THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Tuesday, April 1, 1969
Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Tuesday. ADrII 1. 1969
in a sea of silence
Poets may be pinched
By R. A. PERRY
Charles Wuorinen, co-director of -the
Group for Contemporary Music at Colum-
bia University, is a composer whose works
clearly illustrate the tendencies of mod-
ern music. Without resorting to eclectic
sources or to electronic effects, and with-
out embracing non-musical infiltrations
of mixed-media, Wuorinen almost pris-
tinely focuses upon minimally structured
instrumental effects less for their ex-
pressive possibilities than for their purely
In both his Piano Concerto and in his
Chamber Concerto for Flute and Ten
Players (Composers Recordings Inc. No.
239 and 230), Wuorinen builds up
"events" which change both in density
(or as he calls it, "populated musical en-
vironment") and in relation to the feat-
ured instrument, here piano or flute.
Even the moments of pause, says Wuor-
inen, may be considered "windows open-
ing on the silence in which the piece
swims." This music,. thus, seeks inspira-
tion not from our constricted, architect-
onic terrestrial environment, but from
the openness of outer space or microcosm
of atomic bubble chamber, when there is
neither beginning nor end, just the mark-
ings of events.
Wuoriien's music, like much modern
music, enrichs us in direct proportion to
our degree of concentration upon it; you
can't read to it.
Vanguard records has reissued on its
budget Everyman label a collection of
songs by Henry Purcell, that master of
drama tempered through melody. Lark-
voiced Alfred Deller assumes the major
role on this disc (SRV-280), with worthy
support from April Cantelo and Maurice
Bevan, the latter, I feel, being much too
gentle with "Let the Dreadful Engines,"
from Purcell's Don Quixote. Many of the
songs in this collection are seldom heard,
and Vanguard has packed the disc as
full as the grooves will allow.
Also esoteric are the Unfamiliar Mas-
terpieces for Orchestra by J. S. Bach that
Robert Rudolf conducts for Westminster
(WST-17151). For many of the pieces on
the record, unfamiliarity would appear
warranted, especially in Rudolf's uninter-
esting and metronomic tempi. Other
exerpts, however, such as the Sinfonia S.
49, which appears to have been intended
for a keyboafd concerto and is here
rendered with a lively organ solo by Kurt
Rapf, bear repeated listening. Another
fine selection, a Chorale Fantasia (S. 8)
suffers from the wobbly trumpet playing
of Wilhelm Heinrich. The record's sur-
faces leave something to be desired.
JQerg Demus, presently replacing Ger-
ald Moore as accompanist for the lead-
ing lied singers, and Paul Badura-Skoda,
who has many fine Mozart recordings to
his name, have often teamed up to play
four hand piano music. A recent West-
minster recording revealing their won-
derful symbiosis features three pieces by
Schubert, the Rondos, Op. 107 and 138,
and the Fantasy Op. 103, .as well as a
Mozart morsel, the K. 501 Andante with
Variations. Schubert's Op. 138 and 103
delve deeper into romantic sentiment and
are compositionally more involved affairs
than the music-box charm of the other
two works on the disc. Demus and Bad-
ura-Skoda play with skillful light touch,
and even in the more dramatic passages,
their essential elegance emerges as the
motivating approach. The balance be-
tween piano parts has been captured well
by Westminster on WST-17156, a record
to spark and feed your reveries, assuming
you have reveries.
The Quartetto Italiano have been play-
ing together without a personnel change
for twenty years and the result of such
long melding of musical sensibilities can
be heard on Philips 900-197, where the
ensemble plays Dvorak's popular American
Quartet and Borodin's Quartet in D.
What this foursome stresses is not so
much the articulation of each voice but
a timbral unity that allows an individual
to foray out of the gestalt rather than
accepts independent lines into a collec-
Because of this approach, which is
quite breathtaking to hear, the Quartetto
Italiano miss some of the details and
richness of articulation in the Dvorak,
and for that reason I continue to prefer
the beautiful performance on London. For
the Borodin, however, which is a piece of
less complexity and of simpler lyricism,
the Quartetto Italiano offer a tonally
mellow rendition quite suitable to the
music. This Borodin quartet, of course, is
the one from which the composer himself
cribbed for his well-known Nocturne.
Finally, Nonesuch adds honor to its
growing catalog of non-Western music
with a recital by Goro Yamaguchi of
Japanese Shakuhachi music. (H-72025)
The shakuhachi is a bamboo vertical flute
with five finger holes; its history traces
to T'ang China and it has been utilized
for both secular and religious purposes.
Since the seventeenth century it has been
associated with Zen Buddhism and with
the komuso priests, or "priests of noth-
This word komuso seems to apply to
the music quite well, for unlike Indian
sitar music, which strives to simultane-
ously astound you with the virtuosity of
the player and capture you in pyramiding
emotional entrallment, the music of the
shakuhachi is as unassuming, simple, and'
enigmatic as is much sumi painting.
Through the repetition of small motifs
the music hypnotizes but at the same time
sensitizes you to the slightest alterations
in phrasing and patterning.
Mr. Yamaguchi, who has'released over
a hundred recordings in Japan, offers
Cranes in their Nests and Bell Ringing in
the Empty Sky, the latter, a piece held
sacred for its religious profundity, had a
refreshing and liberating effect on this
pagan westerner. Such deceptively simple
and strange music, which finds its subtle
reverberations beneath the level of in-
tellectual awareness, strikes to the heart
of "yugen," the Japanese word for "spirit-
ual depth existence."
By MARY RADTKE
Nothing comes free anymore,
not even poetry. And the popu-
lar English Dept. readings may
prove this statement. For unless
additional financial support can,
be found, these Tuesday after-
noon readings may be seriously
Prof. Bert Hornback, program
director, received word recently
of a cutback in the financial;
support which the program has
received this term from t h e
President's and the Dean's Of-
The $1500 contributed by these
University sources for the cur-
rent program has been reduced
to about $500 for the program
next year. Hornback estimates
'the projected two term program
next year will require $2500 and
is seeking pledges from within
the University to cover the ad-
So far, Hornback says, Rich-
ard Wilbur, Galway Kinnell,
and Bill Stafford have b e e n
Voices of Michigan: Nice start
By JIM PETERS
It usually takes only one man with an idea
or goal to get things rolling; it was Noah Green-
berg who called together Medieval music fans
and formed the New York Pro Musica. Now,
there's another name to add.
Although on a much smaller scale, Steven
Glenn, 'a masters student in the Music School,
has his own group of friends who make music
with him. And in their concert last night, the
Voices of Michigan Choir showed that they know
what making music is all about.
The cavernous auditorium of Ann Arbor High
School was the setting for a varied program of
seldom heard choral works. The group, formed
by Glenn only in January, sounds like they've
been singing together for years; so their ensemble
and precision resulted from dedication and hard
work, as well as expert handling by their con-
A bright English madrigal, Come Let's Rejoice,
began the evening's fare. The quick staccato line
proceeded with perfect ensemble, and the en-
thusiasm of the Choir was evident.
Tackling something more serious, they per-
formed Verdi's Ave Maria. But this is not the
melodramatic screaming Verdi. His music here is
rich and restrained, the usual fire turned to con-
Glenn's handling of the polyphony cannot be,
faulted, though the vocal line was muddied in
spots. But the fine sustained build to the end, and
the gentle crescendo in the Sancta Maria section
overshadowed this problem.
Nachtwache is soft, and Brausten Alle Berge is
filled with short canonical sections led first by the
altos and then by the basses. The fluidity of the
melodic line masked the group's tight ensemble,
and they performed effortlessly within the song's
complexities. Only in the final song, Im Herbst,
were there troubles, but the faltering ensemble
was soon put back together.
William Schuman's Secular Cantata No. 2 is
irritating stuff. The discordant harmonies never
seem just right to me, and the forte passages
usually come right out of nowhere.
But Glenn's choir moved through the three
sections with ease. The Long, Too Long, America
section's narration moves to Look Down, Fair
Moon in which tenor Jerry Vander Shaaf offered
soft lyricism. In the finaldSong of the Banner,
the choir ran fast and good.
A brass choir of ten instruments was added for
Norman Dello Joios Ode to Saint, Cecilia. Using.
the age-old Dryden text, the composer has omitted
the usual solos and he presents one fabric of
choral sound, punctuated by crackling brass.
Dello Joio's melodies are beautiful, and the
expressiveness of Glenn's interpretation and his
sure hand kept the balance between chorus and
brass ensemble exact.
With the substitution of a chamber orchestra
for the brass, the Choir finished with Haydn's
Te Deum. This is certainly not one of Haydn's
major works, but it is jubilant and full of good
noises, and the performance was just as exuber-
Last night was the Voices of Michigan Choir's
One Face' of i fe
By GORDON BEAUCHAMP
John Cassavetes is probably best known to movie-goers as
the step-father of Rosemary's baby. He is also a director and, on
the basis of Faces, a very good one. So humane in its conception,
so firm in its execution, so brilliant in its technique, this film
makes criticism difficult and viewing a joy.
To tell what Faces is "about" would be to recite cliches: the
emptiness of middle-class lives, the lovelessness of their marriages,
the joylessness of being middle-aged; the husband who spends
a night with a call girl, the wife who sleeps with a boy and then
tries to commit suicide. Yet what is amazing in this film is the
richness and understanding that Cassavetes finds in these cliched
lives and situations. One would have not believed that there was
such depth in such shallow people, but it is there. And time and
again Cassavetes elicits this depth with small touches and subtle
strokes that are brilliant.d
His technique is unique and unmistakable - best described
as a home movie made by a master of the film medium. Both
crude and beautiful, Faces' beauty rises out of its crudeness. As.
the slick technicolor style of the big studios has come to repre-
sent both visual and emotional dishonesty (in, for example, Divorce
American Style which,, in its treatment of the same subject as
Faces, is both brainless and ugly); similarly, the raw, grainy tex-
ture of this film corresponds to its uncompromising honesty.
Everything coalesces: the banal dialogue, the perfectly realized
mise en scene, the over-lighted, slightly unfocused visual style,
the brilliant and almost embarrassingly realistic acting. A totally
integrated film emerges in which every detail is significant. Take,
for example, the richness of detail in the house of the married'
couple, one of those monstrous California moderns, every square
foot of which proclaims a lot of money and a lack of taste. To talk
about symbolism in a movie so thoroughly realistic may seem
arbitrary, but surely this house is a symbol - cold, barren, tacky,
empty. When the wife. (Lynn Carlin) make her nightly round to
lock all those patio doors, one realizes how completely she is
living in a piece of real estate, not in a home. In one scene, Cassa-
vetes dissects an anatomy of suburbia.
But Cassavetes is not attempting ridicule or expose: "What
suburbia is really like!" Faces tells us more than the statistics and
sociologists, the Vance Packards and the David Reismans about our
society - the status seeking and pyramid climbing and lonelyt
crowding. It tells more because it looks at the human, the man
in the organization man. While neither sentimental nor cynical,
Faces is honest, a mirror not a cartoon. If the characters are often
ridiculous and disgusting, they are also lonely and yearning. One
comes to care about them, finally very much.
One cares, no doubt, because these characters are so beautifully
realized. The four principals - John Marley, Lynn Carlin, Gena
Rowlands, and Seymore Cassel - are perfect, each a vivid, com-
plete creation. And even the smallest roles are created with im-
mense depth. Behind each person, no matter how briefly he
appears, one senses a whole life, implied in a gesture, in a single
phrase. For example, the four wives, out on the town, pick up a
young stud (Cassel). One of the women, who is fat and ugly, is
dancing with him and suddenly looks up and says, "Will you kiss
me?" All the frustration, the repression, the disappointment of a
lifetime are in that deftly captured sentence.
Cassavetes is particularly adept at creating the dynamics of the
awkward situation, the times when no one knows what to say and
then says the wrong thing. Some of the scenes are so real and so
embarrassing that one begins to squirm with discomfort. Yet they
are comic too, and sad and very much the stuff of life as it is.
scheduled for next year. These
poets will follow the pattern set
by such men as Ethridge Knight
and Donald Hall who attracted
overflow audiences to this term's
Due to the monetary restric-
tions, some poets have cut their
fees. Richard Wilbur, for exam-
ple, agreed to come as a favor
for about half his usual fee,"
However, the poets need t h e
financial s u p p o r t obtained
through their readings to live
on while they write. "To ask
major poets to come as friends
for less money than they deserve
is unfair to them. It's also very
embafrassing," Hornback said.
"Slowly the prospects of find-
ing support for the, program
within the University are im-
proving. At least now we h a v e
enough to pay the "poets w h o
have already agreed to come for
next year's program," he says.
"We have to keep this pro-
gram going until more money
becomes available. The Univer-
sity will someday have enough
to finance an extensive program
of literary arts, but there won't
be any audience for it if this
program dies out," he said.
Several "stopgap" measures
have been considered by Horn-
back to keep the program of
poetry readings alive while wait-
ing for this additional money to
-- The writer-in-residence
program may have a poet as
one of its visiting writers next
- The English Dept. may co-
operate with the University Ac-
tivities Center to sponsor t h e
appearance of a major poet.
- The English Dept. visiting
lecturer program may be able
to provide some funds,- although
Hornback ad it s that "the
average departmental budget,
for lecturers is only about $500
and most of that is intended to
go for professional lectures."
- Two departments working
together can perhaps sponsor
one poet. The Classics Dept., for
example, has indicated its in-
terest in helping to bring Rich-
ard Latimore, who is known for
his translation of the Iliad as
well as for his poetry.
However, as the poetic inter-
ests of the departments seldom
overlap, Hornback expects such
interests of inter-departmental
cooperation to be rare. A more
practical alternative, he' feels,
is the establishment of a read-
See POETS, Page 3
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Iirst concert, and they looked like they were
The three songs by Brahms from Opus 104 having fun. The enjoyment was theirs, but the
are in the same mood, introverted and quiet. pleasure could hardly be kept from the audience.
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