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September 29, 1970 - Image 2

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Wage Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Tuesday, September 29, 1970

'age Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Tuesday, September 29, 1970

music
Symphony cultivates precision

Writer Dos Passos
succumbs at 74

us u r

DIAL
DOORS OPEN.
12:45

5-6290
SHOWS: AT:
1 -3-5-7-9

By A. R. KEILER
On Sunday afternoon the De-
troit Symphony Orchestra, with
its permanent conductor Sixten
Ehrling and soprano soloist Ju-.
ith Raskin, inaugurated t h e
nusical season at Hill Auditor-
um. The hall vas not as full,
nor the audience as enthusiastic,
.s it could have been. The pro-
gram was, in fact, although a
trifle conventional for t h e s e
days, a demanding and provo-
ative one, including as it did
an overture of Berlioz The Cor-
iair, the Ravel Sheherazade for
soloist and orchestra, and the
Fourth Symphony of G u s ta v
Mahler.
Such a program called for the
utmost virtuosity together with
an appreciation of three highly
individual orchestral palettes,
This challenge was not met in
ll respects equally well. The
Detroit Symphony is not yet

one of the handful of great
American orchestras, but it is
a very fine one indeed, and
played in this concert better
than I have heard them at any
time in the past. On this occas-
ion, there was some out of tune
playing in the strings, espec-
ially celli and first-violins, and
the brass tended, on occasion,
to bleat, especially in 16u d
passages. But in general they
have cultivated, under the lead-
ership of Ehrling, .a great deal
more precision, balance of or-
chestral choirs, and warmth;
and the orchestral bodies, es-
pecially the strings, have gained
more character and refinement.
The orchestra does not
yet have a sound distinctly its
own, nor a sound carefully re-
sponsive to the color and tex-
ture of individual composers.
Some of this, of course, is the
result of Ehrling's leadership. He

Dame Judith opens
in role of 'Hamlet'

SAN FRANCISCO (APj-Dame
Judith Anderson, who played
amlet's mother 34 years ago,
ays she was fulfilling a life-
ong ambition last night when
he opened in the title role of
amlet himself.
"I'm doing it because it's the
reatest play ever written, and
he greatest part ever written."
aid the 72-year-old grande
ame of the American stage
vho had her short brown hair
ut even shorter for the role.
The casting of a woman as
hakespeare's Prince of Den-
nark dates to 1777, when the
elebrated Sarah Siddons ap-
eared as Hamlet in England.
ince then, a number of well-
nown European and American
ctresses have tackled the role.
"I don't know why more ac-
resses haven't played Hamlet,"
nderson said. "They'll play
eter Pan and L'iglon. I sup-
>ose , they're too busy doing
air and Oh! Calcutta!
Anderson, who played Ham-

let's mother in 1936, does hope
to make Hamlet both great and
enobling. "I think Hamlet was
a prince," she said. "I don't
know how we will come out, but
I know what is in my mind, and
my heart and soul ...
"Can it be convincing? That
remains to be seen. I'm trying
with all my heart and soul and
I'm putting my whole life in the
hands of Mr. Ball."
She was referring to director
William Ball of the American
C o n s e r-v a t o r y Theater, San
Francisco's resident repertory
company..
Anderson will open before a
subscriber's-only audience. The
press opening for critics is this
evening.
After three weeks in San
Francisco, the company goes on
a 26-week cross-country tour.
One city it won't play is Tucson, p
Ariz., where the woman theater
manager said last month that a
woman playing a man's part is
obscene.

is a meticulous craftsman
(sometimes too much so; he
seems overly preoccupied w i t h
the score during performance),
who is concerned more with a
careful shaping of the musical
line than with orchestral texture
and color. I missed therefore, a
distince Berlioz "sound", and I
did not sense much cultivation,
say, of instrumental personifi-
cation - some call it program-
matic content - in the Mahler
symphony
The first part of the pro-
gram was devoted largely to the
to the Ravel songs, and here
Raskin disappointed. She has a
lovely, although small voice, ap-
parently not capable of too
much coloristic contrast. H e r
diction, however, is nearly flaw-
less, especially in French ;
moreover, she is able to convey
much of the particular yet very
different expressiveness pecu-
liar to the languages in which
she is singing. She was, how-
ever, ill at ease in the difficult
declamatory style required in
the Ravel.
She tried too hard to s i n g
beautifully in the conventional
sense. What is wanted is some-
thing akin to reading aloud.
The soloist's part is not terribly
melodic - the orchestra has.the
good parts in this respect. There
is phrase after phrase, in fact.
that does not exceed the inter-
val of a third or fourth, a n d
very much of it is monotonic.
Her performance was all rather
unatmospheric. Ehrling's ac-
companiments, however, were
expert, with a careful dynamic
frame which enhanced the de-
licateness of the soloist's part.
Ehrling gave a careful a n d
engaging account of Mahler's
Fourth Symphony, the m a j o r
work on the program, and one
could mention many felicities
of phrasing and articulation.
Mahler is a composer without
any inhibitions. He does n o t
fare well in the hands of a con-
ductor with a similar musical
personality. Ehrling's interpreta-
tion was in no way excessive. He
gave great attention to t h e
score's counterpoint and built
each movement carefully wi t h
respect to line and climaxes. For
once the climaxes came where
Mahler wanted them. Ehrling
could have made more of indi-
vidual instrumental color and
contrast. There was not enough
urgency in his reading. T h e
jingle-bell ritornello of the last
movement, for example, should
sound almost frenzied alongside
the soloist's naivete. It sounded
on this occasion merely tame,
For her part, Raskin sang beau-
tifully, with just the right inno-
cense and directness demanded
by the text.

BALTIMORE, Md. (AP) -John
Dos Passos, noted Amerncan au-
thor of the trilogy U. S. A. and
more than 30 other books, died
this morning at his apartment
at the age of 74.
He had been troubled by a
heart condition for several
years, according to a friend.
had been released only Satur-
day from Good Samaritan Hos-
pital.
U. S. A. was written in a high-
ly original style and formed a
literary documentary of t h e
early decades of this century. In
the work, Dos Passos took the
side of labor struggles and lib-
eral goals.
As he grew older, his views
changed. Midcentury, a novel
published in 1961, portrayed la-
bor leaders and liberals in a less
favorable light. By 1964, Dos
Passos was endorsing Barry
Goldwater's Republican candi-
dacy for President.
Born in Chicago, Dos Passos
was graduated from Harvard
College in 1916 and in 1919
published his first book, One
Man's Initiation, reprinted in
1946 under the title First En-
counter.
He first gained wide attention
in 1921 with his antiwar novel,
Three Soldiers.

-Associated Press

II

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