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March 13, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1979-03-13

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The Michigan Daily-Tuesday, March 13, 1979-Page 7

Selling out?
Could be worse

(Continued from Page 6)
everybody. You make your music, and
you're vulnerable.... To some people,
my music is too neat, to others it's too
loud, or soft, or clear, or square ... but
when I see that a lot of people want to
buy my records and I play a concert
where a lot of people are genuinely get-
ting off on it, it makes me feel like I can
withstand the other negative elements.
I'd go insane really quickly if I
worried too much about what
everybody thought."
In discussing the argument that his
music is a "sellout," James remarked,r
"If it's the simple thing or the warm,
predictable melody or the immediately
accessible dramatic thing that you like,
and one hundred radicals tell you that it
is not obscure or mystical of intellec-
tual or avant garde or deep enough, it
doesn't really mean anything. That is
nothing more than an assertion on their
part that their thing is somehow better
than anybody else's."
In regard to the effect of the label
"sellout," James also said, "To me it's
a very positive thing. I love to sell out
because selling out to me means there
aren't any tickets left. They refer to it
as a sold out concert: If it is filled, you
sold out, right? And if you go to a record
store to buy my album and they don't
have it, I've sold out. That is what
'selling out' means to me. Selling out on
one of their values is meaningless to
me because I don't have their values in
the first place . . . it only means that

they expect me to be what they want me
to be, and not what I want me to be."
THE REALITIES of economics and
popular taste pose a different problem
for many artists: How do they strike
the delicate balance between ac-
cessibility and artistic integrity?
James says, "I like the challenge of
trying to reach for more people of all
types. That, to me, is a very creative
and positive thing. While to some
people, there is a negative connotation:
They feel that in some way they are
compromising or selling out. I would
like to convicne them that there are
many, many ways of not copping out or
compromising and still reaching more
people. People want to respond to


r .14

Th The American Dream
D Theoo Story,
cco 5:000 p.m.





Bob James Daily Photo by ANDY FREEBERG

music and if you give them any kind of
chance they will."
In the same way that Bob James
stresses clarity in music, he attempts to
provide clarity in exploring his points of
view. He is willing to give of himself to
the listener and to surrender some of

his knowledge as an artists. Above all,
he is a communicator: "I want to
communicate to all of my audience.
The musicians, the older people, the
young kids. . ." This is the essence of
what makes Bob James the great artist
he is today.

Foxy organist mixes light, sound

Organist Virgil Fox last week more
than demonstrated his propensity to
use any and all of the latest
technological weapons to better ex-
press the message of his seventeenth
century idol, Johann Sebastian Bach.
Playing on a custom-designed $250,000
computer-based organ and accom-
panied by David Synder's "Revelation
Lights", Fox pulled out all the stops. He
would alternately jump to the
microphone, extolling Bach's virtues to
dash then to the organ console as
though possessed. The audience in
Detroit's Music Hall appeared to enjoy
the show thoroughly, although they
weren't quite as raucous as some of
Fox's previous rock-and-roll type, foot-
stomping crowds.
A before-show interview with Snyder
brought out the pair's desire to not let
past performances of other Bach inter-
preters set limits on their physical in-
strumentation or stylistic presentation
of the great Baroque master. Fox had
apparently become thoroughly
disillusioned with the inconsistent and
unreliable condition of house organs
that he would encounter while touring
nationally. He then chose to have a
digital organ built to his specification
by the Allen Organ Company. The in-
strument consists of 12 independent
computers driving 600 speakers
through up to 39 channels of audio.
FOX HAS declared his preference for
some of the famous, centuries-old pipe
organs in European cathedrals and this
leads to commissioning the company to
capture digitally these same sounds.
Such tones are stored as digits within
the computer circuitry and may be
changed by physically replacing
modules in the organ. The resulting
sound is definitely powerful, but Fox
doesn't restrict electronic technology
for copying purposes only. For example
by varying the stops on an organ, the
tone-color or timbre of the tones are
In the past these stops affected a
mechanical action that in turn would
control the air pressure to the pipes of
the organ. Fox has automated the
positioning of the stops so that by
merely touching a master button, the
stops and therefore the tone-color may
be instantly changed in previously im-
possible ways. This leads to the
possibility of very abrupt changes in
timbre. One that was particularly im-
pressive occurred at a building, brass-
like choir climax in Bach's Passacaglia
and Fugue in C Minor.
Throughout the performance, Snyder
sat on the stage at the controls of his
light console. Smoky or cloudy abstract
images in a varety of colors would drift
across' the 50 foot screen positioned
behind Fox and Snyder. When inter-
viewed, Snyder said the aim of his

unusual art was to foster the spiritual
and sublime aspects of life. He hoped to
uplift the audience through the clean
unison of the "ancient" Baroque music
played through the latest technologial
inventions. Working with an assistant
behind the screen, Snyder would con-
trol up to 72 different light sources,
filtering them and overlaying them on-
to the screen.
CLASSICAL MUSIC purists have
long snickered at Fox's performances
feeling the light shows and Fox's inter-
pretative renditions distract from the
essential art. Fox and Snyder's retort is
that they are not afraid to risk the
"gimmicky" image if their show more
deeply captivates audiences, par-

ticularly the people often left out in the
cold by the typical classical perfor-
This reviewer personally found the
visual images, simply by their gigantic
presence in the otherwise blacked-out
auditorium, drawing my attention
away from the music. This occurred
despite Snyder's avowed intentions of
seeking to blend the visual images into
the sounds in a strictly supportive
Seeking to add new dimensions in an
alternate medium (light) is an
awesome responsibility when one is
contending with art at the level of Bach.
No doubt many spectators felt they
were getting more for their money with
the inclusion of the lights. Some ob-

viously enjoyed the section where
Snyder had an abstract figure dancing
to a Scott Joplin tune played by Fox.
. Still, Fox's spiritual energy, gaity
and absolute enthusiasm for his music
created a memorable evening for
"Foxophiles" and Bach-lovers alike.





--- ---f


Tickets $4-$8, available at the PTP Ticket
Michigan League, weekdays from 10-1 and
and ato all J. 1..Hudson stores. Information:

Office, in The
from 2-5 p.m.,
(313) 764-0450.




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Single tickets for these concerts now on sale!
ap1iL 923
Pianist Alicia de Larrocha appears in joint recital with soprano Victoria de los
Angeles performing the music of their native Spain. Tickets for seats at this
one-hour concert are half regular Festival price.
Eugene Ormandy, conductor
Victoria de los Angeles, soprano
"Mathis der Maler" .................................Hindemith
"Sheherazade" .........................................Ravel
Scythian Suite .........................................Prokofiev
"Voi che sapete "from The Marriage of Figaro.... .............. Mozart
"Una voce poco fa"from The Barber of Seville ................... Rossini
"Dich teure Halle "from Tannhauser ............................ Wagner
ap2i L .26
Riccardo Muti conducts in his Ann Arbor debut
Symphony No. 3................................. .Mendelssohn
Symphony No. S......---................................. Tchaikovsky
apmiL 27

3 different shows nightly
7, 9 & 11 through Fri.
& Sunday. Saturday 1:00, 7:00
& 9:00 p.m. At the Old Architecture
tickets: $1.75 1

series: $20.00
*74 13
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Riccardo Muti, conductor
Alicia de Larrocha, pianist
Symphony No. 6 ......................... ...........Beethoven
Piano Concerto No. 3............... ...... ........... Beethoven
Leonore Overture No. 3..............................Beethoven
apaiL 2.8
Eugene Ormandy, conductor
The University Choral Union
with Alma Jean Smith, soprano
Alexandrina Milcheva, mezzo soprano
Zurab Sotkilava, tenor*
Martti Talvela, bass
"Manzoni" Requiem........................... ............Verdi
Concert tickets may be purchased by mail or at Burton Tower, Ann Arbor,
48109, weekdays 9-4:30, Sat. 9-12: 665-3717.
Main floor, center sections................... $12



Keynote Speaker: ALEXIS HERMAN
Director of the Women's Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor

Saturday, March 24
8:00 A.M.-5:00 P.M.
(barrier free)

WORKSHOPS: Career planning, job hunting strategies, interviewing,
rPCim writina 'ohncina mainr anri mnA mnre


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