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February 06, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-02-06

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MOSCO W PHILHARMONIC A T HIL.

The Michigan Daily.-Tuesday, February 6, 1979--Page 7

Back in

the,

U.S.S.A.

By OWEN GLEIBERMAN
What can you say about the 287th
performance this year of A Night On
Bald Mountain, at Saturday's concert
of the Moscow Philharmonic Or-
The Mosow Philharmonic
Orchestra
Dmitri, Kitaenko, music director
''udl conductor
H ilt A iiditoriuon
ANight On Bald Mountain ....... Mussorgsky
Romeo and Juliet............ Tchaikovsky
Symphony No. 3 in C minor, Op. 44.... prokofiev
Presented hy the UniversitY
V'wic'aI societV as part of die
Russian Arts feti val
chestra? Not much, really, except that
the whole thing was'a bit lax, and the
brass could have used some more pun-
ch during their rousing fanfares. Ac-
tually, I'd be an extremely irrespon-
sible reviewer if I claimed there was
nothing more to say. And I'd be lying.
I mean, I could describe various sec-

tions of the performance in intricate
detail. For instance, I could go on about
how the horns had problems keeping
together, but that the violins' staccato
attacks provided a brilliant contrast to
the ethereal lyricism of the solo flute.
Or, I could mention the way the harp's
gossamer glissandos filled out the lush
string backing with the perfect sprinkle
of mystical overtones. The question is,
do you really want to hear about it? I
didn't think so. After all, the concert
was three days ago, and that's an
awfully long time when you're dealing
with something as ephemeral as tiny
little notes coming out of the tops of
bassoons and the bells of cornets.
ONE THING, though, did strike me
as sort of interesting: the program's
first half, consisting of the aforemen-
tioned' Mussorgsky tone poem and
Tchaikovsky's Romeo and Juliet over-
ture, left me wondering just how an ac-
complished ensemble like this one
should approach a work so ingrained in
the traditional reportoire that its theme
is probably heard more in jazzed-down

muzak versions than on all the
classicial music stations and concerts
in the world.
Let's face it, you've all seen the ad on
TV-you know, the one where that em-
balmed Englishman tells you about
how you, too, can own 130-odd
"classics" for only $8.95. (I once
figured out that 130 classics on four
records is approximately 15 classics
per side: a minute-and-a-half a classic.
That's a lot of classics.) And then
there's "Night On Disco Mountain,"
whose appearance led me' to eagerly
await the Tramps' version of Stravin-
sky's The Rite of Spring-to be entitled,
I suppose, "The Rite of Salsation."
ANYWAY, I concluded after several
minutes of serious contemplation that
there are two ways of going about per-
forming the classical staples: One may
opt for the "accepted" interpretation
(always pleasant, and almost always a
little, enervated), or, one can be "in-
novative," by taking the number real
fast, or real slow, or, I suppose,
disregarding tempo and dynamic

Sweet weekend offun

By STEVE HOOK
It is difficult to keep pace with the
consistent flow of " refreshing talent
which passes through Ann Arbor each
weekend: Difficult enought just to keep
up with the Ark, that bastion of folk
music which sometimes presents three
separate acts in one four-day weekend.
This past weekend boasted Bob White
on Friday and Saturday, and Andy
Cohen on Sunday: Their appearances
provided a unique contrast in character
and music.
Bob White is a well-travelled folk
singer and a dyed-in-the-wool rambler.
You might label him as the Woody
Guthrie of the 70's, and he's the first to
admit that the late songwriter and
singer has had a great influence on his
career.
"I guess I'm the kind of guy who just
travels around," he tells his audience
with a sheepish grin. "'I've lived in a lot
of different places."
True; in the past thirteen years, he
has made his residence aIl over the
country; from the fishing docks of
'California *to' the factories . of
Massachusetts. He has even lived in
Ann Arbor for a while. . . just long
enough to help bring the Ark into being.
(He was invited to manage the place,
but insisted on moving on.)
All of this traveling has certainly had
an effect on White's music, and the ec-
clecticism is apparent in his sensitive
interpretations of traditional twentieth
century works.
Accompanied by a six-string guitar, a
homemade banjo; as well as Ann Ar-
bor's own Peter "Madcat" Ruth on
harmonica and Kevin Maul on lap steel
guitar and dobro, White amused his
audiences with professional, yet un-
predictable performances. True to
form, he appeared for the second set
Saturday wearing a Boy Scout shirt and
bragging about all his awards.

As he spun his unique collection of
songs, White seemed to be making
more and more friends in the audience.
From a cowboy tune called
"Railroading on the Great Divide," to a
farcical love song entitled "I Got
Mine," and his own song, "I Like to be
Alone," White entertained smoothly.
Along with Ruth and Maul, White's
offerings were tight and lively. Ruth's
harp and Maul's steel combined
tastefully with White's singing and
guitar.
Andy Cohen appeared Sunday night.
His music may have differed in tone
from White's, and he lacked White's
complex musical background. But the
enchanting palpability of his character
was identical. Sharing White's devotion
to his music, Cohen performed with
heart and soul.
This Kent, Ohio native came along
with his "Little Hats," a trio of equally
dedicated performers including Gary
Hawk playing the harmonica, Sue
Truman with the fiddle, and long-time
crony Joe LaRose on six-string, banjo
and mandolin. Cohen himself played a
six- and twelve-string guitar, and
dusted off the Ark's piano for a few
numbers.
Together, in front of a much smaller
audience than Bob White played to the
night before, the players pounded out a
collection of ragtime, blues, and coun-
try songs, all stemming from the thirty

years surrounding 1900 on both sides.
Picking in a flashy East Coast style,'
with a wider variety of chords than
traditional Southern techniques, Cohen
and his band seemed very adept at
combining their instruments in the
complex" arrangements. Cohen as well
seemed to enjoy himself on stage, tap-
ping on the guitar playfully or
showboating a little on the piano. His
works seemed to have a certain
aliveness that was handled well by his
players.
"We're not a Top-40 band, and we're
not a chamber orchestra," Cohen ex-
plained between sets. "We sometimes
come off sounding like a blues band,
sometimes like a fiddle band. We're
just trying to present different kinds of'
music."
According to Cohen, "There's enough
purveyors of disco. I object to mass
media domination of music. We're try-
ing to be musicians, not cogs in a wheel,
and there's a whole club industry out
there that supports us."
Cohen's devotion to his music is ap-
parent as he bangs out a Skip James
boogie-woogie tune on the piano,.
strums emotionally through a blues
number, or picks out a foot stomper
with Rose. -
The beauty of the Ark is that the per-
formances there acquaint us with
some intriguing performers and
fascinating individuals who are ex-
traordinarily accessible to the audien-
ce. To be exposed to these touring
players and their music is a memorable
privilege.
A lot has been written about the Ark
over the years. Perhaps this is due to
the consistent freshness andenjoyabil-
ity of the performances there which
brighten Ann Arbor each weekend.

markings altogether, for a performan-
ce they'll never forget.
The Moscow Philharmonic chose
emphatically to stick on the side of
tradition. Perhaps this had something
to do with their programming an entire
evening (including two encores) of
Russian music; one doesn't, I guess,
fool around with the masters, especilly
if they happen to be countrymen, and
especially if that country happens to be
one in which artistic "innovation" is (to
use a euphemism) frowned upon.
AS IT TURNED out Saturday, even
by conservative guidelines, A Night On
Bald Mountain could have used some
more unabashed showmanship. It is,
after all, a textbook showpiece,
program music for those who want a
storyline-why do you think Disney
picked it up for Fantasia-Romeo and
Juliet was extremely competent,
although occasional portions lacked the
fiery gusto needed to bring Tchaikov-
sky's music to life. And why was the
famous theme-music played in slow-
motion? If Tchaikovsky is more than
another "gushy Romantic" like Rach-
moninoff (and I certainly think he is),
his soaring, rapturous passages should
be played without sounding like one's
fingerholes are clogged with maple
syrup. But these were mere trifles.
The program's mainstay was the
second half, a rousing rendition of
Prokoviev's Symphony No.:3. I must
admit I'm not especially familiar with
this piece, and that it's quite a rigorous
journey next to the same composer's
lovely Classical Symphony (the third
movement of which provided a quaint
little encore). But the Third Sym-
phony's formal complexity brought out
the orchestra's feeling for tone colors
and dynamic contrast, resulting in a
performance that journeyed between
delightful, quick passages and sublime
climaxes. Oh, in the second movement,
the strings soared with vibrant inten-
sity and the winds' crystalline precision
was diamond-edged. Satisfied?
LJohann a tauss
l1
N 3
I)
\L

February 7-10]
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ARE YOU LETTING
CLASSES GET TO
You?
RELAX
Take a ?UI desbreak
.,you deserve it!_

Distinguished' degree

standards

- by JOHN SINKEVICS
Literary College (LSA) faculty voted
unanimously yesterday to adopt new-
criteria for recognizing academic
distinction upon graduation. The new
standards will take effect for the class
of 1980, and will be more stringent than
those currently employed.
Under the present policy, students
who graduate with a grade point
average of 3.60 or above receive "high
distinction" status on their diplomas,
and those with a grade point average of
at least 3.20 receive "distinction"
status.
THE NEW policy will establish the
following ranking cutoff points relative
to the size of the graduating class:
" Students who graduate in the top
three per cent of their class will receive
"highest distinction" status.
* Those who graduate in the top 10
per cent of their class will receive "high
distinction" status.
* Those who graduate in the top 25
per cent of their class will receive
"'distinction" status.
The changes were first adopted by
the Curriculum Committee last year.
Associate LSA Dean John Knott, who is
also chairman of the Curriculum Com-
mittee, said the changes were made

tightened
because more than 50 per cent oft
University graduates currently receive
some kind of distinction, and most
members felt the standards should be
more stringent.
THE MEETING also featured a
report by Professor Harold Jacobson on
the Honors Review which was released
last week. Jacobson said the Honors
Program needs more support from
faculty, especially in introducing "in-
novative curricula." He also thanked
Honors Council Director Otto Graf for
his many years of service to the
program. Graf is retiring after 48 years
at the University.
University Library Director Richard
Dougherty spoke briefly at the meeting,
outlining the future status of library
services. He said many problems face
the University's library system - in-
cluding budgetary woes - and that the
major difficulty lies, in changing the
current cataloguing system.
Dougherty said the Library of
Congress announced last year that it
was preparing to "freeze" its current
cataloguing system, and that a new
code would be adopted. He stated that
as a result, the University Library has
a number of options open to it, which
will be examined in the next few years.

VISTA
Is coming
alive again.,
How about
coming
alive
with us?
Here's your chance to
do something for America.
We need all kinds of VISTA
volunteers. All kinds of skills.
People eighteen or eighty, we
don't care. High income or low
income. We don't care as long
as you come. Come to VISTA
for the most important experi-
ence of your life. VISTA needs
you. VISTA is coming alive
again. Call toll free:
800-424-8580. VISTA

Auditions by Appointment only. See
Sign-up Sheet Outside of Room 1502
in the Frieze Building. Read all of the
Instructions Carefully.

FOR ME

1

by .Sean

_ ,

s

O '.Casey

WEDNESDAY IS MONDAY IS ADLT SFI..SAT.,SU.
"BARGAIN DAY" "GUEST NIGHT"Ei OLIA ES .54
$1.50 until 5:30 TWO ADULTS ADMITTED ALL MATINEES .0
FOR PRICE OF ONE CHILD TO14 51.50

fim "M._

C PUS STARTING FRI., FEB. 9th
CAM "LORD OF THE RINGS"7

4 cdays to
MICHIGRAS '79
Sat., Feb. 10-8 pm
THE MICHIGAN UNION-$1
It's Gonna Be A
* "SUPER PARTY" *

I

I

DAVID LEANS

1946

GREAT EXPECTATIONS

I

1

a h

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