THE MICHIGAN DAILY
Wednesday, February 3, 1971
THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, February 3, 1971
and still celebrating
By JOHN HARVITH
First of two parts
This review initiates a series of articles examining recent record
releases toasting the bicentenary of Beethoven's birth. To many
readers this 1971 post mortem of the 1970 "Beethoven Bicentennial
Year" will seem like a most perverse sort of impertinence. This
reviewer, however, takes a peculiar delight in perversity, particular-
ly when it runs counter to commonly established, firmly ingrained
illogical customs and modes of thought.
The illogical custom under consideration here is that of celebra-
ting anniversaries of births or deaths of famous personages from
January 1 of the year in which the blessed event or accursed demise
took place, especially where, as in the case of Beethoven, the birth-
day occurs in mid-December. Wild festivities accompanied by concert
and commercial exploitation of Beethoven and his music began on
January 1, 1970 as if Ludwig had been born on New Year's Day 1770,
while the fateful night cf his conception presumably didn't come to
pass until some time in March 1770, and not even the most scrupu-
lously detailed Beethoven biographies give that date. All that we
definitely know is the date of Beethoven's baptism, December 17,
1770, which by then current church ritual occurred 24 hours after
birth. It thus seems as patently absurd to me for anyone to have
celebrated Beethoven's 200th birthday on January 1, 1970 as it would
have been for Ludwig's parent's to have held his first birthday party
on January 1, 1771, just 16 days after he was born. Hence, I now
proclaim the Harvith Anniversary Rule, according to which all
anniversaries are celebrated for one year, commencing on the actual
birth or death date of the honored individual. Accordingly, the Beet-
hoven Bicentenary will be observed in this column until midnight
December 15, 1971.
Some of the most notable Beethoven releases of 1970 were re-
issues of historic landmark interpretations on RCA Victrola: Tosca-
nini's virtually definitive 1936 recording of the Seventh Symphony
with the New York Philharmonic (VIC-1502), and Artur Schnabel's
legendary 1942 traversals of the Fourth and Fifth Piano Concerti with
Frederick Stock conducting the Chicago Symphony (VIC-1505 and
The Toscanini disc is indispensible to anyone wishing to truly
understand the notoriously hot-tempered Italian maestro of the NBC
Symphony. Toscanini is too often regarded today by those only fa-
miliar with his NBC recordings as a super-objective time-beater, a
conductor who stuck totally to a musical score without injecting his
own personality into his interpretations, and a musician who, after
adopting one basic tempo for a symphonic movement, never de-
viated from it. In short, a myth has evolved which dogmatically in-
sists that Toscanini possessed all the musical warmth, flexibility and
sensitivity of an electric metronome.
This attitude was manifest in a 1967 Toscanini Centenary article
in Stereo Review in which Eric Salzman evaluated the Maestro's
1937 readings of Beethoven's First, Fourth, and Sixth Symphonies
with the BBC Symphony, then newly reissued in Seraphim (IC-6015).
Salzman flatly stated that there was no difference in interpretation
between the 1937 recordings and the ones Toscanini made in the
1950's with the N.B.C. Symphony, and went on to berate Toscanini as
a febrile, constricted interpreter while left-handedly praising him as
a great orchestral technician.
As a result, Salzman misled his readers in two important re-
spects. First Toscanini's interpretive style was undergoing drastic
change and second, Toscanini was never a tense, unyielding auto-
moton, as Salzman would have us believe.
At State & Liberty Sts.
662- s . s
-N.Y. Film Critics
OPEN 1 P.M.
SHOWS: 1:20, 3:10, 5 P.M.,
7 P.M., 9 P.M.
A Fl WA A'w W; -W l'
FRIDAY, FEB. 5,
f(atrringy stranlge (oslic
dancing ladies and s ili
FIRST FLOOR MARKLEY HALL
Read and Use Daily C
SAT. Nite late-
The University of Michigan Bands
AND HIS TRIO
The University of Michigan Symphony Band
UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN BANDS
1024 Administration Bldg.
The University of Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
Next came the Gounod, which
sounded like a cross between
Sullivan and Suppe. By the
third movement his tricks had
become so apparent that it was
a real shock to hear something
new in the Finale - syncopa-
The two Handel ditties were
charming, although the first be-
came boring through all the re-
peats. One wonders why they
bothered here when no repeats
were taken in the first m o v e
ments of either the Beethoven
or the Gounod I shudder,
though, to think what they must
have sounded like in the ori-
ginal scoring, according to the
An unpleasant tone in the
clarinet as well as numerous
slips in both clarinet and oboe
were as distracting as the pro-
gram, which, with all its divert-
menti, was not very diverting.
WED., FEB. 3
American Film Studies
dir. Fritz Lang ( 926)
The height of German expres-
sionism. An art-filledtale of
factories in the middle of the
earth, a robot and the boss's
Another fine double bill
JEAN PAUL BELMONDO in
"MAN FROM RIO"
GET YOUR MAN WITH A
Come to the
"Chobrol was there at the very
beginning of the New Wave,
first as a critic for Cahiers du
Cinema and 'then as the direc-
tor of perhaps the first New
His Le Beau Serge (1958) pre-
ceded Truffaut's The 400 Blows
by a few months, and when
Godard's Breathless appeared,
the original triumverate of New
Wave directors was established."
It still reigns.
Chicago Sun-Times, Jan. 24
7 & 9:05
The Place to Meet
performing & discussing some of
Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier.
Thu., Feb. 4-8 p.m.
S. Quad W. Lounge
Postively no musical knowledge
needed!!! Further info, call:
ATTENTION: Look for the story
on the Bach Club in The Daily
on pg. 2 sometime this week or
next week or next month, but
probably before 1973. From now
on Bach Club Daily ads will gen-
erally appear only on Thursday.
jThursday: "FELLINI SATYRICON"_T
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