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November 19, 1970 - Image 2

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The Michigan Daily, 1970-11-19

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Page Two

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Thursday, Noyember 19, 1970 I

Page Two THE MICHIGAN DAILY Thursday, November 19, 1970 *

music
Gilels versus Mozart

Nagel's piano: Not for
lethargic listeners

I

0I

By A. R. KEILER
Emil Gilels, the Russian pian-
ist who played last night in Hill
Aud., is one of the great pian-
ists. He is not a great Mozart
pianist. There is, of course, no
reason why he should be, or
even has to be, but he played
an all-Mozart program and ac-
cordingly revealed to us on this
occasion only that aspect of his
abilities. The task entailed by
such a program is a formid-
able one. There are not many
pianists that come to mind who
could meet the challenge - Ser-
kin, Casadesus, or Lily Kraus
certainly have the right style.
And certainly style is the key
word here. I mean by it an un-
derstanding of the structural
and expressive language pecu-
liar to Mozart and his period,
and the technique and know-
ledge to realize it successfully.
There is another approach to
Mozart playing among pianists
- those who realize that this
composer has got to be played
"torrectly" and that there are
problems in the perfomance
-style of his works that are quite
different from those of the
century that followed him. What
I mean is that their approach
is largely negative. It is a con-
scious attempt to avoid the style
of playing proper to the nine-
teenth century. The effect is al-
ways to play Mozart with great
rhythmic steadiness, with a
smaller scale of dynamics and
less pedal than usual and in al-
most all cases a flabbiness of
phrasing that is, I assume, sup-
posed to be the musical equi-
valent of drawingroom manners,
refined and elegant, but all real-
ly rather bloodless.
Gilels belongs to this group
of Mozartians and the effect
is of little service to the cause.
To take the weighty matters
first, there was little dramatic
vitality or contrast to his play-
ing In Mozart, this is primarily
a matter of continuity and ten-
sion. All of the figurative and
structural figures - scales, ar--
peggios, sequence sections -
have to be related to the larger
context of the piecetrather than
just to the foreground.
In the Sonata in A Minor,
K.310, the long sixteenth n o t e
figurations in the first move-
ment hadsno inner distinctions
of relative importance melodically
or harmonically, and therefore
were not allowed to contribute
to the larger design. In matters
of phrasing and articulation (in
Mozart they are really the same
thing), another aspect of the
same problem. each phrase
Merged 'with the next without
any distinctions in the short-
ness of the articulation of notes.
In Mozart, phrasing is more a
question of articulation and re-
lease (his phrase notation is, af-
ter all, taken from bowling prac-
tices) than singable line. This
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By J. P. MILLER
Tuesday night, I sat down in
Rackham Auditorium, and pre-
pared myself for a little d a y-
dreaming during the course of
the concert. Louis Nagel, t h e
pianist, seated himself and be-
gan to play Bach's English
Suite, and I sat . . . totally re-
laxed, waiting for the pulsing
rhythm to carry me to oblivion.
I suddenly became aware that
although Bach was being play-
ed, it wasn't coming across in
the usual way. The tones be-
ing emitted from the piano
seemed to flow continuously
from no specific source - the
usual stacatto baroque melody
not losing its fervor; but gain-
ing an emotional tone. The third
movement embodies canonic
harmonies at a fast pace, and
when they gained an enthralling
continuity, yet lost none of their
force, I realized no sleeping
would be done at this concert.
I did not agree entirely with
the interpretation of the Bach
the trills were often lost be-
cause of a dynamic drop, no
matter how loud the surround-
ing measures, every time they
occurred, but the overall effect
produced more romantic motiva-
tion than usually occurs.
'plaza Suite' opets at
Hill Aud. this. evening

He next played Mendelssohn's
Prelude and Fugue in E Minor,
Opus 35. Beginning "Four songs
Without Words", he quickly de-
monstrated that any qualms
about his technical ability were
unjustified. In very romantic
works encompassing difficult
arpeggios and octave sequences,
his playing proved immaculate.
The facile discernation of
themes from what is usually a
garbled slur, distinguished him
as an artist.
He redeemed his faulty trills
of the English Suite here, with
more extended and commeasur-
ately louder ones.
In the third song, he parti-
cularly demonstrated the great
feeling he put into his play-
ing. Moving back and forth from
soft trills with complicated
backgrounds, to thunderous tor-
rents embodied by romantic
drifts up and down the scale, his
careful shading enhanced not
only the texture of the segments
but their overall effect.
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is what gives tension and move-
ment to Mozart's piano works,
and is an aspect of his style
which is foreign to Gilel's make-
up as a pianist.
There are other aspects of
Gilels' playing that do lend
themselves to Mozart's style.
One isan almost uncanny con-
trol of dynamic contrasts, and
there was also great clarity in
all the registers. But it was all
spoiled by boo much legato play-
ing in the top line and a very
self-conscious detache articula-
tion in all the fast moving pas-
sages. I liked the correct sfor-
zando agogic acentuation in the
slow movement of K.3 10, but at
the same time one had to put
up with a lot of squeezed trill
playing, all 'at the same speed,
no matter what tempo. The re-
sult was that none of the trill
entrancesthad any effect, whe-
ther they were begun on the
upper auxiliary (which should
have produced greater bril-
liance and a feeling of disson-
ance) or onathe main note.
The best playing of the eve-
ning came with the Fantasia in
D Minor, K.397, done with a
rhapsodic, almost improvisatory
quality that suited it perfect-
ly, and also with a more expres-
sive intimacy than anything on
the program.

Plaza Suite, a play by N e i l
Simon, will be performed to-
night and tomorrow night, No-
vember 19th and 20th, at Hill
Aud. under the play-of-the
series. Simon has recently add-
ed two more hits to his already
impressive tally: Promises,
Promises and Last of the Red
Hot Lovers. These two and
Plaza Suite are currently play-
ing to standing room only aud-
iences on Broadway.
The husband and wife team
of Larry Parks and Betty Gar-
rett star in this three p a r t
comedy that takes place in the
Plaza Hotel. Plaza Suite is divi-
ded into three one act stories
about the -various people con-
nected by the room in which
they have all similarly dwelt.
Larry Parks, who plays t h e
three leads, is best rememberedi
for the Jolson Story. He has
toured the country in Cactus
Flower and 'other plays. Betty
Garrett has been seen in a wide
range of roles, including Call
Me Mister and Bells Are Ring-

ing, as well as in the movie
My Sister Eileen.
Plaza Suite reunites the team
which captivated audiences with
Barefoot in the Park and The
Odd Couple: playwright N e i 1
Simon, Director Mike Nichols,
and Producer Saint-Suber.
Tickets are available at Lydia
Mendelssohn box office from
10-1 and 2-5 today and tomor-
row and at Hill Aud. at 6 p.m.
both nights before the perform-
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AT RIVE GAUCHE
(HILL AND SOUTH U.)
LATIN AMERICAN WEEK
November 18-21
WEDNESDAY: Opening, Live Music, etc.
THURSDAY: Folklore Show, Live Music, etc.
FRIDAY: Typical Dinner (Wide Assortments of Mexican, Chilean,
Venezuelan, Brazilian, and other dishes.) Sangria will be served.
Serving will start at 7 P.M.
SATURDAY: All invited to a party (9:30 P.M.)
ALL WELCOME
SPONSORED BY THE LATIN AMERICAN STUDENT ASSOCIATION

1

ANN ARBOR ART ASSOCIATION ANNUAL
ONE-DAY CRAFT SALE
Friday, November 20, 1970

9:00 A.M. to 8:00 P.M.
YM-YWCA

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