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August 07, 1969 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1969-08-07

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Seventy-eight years of editorial freedom
Edited and managed by students of the University of Michigan

Rorem and Blomdahl, music and poetry

420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, Mich.
Editorials printed in The Michigan Dail
or the editors. Thisn

News Phone: 764-0552
y express the individual opinions of staff writers
must be noted in all reprints.


ABM: Tilting
the balan'eof terror

IT IS DONE NOW. Unless some entirely
unforeseen event takes place in the
next few days before the final vote is
cast, this country will have an anti-bal-
listic missile system. It can only be de-
The full implications of the decision to
deploy ABM according to President Nix-
on's plans may not be known for a sub-
stantial period of time. Indeed by reach-
ing into the intricate complex of inter-
national relations the deployment of
ABM may affect decisions and attitudes
of foreign leaders in subtle and nebulous
ways which may never be known.
Law and
the eh ickens
"ELLO, I'M from The Daily, is Col.
Davids or Capt. Myre there?" ,
"No, they aren't," said an officer at the
command center in charge of investigat-
ing the area murders.
Believing that there probably was not
any other officer there who was allowed
to release information, the reporter
started to thank the officer and say
goodbye, but it seems he did not want to
hang up.
"How about another name?"' asked the
officer. So, the Daily staffer asked for
Sheriff Harvey. "No, he's not here. ,How
about another name?" Police Chief
Krasny was asked for and the officer
proceeded with his game and asked for
another name.
"Is County Prosecutor Delhey there?"
'the officer said the prosecutor wasnot
in and "How about another name?"
Knowing for sure there was no one else
who could officially speak for the com-
mand center, the officer was thanked
again and he said goodbye with a pleas'-
ant laugh.
A later call produced an even giddier
"Is Col. Davids there?"
"Sorry, nobody here but us chickens."
It seems that the overflowing success
the local minions of the law have en-
countered recently in their search for
murderer or murderers, known and un-
known, has gone to the heads of some.
-J. C. S.

However, some of the grosser effects of
the Senate's decision should be evident
soon. If the predictions of ABM critics
are correct ABM will have considerable
impact on the arms limitations talks be-
tween this country and the Soviet Union,
scheduled to begin within the next month.
In the awful logic of the nuclear bal-
ance, which is the center of this country's
means of security, the"ABM will give pro-
tection to a part of the American retalia-
tory nuclear force. While this may, as
supporters of ABM suggest, improve the
security of those few missiles from a
Soviet first strike, it will not improve the
security of the country.
THE REASON for this is clear. The
Soviet Union must maintain some
logic to their side of the balance of terror
as well. Regardless of the arguments of
ABM detractors that such a system could
be easily rendered inoperative by the use
of decoy missiles or concentrated attack,
the Soviets will, for their own security, be
forced to assume ABM will work just as
it is supposed to.
Given this assunption the leaders of
that country must respond in order to
maintain the credibility of its own de-
terrent. Perhaps they will direct their ef-
forts toward the development of sophisti-
cated electronic decoys of their own anti
ballistic missile system. Perhaps they will
simply enlarge their missile force. Pos-
sibly they will develop an anti-anti-bal-
listic missile system.
Whatever the Soviet response is, it is
clear that the deadly constrictions of an
international order based on the threat
of mass destruction will force them to
escalate the arms race.
CONTRARY TO the arguments of some
senators in favor of ABM who said it
must be approved so President Nixon
would have the upper hand in arms limi-
tation talks, such a policy can only hinder
the possibility of success in those talks.
The reason it is possible to enter talks
now is the relative equality of the two
nations in the balance of terror. A nation
that just recently had the balance tilted
against it will prove most unwilling to
join in accord.

Contributing Editor
The setting of poetry to music
is perhaps one of the most diffi-
cult tasks that a composer can
set for himself. Excellent music
can often elevate a minor poem:
what would Hermann von Gilm's
"Zueignung" be without Strauss's
musical dressing, or Schober's "An
die Musik" without the animation
of Schubert's lyricism. A "white
text," that is a text without any
aesthetic pretentions of its own,
can allow a composer wide free-
dom of expression-take the Re-
quiem liturgy for instance. Sel-
dom, however, can a poem sustain
the music and perhaps the greater
the poetry the more likely will the
music seem only an imposition.
Ned Rorem, that enfant senti-
mentale whose diaries range from
the sensitive to the self-pitying,
has realized this. Considered as
one of the last "art-song" com-
posers, Roremhas written, in his
panegyric to the Beatles, that
"poetry may be the egg from
which the nightingale is hatched,
though in the last analysis the
nightingale must come first." Un-
fortunately, as a new C.R.I. re-
lease (238 USD) indicates, Ror-
em's nightingale has failed to
Setting to music poems by John
Ashberry, Frank O'Hara, Theo-
dore Rothke, Paul Goodman, and
others, Rorem fails in almost every
case either to reveal, something
about the poem or to create a
satisfying musical statement on its
own. The poem seems to restrict
the husic's flight and the music
distracts us from fathoming the
complexityof the poem.
In Roethke's "Night. Crow," for
example, an ominous crow seen
on a skeleton tree sets the mind

reeling "deep in the brain, far
back." But Rorem's music in no
way indicates any ambient of ter-
ror or introspection; the conclud-
ing words "far back" are set to
music perfunctorily. In Ashberry's
"Our Youth," Rorem does nothing
with the line "when the child dis-
covers her first dead hand;" he
simply spins off to the next stan-
za. Examples such as these, where
Rorem fails to illustrate or acti-
vate the text, are legion; the fail-
ing is not merely innocuous but
more seriously destructive to the
comprehension of the poem as
It perhaps would not be so bad
if Rorem at least offered some
purely musical interest. He has,
after all, quite cogently written
that "thesinevitable element is
what makes the melody good-or
perfect." Except for a brief set-
ting of Elinor Wylie's "Little El-
egy," I can detect no "inevitable"
quality to the melodic line; on the
contrary, the music seems highly
contrived. In eschewing both
musical complexity on the one
hand and textual literalness on
the other, he effects much artifice
and little artistry.
On this C.R.I. disc, the Rorem
songs" are performed by Phyllis
Curtain, Beverly Wolff, and Don-
ald Gramm. The recording is
harsh and too closely-mixed: Miss
Curtain appears strident, Miss
Wolff sounds likevKaye Ballard,
and the three voices together
blend poorly.
The flip side of C.R.I. 238 shows
how important recording tech-
nique can be, for Miss Curtain's
tone is immediately more pearly
and focused, She performs Frag-,
ments from Sappho by David
Ward-Steinman, and here, though

Brownian movement. Whether the
sections are scored for pointil-
listic col legno strings and wood-
blocks or for longer string phrases,
the music well fulfills the move-
ment-titles: "Life Silence," "The
Lonely Speaker," "Immovability of
Fear." Performance by the Stock-
holm Philharmonic is stunningly
Yet the "Five Italian Songs" on
this album are even more inter-
esting., Blomdahl has taken five
aphoristic poems-one by Quasi-
modo and four by Arcangioli-and
truly not only captured their
starkness but moreover enlarged
their verbal impressions with dra-
matic force by paying great honor
to the poets' intentions. Blom-
dahl's musical approach is both
'original and literal. Mezzo-soprano
An-Sofi Rosenberg has excellent
vocal markmanship, a full tone,
and convincing force.
Twenty-five of Poulenc's songs
are performed by Maxine Makas,
soprano, and Anthony Makas,
pianist, on Westminster WST-
17146. Poulenc's songs, so idolized
by Rorem, value brevity, lack of
intellectual pretension, and pi-
quant wit. They are all over be-
fore you know it, and you soon
realizedthese songs are not to be
entered but to be experienced and
appreciated for their surface
charm. They make fine encores,
but twenty-five at one sitting can-
not be consumed. Th~e songs do not
engage one, and a' ter so many
hors'd'oevres, one waits in vain
for the meat course.
Maxine Makas, who studied with
the Poulenc exponent, Pierre Ber-
nac,.sings with admirable elan and
tone, and one wishes for Just a
bit more subtlety of color. A fine
record, but to be tasted in discreet

the flute, clarinet, and piano ac-
companiements produce some very
interesting and original effects, I
again find the music vitiating, not
amplifying, the poems' succinct
Rorem has said (maybe sensing
only his own limitations) that the
modern art song is dead. Certain-
ly one can point to few modern
successes, though Samuel Barber's
setting of James Agee's Knoxville
Summer, 1915 is a classic work and
more American, incidentally, than
anything Aaron Copeland ever
wrote. Schoenberg certainly fused
poem and music in Pierrot Lun-
aire. Another success, though no

doubt less epic, has been chalked
up by the Swedish avant-garde
composer Karl-Birger Blomdahl.
A recent Angel release (S-36576)
in their "Music Today" series
shows two sides of Sweden's lead-
ing composer-the orchestral and
the vocal. This composer of the
space-opera Aniarai sa master
of the eerie. Blomdahl's music al-
ways sounds -like imagined Mar-
tian landscapes: lonely, desolate,
and lacking in human sentiment
entirely-unless you consider his
style a very sentimental conceit.
The choreographic suite Game for
8 may be considered a ballet for
microscopic particles undergoing

_____ theatre -_ _ _

Pure entertainment in Ann Ar-
bor is not dead and Paint Your
Wagon is musical proof of that
Gilbert and Sullivan Society's
production exemplifies the ideas'
basic to musical comedy, but with
a somewhat serious strain. Musical
comedy is a series of songs linked
together with a story where not
much drama is required.
And that is the basic thing lack-
ing-real acting ability by )the en-l
tire cast. However, acting is not
the essential part of a musical
production and musically Paint
Your Wagon is outstanding.
The California gold rush days
provide the back drop for widower
Ben Rumson (Pharlie Sutherland)
and his daughter Jennifer (Janice,
Lent) to strike it rich and, enable3
Ben to send his daughter to Bos-;
ton to learn to read and write and
become a lady.
Ben does strike it rich and
Rumson is established, making

Jennifer the only girl in a1
of hundreds of gold-digging m
She is soon ostracized fromr
community because of obvious
ferences in the male and fe
genders-a difference the
can't cope with with only
woman around.
Jennifer is alone until shei
Julio, a Mexican (David Johns
who is an outcast because of
The two find mutual solace
love in a highly touching mon
Jennifer eventually is sen
Boston because Ben fears lc
her to Julio, is worse than his
A half year eclipses and we
Rumson with no gold and 1i
most of its mining popuh
Jennifer returns to find Julio
gone north in search of his fo:
and her father has remarries
She waits for Julio's returr
when he comes, Ben prepare
follow his "Wandrin' Star"
continue looking for gold.



Purely musical

Charlie Sutherland creates Ben
Rumson as a theme with variation.
He is a man who superficially is
always happy, with Sutherland
portraying a wide range of hap-
piness through llis broad smile and
often glistening eyes.
But Sutherland is also able to
portray the loneliness of a man
with no wife and no roots. Suther-
land's Rumson encompasses the
entire cast and audience when he
sings "They Call the Wind Maria."
And he is able to center on his
singular loneliness when he sings
fondly of his deceased wife "Elisa."'
David Johnson as Julio and Jan-
ice Lent as Jennifer are comple-
ments both in their excellent
voices and in their stiff puppet-
like acting.
Johnson's voice is magical in its
power and strength. Never once
does he falter when he sings. And
perhaps if you only listened to him,
and didn't watch his constant

However, the construction of the
role of Julio is one of a Mexican
trying to uphold his royal back-
ground, which could be grounds
for some of the sharpness con-
tracted by Johnson.
Miss Lent, who seems to im-
prove as the show goes on, has
what is known as a "lovely" voice,
which is highly conducive to the
role of Jennifer.
Yet Miss Lent's performance
was also stiff, lacking interaction
with Julio except in a few select
Generally staging of the produc-
tion is excellent, marred only by
obvious scene changes. Partic-
ularly clever was the "On My
Way" production number which
gave the feeling of gold-diggers
in honest motion through rotation
of lights and characters.
The male chorus of gold-diggers
is a carefully integrated group.
They are a compilation of strong
voices, character roles, and agility.
The female floozies needed for

the story add little to the stage.
Though the choreography was ex-
cellent, it was not noticeable be-
cause of a group of colorful fe-
males who were rarely in step.
As a whole the story was Just
a story until the entrance of
character roles in the form of a
Mormon preacer (Chuck Vukin)
and his two wives. From this
point on the story becomes Just
a bit more humorous with a great-
er touch of vitality.
Cherry, (Patricia Petiet) the
French leader of the gold-diggers'
imported women, is the epitome
of musical happiness as she de-
lightfully flirts across the stage.
Paint Your Wagon, which will
run through Saturday night in
Trueblood Aud., is not highlighted
by good acting, but it is enter-
taining in the purely musical sense
of a good story, excellent songs
and music by Lerner and Loewe,
and outstanding voices.


rigidity his songs would
more powerful.










To the Editor:
HAVE READ with some amuse-
ment your two feature articles
which deal with our residence hall
"food" service. I believe that you and
your readers may be interested in
reading that "expert's" report be-
tween the lines. The team of men
from Chicago came for a number of
visits during the winter term. Due to
their limited time, they were depen-
dent upon the input which they were
to solicit from diaticians, building di-
rectors, and central housing office
If it appears that there is an over-

sight, there certainly was-the origin-
al proposal of the "customer-oriented
experts" did not include consultation
with students. However, even before
they arrived, IHA had arranged for
them to alter their plans to include
meals and discussions with our "cap-
tive audience." We arranged for these
meetings in all of the halls and the
resultant list of complaints was tuck-
ed away in the back of the report.
The only recommendations which
appear in the report and are to be
implemented is an upgrading of the
titles of the food service supervisors,
managers, and directors-the same

people who the report labels as in-
experienced and incompetent. Has
the food service coordinator, Mr.
Lynn Tubbs, really earned a promo-
tion to the position of Assistant Di-
rector of Housing? His food certainly
doesn't warrant it!
-ink with small details (such as warm
food) are only being given lip service.
If the way it is being handled in
West Quadrangle this summer is any
indication, dorm residents are in for
more of the same cold food in the
fall; long lines and food dished up

(. .

early still accent the over-aged,
crumby dining room furniture. In
situations like this, the blame can
not be tossed on the dietician in the
building-such conditions are the re-
sult of neglect at a much higher level
in the University bureaucracy.
I feel that one more dimension
should be mentioned.. The suggestions
dealing with combining the food
service operations of small halls and
the centralization of bake shop ope-
rations in Markley were not forth-
coming from the food consultants,
but from a building director. Sug-
gestions regarding salad choices and
more meat were not new either- stu-
dents and staff have long criticized
When we have brought back to
Ann Arbor data on food service opera-
tions at other schools, we have never
been taken seriously; the reaction
always seemed to have been, "Nothing
could be better or more efficient than
here at Michigan." How long will the
Office of University Housing be satis-
fied with the status quo? Students
can't taste the difference brought
about by new titles of old employes;
we could taste the difference if Mr.
Feldkamp agreed to implement the
recommendation to increase meat
-Jack A. Myers, President
Inter House Assembly
Aug. 6
To the Editor:
seeing Godard's Weekend, I ask-
ed a Daily film reviewer what the

becomes sublime, and that's art ap-
We have inherited a critical tra-
,dition that was bound to result in
this kind of confusion. To the people
who used to read Yeats and Eliot, the
whole point of art was Sensitivity; to
create it, heighten it, refine it. The
art object was a monument to that
sensitivity. They took their sensitivi-
ty to be 'an increased receptivity to
the real world, "t h a t out there,"
which was full of brutality, misery,
squalor, and insensitivity.
AS A WAY of responding in art to
reality, being sensitive seemed to be
Just right. After all, a poem about
ugliness, if it is sensitive, is beautiful,
and this didn't seem paradoxical at
all. In fact, their sensitivity was not
an increased receptivity to the world;
it was really increased receptivity to
irony, which has not much to do with
Sensitivity-irony, that delicate and
refined craft of professional artists
and critics, is a very serious and pur-
poseful business. Through it the in-
telligensia can abstract itself - its
consciousness - from the brutalities
of reality - from the obvious - to
reside at a safely esthetic distance
among the multiple transmutations
of meaning readily at hand in the
lush artistic foliage. Through sensi-
tivity and irony we learn that "all
that out there" has nothing to do
with us because it is brutal, and we
are refined. It is a contrived pedestal
on w h i c h we place ourselves at a
height from w h i c h, while it all
touches our heartstrings, none of it
moves our asses. Action is the oppo-

and burn her to a crisp, you don't
need a PhD. to know that it's brutal.
But if, as Godard does in Weekend,
you dress the little girl in a 19th cen-
tury costume, identify her as Emily
Bronte, give her absurdly romantic
monologues to recite about pebbles
and grass, then have lthe man who
lights the fire remind the audience
that it's only a movie and that the
girl is only a fantasy character in
the movie, appreciation of the scene
takes some considerable sophistica-
And what are we to make of it!
then? What do we do with the hu-
mor? How do we get through the vast
distance this brilliantly contrived
literary exercise has removed us
from its antecedent reality - t h e
real little girls in the real world who
are burning in real flames in Viet
Nam? Is this spectacle designed to
make us sensitive to those little
THE ANSWER of course is yes,
but only in the sense that we sit in
our armchairs and relish our o w n
decadence in technicolor; not that
we take some modestly sane action
such as the sabotage of a munitions
dump. Godard is anxious to remind
his audience that the film is not the
real world. The question is: d o e s
Godard think the real world is a mo-
-Fred Bloom
Aug. 6
University plnning
To the Editor:
FOR HIS PRETEXT of knowledge
in University planning Mr. Zim-

is on the people in large scale plan-
ning and not in packing in as much
square footage as possible. Maintain-
ing a human scale to the environ-
ment is of utmost importance in an
area like a university community
where the human participants ire
its whole reason for existing at all.
The University was extremely for-
tunate to acquire the North Campus
property when it did for the glut of
Central Campus building long ago
passed the point of pleasing aesthet-
ics, The beauty and human con-
duciveness of larger public spaces and
more "green belts" is apparent in a
number of Michigan's sister state
North Campus has not lived up to its
potential because of piece meal build-
ing and the lack of a coordinating
architect-planning team. This is not
to say that the University should re-
strict itself to one architect solely,
but rather that one well qualified
firm should oversee the work of
others. Such a system was beautiful-
ly implemented at the University of
Massachusetts with great succes.
Planning must be a continuous
thing, as a few schools have found
out, not a bits and pieces system as
we have seen it. Studies and programs
have been made and all have been
evenually set aside, either completely
or in part.
Finally it has been the plight of
this university to continually turn to
architects who are at best mediocre,
at worst, dull and hackneyed. This is
inexcusable since the Midwest is en-
dowed with a number of excellent,
high calibre firms whose talents have
long been utilized by other state and


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