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February 26, 1974 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-02-26

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Page Five

1 97'~ THE MICHIGAN DAILY ~'age Five

Trio disappoints
Beethoven fans

Roumanian Piano Trio, Friday,
Feb. 22, 1974, Rackham Aud. All
Beethoven Program:. Trio. Op.
1, No. 3, in C minor; Trio Op.
70, No. 1, in D major; and Trio
Op. 97 ("The Archduke"),din B-
flat minor.
Those souls who trudged to
Rackham Auditorium this Fri-
day to hear the Roumanian Trioe
wer given disappointing rendi-
tions of Beethoven, owing to a
forgetting of basic musical theory
by the musicians.
The Trio, consisting of Valen-
tine Gheorghiu, piano; Stepan
Gheorghiu, violin; and Catalin
Ilea, cello, performed Beethov-
en's most distinguished Trios.
The first two, Op. 1, Trio No.
3, and the "Ghost", Op. 10, Trio
No. 1, are highly rhythmic piec-
es consisting of variations on
melodic segments, varied runs,
and dramatic stops.
The Trio lastly performed Op.
97, the "Archduke." This Trio
dedicated to the Archduke Ran-
dolf, is much more romantic in
The concert was plagued with
difficulties from the start. Audi-
torium lights were ordered on
during the performance by the
Trio, making it exceedingly dif-
ficult to focus on the -instrumen-
talists and their music. Addition-
ally, a constant misinterpretation
of dynamic markings made the
pieces seem bombastic and ama-
teurish. '
Another source of difficulty
concerned interpretation. Beet-
hoven's music was always virile
and Romantic. But never in my
listening career have I endured
as much tasteless .showmanship
as that exhibited by the Trio,
in hopes of draining Beethoven's
music of this virility. Thus, the

Roumanian Trio's performance
became heavy and clumsy be-
cause of misplaced crescendos,
undynamic runs and so on.
I seriously doubt, for the most
part, the virtuosity of the per-
formance. Probably the worst of
the Trio was the violinist. He
actually played a mistuned vio-
lin the entire evening without
noticing the problem. His en-
trances were weak and lacked
the vibrancy needed t, blend
with the other instruments. Fin-
ally, continued misbowing afford-
ed the listener a chorus of un-
needed squeeks and percussive
The pianist and cellist were not
as bad, exhibiting greater con-
trol of their instruments in the
more lyrical "Archduke" than
expected from the oreceeding
works. The earlier performance
seemed like a warmup, with both
performers unsure of many sub-
tleties within the pieces. It is
safe to say, however, that their
later performances approached
virtuosity and gave the audience
part of their money's worth, at
Above all, a chamber ensem-
ble is personal. Here the instru-
mentalist can be seen in the act
of creating. It is the artist's per-
sonality which effects the course
of the music and its affects on
the listener. And in achieving
proper chamber affect, the bal-
ance of instrumental sound is
very important. The Roumanian
Trio lacked all of these condi-
tions. I ask you, how can good
ensemble be attained if per-
formers cannot execute their in-
dividual work with any degree
of competence?
Perhaps I have been a little
too harsh in judging these vis-
itors. And, besides, it was a
very, very, cold evening.

Saxophonist GatoBarbieri and in the f
pianist Keith Jarrett, two of the rhythms
most popular of the new jazz imagina
musicians performed at Hill Sat- (spinnin
urday night, sharing the bill sheets o
with vocalist Esther Phillips. al, to na
Jarrett's group included three of The s
the real cornerstones of modern as thec
music, drummer Paul Motian, the Jar]
bassist Charlie Hayden, and ten- Esther F
or saxophonist Dewey Redman. panimen
The Jarrett Ensemble draws powerfu
from many sources. Jarrett was a live b
first heard with jazzman Charles producti
Lloyd. He has since worked in fully lot
many different contexts, ranging qualities
from the tight, delicate jazz-rock Exces
of Gary Burton to the blistering, plagued
electric, free jazz of Miles Davis. tune su
Hayden and Redman are both with the
veterans of Ornette Coleman's minable
band, and Paul Motian has for noying
many years been one of the most than en
important drummers i n t h e ciate h
avant-garde in both Europe and artists
the U.S. other si
Many of these elements and music w
more were present in Saturday Despit
night's performance. Ornette's P h i lI
influence was evidant in the Through
more jazz-oriented material - thm an
his loose sense of rhythm, a pulse some ol
rather than a strict beat, and strong,
his sometimes playful, some- times,s
times bizarre sense of melody others.
(especially in the solo work of She t
Redman). Jarrett's jazz-rock Holiday.
background dominated in other -the un
sections, notably the last, in their vo
which he wove an increasingly the co
thick fabric of musical lines with n
within block, rock-type chords. might h
Sound textures evoked by the dition of
group as a whole were as im- and ma
portant as individual solo state- day imi
ments. The very loose rhythm, But E
the wide variety of little instru- was cO
ments, and the instrumental time Ga
styles of the musicians them- four ho
selves (Hayden's d r o n i n g Barbieri
bass, Redman's exotic melodies, enough
Motian's flowing drumming) oft- er that.
en suggested an Eastern feeling. standab
These freer Eastern passages prettyc
were interspaced with tighter and gui
jazz and rock. like Joh

rcussionist came off well
aree sections, syncopated
staking a back seat to an
tive array of sounds,
g whistles, bird calls,
f thunder producing met-
me a few.)
ound system, worsening
concert progressed, gave
sett group some trouble.
Phillips' mediocre accom-
nt sounded more like a
1 transistor radio than
band. Esther's faulty re-
ion gave Esther's pain-
ud, unusual voice bizarre
in spots.
sive showmanship also
her act. The opening
ng off-stage, the banter
audience, and the inter-
encores becoming an-
or embarrassing rather
tertaining. I did appre-
er recognition of other
(her songwriters and
ngers she admired). The
rorld needs more of this.
te the problems, Miss
I i p s sang beautifully.
her more popular Rhy-
d Blues tunes as well as
der jazz ballads, she was
swinging hard some-
stinging and poignant at
alked a lot about Billie
They're similar in ways
nusual searing quality of
oices, the out phrasing,
onstant experimentation
nelodies. Miss Holiday
have liked Esther's ren-
f, "God Bless the Child,"
ybe even her Billie Holi-
Esther sang too long. It
se to midnight by the
ato Barbieri got up, and
urs in Hill is too much.
i's music isn't interesting
to sustain attention aft-
His popularity is under-
le, though - simple,
chords, jazz-rock pianist
tarist (who -played a lot
n McLaughlin with a lit-

tle Carlos Santana), and finally
that lush, gorgeous saxophone
But -nice sounds don't neces-
sarily hold attention. There was
too little diversification with
the tempo and harmonics re-
maining about the same. Gato's
tone is beautiful, but he doesn't
get around his horn much. His
melodies are slow moving and
predictable. After you're knock-
ed out by his sound, there are
few surprises left. The guitarist

and pianist were good, but not
good enough to sustain tension
or excitement over long periods
of time.
Gato's strongest points were
his Latin - American percussion-
ists, especially the guy on con-
gas and timbales. Latin-Ameri-
can rhythms are ready moving,
really fascinating, but Barbieri
needs more than that to really
project the synthesis of Brazilian
and American folk music he's
trying to project. .

Glowing comic opera

Glowing with wit, urbanity
and flamboyant vocalising, the
Goldovsky Grand Opera Theater
arrived at the Power Center last
Saturday evening and proceeded.
to delight audiences in two week-
end performances of two effer-
vescent comic operas, Wolfgang
Amadeus Mozart's The Impre-
sario and The Old Maid and The
Thief by Gian-Carlo Menotti.
Maestro Boris Goldovsky direct-
ed both productions.
Mozart's comic , masterpiece
featured Lesley Manning and
Karen Hunt, both University
Schools of Music graduates, as
Madame Herz and Madamoiselle
Silberklang, Viennese prima don-
nas vying for the same role in
Impresario's latest production.
Alfred Anderson .sang a mar-
velously harried Impresario
while Manring and Hunt unleash-
ed vocal salvos of technique -and
spectacular high notes,~ ending in
a surprising draw where both
prima donnas capture the part.
Maestro Goldovsky conducted
in. an efficient manner, drawing
lyricism out of a small orchestra
that supported but never domi-
nated the singers. Finally, Maes-
tro Goldovsky is to be congratu-
lated for an excellent and hu-
morous English version of Gott-
lieb Stephanie's text.-
Gian-Carlo Menotti's The Old
Maid on The Thief is a "gro-
tesque opera in fourteen scenes"
(Menotti's own description) that
was commissioned as a radio
opera in 1939 by NBC. The text is
by the composer. The story con-
cerns a vagrant named Bob who
comes to the house of Miss Todd
begging for food, only to be en-
couraged to stay for a week by
Laetitia, the maid.
Miss Todd's friend Miss Pink.
erton enters and reports that a
convict has escaped from the
county jail; Miss Todd naturally
assumes the worst and events
lead up to Laetitia eloping with

Lesley Manring, Karen Hunt
and Alfred Anderson played Miss
Pinkerton, Laetitia and Bob re-
spectively, with Carolyne James
as Miss Todd.
Once again the singers turned
in excellent vocal renditions.
Carolyn James convincingly por-
trayed Miss Todd as an arsen-
ic-and-old-lace old lady with the
proper amount of New England
starch to her personality.
There were large technical
problems that added to the over-
all comedy of the farce. A door
in the set refused to open until
Miss Pinkerton practically kicked
it in, a stagehand waltzed out
on stage before the lights dim-
med and made an amusing about
face and characters found them-
selves moving walls due to miss-
ed technical cues. The effect was
there despite these mishaps, and
the audience ate the whole
thing, tech blunders included.
Maestro Goldovsky and his or-
chestra executed the Menotti
score with relish, the music re-
flecting the farcical elements of
the drama in a burlesque fash-
ion, as .well as long melancholic
passages for the strings reminis-
cent of the Samuel Barber Ada-
gio for Strings.
TherGoldovsky Grand Opera
Theater was a showcase of comic
opera at its finest. These two
gems were well-sung, well acted
and a joy for this listener.
if you are Interest-
ed in reviewing
perand music
or writtng feature-
stories a b o ut tthe
drama. dance, film,
art: Contact At i
Editor. c',, NT1.
Michigan Daily.


Esther Phillips


Trio reflects

on reunion possibilities

I AP'Photo
The Kingston Trio, 1959 (. to r) Dave Guard, Bob Shane and
Nick Reynolds

Dylan returned this winter;
Frank Sinatra is going to try in
the spring. This summer - what
about the Kingston Trio?
Lead singer Dave G u a r d
thinks so. It is now 13 years
since the Kingston Trio went their
separate ways and Guard would
like to see the original trio get
back together.
"I think that perhaps we are
in the beginning of a folk revival.
People want the old group. Not
just for the music or for the sake
of old singers but just to go back
in time. It's like old friends pop-
pin' ,in."
Guard, 40, averages only $15 a
week teaching the guitar, but
also has a steady income f r o m
royalties. "My job as far as
money is concerned is a com-
plete bomb," says Guard.
He and wife Gretchen a n d
their three children moved to
Australia where Dave worked on
a new concept of tuning for three
years. Now he has brought his
theory and an instruction book
back to the States to try his new
"I try to be a good teacher,"
says Guard. "I find it emotion-
ally* satisfying. I think the whole
environment presses you back
eventually to what you are most
useful at."
Guard got together briefly with
a former partner Bob Shane at
a recent folk revival here.
The spokesman of the group
since its birth in 1959, Guard had
felt that the trio should begin
to use new material, authentic
folk music and that Shane and
the third member, Nick R e y-
nolds, should perfect their guitar
skills and learn to read music.
However, they refused to change
the success formula. This con-

flict and other complications
caused Guard to leave in 1961
and form a new group, "T h e
Whiskey Hill Singers." The group
won the Academy Award for the
sound track, How the West Was
Reynolds, who now grows
Christmas trees in Oregon, said
in a phone interview: "If condi-
tions were right economically and
emotionally, I'd get back with
Guard and Shane. It would have
to be same."
The Kingston Trio, named so
because it both sounded calypso
which was vogue and had a vague
collegiate flavor to it, was dis-
covered by Frank Werber while
playingtat the "Cracked Pot,"
just south of San Francisco. W/er-
ber immediately signed them to
a contract.
The trio was launched a fev
months later at the Purple On-
ion where the one-week booking
turned into a seven month stand.
After a nationwide tour the trio
came back to San Francisco and
the "Hungry I" where the stand-
ing room only sign never came
"We got tired of doing the same
old stuff," explains Shane. 'he
audiences that we had created
eventually led to our own de-
struction. They wouldn't let us
do anything else. All they wanted
to hear was nostalgia."
But Bob Shane tried it as a
soloist for a spell. "I recorded
a song called, 'Honey,' on my

own in 1968 and it was the loser
of the year. There was tuo much
pressure doin' it alone," says
In 1969 Bob formed "The New
Kingston Trio" with Patrick for-
nine andJames Conors but it
didn't work out.
Shane, who still leases the
name, "The Kingston Tri-," has
formed a third Kingswoa T r i o
this year. The other two besides
himself are Roger Gamble, the
guitar picker on the TV show,
"Hee Haw" and Bill Zorn, a
former banjo player with the
New Christy Minstrels f o 1 k
"The group is a middle niche
between folk and country music,"
says Shane. "Music is mare se-
lective now. I think the cycle is
coming where people are listen-
ing again."
Shane, who lives on a farm in
Georgia with his wife and their
five children, says "for the first
time in a long while Tm having
fun again. I enjoy en'ertaining
for entertaining sake."
"You can't live in the past," he
continues. "I hope the trend in
folk music does come around
But there will be only one King-
ston Trio and if the original
group does get together again
it will be only for a reunion al-
bum and a few concarts."

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..l----- - i --

AP Photo

Bob Shane and Dave Guard, 1974 (1. to r.)

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