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March 16, 1969 - Image 3

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-03-16

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Sunday, March 16, 1969

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Pc

age ThreA

Sunday, March 16, 1969 THE MICHIGAN DAILY R ~ge Three

arts &letters
A non-inear equation of sound
By R. A. PERRY significance of an electronic instrument that can be the exigencies generated in the music are determined
Two years after Verdi's Rigoletto opened at La played by one man; implying that the new artist-per- neither from formal nor programmatic needs, but solely
in Venice, the music critic of the Gazette former will have an infinite palette of sounds to use. from desired sonorities. What expressive, evocative con-
Fenice indenicr rthes critilacks melody .ett But to apply this instrument to Bach in like harnessing notations may exist, exist more in the mind of the
lMusicale de Paris wrote, musig t acsmld
and fine ensemble pieces.This opera has scarcely any or rocket to a rickshaw. listener than in the structure or content of the music
chance -of maintaining itself in the repertoire." Even As Peter Yates has well documented in his Twen- itself. The Lazarof is recorded on Vanguard BCS 10047.
nine years later, in 1862, Henry Chorley for a London tieth-Century Music, the evolution of music out of the One of the few rcord companies that exists solely
newspaper wrote, in reference to this opera, "Why not 'harmonic era" has been toward pure sound. Today's to promulgate new music is Composers Recordings Inc.,
as well present the effects of a cold in the head?" To- leading composers take us into uncharted aural realms and C.R.I. has a fascinating catalog containing grain
day, when Rigoletto impresses us as exceedingly lyrical of suspended space and nonexistent time. Already, what and chaff that only time will separate. It is exciting
early Verdi, such judgments seem quizzical and amusing. seems significant about Arnold Schoenberg is not what nevertheless to be audience to the varieties of expression
The unparalleled furor aroused by the debut per- he gave up, but to what devices he found it necessary and experimentation that C.R.I. offers.
formance of Stravinsky's Le Sacre du Printemps at the to cling-just as Picasso, in the Analytic Cubist phase,
could only take apart the visual object so far, at which One disc, for instance, combines a trombone con-
Theatre des Champs-Elysses 'n May 29th, 1913 (the pinheadltersureutosyhezegi.T- certo by Robert Parris, a string quartet by George Roch-
Pearl Harbor of twentieth-century music) appears now point h had little resource but to synthesize again. To- crob oetPriasrn ure yGog oh
day there can be no turning back. berg, and percussion music by Charles Wuorinen. (C.R.I
almost charming in its naivete-after all, we can hear 231) The Parris work is conventional but great fun, and
the thumping drama daily on our hifis if we wish. Much of contemporary music, then, demands a great is well-written without being over-intellectualized. In
The moral of these familiar scenes is, of course, not deal from the listener, for it has not only abandoned both the first movement of cataleptic gestures and in
merely that critics are often wrong, but that acceptance tonality-which, even at this late date, often acts as a the parrot-chattering and macabre second movement
of the avantgarde by critic and audience alike comes centripetal force-but also Cartesian coordinates of time the trombone solo by Roman Siwek is nothing less than
not with increasing enlightenment, but, simply, with (rhythm, tempi variations) and space (mathematically astounding.
familiarity due to the persistence of the artists them- even devisions of duration within a closed system). Rochberg's quartet, entitled Contra Mortem et
selves. Ironically, by the time audience and annotator When confronting electronic and modern instrumental Tempus (the concerns of modern scientist as well as
have come to actively accept "the new" important artists music, we cannot fall back upon old recognizable pat- composer) comes closer to pure sound unconcerned
have moved beyond these forms and ideas. terns of organization; we must involve ourselves freshly, with confining structures, and Wuorinen's Janissary
immediately, and totally in the given musical matrix
Contemporary music faces the problem of acceptance epeieny, If we nth sen ouspten and Music is a percussion extravaganza that again, for all
through familiarity more acutely than any other art nexaer nc Imal natastkthat bomsa of the internal rhythms, concerns itself primarily with
form. As early as 1937, John Cage, whose writings are te resuasalls a t let the an the experience of varying sounds.
semial 4 tentethcenuryart muicandphiosohy, active response, almost a sought relief from the ima-~
seminal tO twentieth-century art, music, and philosophy, ginative engagement with on-Cartesian processes. Another successful piece of poetically evocative sonic
wrote, "I believe that the use of noise to make music existentialism is George Crumb's Eleven Echoes of
will continue and increase until we reach a music pro- . Certainly some aids are offered. Morton Subotnick, exsntaim sGogeCubsEvnEcesf
duced through the aid of electrical instruments." Since who provided theeeffective electronic interludes in that Autumn, on CRI 233. Here, however, exist explicit pro-
World War II, experimentation with electronic music, other piece of popular treacle, 2001, has, in his com- grammatic intentions, a motto from Lorca softly and
begun by Ussachevsky and Luening in America and by' positions for electronic-music synthesizer, stuck to sporadically intoned: ". . . and the broken arches where
Pierre Henry and Pierre Schaeffer in Paris, has in- sounds fairly programmatic in intention. In his None- time suffers." John Cage's comment is recalled: "Slowly
creased enormously, finally abetted in these -last few such recording (H-71208), The Wild Bull, Subotnick we realize we are getting nowhere."
years by the recording industrypresents an electronic piece quite, dependent upon the It would be pertinent to ask at this point how much
Yea theorllofheinisetyfasverbal suggestions inherent in the Sumerian poem upon longer .traditional instruments will interest the com-
ingful'recordings of new music available (a few of which the music is based; at the same time, levels of poser when electronically-generated sounds offer richer
igharemrdigsofneelow)ts ishevareningthwough suggestiveness are complex though ultimately richness sonic possibilities. Perhaps some day a youth will not
thoroughly expected that what the public has taken to of response must lie within the listener's own range of learn the tuba but the tape-o-tron.
be "an important breakthrough" is a piece of kitsch imagi on. Record companies, especially C.R.I. and Nonesuch,
so enveloped in the safety of the known as to be One of the most brilliant and important pieces which the latter commissioning and planning to release soon
ludicrous. I am speaking of Columbia's "Switched-On utilizes electronically-generated sounds is Stockhausen's a new batch of electronic ad mixedmedia issues, are
Bach," a recording of Bach items altered via an elec- Songs of the Youths, in the electronic matrix of which increasingly turning toward avant-garde compositions,
tronic "keyboard" instrument; this recording has not are organically interspersed phrases in praise of God, but few people are willing to plunk down the money
only contributed handsomely to Columbia's coffers, but the text ironically deriving from Daniel 3, "Song of the for an unknown commodity, even though the solution
has also sucked in a claque of critics, including Harold Men in the Fiery Furnace." The resulting dream-like to the problem of discerning value from novelty can
Schonberg, for whom familiarity is a needed sign of procession-an electronic Kandinsky-both dissolves only come with increased familiarity with the idiom.
respectability. time and space while touching unconscious nerves of
The question is not whether the "electronic Bach" nostalgic evocations. Perhaps there will come a time Familiarity, however, demands more than a record
is fun to hear-for me the "Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring" when such pieces will seem, in their collage incorpora- purchase. New music demands full attention, and in
sounds like amerry-go-round with a broken motor, and tion of non-electronic elements and adherence to our immediate-gratification society, few people will work
the "Air on a G String" like a Tomy Dorsey tune wheez- literary modes, as old-fashioned as a crystal radio. To- for their aesthetic fulfillment. I have heard it said
ing from a 1940 radio-but whether it is really,signifi- day they are exhilirating. that electroc music is appreciated more by people
cant. The question is not whether the electronics make There are those who feel that electronic music is who smoke marijuana-as it clears the head of de-
Bach's horizontal lines more lucid-the advocates of intriguing but lacking in musical meaning and quality. pendency upon inculcated patterning and heightens
this bit of appreciative cant are usually the same people Accordingly, numerous composers are contributing to- synaesthetic response-but even these people easily turn
who decry "technological man"-but whether' the ward the evolution of minimally structured sound via to forms of immediate titillation. Rock, so dependent
musical experience derived from the record possesses traditional mechanical instruments. Penderecki's De upon word and beat, when less limited musical forms
any of the qualities inherent in the compositions of Natura Sonoris (its title alone is telling) and Poly- would offer a richer "trip."
serious vanguard composers. To anyone who has at- morphia, both precisely and energetically played by the For those who seek it, anyhow, there are an exuber-
tempted to follow and understand the music of the last Cracow Philharmonia and vividly recorded by Philips ant number of recordings available, and the challenges
twenty years, Columbia's "Switched-On Bach" has as (PHS900-184), explore the purely sonic possibilities of and excitement of primal participation sufficiently can-
much relationship to the rigors, problems, and aesthetic the orchestra, and especialy the strings, in bold, un- cels out occasional disappointments. The new criteria
rewards of electronic music as a frat riding a Honda inhibited strokes, unfettered by expressive necessities, for recordings will not be particulars of performance
has to a Hell's Angel. that even Bartok would have thought excessively experi- or how many minutes on one side-but the intensity
What is important about the Columbia release is the mental. Likewise in Henri Lazarof's Structures Sones, and quality of the active musical experience offered.

music

=====2

Who pays lop in now?
By W. REXFORD BENOIT with some imitation showman cause she collects big money for

C

Dear friends and people of
bad will everywhere: Last night
the James Cotton Blues Band
played the Events Building on
the University campus. Janis
Joplin played too, however she
wasn't there.
James Cotton was here many
years ago. He will be around
for some time to come-- I hope.
Last night he was all around
everyone with an ear.
We yelled at him, with him,
and about him. We begged for
more. I felt satisfied when he
was through, because Cotton is
what is called a thoroughly pro-
fessional musician.
He gives all his talent to the
people who get the money to-
gether to hear him. He gives a
PERFORMANCE. No cheating.
Even the stage tricks look good.
Last night, after his second en-
core, he did a somersault on
the stage. All 250 pounds of
him. Then he sang some more
killer blues.
Cotton is like Buddy Guy. His
talent hasn't been murdered by
the colossal money interests
tearing the industry apart.
With Cotton was Luther
Tucker, a very nice vamp gui-
tarist whd also played a good
solo and interacted with saxo-
phonist Bill Nugent, a man
with taste. Barry Smith played
solid blues drums, and Bob An-
derson did the bass. Anderson
was there all the time, holding
it together with Smith.
These people have a new al-
bum. Dig It.
. Also offering last night was
Janis Joplin and her' 26-piece
orchestra-the San Francisco
Pops. They were really wonder-
ful. Special praise for the organ
player, who was judged by a
photographer as "good, because
he can play standing up for a
long time without his pants fall-
ing down."
I don't mean tp question how
much dues Janis payed at one
time or another in her life. No
doubt the cost was high. She has
a magic voice worth four dol-
lars anytime if you're a man of
some resources.
But she didn't give it to us
last night. She sang three songs.
During the rest of the set she
beat on a cowbell and danced

who, incidentally, plays the bar-
itone saxophone.
The last song she sang was
even good, even had glimpses of
old times in it. When she had
finished it, we asked for more.
The band, however, was long
gone- and not about to come
back. Janis with them.
She OWED us her talent, be-

these gigs. She will play the
Sullivan show tonight. James
Cotton will not. I don't know
why, but I suspect its because
Cotton still has an idea of who's
listening. I do know who was
the warm-up band and who was
the main attraction, and it
wasn't advertised on the posters
that way.

Participatory music
By JOE PEHRSON
Last night's concert, Contemporary Directions 1969, was an
experiment in total media. It might also be remembered as the
University's first light show. The program, excluding the visual
portrayal of Luciano Berio's Visage, was normal enough, except
for the unusual quality of all the works presented.
The first work, Dream Music No. 2 (1967), a premiere per-
formance, by William Bolcom might be classified somewhere in
that never-neverland between contemporary jazz and modern
serial composition. At times complete jazz, the themes would dis-
integrate and re-combine to give only a semblance of the original
in far from jazz form.
Synchronisms No. 2 by Mario Davidovsky was an attempt to
solve the time-honored mind-body problem in contemporary
music: the interaction of traditional instruments with electronic
sound. The ensemble, consisting of flute, clarinet, violin, and cello
provided the initial exposition. The performance was sterile, dis-
tastefully professional, but the score for the live performers was
a beautiful blend, a sweeping unity which created an atmosphere
to which all the instruments contributed. This first section is a
proof of Davidovsky's excellent command over traditional in-
strumentation. The electronic effects were then tastefully in-
troduced, and the problem of perfect synchronization of the
electronic sounds and the live sounds had been successfully solved.
The last work on the program was Visage by Luciano Berio.
This very well-known electronic work attempts to combine elec-
tronic imagery with the sounds of language. A vocal artist on the
arginal tape played through four separate channels and speakers
in Rackham Hall, chants, giggles, laughs, girgles, and raps with
the audience in some strange pre-fabricated foreign tonque de-
signed by Berio. This is accompanied by electronic sound and is
a complete experience in itself. However, the music school's
composition department decided to try an experiment in total
art with a correlated light-show happening (also, believe it or
not, sponsored by the University). A mysterious flickering box,
which was located on stage in the total darkness, began some
strange growth process. Voila! A Hog-Farm type plastic balloon,
complete with immersed ballet dancer, rises to the ceiling. Then,
the audience began to participate,, in a way quite unanticipated
by the composition department.
We began pulling at this 'strange plastic thing which had
ewandered out over our heads. We completely forgot the music,
but we had a great time.

6 CHELD OVER
including
Best Actress-Joanne Woodward
Best Actor-Alan Arkin
Best Picture

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Petition for
CINEMA Ili
BOARD'-

The Department of Near Eastern Languages & Literatures'
announces
THE 1968-1969
ZWERDLING LECTURES
IN OLD TESTAMENT STUDIES
THE REVOLUTIONARY DYNAMIC IN JUDAISM.
by ELLIS RIVKIN
ADOLPH S.OCHS, Professor of Jewish History,
Hebrew Union College, Cincinnati, Ohio

'.
S.h

DIONYSUS
Censorship, Freedom

TRW

presents

FORUM
of Expression in

Dionysus in '69

SUNDAY, MARCH 16 8:00 P.M.
Union Ballroom Admission FREE

FIRST UNIVERSITY LECTURE
II: 0 f f -1 % -2 0. ^ l -A- - .--!-lN04 A---M!-11 SAChdol

PR'C)F_ PAUL D_ CARRINGTON. U-M Law School

I

I

I

11

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