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June 24, 1969 - Image 2

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Michigan Daily, 1969-06-24

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY.

Tuesday, June 24, 1969

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY

AMENDED VERSF

records

'Solomon,

' 'Elijah

and'
By R. A. PERRY
(Contributing Editor)
Three new recordings of ma-
jor choral works prove that the
spurious can be thoroughly de-
lightful, that postured profund-i
ity can be dull, and that review-
ers may lie. f
Angel has just released on its
budget Seraphim label Sir
Thomas Beecham's adaptation
of Handel's Solomon. (SIB-
6039) Solomon, Handel's ora-
torio celebrating both the
King's loves and also his Great
Temple, has been more accur-
ately served on. a recent R C A
Victor recording, and Paul
Lang, In reviewing that c o m-
plete version, called Beecham's
adaptation "butchery." It is true
that Beecham excised about a
third of the ceremonial music,
shuffled the remaining n u m -
bers together, and then reor-
chestrated the entire score, but
I can't help think that
Beecham, never showing a n y
particular. .love for scholars,
would still deliver to Lang his
retort: A ."musicologist is a
person who can read music but
can't hear it."
For all of, Beecham's dishon-
oring the virgin score, he has
come up with a per-version
that is musically delightful,
°with both exulting choruses and
lovely arias that never flag an
interest. Lang, in praising t h e
echt recording, complains that
Handel ,was little concerned,
with the dramatization of Solo-
mon, the Queen, Nicaule, a n d
Zadzk the Priest; yet Beecham's
infinite elan as a conductor
and his horror of the insipid as
an arranger do manage to spark
the dramatic personae into life.
Solomon's Queen, when sing-
ing "Blessed the day when I
was led/ To ascend the nuptial
bed" to, airy obligato w o o d-
winds, takes on dimension as an
enthusiastic wife and lover. In
the "Nightingale chorus," Han-
del-Beecham turns a stock
scene ending into the perfect
filmy veil-visually and sonically
-- for discreet protection of the
nuptial event.
Beecham was aided in this
endeavor by some of England's
finest oratorio singers: Alex-
ander Young, Elsie Morison,
John Cameron, and cream-vo-
ed Lois Marshall. Each .singer
seems, like the conductor, more
interested in musical vitality
than in historical authenticity.
The question then is not whe-
ther t score needed resuse-
tation - It did not - but whe-
ther the results are musically
engaging - which they are.
Anyone who says "Yea" to Han-
"del-Beecham's ~ve in Ba th,
will probably enjy this record-
ing as well.
Handel's dramatic oratorio
Theodora, made available for
the first time on Vanguard VCS
10050-2, reeks of Morality where
Solomon revels in the ceremon-
ial. Theodora relates the story
of religious intolerance between
Roman and Christian;' focusing
upon Theodora, who refusing to
honor the Roman gods, is
threatened with forced prostitu-
tion; she is rescued by her lov-
er, a Roman guard and. secret
Christian. (Not the most fas-
cinating topic for today's aud-
ience.)
Since Vanguard released Theo-
dora, much high-sounding praise
.has been poured upon the "lost"
Handel work, but I wonder how

Theodora

too

many of the panegyrics come
from critics who will never lis-
ten a second time to the work.
Paul Lang, our Handel scholar
again, has said that "it was not
Handel who crushed music in
England, but the moral-relig-
ious institution his adopted
countrymen mistakenly made of
his grand and human music."
Were those countrymen so mis-
taken? After all, it is just' this
moral religiosity that Handel
honors and elevates in his last
oratorio.
When Septimius informs the
virgin that she will have to "de-
vote her charms" to prostitu-
tion,. and Theodora replies "0
worse than death indeed! /
Lead me, ye guards, lead me or
to, the rack or to the flames"
are we to believe Handel's ar-
tistic prerogatives were human-
istic rather than moral-relig-
ious? Such confrontations, with
which Theqdora is replete, are
pre-Victorian tableaus that crit-
ics elgewhere condemn as pre-
tentious or insidiously praise as
camp but which in Handel sud-
denly become "humanistic."
That Handel preferred t h i s
oratorio to his others indicates
nothing but his moral-religious
inclinations, for oertainly on
musical. grounds Theodora,
though containing a few inter -
Resting arias and choruses, can-
not toueh the Messiah, Solomon,
Israel in Egypt, Saul, and Se-
mele. I cannot help but wonder
whether critics who ran to Ro-
get's for words of praise con-
fused the dull with the profound
and moral seriousness with re-
ligious inspiration.
The soloists on the Vanguard
recording are top-notch, espec-
ially Heather Harper and Alex-
ander Young. A neW singer to
me, contralto Maureen Lehane
produces some wonderfully
golden tones, but John Lawren-
son is overly nasal. Johannes
Somary holds everything ° to-
gether adequately.
My opening comment about
reviewers as potential liars is
prompted by "Discus," the re-
viewer for Harpers who said
that the sound quality of Theo-
dora is "up to Vanguard's usual
high standards." Such a state-
ment both discredits V a n -
guard and cheats the potential
buyer. Normally Vanguard dobs
exercise high quality-control,
but the sound of this recording
ranges from fair to poor. Al-
though the orchestra is record-
ed well, when the chorus at-
tempts anything over a mezzo-
forte the sound becomes a hash.
Even solo singers are too often
behind a semi-opague veil. This
problem lessens on the latter
sides.
Just the opposite is true of
Angel's new recording of Men-
delssohn's Elijah (SC-3738) ;
the sound of. this recording is
spacious, transparent, and
clean, but there is more to re-

and final glory of the prophet
Elijah, to sing "like real peo-
ple," to be at all times dramati-
cally credible.
For many years, Elijah pro-
vided the arch-type Victorian
target; its melodies were label-
led saccharine (in fact the com-
poser himself feared "0 rest in
the Lord" was a bit too treacly)
and its choruses overly pomp-
ous. This impression was not
helped by muddy recordings
and excerpted highlights. The
new Ange recording, with Janet
Baker, Nicolai Gedda, Dietrich
Fischer-Dieskau, and Gwyneth
Jones, conducted by Fafael
Fruhbeck De Burgos, should go
a long 'way to show Mendels-
sohn's inventiveness and Eli-
jah's many true joys.
Elijah is intleed an uneven
work and it fails only in those
spots where the composer tried
too strenously to capture t h a t
very tone which bogs down
Theodora: thus the opening fu-
gal chorus "Help Lord" becomes
too heavy and sounds like a
youth masquerading as a sage.
Where the work succeeds, how-
ever, are those places where pre-
dominate the buoyancy and
compositional acuity that sus-
tained Midsummer Night's
Dream, Fingal's Cave, and th
Italian Symhony. Ironically it
is in these places - the melodic
'arias, and angels', choruses-
t h a t Mendelssohn really ap-
proaches Handel's forte; here
musical considerations verride'
the moral-religious tone.
Elijah is not quite a cabaret
singer in the clothes of a Sal-
vation Army worker, but its
Victorian earnestness does deal-
ly only provide the armature for
a highly melodic and dramatic
work. Even' when the vocal mel-
odies seem hackneyed, the in-
strumental accompaniments are
pungent and original enough to
undercut the sweetness and
maintain the flow of interest.
And are we really so sophisticat-
ed to deny the loveliness of "0
rest in the Lord" and the viril-
ity- of,"If with all your hearts"?
Fischer-Dipskau renders Eli-
jah movingly, with only t h e
slightest edge of overacting, but
remember that Mendelssohn
wanted "the personages to act
- and speak like living beings."
Janet Baker could not brush her
teeth inartistically, and her
arias do not suffer in comar,
son with Ferrier. Nicolai Ged-
da emotes with ringing tones
and fine enunciation, and the
most reliable chorus in the
world, Wilhelm Pitz's New Phil-
harmonia Chorus, sing glorious-
l.If Fruhbeck De Burgos lacks
an individualized style, he does
sustain precision and move-
ment.
Everyone involved in this An-
gel recording has helped re-
move the patina of twentieth
century abuse and ridicule from
this nineteenth century master-
piece.
i.
(4-- - - --
Cycles sell
in Classifieds

AMENDED VERSI
Housemay
restoreSenate As
]restore
- passes byi
aid cuts
Continued from Page 1) '
( Continued from Page 1)i
I tion 7.07 (1) provided adequate
Senate, and will have 03 be re- powers for the governing faculty
solved in a joint conference core- j to handle cases where conduct '
mittee." became a factor in continuance in'
Montgomery said the subcom- the school.'
mittee will propose a recommenda- Section 7.07 (1) states: "The
tion adding $10 million to the primary authority to set reason-
Senate's recommendation for the able standards for (a) course and'
total higher education budget. curriculum content, (b) levels of
The Senate cut the governor's competence, achievement, and as-
total higher education recommen- siduity required for grades, de-
dation from $254.3 million to grees and continuing enrollmenta
$249.1 million. in a program, and (c) personal
"We'll have to discuss the res- scholastic honesty, is delegated to
toration and the addition with the the governing faculties of the'
Senate conservatives," tg schools and colleges.
ery said yesterday, "but I think This very section, however,
our committee will have the 'reces- could come under fire from SGC
sary banking of the House." when Council meets to consider
Ha . ingofdthetHouseirthe bylaws Thursday.
He indicated that House ifoor Major provisions of the bylaws
Majo

U UMCi, tkN UA.,oI, Co.inued from Page 1) "I just want to say I appreciate
of police review board, construc- the efforts of the Ann Arbor police
Engineering Prof. Maurice Sin- tion of a new city jail for Ann on Tuesday," one resident said.
Arbor criminals, an urgent com- Skip Taube. Minister of Infor-
nott, a former member of the munication to the governor asking; mation for the White Panther
Hatcher Commission, would have that Sheriff Harvey be excluded Party, complained to Harris that
eliminated appeal to CSJ in cases from law enforcement in Ann Ar- Deputy Police Chief Harold Olson
where there was a lower courtbor the elimination of an overlap refused to accept information ob-
competent to hear charges arising In local police, agencies, and the tained by Taube relating to the
under a University Council rule. registering of any complaints di- recent series of murders in Ann
Assembly also approved an rected against police with the Arbor.
amendment which loosened cri- ACLU. Taube said he had tape record-
teria for creation of such a sub- Ezra, Rowry, acting chairman ings containing comments from
sidiary court in a school or college. i of the Ann Arbor Model Cities three young women recently as-
Und'er the assembly amendment, Policy Board, told Harris "More saulted in the Ann Arbor area.'He
such a judiciary need not be corn- people were assaulted on South offered to give the tapes to Olson
posed solely of students. But if University who are not among at the end of the meeting.
Another Assembly amendment those whom you "law and order In other action City Council
would eliminate the requirement people usually reject." ' vtd 6-3 to seat Prof. dohn P.
that a student government pro- Rowry claimed that Richard Kirsch to the seat vacated by Ed-
vide for "uniform apportionment Balzhtser, Republican candidate ward Remington (D'First Ward)
of its legislative body, for mayor in the past election, who moved from Ann Arbor.
Deletion of this requirement was attacked by police but "won't Kirsch is professor of public health
came after Prof. Sinnott proposed say anything about it." administration at the University.
that all restrictions on studenti Three speakers who defended Council members also approved

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Mayor Harris names
new police committee

ai on~d~ii I DuagetDacusiIcomaJUetlong removed from controversy- governments be eliminated from the action of the Ann Arbor police the appointment of Jerry Lax, a
underway by yWdnesday "i remained unchanged after Assem- the bylaws. Sinnott's proposed were enthusiastically applauded by Detroit lawyer nominated by
final voting Thursday. I bly's deliberations. These include amendment was further amended several of the 130 members in the Mayor Harris to replace Peter
Also expected to be reinstated in a tri-partite University Council in a proposal suggested by his- di Forsth Cit atto
the appropriations budget is $200,- which would pass legislation sub- tory Prof. Gerhard Weinberg. auence.sye as Cy rney.
000 to enable Michigan State Un- ject to ratification by Assembly With Weinberg's amendment
versity to expand its Lwo-year and SGC. ' passed, the bylaws still require
medical school into a Four-ear The appellate power of Central: that "either (1) the legislative
degree-granting program. Student Judiciary in cases arising body consists of all those go- Subscribe To
Another revision is expecced to under University Council rules did ernedor (2) the constitution of
direct the state board ' f cduca- come under fire at yesterday's As- the government makes 'reasonable
tion to authorize administration sembly meeting, but an amend- provision (a) for open meetings
of a college of osteopathic medi- ment aimed' at weakening the and public minutes and (b) for
cine under one of the establihed body was defeated on a voice vote. initiative, referendum and recall1.
state medical schools.:'iiiaie efrnuyadrc
sa i surces. aythese an~d IThe amendment, proposed by by those governed."
other measures confliccing with
the Senate appropriations commit-
tee recommendations are expected
to send most of Milliken's budgetl y""
Measures to House-Seate con- The University. of M ihigan P lye '
ference committees for iesol,'tion
difference. Exciting New Summer Program
MichiganRep er 0
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WEEKEND (Fri., Sat. - $8.50, $7.00)
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Individual Tickets: TUES., WED., THURS., SUN. - $2.00, $1.50
AsIYtr- FRI., SAT. - $2.50, $2.00
JICNADNACK U MAN Note: The higher priced tickets are the first 17 rows of orchestra and first 4 rows of balcony.
All pefformances in air-conditioned Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
TUESDAY - WEDNESDAY THURSDAY FRIDAY SATURDAY I SUNDAY
July 15-20 J1S MUCH JI6 GOAT J17 DOCT J18 MUCH J19 GOAT J20 DOCT
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commend
work than;

this grand choral
audio reproduction.

Mendelssohn, who resurrected
and revered Bach, wrote his
massive dramatic choral mas-
terpiece one. year before his
death in 1847. In it, he aimed
to emulate the grandeur of
Handel's choruses and the pro-
fundity of Bach's religious'
searching, all within a n e w
context of dramatic reality. He
wanted his singers, relating the
successes, hubris, sufferings,

PLAYBOY ran ten well-s

a SHO0WS AT 1, 3; 5,
7 'and 9:05
Tomorrow-LADIES DAY
Program Information 662-6264

PAUL ~REIIIn
ROBERIwonEER
©~ TECHM1oLOtIANAVISION' AUEIM\lEV.IAI.FDEMM( ICTURE

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