburn's emo-
tional retrenchment, no matter
how abetted by digital control
and structural insight, ener-
vatps rather than refreshes these
warhorses. Secondly, he is up
against potent competition: Lip-
atti, Rubinstein, and Fleisher in
the Grieg, and Richter (on Phil-
ips) in the Liszt.
Ormandy is not normally as-
sociated with the works of An-
ton Bruckner, but his new re-
cording (LSC-3059) of t h e
Bruckner Seventh Symphony
should allow his name to be
added tentatively to the roster
of European conductors (Hait-
nik, Solti, Klemperer, Schuricht)
claiming pre - eminence. Or-
mandy's Bruckner venture for
RCA is not a total success but
it contains some splendid mom-
ents.
Bruckner himself has not won
very many f a n s in America,
where his name is too easily as-
sociated with heavy, Germanic,
pompous, brassy, peasant mysti-
cism. In his own time too, this
monkish composer was maligned
'by fellow Viennese. One of his
great admirers, however, Hugo
Wolf, applauded Bruckner for his
"extraordinary 'artistic natural
power, freshness, and naivete,"
though admitted that "every-
where will, colossal strivings
find no gratification,. no artistic
resolution." Indeed the grand,
spacious Brucknerian themes
move upwards in' broad terraces
of sound toward a climax that
never comes (a subject for
Reich?) but fall to meandering
in order to build power for an-
other assault at the mystic sum-
mit.
Yet for all of the repetition
and vagueness, there is nobili-
ty - ironically ascetic - to
Bruckner'sa music, as w e 11 as
some of the most beautiful ada-

gios ever written. Ormandy can-
not in any way effect the ten-
sion of line to make the cli-
maxes events significant of more
than mere loudness or the rhy-
thms of the scherzo more than
fragmented ideas. Nevertheless,
the backbone of a Bruckner
symphony -- the strings --
shine resplendently in this re-
cording.
I have never heard the P.O.
strings more disciplined and
more luxuriant (sans schmaltz)
as they appear here in the open-
ing allegro moderato; the wood-
winds and brass also play with
attentive pointedness and a r e
appropriately revealed by RCA's
magnificent engineering. While
the recording may not stand as'

an intellectual landmark in
Bruckner interpretation, it can
clearly be recommended on the
strength of the orchestral play-
ing which makes Bruckner's re-
ligious-musical aspirations not
only palatable but also awe-in-
spiring.
Of the remaining three discs
less needs to be said. One (LSC-
3057) attempts four concerti for
diverse solo instruments by Tele-
marn. The forces used are way
too large and the tempi employ-
ed quixotic, uneven,' and dis-
turbing to both players and lis-
tener. Concertmaster Norman
Carol tries to cut his feverish
way through the thick sound in
the Concerto in D f o r Violin
Concertato and Diverse Instru-

ments but lacks the technical
facility to win out. There are so
many technically and stylistical-
ly infelicitous moments that I
can only say the record is a
loser.
The only reason for yet an-
other Tchaikovsky "Pathetique"
(LSC-3058) is ,nostalgia- the
piece was the first recorded by
Ormandy and the P.O. for Vic-
tor in 1936. Who cares? The
new recording is no better than
many versions (Toscanini, Gui-
lini) on bargain labels.
A lastsfrecording (LSC-3060)
pairs Ives' Third Symphony and
William Schuman's "New Eng-
land Triptych." The former rel-
atively restrained work allows
easy access to Ives, since it lacks
his complex counterpoint col-
lages. Schuman's subtle, color-
istic masses of sounds seek for
their source music by Billings,
a contemporary of Washington.
Both works are performed well,
if not extraordinarily so.
With a purchase of. any of
these discs, RCA throws in free
an interesting album of historic
performances' which include
Flagstad's "Abscheulicher," Mar-
ian Anderson's "Alto Rhapsody"
(can't touch Ferrier), and Kreis-
vler in his= adaptation of Paga-
nini's D major Concerto. For
me, the best excerpt offers the
cellist Emanuel Feuermann
playing the final variation from
Strauss's Don Quixote. RCA
should reissue the entire per-
formance by this artist too lit-
tle reprasented on recordings.
605 E. William
769-1573
SUMMER
STORM
dir. Douglas Sirk with
Linda Darnell,
George Sanders
TUES. and WED.
FEB. 18, 19
75c

Letuctivw It. frankN
IIU111tt- -Some
other.I ind of cop.
~SUGESTEO FOR MATU E OICES TClICOUR'tUM WWRB ROS.-SEVEN ARTS*

0U
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4

TIE
ENTERTAINER
by
John Osborne
Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
February 19-22
presented by
Department of Speech
University Players
BOX OFFICE
Feb. 17, 18, 12:30-5 P.M.
Feb. 19, 22, 12:30-8 P.M.
TICKETS
Feb. 19, 20, $1.25, $1.75
Feb. 21, 22, $1.75, $2.25
ALL PERFORMANCES 8:00 P.M.

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letters:

Another
To the Editor:
I was hurt and angered this
morning by the racist review of,
the beautiful Alvin Alley dance
theatre program. One of t h e
most irritating of the racist
comments in this review stated
that "T h e image of a black
American dance theatre is a
spectrum of rhythm, forms and,
emotion." This kind.,of pre-con-
ceived notion or sterotyping of
black people and our culture by
racist whited is too often seen
arrogantly printed in newspa-
pers and magazines throughout
this country. If you people are
disappointed when our behaivor
does not conform to your pre-
conceived notions, then, of
course, you have only your own
racism to blame.
Next I take issue with the

view of Alvin Ailey

O O .OO

term "guts" which is a white,
cultural metaphor and has no
relevance to black culture. Too
often white- people arrogantly
use this 'term of theirs to de-
scribe soul or funk and t h i s
amounts to no more than an at-
tenipt to describe a beautiful ex-
pression of hope and strength
with the vulgar grunt of a cave
man,
When the Schastoks talk
about the "first two acts" and
"extended thematic develop-
ment" it is obvious that they
missed the concept behind the
individual selections which were
presented. Perhaps this ignor-
ance was also the 'result of some
previously conceived notion bas-
ed on earlier= performances by
similar dance groups. At a n y
rate, the Schastok's failed to see
that each selection was a threat-

rical experience within itself
and not part of any large-scale
theme. Each selection in t h e
program was designed to depict
a particular aspect of the black
Aierican's varied personality
and moods through music and
dance. This was accomplished <-
had a significant message. It is
understandable if these mes-
sages evaded the Schastoks and
other white Americans who have
traditionally segregated them-
selves from us and find it ex-
tremely difficult to give us cred-
it for being able to do some-
thing better than they can do
it.
In closing I would like to edu-
cate the Schastoks by informing
them that Mr. Ailey d id not
write the spirituals.
--Clark Kent, Grad.

E

U

Eugene Ormandy

SPRING
HEAT
.::.... MARCH 11969

Tomorrow Night.

Hear
administrator, Ocean Hill-Brownsville
demonstration school district
TALK ABOUT COMMUNITY
CONTROL OVER EDUCATION

TWO musical. composition competitions
LASS ICAL. POP
SPONSORED BY,

I

The University of Toledo Student Union Board
PRESENTS:
SERGIO MENDES and-BRAZIL '66,
February 19, 1969 at 8:30 P.M.
in
THE UNIVERSITY OF TOLEDO FIELDHOUSE
Tickets may be purchased in the Student Union at Toledo Univer-
sity or Kaufman's-Colony; Rie's-Westgate; Grinnell's-Down-
*town.

CINEMA II
TUESDAY, FEB. 18
THE COMING
OF SOUND
A comnposite of early sound
flicks (Mickey Mouse, etc.)
Edited by the Museum
of Modern Art
7 and 9 P.M.

generation

I

The

Feb. 19-UNION BALLROOM, 8:001

ADMISSION: FREE
SPONSORS: Friends of CNP, Black Student
UAC, SGC, Child Development Consultant

generation MUSIC AWARD
CONSISTS OF

Union,
Project

AUD. A, ANGELL

75c'

All1

I

A RECORDING of your winning composition .. .
which will also le distributed with the April issue
of generation
FOR DETAILS AND INFORMATION

THE RHYTH M M ETHOD

FR ESH MAN Mass Meeting
For those interested in petitioning for

g

hard rock and blues

0

For TG6's mixers, formals, etc.

I

SOPH SHOW '69
CENTRAL COMMITTEE

1I

CALL: 764-1133
764-8932
769-1875

Order Your Daiy Now-
Phone 764-0558
l Program Info: 8-6416 -7 111

THURSDAY, FEB. 20
7:30 P.M.
in the
UGLI Multi-purpose
Room

petitions can be picked up at the
mass meeting and at UAC League
office after Feb. 20th. ALL PETI-
TIONS DUE FEB. 27th.

CALL ROMAN at 764-3713 Tues./Wed. 4-5:30
-O
Stop and SEE ROMAN at above times at our office
-OR-
send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to
generation
420 Maynard St.
Ann Arbor, Mich.
LAST DATE FOR SUBMISSIONS-MARCH 7, CONTACT US BEFORE FEB. 21

I

2

TODAY-2 FEATURES
Shows at 6:48 & 8:00 P.M.
1 WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH
TORECOMMEND IT!"
-gEaU # efn

m

. i - :
. : .:

SEGE

SYSTE

AN EVOLUTION
IN FILM!'

Original Charging Rhinoceros of Soul
Teagarden and Van Winkle
Fruit of the Loom

STUDENT FILM FESTIVAL

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