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August 05, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1969-08-05

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Page Two


Tuesdov. Auoust 5. 1969


Tuesday ~ f auo~iu411 1969--if- rv, .--


Some good Scriabin



Mailer, and






Contributing Editor
Hot upon the reels of the Mahler, Neilson,
and Vaughan Williams revivals has come new
interest in Alexander .Scriabin. Scriabin's bi-
ography, written by Faubion Sowers with the
kind of prolix assiduousness that Newmann
granted Wagner, as recently been published by
Kodansha, and music magazines have been quick
to carry articles pointing out how relevant Scri-
abin is to our times. If Mahler expressed the
angst of the modern age, then Scriabin, so the
story goes, expresses our new penchant for
mysticism, sensuality, and even pre-packaged
psychedelia. After all, didn't Scriabin, believing
he was attuned to the Music of the Spheres,
score the, first sound-and-light show?
Certainly Scriabin (1872-1915) considered him-
self a visionary capable of translating spiritual
truths, truths based on his intuitively-felt res-
onance with both the heat of the skies and the
heat of his loins, into a synaesthetic music ex-
pressing the highest, and deepest of man's emo-
tional reaches. Yet, despite his public proclama-
tions and personal scandals, Scariabin's music,
like all music, can never accurately express a
mystical experience ("The way that can be told
is not the constant way"); it can only, like Tm
Wolfe's prose in The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test,
create a mood or feeling redolent of the real
thing. Unlike words, music has no literal sig-
nificance other than its own glorious sound,
and if in mystic yearning it tries to be too
specific, it ends up sounding as pompous and
fatuous as Oliver Messiaen's Et Exspecto Resur-
restionem Mortuorum.
Thus, for all of the literary strivings to in-
flate Scriabin's music beyond its musical terms,
the composer's works are very much of a style
and period. His piano music stands between
the emotional directness of Chopin, whom Scri-
abin idolized, and the poetic diffusion, of Faure.
At best, Scriabin's piano music sounds wonder-
fully spontaneous and ecstatic; when least ef-
fective, it appears random both in composition
and in idea.
The 12 Etudes, opus 8, were composed when
Scriabin was in his early twenties, and perhaps
only the Etude in D-sharp minor indicates the
ambition to escape into more spiritually potent
realms. The other Etudes are lyrical pieces of.
varying dramatic weight and most of them are
quite beautiful, quite joyful.
These pieces have been recently recorded by
Morton Estrin on Connoisseur Society CS 2009,
and although Estrin is hardly a well-known
pianist, his disc .should receive attention. It
seems that Estrin made a highly successful Town
Hall recital in 1949, and then decided to teach
piano rather than concertize. There are, of
course, numerous outstanding pianists on con-
servatory faculties, but few record companies
care to invest in unknown names and in men
who do not sell records by playing the circuits.
In any case, Connoisseur 'Society, whose cata-
log depends largely upon,the magnificent pianist
Ivan Moravec, is the type of independent con-
cern brave enough and idealistic enough to'
record such artists.
Estrin's playing is both "natural" and tech-
nically skilled. The quality of his pianism ranks
high in poetic impulse, structural clarity, and
intellectual command of the material. He does
not treat these works as mere show pieces for
his own self-aggrandisement, but rather ren-
ders the lyrical line that evinces the work's co-

herent poetry. He does not lean too heavily on
these works, as Hilde Somer did in her Mercury
recording of various Scriabin piano pieces, and
the music breathes much more freely.
Scriabin's orchestral music is less well-known
or recorded than his piano music; only the
Poem of Ecstasy has had any real attention on
records or in the concert hall. For that matter,
his orchestral music was ill-received in his own
time. His First Symphony was hooted down, and
his Second Symphony, completed in October,
1901, was called "Scriabin's second cacophony."
Columbia has just released the first recording
of this latter work (MS 7285), performed by
the London Philharmonic under Georg Semkov,
and it makes the premiere reception seem but
another example of critical ultra-conservatism.
If anything, the Second Symphony is unbe-
lievably eclectic, a pastiche of Franck and Wag-
ner, a flaccid work whose potency is vitiated by
an aimless gesturing. Yet, although the sym-
phony lacks the incisiveness and fervor of Sria-
bin's best piano music, it is not pedestrian. It
has many passages of lyric beauty, and though
too circumambulatory to hold unswerving at-
tention, it establishes a convincing poetic and
dramatic ambient. Containing spasms of viril-
ity, it represents truly the detumescence of
Romanticism. The performance and recording
are fine, without being remarkable.
Anyone who has cared enough about my
opinions to have read these reviews for the past
three years has by now realized that I consider
Arthur Grumiaux to be one of the most mar-
velous violinists playing today. From his early
Epic recordings with Clara Haskil to his present
recordings for Philips of Bach, Schubert, Berg,
Mozart, and Beethoven, he has been constantly
sati'sfying. His taste and technique are impec-
cable, and he is more attentive to the demands
of phrasing each note than'any other violinist I
have heard. He equals the young Szigeti.
Consequently, his new recording of Mozart's
First and Fourth Violin Concerti can be recom-
mended unequivocally; Grumiaux's tone is clean,
thin, singing, and never breaking; his phrasing
is, as always, never perfunctory (an oxymoron,
but true). Colin Davis elicits from the London
Symphony the kind of articulate accompani-
ment usually associated with Szell. This disc is
available as Philips PHS 900-236.
Grumia x also offers a new reading of the
Beethoven concerto, with Alceo Galliera con-
ducting the New Philharmonia. (PHS 900-222)
I am less enthusiastic about this version, though
it can easily be said to be one of the best avail-
able. Grumiaux is just a bit too detached, and
the performance lacks the final touch of cred-
ible drama and infeeling that made his old Epic
recording with Van Beinum (deleted) so out-
At first glance, Columbia's MS 7251 seems to
be a bargain; it offers on one disc both the
Brahms Double Concerto and the Mozart Sin-
fonia Concertante. In the Brahms, Isaac Stern
and Leonard Rose team up under Ormany and
the P.O., and in the Mozart, Stern and Walter
Trampler follow each other while the London
Symphony tries valiantly to follow Stern's in-
attentive conducting. Both versions have been
available before and both are top hard driven,
too sloppy, and too insensitive to compete
against numerous performances which respect
the music and not merely the players.

Even if Norman Mailer's
Beyond the Law had a redeem-
ing plot line, the shaky camera
work and out-of-focus close-ups
which have been a trademark
of cameraman D. A. Pennebaker
would make it an outstanding
movie to avoid. The film is4
basically a look inside a pre-
cinct at some detectives inter-
rogating such characters as an
axe murderer, a man who has
urinated in the subways, some
motorcycle freaks, and a couple
of ladies of the street. There
are several fine, though brief,
jobs of acting although George
Plimpton is heavy-handed as a
Lindsay-Kennedyesque m a y o r
who drops in on the station to
check out reports of brutality.
At first it is refreshing to
break away from Hollywood un-
reality to slam-bang black-and-
white close-ups, but this movie
will very likely give you a head-

ache from physiological brutal-
ity upon the eyes. I can not be-
lieve that Norman Mailer has
nothing to say-he is just un-
able to get it across; he pre-
sents only a grhiny, tedious
pseudo-documentary of police
brutality behind the station
walls. Beyond the Law is a
flimsy film and a waste of your.
The notorious Jean-Luc God-
ard's Weekend has f i n a 11 y
made it to Ann Arbor and is
simply a magnificent film. As
usual. Godard is concerned with
epic themes such as man's sla-
very to his possessions, i.e. the
entire bourgeois way of life.
And if the characters occasion-
ally give you -a direct lecture
about politics, you can somehow
let Godard get away with it and
not feel that your intelligence
has been insulted (though this
may have some -psychological


Eternal fools
The April Fools is another capital 'H' Hollywood love story
which you could enjoy if they either left out the stereotypes (lines,
characters, and plots) or added a few new stereotypes. Jack Lem-
mon is a standard Jack Lemmonish character, Howard Brubaker.
who has just gotten a promotion and is seen klutzing his way about
his boss' jet-set party, The Boss is played by Peter Lawford, whose
wife is played by Catherine Deneuve. Jack's wife is back home in
Darien, Conn. as Catherine Deneuve fondly watches him blunder
about the scene. Jack and Cathy go out together and almost miss a
good thing because he is so spineless, but a wise middle-aged
astrologer (female) helps ring them together: it is hard to believe
that as worldly a woman as Miss Deneuve would need or heed
such advice.
Lemmon, Deneuve, and Lawford play their roles beautifully,
but the roles are stale. Lemmon starts out as a character who is
too sappy for anyone to bear; even through he effectively portrays
the increased strength of character the love affair has given him,
writer Hal Dresner tries for too abrupt a change in character. It
would have been totally believable had Lemmon asked to go to
Paris with Miss Deneuve when they were parting after their first
night together (without even sleeping together) and she used
her eyes to tell him how much she wanted him to be strong and go
away with her. In fact, it is unbelievable that anyone could fail
to be seduced by her eye movements. But Lemmon is unable to
make the big leap until he talks to his outrageously uncaring wife.
Similarly, Lawford is confined to being a skirt-chasing
negligent husband, who can not even lie about loving his wife when
she is about to leave, but only talks of how they do not need love
since they have "attraction" and she is so beautiful. There is no
conflict for either Lemmon or Deneuve to leave their spouses-there
is never any doubt that they will.
The April Fools is a Hollywood romance where the lovers are
oh-so-good and their mates are totally wrapped up in themselves.
When you realize how much all three stars could carry off in a
half-way meaningful story, it is painful to see them assigned to
pasteboard characters who have to wander through "the jet-set
party" and "the discotheque" and "the romantic mansion."
In the last half-hour Jack Weston, as Lemmon's lawyer, ap-
pears as a superb drunk-pointing up the cost of missed opbortuni-
ties, since he once had an extra-marital affair which failed. The
increasing pace is seemingly going to lead to something other than
what it does-more stereotyped lines and a stock ending.
There is no question about the story being a romance, but the
humor varies from television situation "faux-pas" comedy (where
Lemmon tries to use a phone booth at the party which is actually
a sculpture) to tragi-comedy when a very drunk Weston imagines
that a car belongs to his old girl friend who has come back to get
him; the Shifts in humor are uneven and unbalanced and we are
never quite sure what level we are meant to take the love affair on.

link-up with the fact that we
receive the lectures via sub-
We. can listen with intense
interest to everything Godard
has to say because he presents
his stories and ideas with a
fresh vibrancy. Weekend has
lots of blood and many surreal-
istic episodes, but Godard does
not depend upon the action
alone-he is famous for his vis-
ual presentations (as well asj
dialogue) and uses a fluidly
moving camera and brilliant
eye for color to make a very
powerful movie. Godard uses
whatever shots or dialogue suit
his fancy; he is still very self-I
conscious of being a film-maer
and repeatedly has actors in the
film remind us that they are in
a movie, but these reminders
are not detrimental and trod-
ard's pleasure is, more than of-
ten enough our own.
The movie's plot is about P
husband and wife who are out
on a drive and are also waiting
for the wife's parents to die so
they can inherit their. fortune.
The bulk of the movie concerns
their trip, but lest this give you
the impression of a banal story-
line, suffice it to say that a.
highly amusing God appears
during the story as a desperado
hitch-hiker, the husband setsj
Emily Bronte on fire, and yet
the film is e V e n ly paced
In one scene, there has been
a tremendous car crash with
bloody bodies hanging about the
wreckage and the screams of
one of the victims hanging in
the air. The undaunted wife has
escaped the crash unharmed
and is dismayed over the loss
of her Mercedes purse. It is sur-
prising that Godard can criticize
modern man so openly without
allowing us to have our per-
sonal "brilliant" insights into
his message, and get away with
it, but we must laugh at the
violence, cruelty, and blindness
of everyone because the exag-
gerations are so sadly close tok
the truth. When God as the
hitch-hiker mentions Christ as
being a Communist, we laugh at
Him because of our conception
of "pinko-commie Red men-
aces", because this mad hitch-
hiker has given such a false
label to Christ; we are shocked
when we realize that we did
not immediately recognize the
truth of the statement because
of our fixation with labels.
With a combination of burles-
que, surrealism, and pure fan-
tasy, Godard blasts the twen-
tieth century personality of
man-although he hardly shows
a group of hippie-clothed an-
archists as being any better,
since they are heartless canni-
bals. Godard presents his mes-
sage directly enough for every-
one to understand, while using
inspired film mechanics and a
bizarre enough story to enter-
tain everyone. Therefore,ewho-
ever you be, you should find
Weekend well worth your time.


VILL E00-3:15-5t5
375 No. MAPLE RD.-.769-IO73 "-o " : 30-:5
... the masked bandit
NOW e8-6416
presented by Grove Press
"fit has guts, humor,
and a1eh atv"-CUE
if _________ ------u


Rm. 3529, S.A.B.


The official British entry at
the Venice Film Festival 1965
Produced and Directed by LIONEL ROGOSIN
0 CINE FORUM at Venice 0 FIRST PRIZE at Leipziq Film Festival

Good Times, Wonderful Times
at the smugness complacencv
and stupidity of people who do
not grasp the an~gulsh, horror and
desolation that may be caused by
war and warmongers.",
Crowther, N.Y. Times
Good Times, Wonderful Times

Good Times, Wonderful Times
to stir the conscience. You owe
it to' vourself to experiejpce this
sardonic powerfully - conceived
f'rilm" Wolfe, Cue
Good Times, Wonderful Times

Day ,Calendar
Audio-Visual Education Center Sum-
mer Previews - Volcano Surtsey: Me-
kong (Edited Version); and How Solid
is Rock: Multipurpose Room, Under-
graduate library, 3:00 p.m.
Degree Recital - John Peterson, or-
ga n: Hill Auditorium, 8:00 pm.
University Players - Michigan Rep-
ertory 69 - The Duchess of Malfi by
John Webster: Lydia Mendelssohn The-
ater, 8:00 p.m.
Dept, of Political Science w i ll be
showing films on the French-Canadian
situation at 7:30 p.m. in the Multi-
purpose Room, Undergrad. Library. Dis-
cu~sion is to follow.

eoneral, Notic.s
Summer Commencement Exercises
August 10, 1969I
To be held at 2:00 p.m. in Hill Au-
ditorium. All graduates of t h e 1969
spring-summer term may attend. I
Reception for graduates, their rela-:
tives and friendsin MichiganLeague
Ballroom immediately following t h e
ceremony. Please enter League at westI
Tickets: Four to each prospective grad-
uate, to be distributed from Monday.
July 28, to Friday, August 9, at Diploma
Department, 1518 L.S. & A. Building,
except on Saturday, August 2, when of-
fice will be closed.
Academic Costume: May be rented at
Moe Sport Shop, 711 North University
Avenue. Orders should be placed imme-
diately, and MUST be placed before
July 19.
Assembly for Graduates: At 1:00 p.m.
in Natural Science Auditorium. Mar-
shals will direct graduates to proper
Programs: To be distributed at Hill
Announcements: There will be a lim-
ited number of graduation announce-
ments for sale at the Information Desk,
IFirst Floor Lobby, LAS. & A. Building.

Candidates who qualify for a doctor--
al degree from the Graduate School andI
Who Attend The Commencement Ex-
ercises will be presented a hood by the
University as part of the ceremony,
Foreign Visitors
Week, of August 5-12
The following foreign, visitors can be
reached through the Foreign Visitor
Division of the Visitor and Guest Re-
lations Office. Rooms 22-24, Michigan,
Union. Telephone: 764-2148.
Dr. Albert Butros; Chairman, Depart-
ment of English, University of Jordan,
Amman, Jordan. August 4-7.
Dr. Der Margossian, Director of Eng-j
lish Language Studies, Erevan State
University, Erevan, Armenia. Aug. 5.
Dr. Hoshmatollah Niayesh; Dean of
Student Affairs, and Chairman, Depart-
ment of Engineering Graphics and Ma-
chine Design, Ayra-Mehr '}Technical
University, Teheran, Iran. Aug. 6-10.
Dr. Hossein Ali Anvari; Professor of!
Electrical Engineering, Ayra - Mehr
Technical University, Teheran, Iran.
Aug. 6-10.
Dr. Kazem Kormi; Chairman, Depart-
ment of Mechanical Engineering, Ayra-
(Continued on Page 3)

- - - - - - . -- - - - -- - ~a >v a s v 1 ai tii c
present Nicolai's opera
"The. Merry Wives of WlinIdsor"
(in English)
August 15, 16, 18, 19-8:00 P.M.
All tickets $3.00
Mail orders accepted, Make checks payable to the University of Michigan." Send self-addressed,
stamped envelope to School of Music Opera, Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104.
Box Office opens Monday, August 11, 12:30-5:00 P.M.

sin s

anW iI1ELRisU to action, a worning and a punch
it is difficult to ignore RoRo- in the soft underbelly of society.
abrasive thought-provoking Rocosin has managed briliantly
t of contemporary society to set the present world teetering
the film is Shattering." on the stem of a Martini., !t
Carroll, Doily News should be seen." Newsweek
WED., AUG. 6th-7:00, 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 P.M.
Admission 75c



The University of Michigan
Gilbert.& Sullivan' Society.
is now accepting petitions




for Fall 1969

Scheduled Production: RUDDIGORE

November 19-22



Organization and Election Meeting
North Campus Commons
Tuesday, August 5th, 7:30 P.M.


Petitioning for:



Musical Director

Set Designer
Costume Designer

1 n-



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