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October 11, 1964 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1964-10-11
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THE AMERICANS: A New History of the
People of the United States, by Oscar
Handlin, Little, Brown and Company,
New York $6.95, 416 pages.
IN HIS CLASSIC WORK, "The Revolt
of the Masses," Jose Ortega y Gasset
speaks of the "rise of the historical level"
-the elevation of the common man to
the stage of history. In times past-Or-
tega says-history was the plaything of
kings and nobles; generals and ministers.
Today, it is the story of the average man.
Thus if we accept the sort of argument
which Ortega employs, the writing of so-
cial history becomes the task of the his-
torian in modern times.
Handlin, apparently, subscribes to this
thesis. In introducing his book, he speaks
of the necessity for the creation of a
view of history which tries "to tell the
whole story" of the experiences of peo-
ple "of all kinds-exceptional and ordi-
nary," a task of no mean proportions.
In keeping with his subject matter.
Handlin has geared both his scholarship
and his style to that elusive animal-the
common man (Common Man?).
The result of this remarkable scholastic
procedure is neither remarkable nor
scholastic:
Handlin doesn't do what he sets out to
do Much of what he portrays as "social
history" is really a more inclusive sort
of high-school-civicsese. At times - and
this condition seems to be more general-
ly the case than one might be led to
expect by Handlin's ostensible goals-
the author seems to forget his sphere of
interest entirely, and lapses into pseudo-
diplomatic history. Roosevelt said this,
Stalin said that and the effects on the
flow of all human history were astound-
ing.
Handlin's style is absurdly pretentious.
The experience involved in reading 416
pages of Handlin's sweetest prose, can
only be likened to that of bathing in
chocolate syrup-both as to its syste-
matic effects and esthetics.
Handlin's conclusions are neither new
nor exciting. His views are undocument-
ed-and largely unsupported by internal
evidence. His is neither a book of history
nor of commentary-it is a book of opin-
ion. His views range from the mundane
to the conventional. His detestation for
everything that's "out" and his love for
everything that's "in," is rivaled only by
that of Fulton Sheen.
Many of things one looks for-or at
least I look for-in a social history-in-
sights into the mechanisms of social
change, some understanding of the
schisms and their resolutions or non-
resolutions within society-are totaly
missing.
His treatment of more recent history is
especially spotty: Things happen and no
one-least of all Handlin-knows why.
One might say, then, that in his Pan-
gloss of history, Handlin should be en-
couraged to Pan more and Gloss less.
-Stephen Berkowitz
BEETHOVEN: Symphony No. 6, "Pastor-
al," in F, Op. 68. Chicago Symphony
Orchestra, Fritz Reiner conducting.
RCA VICTOR monaural LM-2614,
$4.98 (stereo, $5.98).
BEETHOVEN'S nine symphonies, it
is only the sixth that contains extra-
anusical suggestions made by the com-
poser himself. One may be taught that
the motive of the fifth symphony repre-
sents fate knocking at the door, or vic-
tory, but there is no proof of Beethoven's
ever intending any of these meanings.
In the sixth, however, we are sure of
his intentions. But he does not want us
to view this work as program music-i.e.,
tone painting. The key to its meaning
lies in the preface to the manuscript of
this work in which the composer wrote
that this symphony: is "more the expres-
sion of feeling than painting." Thus
Beethoven, a man who loved nature and

one who -got much musical inspiration
from it, desired to share his love for na-
ture and gave the movements suggestive
titles to help achieve his end. Its realism
lies not in the evocation of images of
specific natural phenomena, but rather
in the creation of moods inspired by na-
ture.
It is for its ability to create these
moods that I highly favor this new re-
lease of the .symphony by Fritz Reiner
and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Reiner's concept of this work borders on
the romantic, with the occasional inser-
tion, with discretion, of a ritardando and
luftpause. The addition is not distract-
ing; for me this remains Beethoven's
most "romantic" symphony.
Reiner brings to this work a clarity of
line and balance which shows the sensi-
tivity of a man who has been studying
music all his life. Reiner says of conduct-
ing: "The best conducting technique is
that which achieves the maximum results
with the minimum of (physical) effort
. . The conductor must have a stimulat-
ing personality . .. and a'thorough musi-
cal, artistic, literary, historical back-
ground . . . (it is indispensable) to study
and restudy scores . . . I do not believe a
conductor can be accomplished under
50."

CESAR FRANCK: Four Symphonic Poems
(Le Chasseur Maudit, Les Eolides, Les
Djinns, Redemption). Andre Cluytens
conducting the Orchestre National de
Belgigue. ANGEL stereo S-36151,
$5.98 (monaural 36151, $4.98).
THERE ARE MORE than enough re-
cordings of Cesar Franck's D Minor
Symphony, but this is the only available
recording of "Les Djinns," ""Les Eolides"
and "Redemption." Together with "Le
Chasseur Maudit," they make an attrac-
tive set. Despite the fact that there is a
preferable version of the "Chasseur
Maudit" by Munch on RCA Victor, no-
body with a fondness for symphonic
poems in general or Franck in particular
should consider his musical library com-
plete if he does not have this disc.
The three other works on the disc are
consistently interesting, and consistently
well performed as well. Aldo Ciccolini
handles the piano part of "Les Djinns"
with suitable elan, and Angel has com-
pleted the happy picture by providing
fine sound. This record fills an impor-
tant gap in the catalogue, and as such it
can be recommended without reserva-
tion-but especially to those who know
Franck only from his symphony.
--Steven Haller

monies. He does not fight Schubert, he
joins him.
Schubert wrote the Sonata when he
was twenty-two, the year when he wrote
to his brother: "At the house where I
lodge there are eight girls,nearlyeall
pretty. Plenty to do, you see." This
charming work reveals the caprice of
youth realizing that life is not all fun
games, and pretty girls.
Whereas the Fantasia yearns for the
large concert hall, the sonata prefers a
much smaller gathering. Richter tones
down the technique into an ease of flow-
ing, lyric melodies and youthful ponder-
ances.
In addition to the fine pianism display-
ed on this disc, its back cover contains
an interesting character observation of
Richter at a recording session-in addi-
tion to information about the works
played.

MAGAZ IN E

Vol. VI, No.2

Sunday, October I 1, 1964

Both sonically and musically
works as played really score.

these

F

THAT IS WHAT I SHALL TELL THEM a
I ask myself: why talk to them?
They buy knowledge in order to sell it.
They want to hear where there is cheap knowledge
That can be sold at a profit. Why
Should they want to know what
Can be said against buying and selling?
They want to be the winners
They don't want arguments against winning.
They don't want to be oppressed
They want to oppress.
They don't want man's advancement
They want their advantage.
They obey everybody
Who tells them they can command.
They sacrifice themselves
To keep the sacrificial altar standing.
What am I to tell them, I wondered. That
Is what I shall tell them, I decided.
-Bertolt Brecht
--Translated by Ingo E. Seidler
es m n me mea

-Jeffrey Chase
BEETHOVEN: Concerto in C Major for
Piano, Violin, and Cello-and Orches-
tra, Op. 56 ("Triple"). Rudolf Serkin,
piano. Jaime Laredo, violin. Leslie
Parnas, cello. Alexander Schneider
conducting the Marlboro Festival Or-
chestra. Columbia Monaural ML
5964, $4.98. (Stereo MS 6564, $4.98.)
THIS IS AN EXCITING performance
of Beethoven's 'Triple" Concerto. But
an even more exciting reading results
when the performers strive for greater
accuracy of articulation than is displayed
here.
The first movement is full of scale runs
and trills and has to move fast to retain
listening interest. Many times it seems
that the cello in this performance tries
to slow the others down a little, especial-
ly in its solo entrances.
The piano, on the other hand, is suc-
cessful in maintaining a vigorous pace
and, although it has the far from domi-
neering part, really jells the whole effort.
The violin is willing to follow either
debator, but really seems to side with
the piano.
In the second and third movements, the
cello not only has relinquished its de-
sire to lag, but also produces a richer,
more pleasing tone. The cello's best re-
sults come in the expressive slow move-
ment, Largo.
Inconsistently throughout, the orches-
tra's execution of the important .motive
involving dotted sixteenth notes and
eighth notes is rhythmically sloppy.
Strict rhythmic differentiation is called
for.
Among the soloists, parallelism is lack-
ing. For instance, a staccato run in the
cello imitated by the violin will have a
different kind of staccato in each instru-
ment. It is doubtful that Beethoven
wanted this. Imitation is all that the name
implies.
It is frustrating to hear a melodic
line beautifully begun in one instrument
drowned out by the entrance of another
or by its "accompaniment"; or to know
that a catchy accompanimental figure
or an important harmonic signpost here
is played too softly to be heard. Balance-
a major aspect of a musical perform-
ance-is too frequently lacking in this
one.
The saving factors of this performance
are the approach the musicians take and
their spirit of playing. They view the
work as large-scale chamber. music, jus-
tifiably so, and let themselves go in the
spirit of an informal chamber musicget-'
together.
The total result is satisfactory, but by
no means definitive.

With his death in New York last year,
the world lost not only a truly great con-
ductor, of both opera and symphony or-
chestra, but also a very fine musician.
An example of his dynamic leadership
can be found in the fourth movement
(Thunderstorm) of this performance of
Beethoven's symphony. His great sense
of dynamics, especially vital in this por-
tion, as it is in this whole symphony of
sudden dynamic contrasts, and his un-
derstanding of the tympani, of which he
himself was a player, are evidenced.
The second movement (By the brook
side) is noteworthy for the clarinet tone,
which is full and rich; the "bird calls" at
its end are articulated with precision. The
fifth ( Shepherd's song: happy and
thankful feelings after the storm) and
third movements reveal the fine horn
tone of the orchestra.
The sound, that of RCA Victor's new
Dynagroove technique, is most realistic
except for pizzicato double bass notes
which sound over-emphasized at times.
The. late Sir Donald Francis Tovey'
noted musicale scholar, writes that "the
Pastoral Symphony has the enormous
strength of .some one' who knows how to
relax." This Reiner. recording is a very,
fine one with which to relax with Beet-
hoven in the enjoyment of nature.
-Jeffrey K. Chase

SCHUBERT: Fantasia in C Major ("Wan-
derer"), Sonata in A Major, Op. 120.
Sviatoslav Richter, pianist. Angel Ster-
eo S 36150, $5.98. (Monaural 36150,
$4.98.)
A COUPLING of- the "Wanderer" Fan-
tasia 'and the Sonata in A Major on
one record shows both the extroverted
virtuosic and the introverted, contempla-
tive sides of their composer. It also gives
the performer a chance to demonstrate
what he can do with different moods of
music by the same nomposer. Schubert's
compositions are worthy of the hearing,
and Richter, the pianist, makes them
worth the listening.
The Fantasia is. onerof those works
which. has been altered *many times
throughout the course of its history.
Pianist-scholar Paul Badura - S k o d a
knows of almost a hundred different ver-
sions. For this record Richter chose, the
one revised from the original manscript
by Badura-Skoda, a version hopefully
eliminating the "corrected erers" which
were carefully inserted by "knowing"
scholars throughout the years.
Richter, squeezes every- inch out of the
virtuosity, of this Fantasia with his. fine
technique. He produces dazzling sonori-
ties, accurate runs and enlivened har-

SHAKESPEARE' IN THE QUATERCENTENN

The Schoolof Music

The New Poets

--Jeffrey Chase

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