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April 21, 1964 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1964-04-21

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Smienty-Third Yesr
"Wber Opinions Are "rem STUDENT PUBLICATIONS BLDG., ANN ARBoR, MicH., PHONE NO 2-3241
Trutb Will Pre"vail
Editorials printed in The Michigan Daily express the individual opinions of staff writers
or the editors. This must be noted in at reprints.


Toscanini 's


Years of Conucting:

May Festival Programming
Shows Little Imagination

upon us, and the excitement which
surrounded it last fall when the programs
were originally announced has begun to
flare up once more. Most of this excite-
ment must be based on pure gut reac-
tion, however, for the scheduled programs,
far from showing the high degree of imag-
ination expected from the University Mu-
sical Society, are really pretty much of a
Nor need one look any further than the
first concert for an example of the shoddy
thinking which went into this year's pro-
grams. In addition to Beethoven's Seventh
Symphony and his Leonore Overture No.
3, pretty safe works to request from Eu-
gene Ormandy, soprano Joan Sutherland
is on the agenda with two arias from Ver-
di's "La Traviata" and the "Mad Scene"
from Donizetti's "Luci di Lammermoor,"
which in turn are pretty safe works to re-
quest from her.
obvious. If the idea was to spotlight
Miss Sutherland, why have her share the
podium with the two Beethoven composi-
tions, either one of which has enough
drama to effectively steal her thunder?
Wouldn't it have been far better to build
the program around Miss Sutherland,
either by devoting the entire program to
her or by filling it out with other works of
the same "Verismo" nature as the arias
she has chosen to sing

THERE SEEMS TO BE no end to the lack
of either imagination or common sense
to be seen in the May Festival schedule
Looking over the other programs, we find
such inanities as the fact that only two
of Debussy's three "Nocturnes" are being
performed-although the third, which re-
quires a chorus, could just as easily have
been included, with the Choral Union
stepping in.
We see that the most renowned com-
poser of our age, Igor Stravinsky, is com-
ing to campus to conduct his own "Perse-
phone"-and then a piece by Schoenberg
has been put on the otherwise all-Stravin-
sky program, as if the idea that this
would' be the ideal occasion for such an
all-Stravinsky program-a fine honor to
that genius - never entered anybody's
head. But why go on?
I SUPPOSE it would be like asking for the
moon to suggest that Van Cliburn
might have gotten the same huge turn-
out while playing Tchaikovsky's second
piano concert for a change, or that Or-
mandy world have gotten no less a stand-
ing ovation if he had chosen one of
Rachmaninoff's other symphonies (which
are rarely if ever played), instead of the
Second. After all, other concert programs
have managed to avoid being imaginative
on occasion. And yet it would hardly seem
that calling for the same concert pro-
grams to show at least some good sense
would be asking too much-except, ap-
parently, from the Musical Society.


. .. The true artist is not proud.
He senses dimly how far he is
from his goal, and though others
may admire him, he feels sad not
to have reached the point where
his better genius lights the way
like a distant sun.."
-Ludwig van Beethoven
July 17, 1812
rainy, mid-winter afternoon
dissolved into an aura of warmth
and hospitality as we were greet-
ed by the housekeeper at the late
Arturo Toscanini's home, over-
looking the Hudson River, in
Riverdale, New York.
Passing rooms and objects which
we were most anxious to observe
at close-hand, we were led down
the stairs of this late-Victorian
structure into the almost legen-
dary sound laboratory in which
Mr. John Corbett, recording en-
gineer, spends his working hours
preparing tapes of Toscanini per-
formances for recorded issue. With
him to meet us was Mr. Don Gillis,
Sr., producer of the late Tos-
canini's National Broadcasting Co.
weekly broadcasts.
It was here, in this room lined
with the tapes of the Toscanini
performances, that we got our
first real glimpse into the Tos-
canini legacy.
MR. CORBETT explained the
uses of the equipment surround-
ing us and the processes for re-
moving extraneous noises-i.e.,
coughs-from the tapers which
will be used to make the records
for public consumption.
Mr. Gillis discussed Toscanini's
attitude toward recording: Tos-
canini never interferred with the
sound engineers in any phase of
the recording process. As long as
they did nothing to endanger the

performances, he respected their
knowledge and techniques.
We were amazed at the number
of unissued performances housed
here and hoped releases would be
soon in coming. Performances of
the complete classical repertoire
and then some were stored on
these shelves. It disappointed us
to think that probably at least
half of these tapes would never
be made available to the public
-not because Toscanini's ton
Walter won't release them, but
because record companies feel
their financial return is insuf-
ficient to warrant the expense of
mass producing recordings from
these tapes.
THEN Walter Toscanini (W.T.)
came down to greet us. Excitedly
he explained that just recently he
and RCA Victor, for whom his
father made the famous broad-
cast tapes in Studio 8-H, agreed'to
release 10 albums within the next
three years. W.T. submitted to
RCA 15 album combinations of
performances from which 10 will
be chosen. The first of these, al-
ready released, is a two-record
set of overtures.
W.T. began our tour of the
house, leading us upstairs to the
large, central living room, which
is surrounded by a second-story,
balconied overhang.
He explained that his father fell
in love with this (pointing) view
of the.Hudson River-it reminded
him of a scene in his native Italy.
And his father was a very senti-
mental man. He bought the house
in 1946, when conductor of the
NBC Symphony Orchestra. W.T.,
a widower, lives here now, and
uses the third story as offices for
the collecting and organizing Tos-
canini memorabilia.
*, * *
W.T. POINTED to the grand
staircase which separates to the
right and left at the first landing,

to give two routes to the second
floor. He recalled how proud his
father was of it and how he would,
somehow, make his guests aware
of its presence.
When we asked if we might
take pictures, W.T. was most per-
missive, and got a floodlamp which
he carried with him throughout
the tour.
He showed us Toscanini's study
and his bedroom on the second
floor, the offices on the third and
the several sitting rooms off the
living room on the first. As we
walked, he answered questions
about the many momentoes (e g.,
Toscanini's baton and a bronze
medallion given him) in the rooms
and portraits and photographs of
the Toscanini family on the walls.
* * *
BY CHANCE, our visit had oc-
curred on the birthday of W.T.'s
grandchild. Having graciously
spent a long afternoon with us,
W.T, with equal grace, now made
hi~s excuses to visit the birthday
After the parting good-bys, we
thought how lucky we had been,
to have been granted this private,
personal tour of an historic home
which, being a private residence,
remains unaccessible to the public.
This very fact will keep it a
curiosity, enveloped in mystery
and respect.
WHEN TOSCANINI (1867-1957)
began his career, in 1886,
music served primarily as a means
for performers to ostentatiously
display their virtuosity. Whether
or not they followed the com-
posers intentions was of.little im-
portance to them; they used the
music as a springboard from which
to "romanticise" the audience into
feelings of lush emotion. Rubato,
crescendos and decrescendos, ac-
celerandos and ritards were the
common liberties taken in per-
formance. Music was fashionable,



ARTURO TOSCANINI, Italian-born conductor who for 70 years
"put my blood" for music. His constant goal, however, was not
virtuosity, but a conscientious performance of only what appeared
in the printed score.
Ansermet Adequate in
New London Release


Testing, One, Two, Three .

. .

THE UNITED STATES and Russia an-
nounce that they are both cutting back
on the production of nuclear weapons ma-
terials. Tht Associated Press calls the cut-
back plans "a developing international
agreement." Senators Hickenlooper and
Jackson say the Russians should open
their nuclear production facilities for in-
spection, and Sen. Wallace Bennet says
Khrushchev's announcement of Russian
cutbacks "is more disturbing to me than
the reduction in our own production."
Clearly there is something wrong some-
where. The U.S. does something; Russia
does the same. Nobody claims there were
any formal agreements made or deals in-
volved. Where is the "developing interna-
tional agreement?"
HICKENLOOPER and Jackson, along
with a number of other senators, im-
ply-what? That we should not cut back
our production until the Russians open
their plants for inspection? But the only
reason we're making the cutback is be-
cause we already have more fissionable
material than we need.
Or are Hickenlooper and Jackson im-
plying, as Sen. Bennet clearly is, that it
would have been better if Russia hadn't
announced it is cutting its production of
fissionable materials?
Bennet asks, "If this is a further step

along the road to nuclear disarmament,
does it mean we have abandoned the idea
of inspection and verification?" Appar-
ently he thinks it is and we have.
But he is wrong on both counts. How is
cutting unnecessary production a step
along the road to disarmament? It doesn't
help the defense of the country to spend
money on entirely worthless weapons pur-
chases instead on goods and services with
at least some usefulness. And, if the cut-
back is not a step toward disarmament
and no formal agreements were involved
in the joint announcements, how can the
idea of inspection and verification have
been abandoned?
whole thing is the way it pushes the
announcements of the cutbacks out of
context. The senators talk in terms of
disarmament and suddenly President
Johnson, merely by taking a sensible eco-
nomic move, is pioneering a giant step
toward ending the Cold War. A more sober
analysis might take into account a second
White House announcement yesterday-
an announcement that the United States
has conducted more extensive under-
ground nuclear tests since the limited
test ban treaty became effective than it
has announced.
Acting Editorial Director

Symphonies; Academic Festival
Overture; Tragic Overture; Var-
iations on a Theme by Haydn.
Ernest Ansermet conducting L'Or-
chestre de la Suisse Romande,
LONDON stereo CSA 2402,
$23.92 (monaural CMA 7402,
$19.92); four records.
WITH SUCH gentlemen as
Rafael Kubelik, Georg Solti
and the peripatetic Herbert Von
Karajan to choose from, it is sur-
prising that London entrusted the
conducting chores for this new
set of the orchestral works of
Brahms to Ernest Ansermet, who
generally seems more at home
with Debussy, Ravel or Stravin-
sky. Although he is faced with
competition from the versions by
Bruno Walter and Otto Klemperer
(to name only those whose per-
formances are available as a boxed
set), Ansermet comes out quite
well, if without turning out one
really memorable performance.
Every conductor has his own
approach to the music of Brahms,
of course, and Ansermet is no
exception. You will not find in
these performances the galvanic
tenseness of Toscanini, the gen-
iality and warmth of Walter, or
the massive ponderousness of
Klemperer-at least not as a mat-
ter of course. If there is one qual-
ity that does stand out in Anser-
met's otherwise fairly literal read-
ings of these scores, it is the lyric-
ism in which Brahms excelled. It
stands to reason, then, that An-
sermet's best work comes in the
Third Symphony; here he han-
dles the songful passages without
getting too schmaltzy about it.
Comparing it to another very good
performance, the one by Lorin
Maazcl on DGG, one sees that the
latter conductor injects several
ritards which Ansermet will have
none of.
It should be noted, ncidentally,
that Ansermet observes the repeat
of the first movement exposition,
which neither Maazel nor, I be-
lieve, any other conductor except
Klemperer bothers to do.
Ansermet also observes the re-
peat of the exposition of the first
movement in the Second Sym-
phony, a rarer practice still; and
both this movement and the fol-
lowing one clearly show Ansermet
at his best. But Ansermet's lack of
preoccupation with brisk tempi
in the third and fourth movements
puts his version of the work on a
level below William Steinberg's
Command recording in my affec-
tions. Neither conductor appears
happy with Brahms' marking of
"presto ma non assai (fast, but
not extremely fast)"; if Stein-
berg's tempo here is not "pres-
tissimo," it is at least a good solid
"presto," and as such it comes far
closer to the mark than Anser-
met's tempo, which in comparison
sounds closer to "allegro."
Ansermet's reading of the First
Symphony, which may have been
called "conductor-proof," is a
good one. If he generates no real
tension in the vigorous first move-
ment (one must turn to Toscan-
ini for that sort of thing), he does
not drag his feet either. In gen-
eral, his tempo is not much dif-
ferent than that employed by
George Szell in his fine recording
of this work for Epic (now out of
the catalogue, unfortunately), but
h (Anermen)o n a hit faster

a bad horn blooper mars the 108th
measure, further shifting the bal-
ance in Szell's -favor.
Although Szell's recording of
the First Symphony is not with-
out distortion, it is minimal com-
pared to that which disfigures the
last movement of Ansermet's
version, making such passages as
the paean of brass sound in the
coda all but unbearable tolisten
to. I suspect that the original
master was greatly overcut. This
is unfortunate, since one guesses,
from listening closely to what
manages to come through rea-
sonably undistorted, that Anser-
met does quite well in this move-
Ansermet's performance of the
Fourth Symphony is similar to
that of the Second in that it is
impressive through the first two
movements. Here his lyrical bent
finds a perfect outlet, and the re-
sult is some of the most mellow
Brahms I have heard in some
time. The third movement is
rather dull at the slow tempo An-
sermet elects, however; here I pre-
fer the brilliance of the now-de-
leted Igor Markevitch version
That version is also unique in
the wonderfully dramatic opening
Markevitch obtains at the begin-
ning of the last movement by tak-
ing it at quite a slow tempo. (In
fact, he takes the first 16 meas-
ures in about 35 seconds, as op-
posed to about 25-the usual speed
-for Ansermet. That difference of
10 seconds is definitely an asset,
especially as Markevitch speeds
up the tempo considerably at
measure 153.) Ansermet's reading
is more literal and does not bear
the individual mark of the con-
ductor nearly so much as does
Markevitch's. I continue to prefer
the latter recording and recom-
mend it over Ansermet's to anyone
who can find a copy.
In the three shorter works in
the set, Ansermet again meets
stiff competition; for the most
part he manages to hold his own,
but there are still other more
preferable versions. In the case of
the Tragic Overture, I prefer a
more vigorous performance such
as Maazel's or Reiner's; others
may prefer a slower tempo and
should find Ansermet's version a
satisfying one. The Academic
Festival Overture receives a
splendid performance, one full of
spirit and (except for distortion
at the end) well recorded. For
those to whom the best stereo-.
phonic sound is not of the utmost
importance, an even better per-
formance exists: that with Bruno
Walter and the New York Phil-
harmonic (his older Columbia
Where the Variations on a
Theme by Haydn is concerned,
Ansermet's version is a good one;
compared to the Van Beinum per-
formance, the latter rendition is
often faster, to good effect-ex-
cept in the sixth variation, where
Ansermet's horn players offer a
virtuoso performance. Musically
speaking, however, both record-
ings pale beside the classic one by
Arturo Toscanini and the NBC
Symphony (RCA Victor). Yet I
would still consider Ansermet's
version the best one in stereo.
London has given Ansermet
generally fine sound which is rich
in bass response but not exceed-
ingly brilliant where the brass are
concerned. At the same time,

Lengthy Recording, the7et

Symphony No. 41 in C Major,
K. 551 ("Jupiter"); Serenade in
G Major, K. 525 ("Eine Kleine
Nachtmusik"). Erich Leinsdorf
conducting the Boston Symphony
Orchestra, RCA VICTOR stereo
LSC-2694, $5.98 (monaural LM-
2694, $4.98).
Symphony No. 41 in C Major,
K. 551 ("Jupiter"); FRANZ JO-
SEPH HAYDN: Symphony No.
103 in E-flat Major, ("Drum
Roll"). Herbert Von Karajan
conducting the Vienna Philhar-
monic Orchestra, LONDON
stereo CS 6369, $5.98 (monaural
CM 9369, $4.98).

PERHAPS the most unusual
thing about Leinsdorf's record-
ing of Mozart's "Jupiter" Sym-
phony is its length: the timing.-,
on the record label total 39 min-
utes and 16' seconds, as opposed
to the norm of about 25-27 min-
utes. But Leinsdorf .is not being
sluggish: he achieves this dura-
tion by taking every repeat Mozart
wrote into the score.
Of course, all the repetition in
the world wouldn't help if Leins-
dorf had turned out an otherwise
inferior product. This he does not
do-in fact, I will go far enough
out on the proverbial limb as to
label this recordirig the "best" of
the available stereo versions. Cer-
tainly it surpases the sluggish ef-
fort by Bruno Walter on Colum-

Maazel's New Album
Sparks Old Symphony

bia; the Toscanini version on Vic-
tor is rougher competition, but I
would give Leinsdorf a slight edge
by virtue of the many repeats ob-
served. It goes without saying,
then, that the recent version by
Von Karajan, which is not with-
out merit, still must be considered
as being on a less elevated plane
of inspiration than Leinsdorf's
A direct comparison between the
two versions demonstrates the
marked variance in tempi taken by
the respective conductors. Wherer
as Leinsdorf takes the first move-
ment at a vigorous tempo, Von
Karajan is slow and heavy, further
betrayed by engineering that does
not bring out important wind pas-
sages nearly as well as does Leins-
dorf's recording. In the final
movement, it is Von Karajan who
moves at a clip which leaves
Leinsdorf far behind; but while
such a tempo certainly adds ex-
citement, Leinsdorf's tempo seems
more appropriate to the noble
character of the movement.
Leinsdorf rounds out his disc
with a graceful performance of
Mozart's durable "Eire Kleine
Nachtmusik." Here Leinsdorf is
not as fastidious about repeats as
he was in the "Jupiter"
But by far the most interesting
thing about Leinsdorf's reading is
his use of an acciaccatura at the
beginning of the fourth full meas-
ure of the Menuetto. This short
apoggiatura is said to have been
a common technique of Mozart's
day, where it was generally indi-
cated by R sixteenth note inserted
before the normal note as a grace
note. According to one authority,
the use of it by Leinsdorf is in
accordance with modern editions
of the score; however, the most
recent complete set of the works
of Mozart available to me, the old
Breitkopf and Hartel edition,
shows a grace note which is an
eighth note and which thus does
not designate a true acciaccatura.
Whether Leinsdorf is correct or
not may hinge on how this passage
is designated in the volume of the
1959 Baerenreiter Kassel edition,
containing the "Nachtmusik,"
which hopefully would clear up
any errors made in earlier col-
lections of Mozart's works. Un-
fortunately, however, this volume
has apparently not yet been pub-
lished. Most if not all other mod-
ern recordings of this work utilize
a series of eighth notes through-
out this measure.
Since Von Karajan's reading of
the "Jupiter" Symphony does not
spill onto the second side, as does
Leinsdorf's, he is able to, include
with it another symphony,
Haydn's "Drum Roll." His rendi-
tion lacks the more prominent
tympani and more incisive tempo
of that by Markevitch (Epic, now
deleted); and he observes the re-
peat of the first movement expo-
sition while ignoring two separate
repeats in the second movement.
The sound on both sides of the
T nnrn- An ia -ns nnA natin I nrlt

Stalling the Rights Movement

"OUR PEOPLE DEMAND a confronta-
tion between the mayor and local civil
rights groups on the following points:
1) Employment: close down all con-
struction sites immediately until the work
force in that industry is fully integrated;
2) Slum Housing: begin an immediate
"rent strike" through the ghetto area;
3) Schools: produce immediately a plan
with a time table for total desegregation
of all schools;
4) Police Brutality: create a public
review board, selected by civil liberties,
civil rights and church groups to investi-
gate complaints of police brutality
"Or STALL IN at the.World's Fair."
So says the pompous and irrational
handbill distributed by the Brooklyn
chapter of the Congress of Racial Equal-
MAJOR CIVIL RIGHTS leaders in the
country have denounced the ,plan of

as harmful by everyone from the Presi-
dent to the man in the street, the plan is
a blatant-yet unfortunate-affirmation
of irresponsibility by certain sectors of the
pro-rights establishment.
THE QUESTION "WHY?" is most dis-
turbing here.
Why-the World's Fair? What can the
Fair do to aid the cause of civil rights? It
cannot break the "stall in" of a Senate
filibuster; it cannot change deep-seated
prejudice in white America's heart.
Why-an expressway tie-up? Nothing
is more annoying than sitting behind
miles of stalled cars on a crowded ex-
pressway. How can action of this type
win America to the cause of civil rights?
PERHAPS THE ANSWER to these ques-
tions lies in the frustrated desire of
some leaders of rights groups to prove to
themselves their ability to rally power, to
+mmnw tsa nti +twistdwrench into the

phony No. 5 in E Minor, Op. 64.E
Lorin Maazel conducting the
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra,
LONDON stereo CS 6376, $5.98
(monaural CM 9376, $4.98).
IT IS TRULY unfortunate that
the record-buying public has
gotten itself into such a rut
where the music of Tchaikovsky is
concerned. It has really taken to
its collective heart only the last
three of his symphonies (not
counting Manfred or the recently
reconstructed "Seventh Sym-
phony"), lavishing love and af-
fection on these works to such an
extent that Tchaikovsky's first
three symphonies have become all
but lost in the shuffle.
Take the Fifth Symphony for
example, of which there are now
27 recordings in the catalogue (as
opposed to five of the First Sym-
phony, four of the Second and
only two (!) of the Third). With
that great a selection to choose
from, any desired type of per-
formance can be found. Do you
wish a massive performance,
marked by a too-slow traversal of
the last movement? Then you
chniM.wu W -m -- r ri Avnr

out quite surpassing it. Both con-
ductors manage to spark no little
excitement out of Tchaikovsky's
battered old score; but where
Monteux does it with gradual ac-
celerandos, Maazel concentrates on
making every brass outburst clear
and forceful. For the most part,
he provides fine pianissimos where
the score calls for them, but when
it's time for a fortissimo (or
louder), even Bernstein can't'
shout down Maazel.
Maazel limits his excesses to
dynamics, however, maintaining a
steadier tempo than Monteux
(even in the last movement, where
Monteux is livelier if not louder.)
But I will cavil with Maazel's
handling of the transition into the
exposition of the last movement;
whereas the score calls for a tym-
pani crescendo and pianissimo
basses, Maazel turns the crescendo
over to the basses, thus drowning
out the tympani (yes, it is pos-
sible to drown out tympani). It
should be added, incidentally, that
both conductors present the sym-
phony intact, without the dis-
figuring cuts other such as Men-
geiberg have seen fit to inflict
upon the last movement.
The choosing of a Tchaikovsky
Fift thPm ,CA +C tm nrtt,


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