The Michigan Daily-Thursday, November 2,1978-Page 7
USO bewitching at haunted Hill
By MARK JOHANSSON
For the University Symphony Or-
chestra, Halloween seems to be the per-
fect opportunity for performing some of
the most bewitching pieces of orchestra
repertoire. Even more than last year's
effort, Halloween ii, presented
Universal Symphony Orchestra
"Rulers of the Ghosts"
Overture;Op. 27..............C. M. Weber
"Wolf's Glen Scene from
Merry Pranks from "Till Eulenspiegel",
Op. 28 Richard Strauss
Witches' Ride from 'Hansel und
Gustav Meier, conductor; Rosemary
Russell, soprano; John McCollum, tenor;
Willis Patterson, bass.
Tuesday, containet large and nearly
equal amounts of talent, effort, and
imagination, providing the audience
with a truly uncommon concert ex-
With help from three School of Music
faculty members (as soloists), conduc-
tor Gustav Meier and the symphony
gave life and vigor to what could have
been a dragging program. The five
pieces were performed in quick suc-
cession (taking 1 hour, 10 minutes), but
with a smooth flow, and the evening had
MOST OF ALL, the program was
fun-a great way to spend part if
Halloween night. As in the tradition
begun last year, each musician wore a
different costume. Besides Spiderman,
Ronald McDonald, horrid-looking old
men and women, and just bizzare
clothing, a violinist wore a tuxedo
jacket over diapers!
Justsbefore the start, a gangster type
came swaggering out in a black trehch-
coat carrying a viokin case, but it was
only concertmaster Kirk Toth. After
the group finished tuning, both the or-
chestra and the audience began an-
ticipatory rhythmic clapping when
suddenly, the lights went out and
shrieks, yells, and nervous laughter
filled the dark hall.
As loud, eerie creaking noises were
heard, a stage door slowly swung open
and a menacing, black-caped man
slowly strode on-stage, mounted the
podium, raised his arms, ang bared
long, white fangs. From the beginning,
this Dracula (conductor Meier) let
everyone know he was in charge.
THE RENDITIONS of Wever's
"Rulers of the Ghosts" Overture which
began the program, and the "Roman
Carnival" Overture by Berlioz at the
end of the evening, were indicative of
the overall performance of the USO.
This year, the symphony achieved a
superior and desirable sound, both in
the intonation and blend within the
various sections, and with the balance
between the woodwinds, brass, per-
cussion and strings. In each work the
tempos were sensible and even, the
phrases meaningful, and the attacks
solid and precise. Overall, the dynamic
and tonal contrasts were appropriate
and unified. All of these qualities are
representative of both the musicians
and their conductor.
The highlights of the program for the
large Hill Auditorium crowd were the
two opera excerpts that were certainly
more hilarious than horrifying. In the
first, the Wolf's Glen scene from Der
Drieschutz (The Freeshooter), by
Wever, Kaspar, sung by Willis Patter-
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son, brass, entered wearing a white
fighter's robe with "Casper Jinx" writ-
ten on it and slowly approached a black
cauldron in front of the orchestra.
AFTER CONJURING up the demon
he has made a pact with, he motions for
Max, John McCollum, tenor, whom he
has brought to the haunted glen, to ap-
proach so he can receive the six magic
bullets he will use in a shooting match.
McCollum's acting was terribly comic
as he shook frightfully while singing
with a wild vibrato, although often his
voice was not strong enough to be heard
over the orchestra. With Patterson, his
singing provided the comedy as he sung
out the incantation for the bullets while
the spirit repeated each word, lightning
flashed, and finally an explosion within
the cauldron signaled the completion of
The Witches Ride from Hansel and
Gretel, sung by Rosemary Russell,
mezzo soprano, was the biggest crowd
pleaser. Entering from the rear of the,
audience, she "flew" onto the stage,
dressed in traditional black witche's
garb with a green face. Singing with her
nastiest tone (but still good intonation),
whe did a devilish waltz with a broom to
"Till Eulenspiegel's Merry Pranks,"
Strauss, tonally dramatic poem was the
best orchestral work of the program.,
Although the violas were a little uneven
with their gentle, lilting melody, and'
the clarinet soloist played quite a few
wrong notes. the several contrasting
sections of the piece blended well into
the whole, and the orchestra kept a
good sense of tempo, rhuthm, and in-
tonation through the many themes,
transformations, and key changes.
For the School of Music, it was a very
successful presentation, and for the
audience.it was an enjoyable musical
and theatrical experience.
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Casper, the friendly violinist
Singles: The holy grail
of the turn table set
By MITCH CANTOR
When I moved back up to school this
ear I uncovered an old women' s
hosiery box which had been storing my
nodest collection of 45's. .
Looking over the thirty or so
'singles," I realized that nearly every
ne contained a hit song which was a
particular artist's only claim to fame.
They were the kind of songs which are
most often played on A.M. radio until
everyone is sick and tired of them; af-
terwards, the group is never, heard
SOMETHING BOTHERED me,
though. Perhaps these recording artists
were talentless, even though their in-
dividual hits were classics.
And nearly all of them are forgotten.
Recently I visited several local music
stores, each of which sold oldies.
Nearly all the singles I found there
were not just million sellers, but songs
featuring artists who will go down in
history, like Elvis Presley, the Beatles,
and the Beach Boys.
This seemed to defeat my conception
of the single. If a group produces more
than one hit, as is often the case, music
enthusiasts tend to opt more for the
album. Even if a recording artist only
strings together occasional hits over
the years, fans are more likely to buy
"greatest hits" album.
SO WHERE DOES the single come
in? Looking over my personal collec-
tion, nearly every song was unique, and
all said something about the times. Of-
ten, these songs reflect fads of an era. A
recent example is "Convoy," the one
remnant of C. W. McCall.
While many of the one-shot artists are
already forgotten by die-hard rock
music enthusiasts, it's good to know
that many of these singles exist at least
somewhere, serving perhaps as the last
recorded relic of a bygone era.
'IIe information one can glean from
these small classics could easily be
made into a trivia quiz. For instance,
which English group, part of the mid-
'60s invasion, busted the charts with
"Friday on my Mind?" (The
Easybeats). What group turned out the
mellow hit "Angel of the Morning?"
(Merilee Rush and the Turnabouts).
What group recorded the vert '60s-ish
"Signs? (The Five Man Electrical
Band). Who wrote one of the first
Monkee hits, "I'm a Believer?" (Neil
Diamond). And for the die-hard singles
collector, who wrote "Dueling. Ban-
jos?" (Eric Weisberg of Weisbef)rg
It's sad to think that these songs, as
well as their makers, may fade away in
former fans' closets. The only hope for
saving these bits of history may be in
the "oldies" records, which commonly
re-release hits of the past. The only
problem with these, as I've already
mentioned, is that the obscure million
sellers, which often tell the most about
the era, are often skipped over for
songs by more famous artists.
Little did I realize when I trotted off
to the record store a decade ago and
spent my life's savings on a single or
two, that I was buying history.
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PARAMOUNT PICTURES PRESENTS SHOW
Do a Tree
Ann Arbor Film Cooperstive presents at Nat. Sci.
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 2
(Don Seigol, 1976) 7 only-NAT. SCI.
A gunfighter, told he has cancer, comes to a small western town to die. One of the best recent westerns,
the film is distinguished by, among other things, an authentic background, superb performances (JIMMY
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gunman's life with compassion and a clear eye. RICHARD BOONE as a humorously eccentric murderer,
and SCATMAN CROTHERS.
(John Ford, 1956) 9 only-NAT. SCI.
Quite frankly, one of the greatest films ever made. Stunning in its imagery, this is a masterpiece in
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Schrader. Stars JOHN WAYNE, JEFFREY HUNTER, VERA MILES, WARD BOND, NATALIE WOOD.
TOMORROW: Dietrich in Sternberg's MOROCCO & THE DEVIL IS A
The 1979 MICHIGANENSIAN Senior PortraitPhotographer is back
by popular demand for a special two-day engagement (Nov. 6 & 7).
If you missed him last Spring and this Fall you can
picture in the 1979 MICHIGANENSIAN.
still get your
Return this coupon to:
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