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April 07, 1971 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1971-04-07

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday Anri'l 7 1471'

P;eTwHEMCHGN.~L

r r c .ti GJUL.I tr f'1 ,.F! I !. / 17! 1

I

Igor Stravinsky dies at 88

NEW YORK (/P) - Igor Stra-
vinsky, one of the most influen-
tial composers of the 20th cen-
tury, died of an apparent heart
attack yesterday at his Fifth
Avenue apartment. He was 88
and had been in failing health
for the past several years with
circulatory and lung problems.
Released from Lenox Hill hos-
pital a week ago, his death was
attributed simply to the failure
of a tired and overburdened
heart.
The Russian-born composer
was the son of a leading basso at
the St. Petersburg opera. He
studied under Rimsky-Korsakov,
composer and orchestrator'.
Irving Kolodin, music critic and
associate editor of the Saturday
Review, said Stravinsky con-
ceived "a world of rhythmic,
sonorous and harmonic combina-
tions which effectively by-passed
almost all Wagnerian associa-
tions."
In 1908, Stravinsky wrote "Fire-
works," for the marriage of
Rimsky's daughter. It came to
the attention of Serge Diaghilev
of the Ballets Russes. He ^om-
missioned the 27-year-old Stra-
vinsky, to write the score for a
ballet based upon a Russian
Legend. The result in 1910 was
"The Firebird," which led Diag-
hiley to remark of Stravinsky:,
"Mark him well. He is a man on
the eve of celebrity."
The following year, Stravinsky
scored the ballet "Petrouchka'
for Diaghilev. In 1913, came "The

Rite of Spring," an innovative
score which proved to be slightly'
ahead of its time. At its premiere
in Paris, the savage, primitive-
ness of the music caused mem-
bers of the audience to fall upon
one another with flailing canes,
while boos and catcalls drowned
out the orchestra. Stravinsky}
fled the theater.
However; "The Rite" won ac-
ceptance the following year as a
break with the romanticism and
sentimentality of the past. Stra-
vinsky went on to write upwards
of 100 more pieces of music. His
"Agon," commissioned by the
New York City Ballet, pre-
miered on his 75th birthday: His
first television score, "The
Flood," was shown four days
before his 80th birthday.
At the age of 79, Stravinsky
went on a conducting tour of
Africa. And a few months later
he toured America, Israel, Rus-
sia and other countries of Eu-
rope.
The visit to Russia was Stra
vinsky's first since he left there{
in 1914. He became a citizen cf
France in 1934. In 1940, Stravin-
sky came to the United States,
settling in Beverly Hills. He be-
came an American citizen in
1945.
His closest associate since the
late 1940s has been the American
conductor Robert Craft, who has
written six books about Stravin-
sky. Craft, now 46, often re-
hearsed orchestras to save Stra-
vinsky's strength and shared the

podium with the composer dur-
an evening's concert.
Small, and always frail, Stra-
vinsky nevertheless was a work-
horse for most of his life. He
devoted as much as 10 hours a
day to his music, and indulged
also in vigorous exercise. But
as the years overtook him, he
slowed down-at the age of 85 he
conducted for the first time
while seated.
Posthumous tributes to Stra-
vinsky's g e n i u s came from
throughout the world.
Zubin Mehta, conductor of the
L o s A n g e 1 e s Philharmonic,
called him "one of the great
giants of the century-one of the
only real masters who not only
became a legend in his own time
but exerted the greatest influ-
ence on three generations of mu-
sicians and composers alike."
Pierre Boulez, the French
composer - conductor who has
been named music director of
the New York Philharmonic 'ays,
"One finds in it (early Stravin-
sky music) a point of departure
for a new conception of rhythms
and esthetics. In general, the
work of Stravinsky has been in-
dispensable in the establishmcnt
of contemporary language and
style in music."
Stravinsky never suffered cri-
tics gladly and made some sting-
ing comments about those who
didn't appreciate him. However,
most of the musical world con-
ceded him to be the greatest and
most important composer of the
century.

FroL
By GAYNELLE CLEMENT
"God did a great thing for
me," says Sister Francesca
Thompson, "I gave up theater
for him and he gave it back to
me. Deep inside I'm an actress
who went astray."
The deep inside actress sur-
faces this week as one of the
principal characters in the Uni-
versity Players production of
Georges Feydeau's "The Girl
from Maxim's. Maxim's is >igh-
spirited and fast-paced French
farce, full of petty deceptions
and mistaken identities. Sister
plays Madame Pettypon, wife of

Harlem.

to

PUS

Players

my father was considered too
light for movies. Still, he retained
the flare of a stage personality.
Everything he did had an aura of
excitement. "Our house in India-
napolis was home to visiting
show people like Paul Robeson
and Ethel Waters. Paul Robeson
once told me, 'Your mother was
the most beautiful woman I've
ever seen. You look just like your
father."
Sister remembers directing
paper dolls in plays that con-
tinued for weeks. She began giv-
ing "theater recitals" at the age
of ten, her career having tecov-

specifically asked to be assigned
to one."
Sisters generally do not voice
their preferences for assignment
but go wherever their superiors
feel they are needed. "My first
assignment was in an all black
grade school in Cincinnati. I
learned how much a blacK teach-
er can do for black kids and in-
stinctively realized that the kids
there must not see me as being
connected with the other white
nuns, but as being especially
theirs.
"My own public grade sch l
had placed a strong emphasis on
black culture. Our classroom
walls were covered with pictures
of famous black people and the
achievements of blacks were so
much a part of what we learned,
that it was a strange experience
for me to find out later that oth-
ers beside black people had done
anything."
When asked how she felt about
the new militancy of blacks in
the Church, Sister Francesca 3e-i
3 2 $1.501

plied that she views as healtlty
"the trend in black circles to
come together for self-regulation,
self-respect and self-pride." I've
never been a crusader myself,
but I support black people in the
Church, while not perhaps agree-
ing with some of the ultimate
aims like that of forming a sepa-
rate black Catholic Church.
Sister is writing her disserta-
tion on the Lafayette Players.
She plans to finish it in Decem-
ber and return to her post at
Marian College. She will share
responsibility in the rotating
chairmanship of the treater de-
DIAL 662-6264

partment there. Sister Francesca
speaks of the school withobvious
pride .
"I want to begin a black reper-
tory theater based at Marian, a
theater that would draw upon
community people and provide
an opportunity for black high
school students to get involved
in theater. So often black stu-
dents never even think about ar-
tistic careers because they have
little chance to participate when
they're young. I strongly feel
that black youth have an artistic,
expressive unstructuredness to
bring to theater."

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'U' Choir's concert inconsistent

By PAUL CLARENDON
There is something to be said
for large choirs; as in large or-
chestras,' the volume of sound
can be enormous, while pianis-
simos seem incredibly soft by
contrast, even softer-than those
of a small'choir, because of this
contrast. But beyond that, one
can question whether using 150
voices'is a help or a hinderance
to certain pieces.
Such a question seemed to
present itself at the University
Choir's concert Sunday night, in
Hill Auditorium. Under the di-
rection of Maynard Klein, the
choir presented a selection of
motets by composers f r o m
Thomas Tallis to Anton Bruck-
ner,. and t w o song cycles by
Brahms.
The program opened with
'Schuetz Cantate Domino. This
was well done, with some fine
points of phrasing (at the Lae-
tetur Israel section) that the
Glee Club, which also performs
this, ought to take note of, al-
thpugh the latter's version is
otherwise, excellent, clear and;
d y n a m i c a l l y interesting. In
neither performance does one
get the feeling, however, that
the group is making any effort
to evoke the imagery in t h e
text; the drum and the psaltery
call f o r word-painting which
one missed.
Next came Bach's "Jesu mel-
ne Freude." with a cut in the
middle, although if this was to
save time, extending the Tallis
motet later counteracted this.
The Bach consists of a numer
of short movements, m o s t 'of'
which elaborate on the opening
chorale theme. It is a mystery
why all of these, save one, were
accompanied by the piano; most
of them are rather straightfor-
ward, and did not seem to war-
rant it. If the reason is that
the choir tends to flat because
of the number of its members,
then t h a t number should be
cut down. Most of the music
sung Sunday was not meant for
such a large group in the first
place.
An additional problem w a,
keeping the choir together. This
was most noticeable in the so-
prano and alto duet, where the
altos, on the opposite side of the
stage from their colleagues, fell
behind on occasion. Klein's beat
seemed clear enough, perhaps it
was the strange accoustics of
the Hill stage that threw them
off.
But there was no excuse for
the basses falling apart among
themselves in Bruckner ' s
"Christus factus est," which
followed. Actually, though, this
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was the only disappointing fea-
ture in an otherwise superbly
controlled performance.
Thomas Tallis' "Spem in Ali-
um Nunquam Habui," for all
the seeming complexity of its
forty-part, eight choir writing,
is actually a very simple piece.
First the individual voices en-
ter one by one, and the parts
move slowly from choir I down
to choir VIII, after which ev-
eryone joins in. Then there is
some antiphonal writing, with
groups of two choirs juxtaposed
against each other, and finally
a big apotheosis of the motet,
during which it is impossible to
distinguish separate parts, only
shifting harmonies.
This rarely-heard work seem-
ed solidly executed. One only
wondered why the last climatic
section had to be spoiled by hav-
ing it performed first, and then
beginning the motet proper.
The general fortissimo, once ev-
eryone was singing, was frus-
trating to one who had heard
a delicate rendition by the
Cambridge M u s i c a l Society
Chorus, recorded on Argo.
The second half of the con-
cert w a s devoted to Brahms.
First we heard the Zigeunerlied-
er, Op. 103. This is joyous gyp-
sy music, and Brahms is at his

most abandoned, while able to
calm down briefly for a poig-
nant soprano solo. The three
sopranos were all very fine, and
displayed more enthusiasm than
did most of the ensemble. The
tenor soloist seemed ill-suited
for this type of music; his warp-
ed German was not aided by his
frequently flat singing.
Klein stepped down from the
podium after this, to let Craig
Dietrich, a graduate student,
conduct the Liebeslieder, Op. 52.
Finally the vocal ensemble was
reduced to twenty or so, the cor-
rect proportions for this ex-
quisite chamber work. This
group, known as the Michigan
Singers, projected all the emo-
tion of the text, while paying
careful attention to phrasing
and dynamics. The result was
the most enjoyable performance
of the evening. Allan K i n d t,
who had proved his virtuosity
at the keyboard in the Gypsy
Songs, was here joined by Rich-
ard Porter, and the two made
music equal to that of the choir.
Another fine soprano (how
many does the choir have?) did
a solo, while our tenor was back
more of what we had heard
earlier. But the Michigan Sing-
ers have vitality and style. Let's
hear more from them.

i

r d

1

the doctor who inadvertently
brings home the girl from Max-
im's and spends the rest of the
play handling the complications
that result from his inebrieted
indiscretion. "I feel rather close
to Gabrielle Pettypon," says
Sister with a teasing smile. She's
a religious fanatic who thinks'
she sees visions."

ered from a momentary setback
at age five. "I was standing on
the front porch geeting male
passers-by with 'Come ip and see
me sometime' when my grand-
father yanked me into the how:e.
I was later active in Thcal civic
and Catholic theaters."
"My family was Episccpalian.
I converted to Catholicism while

Topic Rec. Artist
LOU

This energetic black woman is attending a private Catholic
a Franciscan . nun, a doctoral high school. I was ready to join
candidate in theater and the in- the order of nuns who staffed the
structor of the Speech Depart- school after graduation, but my
ment's intermediate a c t i n g father was against the idea. He
course. Her lifelong interest and was sure I'd 'get over it.' I had
involvement in theater was vir- no thought of joining without his
tually inherited. Her parents were consent so I went to the order's
both members of the Lafayette college, Marian College in India-
Theater which operated in Har- napolis. I dated, became pinned,
lem from 1915 until 1929. spent a summer in Europe and
"My mother died seven months was miserable until my father
after I was born so I was raised gave me permission to enter the
by my grandmother. After the convent."
closing of the Lafayette, theater "I joined the order with. the de-
work for blacks was scarce and sire to teach in a black school. I
.. ......,V":is i. ;: r :"...0i,}'r. : .%' lr..;"i 1
The Gilbert and Sullivan Society
announces that petitions are being accepted for
next fall for the positions of:
Musical Directorf
Dramatics Director}
Technical Director
Submit to 2531 SAB by April 14?
Questions-Call 769-5788 6 p.m.
is
-:.-F - -

KILLEN
one of the finest singers
England has ever pro-
duced. Just completed. a
smajor tour with the
Clancy Bros.
Has performed joint con-
certs with Pete Seeger
while in this country, and
was a regular crew mem-
ber of the Sloop.-
ballads,
stories
shanties
concertiha

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BATTLE OF ALGIERS
dir. GILO PONTECORVO (France) 1967
Here it is again: the revolutionary's handbook in
film. Documentary reconstruction of the 1957 Alger-
ian Revolution. Exhilarating and believable-one of
the truly revolutionary films.

BLUES
John Nicholas,
guitar
AND
Steve Nordella,
harp
in from Chicago where
H o w l i n Wolf invited
them to share the stage
with him.
NEXT WEEK-
Mike Seeger

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Last Summer
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TICKETS: $2.00 (students $1.50)

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