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September 12, 1969 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1969-09-12

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Page T,,\,a

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Friday, September 12, 1969

Poejo Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Friday, September 12, 1969

records

I

cot~6&~w

NOW

_

an y
Ily JOIE PEURSON
IIPSCHD. IIPSCIID?? Is John
Cage returning again to the
womb with nonsense speech
from a latent inlfacy? Perhaps
his latest colmpostion is ,some
sort of strange typographical
error? With Cage, anything can
happen. III'SCID (Nonesuch
1171224) shows the strange
lengths Mr. Cage will go to keep
things that way.
Until listening to Cage I be-
ie cdiciihance a very simple mat-
ter. Not so. Pure chance is coin-
plex: it involves the possibility
for anything to happen at any
time. The normal instances of
chalice we experience are noth-
ing but pseudo-chance. Usual-
ly we have a pretty clear idea
what will hatPpet. an1adl ii we
don't at least we know what
mig ht happen. Things are either

ou

dig jt??2 222222222222222222
ig i . . . . 0 . 0 0 . .* . . 0 0 . . . . . .

I - - - - " - -

DIAL
FOR
ALL
YOUNG
LOVERS
WHEREVER
YOU
ARE

heads or tails but Mr. Cages
coin has a very wide rim. It
would just as soon land on its
edge.
Yes. chance is complicated,
and so is HPSCHD. The name
is a computer abbreviation of
HARPSICHORD, and might be
the first use of computer pro-
gramming to achieve such de-
lighttul nonsense. Here is also
your first chance to hear dis-
torted fragments of your favor-
ite solo harpsichord works oy
Beethoven, Chopin, Schumann,
Gottschalk. Busoni, Schoenger r,
Cage and Hiller played simul-
taneously. Amid this chaos.
David Tudor, Cage's pianist,
plays anything of Mozart's--
at, his own discretion (or lack
of it. But this sort of human
chance is too finite for Cage and
Lejaren Hiller, his collaborator.

-cinema--
Lioii in Winter'
Mars hmellow Iings
By G1R01AN BEAUCHAMP
Scott: "T''he royal are very different from you and me. Ernest:
"Yes, they have more bad movies made about them." Like Lion in
Winter. How to describe it-history in drag? A twelfth century
E'er-iiia Woolf? Midget Machiavelli? Fun and games at Hank and
Elinor's. It's all this and much less.
I am ot now nor have I ever been one for hatchet jobs. If
you share this sentiment, turn to something more enlightening--
like Fleming's latest treat to the faculty--for this review, friends,
will of necessity be a hatchet job. Lion in Winter royally so to
speak, deserves it.
Everything is so bad I don't know where to begin. The plot is
fery complex if you have a very simple mind, a good deal of fussing
and fretting about which one of Henry II's equally fatuous sons is
to succeed him. Fifteen minutes into the movie you couldn't care
less. partly because you know how it comes out anyway (don't you?
Richard the Lion-Hearted? King John and the Magna Cartar?
Yeah, all that. And partly because lives of such loud desperation
tire quickly.
We are, I suppose, to think this crew cold, cunning and cal-
culating-England's answer to the Borgias; but beneath those thrift
shop robes beat hearts of pure marshmellow. They wouldn't have
stood a chance against the Grand Rapids Young Republicans, much
less a real political animal like Richard Daley. For example, at one
point the sons have the opportunity to kill Henry who plans (sort
of) to kill them, but, they just can't bring themselves to--not OUR
Daddy. By this time I, the most gentle and humane of beings,
would gladly have slit the throats of the whole sappy lot. Richard
II, where are you when we need you? For the real machiavellian
nientality, see the brief but terrifying scene in Shakespeare's King
John where the kin~ tempts Hubert to murder his nephew-that's
the Johnny of this muck ino,.your reviewer would not kid you.
Johnny.) This gemutlich gang is like Mary Poppins in comparison.
And there's the acting. Had Henry II known that he was going
to be portrayed so wretchedly so often by Peter O'Toole. he would.
I'm convinced, have died at birth to benefit movie goers every-
where. Couldn't historical society get an injunction against O'Toole's
ever playing Henry again? Couldn't a film society get an injunction
against his ever playing anything again? A consumation devoutly
to be wished. Toward Katherine Hepburn, of whom I am much
enamoured. we can only extend symlpathly. She has a few good
lines which she delivers with relish and skill--on her riding bare-
breated to the crusades, she comments "The troops were dazzled."
But it's such a silly part that even she can't do much with it. Even
her famed quivery-lipped crying which always gets me, flops flatly.
She runs, as a wicked wit once said about her, the whole gamut of
her emotioin from A to B, and runs it pretty quick. As for the other
assorted impersonations nothing need be said except that they are
on a par with O'Toole's, or below. I did wonder, though, what with
all the money kings have, why they didn't do something about
Johnny's teeth. Or about Johnny.
As an act of charity, I have forgotten the director's name. Let's
hope he has found honest work since, as, say, a teamster. His grasp
of history rivals that of Arnold Toynbee-somewhere, that is, below
Cecil B. de Mille. The barnyard realism (chicken on the palace
steps. etc.' may have been a striving after period acuracy (who
knows? - but Elinor wrapping Christmas presents? Or the Lion-
Hearted a pansy? The dialogue reflects the same sort of confusion,
careening between big tune grandiosity and just-plain-folksy. "Oh
well, every family has its ups and downs," Mummy sniffs. For-
tunately we aren't expected to be interested in most of them.
In all fairness I must say that Lion in Winter is better than
Oliver which beat it out for the Oscar. and it did have a long
intermission.

Using Introduction to the Coin-
position of Waltzes by Means of
Dice, as a source work, Cage and
Hiller construct harpsichord
solo II, each measure chosen by
chance from a number of com-
posed alternatives. This is pre-
recorded, since it would be a
bit too much to expect a live
realization of this shambles.
Then, using Cage's favorite book
of indeterminate wisdom, the I
Ching, solos III-VI are con-
structed, each employing dif-
ferent variables of bass and
treble response. Solo VII is
Tudor and Solo I is composed
according to the same method
as the 51 electronic tapes whose
sounds mix randomly with the
harpsichord snatches. The tapes
are composed according to a ser-
ies of programs, from a simple
repetitive tone to complex de-
termined patterns. These pro-
grams are selected with help
from the Ching.
In order to insure audience
participation, Cage devises a
little game you, the listener,
can play. Included with the al-
bum is a large computer pro-
gram Cage affectionally calls
"Knobs." The p a rti cu l ar
"Knobs" computer-output sheet
with which you are blessed is
one of 10,000 possibilities
straight from the mind of the
CDC-6400. According to Hiller.
it's the first time the home list-
ener's stereo can become an im-
portant part of the composition.
For every five seconds of play-
ing time, the computer has list-
ed the "correct" volume and,
tone levels for your stereo am-
plifier. and if you're extremely
dexterous, you can nerform all
the manipulations in the time
required.
You may find some satisfac-
tion in knowing that you are
not merely changing the vol me
levels of each channel. Cage has
recorded solo II Dice Game) in
the left channel only, solo VI
subtracting from snecific solos
in only the right channel. In
you are playingthe dole of a,
censo". David Tudor, play'tvr
solo I, is in both channels so
you can't cut him out even if
you want to. Occasionally. the
computer grants a few refle'tix-
moments of silence as both -ol-
umne knobs are turned comuLTe-
ly to the left, or off. Cage wou*ld
recommend you get a glass oto
water at this point or any as-
sorted snacks, if they are a7"nl
able 'this is largely an i'ide-
terminate matter) but don't fw -
get. you have only five seconds
before you are forced to mik
the next reading. But, you a-e
making music. so attend careui-
ly to this business.
Now to a largely irrele':ent
part of this discussion: How
does this piece sound? For Cige
this is a pointless question. As a
listener, you are bound to mual:e

A MAN
ANd AWOMANM

ACA
AWA
WIN

DEMY
RuS
INR '

WINNER I S ACADEMY AWARDS
INCLUDING BEST ACTRESS KATHARINE HEPBURN

Dally- Lariry Robbis

your own decision anyway. so
why should the composer worgy
about it? Speaking, then, in
general terms. HPSCHD is one
of Cage's easier pieces to listen
to, even if you're not particular-
ly into his philosophy. There
are no strident noises, and f
kept at a low level it can be
quite delightful. For a Cage
aficianadlo, however, it will be
somewhat of a disappointment,
The sounds are much too sim-
ilar; there is too much harp-
sichord. I wonder how Cae
would rationalize the use of -.
much sound from one instru-
ment. Practically anything wlvl
happen, but it will be almost all
harplsichoird..
What ever happened to the
good old Cage days when a mic-
rophone in Times Square was
more than sufficient? Perhaps
Cage feels the elaborate con-
struction of his work gives it
more validity. If so, he is deny-
ing the major tenets he has held
for more than 30 years. Perhaps
he is finally realizing the true
complexity of pure chance. If
true, he is not completely writ-
ing himself out of a profession
as he so glibly admits. He might
have sone employment as a
composer for at l e a s t a few
more years.

4TH
BIG
WEEK

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Mon -Fri.:
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Sat-un.:
2:30 & 4:40
7:00 & 9.30

JOSrAE'tkEOVI.- ANAWOEMPASSIMt
PETER OCTOOLE KATHARINE HEPBURN
.MARTIN P LL
LION IN
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jA% t~?. A M K rAu aw

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IFC--PAN-HEL PRESENTS
FIRST FALL WEEKEND: 9-18-20 '69

SEPT. 1-OtIC'. 28, 1969
"The cer'eit .l!ache h /f the 'cEnturx ,
-L. A. Times
SHAKESPEARES

xl '

I :

WJIARD I'A TON

11) 1THOMlPzON
Directed by
Ellis Rabb

Gilb~ert & siillivall Society
\nnooii~u cc
(~iii'uIElection etj~
1N),1Y, 51,1"1'. 14-S P1.J1.
"A I1 I ) \MAY "d PT 13~'-?:'() P.M.
1.1I3

30 CT(.:I12
Directed by
John Houseman

THE AMERICAN PREMIERE
of
Ghe/derode"es

UGUILD
Thursday and Friday
ALL
THESE
-te
OM[N

RAMSEY CLARK

PEP RALLY

MIXER

"THE FLOATING OPERA"
ALAIS "THE FOX'

Thurs. 8 P.M.
Hill Aud. $1
Friday
7:30 P.M.
East Univ.
Saturday
After Game

b.V the a(ldilr the/icA I' 1 hiti'Pmugjc

I

s PLAY",by Samu.el BEc'

VII 'R I IIIXV, ESW

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of 1
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