The Michigan Daily-Sunday, January 21, 1979-Page 5
Roscoe just right at R
By R.J. SMITH
There is a painting in the University
art museum that has, in the short time
since I began looking at it, become one
of my favorite paintings there. It is
much like the music Rosco Mitchell
performed Friday evening at the
The painting is diabolical. A massive
square field, taller than a person, num-
bing, clay-gray, it has a squiggle-line of
blue pai4t about a foot long on the very
edge of the left side, centered horizon-
tally. Along the right side, similarly,
are a tangle of squiggle-lines. But the
story is the gigantic, charged gray.
Roscoe Mitchell plays gray music.
Perhaps it is intellectual, and quite
stripped of any electrifying urgency, but
it is not dulling music. It pulls you into
its feel of oneness, its monumentality,
its aloneness, and it is sometimes very
MITCHELL PERFORMED Friday~
evening solo onF the alto saxophone for
both of his shows in the Residential
College Auditorium, weaving, ever
moving, succinct, and varied statemen-
ts. Throughout the performances, Mit-
chell let his music do the talking, as he
never announced any sort of title for an
upcoming improvisation, nor vocally
acknowledged the audience's applause.
Between numbers he would stroll over
to a small table, fuss with his reeds and
sip some perrier water, and then pur-
posefully head back to the center of the
stage and begin to play.
His sax playing ran the gamut from
breezy lyric coolness to staccato
honking. What united both performan-
ces, it seems to me, was the feeling that
a particular sort of emotionality, a sen-
se of frightening spontaneity or even of
devil-may-care playfulness, was
lacking: The performance was about
clean-headed thinking, and making
mature statenrents rather than risking
And as such, the shows were splendid
indeed. Like the gray expanse that is
only barely bounded by two strips of
color, Mitchell's music is only barely in
touch with either end of emotion-there
is a vast middle ground, which has little
to do with passionate sadness- or
outrage, or jolting high-spiritedness.
pauses which took away all the feeling
of fierceness which is most often con-
jured up when such purposely atonal
honking is done.
The second and longer show,
although still very much concerned
with breaking apart ideas
knowledgeably, and unhastily, had
much more of a jazz feeling, with much
more consistent lyricism.
AFTER MITCHELL left at the end of
the second show, Ann Arbor
saxophonist Tom Bergeron had the im-
possible task of keeping the audience's
interest with his own solo flights.
During the first show, Mitchell himself
played for only forty minutes, and then
surprised the sponsors by inviting all
ticket holders back to the second show.
Ultimately, both performances were
more than enjoyable. Mitchell's trium-
ph of the head over the heart produced
music which pulled the listeners in. And
the closer one gets to this music, the
more one glimpses a very real and
is preserved on
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Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG
Roscoe Mitchell, jazz saxophonist, as he performed at the Residential College
Auditorium, East Quad on Friday night. Mitchell played two shows in the concert
sponsored by Eclipse Jazz, and appeared with Ann Arbor musician Tom Bergeron.
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IN THE FIRST SHOW, his playing
seemed more closely aligned with mod-
ern classical music than jazz. Con-
centrating on long, chalky tones that
were always restrained but not passive,
his first piece was a study in the
metamorphosis of long, breathy low
notes, into high, pointed notes that
tenuously formed musical sentences.
The whole of both performances was
concerned with studious transfor-
mations of one kind of sound into its an-
tithesis. A later piece in the first show
demdnstrated many shrieking,
honking notes put in a context of con-
trasting smooth passages and short
The sweet rewards
of a collage education
By JAMES ECKERT
On Friday evening, the University of
Michigan School of Music presented
Collage III to a full house at Hill
Auditorium. The diversified perfor-
mance included the University Sym-
phony Orchestra, the Chamber Winds,
the combined University Symphony
Orchestra and Philharmonic Cello sec-
tions (with soprano soloist Claritha
Buggs), the University Choir and
Chamber Choir, the Jazz Band, and the
Symphony Band. The list of performing
groups itself explains the title
"Collage" and the music performed,
which ranged from Richard Wagner to
Chick Corea, made for a unique
The evening opened with the Univer-
sity Symphony Orchestra performing
Richard Wagner's famous Rienzi Over-
ture, under the direction of conductor
Gustav Meier. The orchestra's perfor-
mance was no less than excellent as it
meandered through the free-flowing yet
dynamic work. The collage began to
take shape as the University Choir and
University Chamber Choir performed
"Carmina Burana" by Carl Orff, and
the impressive overture to The
Marriage of Figaro.
SOPRANO SOLOIST Claritha Buggs
demonstrated her talent clearly as she,
together with the combinedUniversity
Symphony Orchestra and Philhar-
monic Cello sections, performed the
aria from "Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5"
by Hector Villa-Lobos under the direc-
tion of Stephen Osmond. The first half
of the evening concluded with the
Chamber Winds , performance of The
Soldier's Tale by the 20th century
Russian composer Igor Stravinsky.
After intermission, the audience
returned to a "collage" of performers,
with each group taking separate
positions on the stage. The University
Chamber Choir found its place in the
upper balcony behind the audience. The
second half began with the startling fir-
st notes of Scenes Revisted by Verne
Reynolds. From that moment, each
part of the collage was performed in
sequence without a break.
THE UNIVERSITY Chamber Choir,
under guest conductor Lawrence Mar-
sh, performed works by Gian Carolo
Menotti, immediately followed by the
soothing tone of the harp ensemble per-
forming "La Joyeuse" by Jean-
Philippe Rameau. The dulcet perfor-
mance of the harp section was then in-
terrupted by the energetic Jazz Band
performing "La Fiesta" by Chick
Corea. Their vigorous rendition melted
away any mood of serenity left by the
harp section, but it found its way back
into the auditorium with the chamber
music of oboe, flute and harpsichord
performing Trio in C Minor by Johann
Quantz. The evening concluded with the
Symphony Band's rendering of "Fiesta
Del Pacifico" by Roger Nixon.
"Collage III" offered a potpourri of
forms of expressionindinteresting and
unique styles. One -can not give too
much credit to the student performers
who put so much into their work.
The rapid movement from the sweet
melodies of Wagner to the revitalized
rhythms and chords of massive
dissonance of Stravinsky and so on
throughout the concert was an
emotional rollercoaster ride. The
collage left one in a mixed mood and
provided for an exciting evening of en-
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