THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Tuesday, 'October 5, 1971
Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, October 5, 1971
By DONALD SOSIN
The 93rd Choral Union Series
of the University Musical So-
ciety opened in Hill Auditorium
last night with a recital by cellist
Zara Nelsova and her husband,
pianist Grant Johannesen.
It was an evening of unabash-
ed and unrelieved romanticism,
the program comprising three
sonatas by Chopin, Brahms and
These three composers, as well
known as pianists, as for their
own music, all seem to have en-
countered some difficulty in writ-
ing for the cello. Chopin and
Rachmaninoff b e t w e e n them
wrote less than half a dozen
works for cello and piano, while
Brahms turned out the two so-
natas. The problem seems to be
twofold: one of register (how
to prevent the cello's low notes
from being covered up by the
piano), and how to treat the
instrument in a solo capacity.
Chopin and Rachmaninoff had
the most difficulty, and their
sonatas reflect this. In th.e g
minor sonata of Chopin, it is the
piano to which one finds oneself
listening; Rachmaninoff g i v e s
the cello a few lyrical tunes, but
also allows the piano extensive
solos as compensation for this
wandering of attention.
Brahms had more experience
in writing for string instruments,
but there are several spots in his
e minor sonata that may look
good on paper, but present ser-
ious balance problems in per-
In last .night's recital, this
balance problem was compound-
ed by the curious accoustics of
the hall. I had the chance to
sit in three different locations.
From the right side of the audi-
torium the cello was almost to-
tally drowned out by the piano.
In the very center the piano was
lost, but four seats to the right,
everything was perfect, and
from there I listened to a su-
perb rendition of the Rachman-
The g minor sonata was writ-
ten right after the Piano Con-
certo No. 2, but manages, most
of the time, at least, to avoid
the soupiness which made the
concerto first so popular and
then so hackneyed. (Although
the 3rd concerto seems to have
become the overplayed one of
late.) The high points came in
the scherzo, where Johannesen
showed that when he really want-
ed to work, he could produce
some amazing results. Other
places, primarily the finishes of
the first and last movements"
_ - --_ _ .- - -- ___ _ --- - - _ _.
Brahms' Sonata no. 1 in e
minor is a favorite of mine, and
I was disappointed in the treat-
ment it received. It seems to
require a more relaxed approach,
with regard to rhythm, and the
tight control that worked in the
Chopin did not work to advant-
age here. Little nuances could
have been made that were not,
and the sonata emerged with a
plodding quality, never breaking
free from the metrical beat,
whether in 4/4 or 3/4. The piano
part was not as highly polished
as it was in the two other works,
and this detracted from the en-
joyment, as did Nelsova's tone,
which here seemed too harsh
for the many lyrical passages. I
would further question the omis-
sion of the repeat in the first
movement, a touchy point, per-
haps, but an important one, I
feel. The work is not long, there
are only three movements, and
the repeat can be very satis-
An encore was played -, the
tongue-in-cheek s e c o n d move-
ment from the Poulenc sonata,
not one of his best works, either,
but fun to hear and to perform
from the ;sound of things.
is petitioning new mem-
bers. Those who have ex-
perience in advertising
or business managing
should be sure to sign at
the Cinema Guild ticket
desk this week.
WATCH SECTION 31
By JIM IRWIN
Associate Arts Editor
The long tradition of the Uni-
versity Musical Society has,
without a doubt, played a lead-
ing role in fostering Ann Arbor's
reputation as an outstanding
center for a great variety of
Dozens of photographs of past
artists decorate the office of
Gail Rector, president of the
Board of Directors of the Musical
Society, and attest to the growth
of this tradition. Although names
such as Ignace Paderewski,
Sergei Rachmaninoff and Percy
Grainger are not forgotten among
modern patrons of classical mu-
sic, they were among the-.most
renowned performers that fre-
quented Ann Arbor during the
early days of the Society.
The UMS began its 93rd sea-
son last night.
"With taste varying as much
as it is now, we're trying to offer
a more divergent program," says
Rector. The Society's annual
program, the International Pres-
entations, has grown 25 per cent
since last year.
The opening concert in Rack-
ham Auditorium on Oct. 11 will
be the Dolmetsch/Saxby Duo
with Carl Dolmetsch playing re-
corder and Joseph Saxby playing
harpsichord. A workshop led by
Dolmetsch sponsored by the
School of Music is scheduled for
the following morning in Rack-
Most of the International Pres-
entations scheduled for the Pow-
Center this semester have al-
ready been sold out. They open
with Marcel M a r c e au, the
French pantomimist. Following
Marceau will be the Sierra Leone
National Dance Co., the Royal
Winnipeg Ballet, and the Ameri-
can National Ballet.
Every year the Musical So-
ciety sponsors the Choral Union,
open to all qualified students and
townspeople. The Choral Union
performs several times during
the year, including at the May
Festival and the annual per-
formance of Handel's "Messiah"
TUESDAY NIGHT ONLY
DIRECTED BY JOHN FORD
"The performance of the 'Mes-
siah' is in effect demanded by
the 10,000 who attend every
year," states Rector.
Rector says that the Society
will continue the rush sales of
tickets for Hill Auditorium per-
formances as they have in the
past. On the day of the concert,
all remaining tickets will go on
sale for $1.00 at the Hill Audi-
torium box office between 4:00
and 4:30 p.m.
An immense amount of plan-
ning goes into bringing these
performances to Ann Arbor, says
Rector. It is not unusual for
larger groups to be booked as
much as two years ahead of the
"There's a great edrama in the
matter of preparing for an open-
ing. Many divergent forces must
come together to carry the con-
cert out-tickets, stage manage-
ment and performers," he says.
"Performers are p r o b a b l y,
more humane than one imagines
and want to be treated that
way," he -adds. "Success breeds
more success; we capitalize on
their successes around the world,
and they on our reputation."
According to Rector, the Mu-
sical Society, founded in 1879,
originally organized the School
of Music. Since 1940, however,
the Society's chief concern has
been to coordinate the Choral
Union and present public per-
formances primarily for the, ben-
efit of students and at the same
time "to function as a bridge be-
tween the University and the
community," he says.
sounded rushed and did not come
out very clean.
Nelsova has a flawless tech-
nical command of her instru-
ment, and a clean, rich sound;
her playing in the Rachmanin-
off was the most sensitive of the
evening. Together the two play-
ed in rare ensemble.
The Chopin, ignoring the poor
balance from my listening point,
was tightly controlled, the first
two movements brought to a
peak of energy without resort-
ing to schmaltzy overstatements.
Although the piece is not first-
rate Chopin, it has beautiful
moments, in particular the slow
movement, in which tension is
created through harmonic uncer-
tainty. This builds up and then
in the last statement of the
theme is suddenly resolved in a
clear, simple fashion; the move-
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and both performers gave a true
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