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January 07, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-01-07

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Bach's concerti
in, Origin alstyle
By KERRY THOMPSON
THE ARS MUSICA Baroque Orchestra will be performing a very special
concert series over the next three months in Rackham Auditorium. In
this, its eighth year, the Ann Arbor-based group will perform the complete
Brandenburg Concertos of Johann Sebastian Bach on original instruments of
the 18th century, or exact copies.
This means, among other things, that the violins will have gut strings, a
neck at a different angle, measure slightly shorter than our modern instru-
ments, and use a different bow. In addition, recorders will be used instead of
transverse flutes, the oboes wily have fewer keys and a different reed, and
the trumpets and horns will be valveless natural instruments. All instru-
ments will be tuned to A-415, noticeably lower than our modern A-440.
According to Lyndon Lawless, director of the Ars Musica ensemble, this
will be only the second time these works have been performed with original
instruments in this country. Why are they doing it? Lawless deemed it an ef-
fort to get back to roots, to discover a number of musical characteristics that
Bach took for granted. Lawless doesn't consider himself a purist, since the
performances are "not for historical reasons." Rather, the group is giving
the series because they feel the music will fit better into its original 18th cen-
tury mold if performed on 18th century instruments.
LAWLESS IS QUICK to point out that a high quality of musical perfor-
mance has always been more important to the group than historical ac-
curacy, for a dull, historically accurate performance is still a dull perform-
ance. "We're doing it," explains Lawless, "because we believe this ap-
proach, for us, is the way we can make the music speak to today's audience
with the most clarity, the most force and the most beauty."
One of the challenges that had to be met was determining which version
of the written music to use. They finally decided to perform from facsimiles
of the only existing manuscript in Bach's own hand, in order to achieve the
greatest authenticity and accuracy. Sometimes this manuscript was not en-
tirely clear, especially where Bach would scratch out notes, write over
others, and write over the bar line if a lone run of notes didn't fit. An added
difficulty was that with the exception of the Fifth Concerto, all that is given
of the harpsichord part is the figured bass. Penelope Crawford will therefore
be improvising the harpsichord part for the concerts, as was the standard
performance practice in Bach's time.
Lawless claimed that very few ornaments are to be added to the manu-
script, as Bach wrote out almost everything he wanted played. This con-
trasts markedly with other composers of his period, who would provide a
mere outline and expect the performer to add ornamentation such as trills,
turns and even.passing tones and appogiaturas. Bach, in fact, was criticized
by his contemporaries for the completeness of his manuscripts, as they felt
he took away the performer's perogative.
Ars Musica, a professional ensemble, gives a series of concerts each
year in Ann Arbor in addition to touring extensively. The 13 musicians com-
prising the core of the orchestra are all specialists on 18th century instru-
ments. Some are long-time residents of Ann Arbor, and others have moved
here.from Basel, Amsterdam, Vienna, Rochester and Princeton to join the
ensemble. In addition, there will be visiting guest artists such as Lowell
Greer, assistant first horn in the Detroit Symphony.
Also featured on this particular three-concert series will be works by
Handel, Vivaldi, Albioni, Rameau, Farina and Telemann. The performances
will take place in Rackham Auditorium on January 16. February 9 and Mar-
ch 15. Some series tickets are still available, at $8 and $10, at TIX/INFO in
Jacobson's "J" Shop on State Street.

The Michigan Daily-
Critics pick the best

T O SAY THAT 1977 fell short of
being a banner year for films is
to understate. The Daily film critics
found it extremely difficult to find 10
films that qualified as deserving a
place on a "10 best of the year" list,
even though we considered our
judgements within a highly enter-
tainment-oriented context. The in-
ability of most American film-
makers to produce works of non-
negligible artistic merit is scarcely
news to most hardened Hollywood
cynics, yet even in the realm of pure
entertainment, it would seem as if
technical virtuosity - like that of
Lucas and Spielberg - is necessary
to overcome the blahs that result
from sticking with the money-
winning "trends." Thus, the main-
stream of '77 films is characterized
by such pieces of non-entertainment
as The Deep, Rolling Thunder and
Heroes.

1) Annie Hall. After a long series of
films in which he seemed content to
probe the belly-laugh potential of the
absurd, Woody Allen demonstrated
he could move smoothly and skill-
fully into the character and narrative
intricacies of romantic comedy, and
do so with touching sentiment and a
keen eye for social comment. Annie
Hall is Allen's humor at its delirious
height, a foregoing of gratuitous non-
sequitor for a humor distilled from
the situations peculiar to modern life.
In addition, the film is a winsome
romance that, unlike the pasted-
together every - scene - is - obliga-
tory jobs of Hollywood, people could
genuinely take to their heart.
2) Star Wars. Even more so than
Rocky, George Lucas' Flash Gordon-
esque "space fantasy" gave America
what it wanted - a journey back to
the simplistic thrills and chills of old-
fashioned "entertainment" - and
did so with a technical flair and

imagination that made the whole
business pretty darn well irresist-
able. With Chubacca, R2D2 and
C3PO, Lucas has given us a Tinman,
Scarecrow and Cowardly Lion for the
seventies.
3) Welcome to L.A. Robert Altman.
protege Alan Rudolph wrote and
directed this flowing, impressionistic
vision of the "city of the one night
stands," and it succeeds quite ad-
mirably despite occasional lapses
into heavy-handed artiness. Using
the open-ended, multi-character for-
mat associated with Altman's own
Nashville, Rudolph's debut effort
stands as one of the few American
films to intelligently and sympathet-
ically examine the question of Imo-
tionally fragmented human relation-
ships.
4) Saturday Night Fever. Despite
its overtly commercial exploitation
of the disco craze and teen idol John
Travolta, Saturday -Night Fever
managed in spite of itself to capture
the animalistic drive of disco music
with a mood and ferocity reminiscent
of Scorcese's Mean Streets. Travolta
proved he was worthy of more than
just Kotterisms, as his charismatic
performance overcame the often
cliche script and made the film an
infectious, if rough-hewn, piece of
entertainment.
5) Close Encounters of the Third
Kind. Hollywood wunderkind Steven
Spielberg spent two years and twenty
million dollars creating his follow-up
to Jaws, and the result is not only
technically superb, but infused with a.
sense of mysticism and child-like
wonder. The mood pervading an
eventual meeting between man and
extra-terrestrial beings is not as
ethereal and intellectually sugges-
tive as that of Kubrick's 2001, yet
Spielberg's depiction uses the poten-
tial vastness of the film medium to
achieve a wondrous and somehow
reassuring feeling of universality.
6) The Goodbye Girl. Neil Simon's
script is his Most human and compel-
ling yet, refreshingly free of the
stodginess and obsessive one-liners
that characterized The Sunshine'
Boys and Murder By Death. With the
help of Richard Dreyfuss' wise-
cracking charm, this story of a young
actor, forced in his first Broadway
role to portray Richard III as gay,
and an ex-dancer, abandoned by her
actor-lovers one too many times,
glides along smoothly and ends up a
heart-warming, immensely satisfy-
ing entertainment.
7) Three Women. Robert Altman
departed from his usual sociological
mode to produce this chilling, moody
"dream" of visionary matriarchy.

-Saturday, January 7, 1978-Page 5
n film
Altman's reduction of machismo to a
desert of shooting ranges, gun-wield-
ing ex-stuntmen and motorcycles, as
well as his impressionistic use of
murals and dream-like narrative
leaps, help make Three Women onel
of the most successfully innovative
films of recent years, both stylistical-
ly and thematically. As usual, the
peculiar grace of Shelly Duvall's per-
formance almost eludes analysis.A
8) Sorcerer. Holder of the unenvi-
able title of biggest bomb in the
history of movies, Sorcerer con-
sumed three years and 26 million
dollars in the making, then returned
perhaps one twentieth of its invest-
ments when released last June. This
was unfortunate, since William
Friedkin's remake of the French film
The Wages of Fear was largely a
remarkable, if rather soulless work.
Though it was difficult to become
involved with the four principle
characters, all fugitives from justice
rotting in the fetid squalor of a poor
South American country and given a
chance to escape their environment
by driving deadly nitroglyeerine
some 200 miles to an oil rig fire, their
ensuing adventures provided for
some visually brilliant and often
.breath-taking cinema.
9) Julia. This is an unquestionably
fine film with a few niggling flaws.
Jane Fonda gives one. of her finest
performances as playwright Lillian
Hellman - tense, bursting with
restrained emotion; Vanessa Red-
grave does rather less well, but still
wonderfully, as Hellman's childhood
friend Julia. If director Fred Zinne
man fails even slightly, it is because
he tries to combine genres - the
lush, historical drama (depicting
Europe before WW II), and the spy
thriller. Certainly thereare few films
that compare with this for pure
cinematographic beauty, and the
film succeeds to a far greater extent
than any similar attempt.
10) The Turning Point. Ann*
Bancroft and Shirley MacLaine give
excellent performances in this occa-
sionally overly sentimental but pri-
marily intriguing peek behind the
scenes of ballet. Director Herbert
Ross' wife, former dancer Nora
Kaye, conceived the successful
transference of ballet to the screen,
and Mikhail Baryshnikov steals the
movie with his spectacular dancing.
While the plot may seem melodra
matic to some, the fine acting and
superlative dancing make The Turn-
ing Point one of the most enjoyable
films of the:year.
-Owen Gleiberman
Dobilas Matulionis
Christopher Potter

Among those who brought us the best films of 1977 were Woody Allen, top
left; Shelly Duvall, top right; Robert Altman, bottom left; and Mikhail Bary-
shnikov, bottom right.

New Boz LP pleasant but empty

By MIKE TAYLOR
W HEN PEOPLE discovered Boz
Scaggs' charming brand of soul
on last year's Silk Degrees, a new
superstar was born. Although the
lyrics lacked substance, the music
was so catchy and the production so
glossy that many hard-rock cynics
like myself were won over.
Scaggs' new LP, Down two then
left (Columbia JC 34729), should
please most of his fans, but it won't
win him any new ones. It's a fluffy
entertainment, not very good, really,
but hard to resist.
There've been some changes, how-
ever. While Silk Degrees had its
share of rockers, with "Georgia",
"Jump Street", and "Lido Shuffle",
the new record doesn't have any.
Replacing them in the fast-paced
department are a couple of neat disco
tunes, the two best tracks on the
album, in fact.

"HOLLYWOOD", a swinging tune
with mindless lyrics like "Camera-
action-do it again /What-a-reaction-
do it again" would sound great in any
disco. Of special note is Scott
Edwards' assertive bass playing;
Edwards plays fantastic bass
throughout the album - he's sure to

be going places. Jeff Porcoro's flashy
drums also bear a mention, and
Victor Feldman, a frequent contribu-
tor to Steely Dan, offers vibraphone,
making the song all the more fun.
"Gimme the Goods" has lyrics that
don't even make much sense, but
with the rhythmic combination of
horns and strings over a pulsating,
rhythm section that Scaggs has
c o n c o c t e d, who's complaining?
Scaggs' arranger and keyboard play-
er, Michael Omartian, deserves
much of the credit for this rollicking
number.
THEBALLADS ALSO represent
something of a shift for Scaggs. On
last year's album, he utilized strong,
but conventional sounding melodies
on songs like "Harbor Lights" and
"We're All Alone." This time out,
Scaggs has tried melodies with a
more exotic feeling.
Unfortunately, the experimenta-

tion doesn't quite come off. "We're
Waiting" and "Tomorrow Never
Came" have eerie, almost droning
melodies, making each of them seem
longer than they really are. At over
six minutes to begin with, "We're
Waiting" becomes a rather tedious
exercise. After just a few minutes of
"Tomorrow Never Came", it's ap-
parent that the song isn't going
anywhere. "Hard Times" is a little
better, but Scaggs' guitar solo is
disappointingly ordinary sounding.
In all, these tunes just don't have the
impact Silk Degrees' ballads did.
But least successful are the me-
dium tempo tracks. Though "1993", a
futuristic sounding tune with a
complex arrangement of a simple
melody, and "Still Falling for You",
a simple tune characterized by
Scaggs' silky voice, are pleasant,
"A Clue" and "Whatcha Gonna Tell
Your Man" are downright tepid.
"Whatcha Gonna Tell Your Man
is a tuneless exercise in funk, made
listenable only by Scaggs' excellent
guitar solo. "A Clue" has another
dull melody and shining lyrics like
"If you need a clue/The Secret to me
is you. Steve Lukather's fine guitar
solo is wasted, unfortunately.
So there we have it. Down two then
left is nothing new, but it's fun to
listen to in some places. If only
Scaggs could come up with some
lyrics to match his music, he'd (and
we'd) have it made.

TEST ANXIOUS?
Does test anxiety cause you to
-Freeze on exams?
-Have trouble studying?
-Do more poorly in courses than you feel you should?'
If any of the above apply to you, our test anxiety
program may be helpful to you.
for futher information
-CALL-

11,

764-6311
K-117 W. Quad
Institute for
Human Adjustment

764-9481
1610 Washtenaw
Reading and Learning
Skills Center

. ,.

Elvis Costello. vicious rocker
plays with fire and doesn 't miss

Program under direction of
.1 Dr. James D. Papsdorf
Associate Professor of Psychology, U-M
Sponsored by Laboratory
of Applied Psychology
This is a service-research program

By ALAN RUBENFELD
O NCE EVERY several years, an ob-
scure young singer releases a
record whose music leaves an indel-
ible mark on the spirits of its
listeners. These artists include Bob
Dylan, Jackson Browne, and Bruce
Springsteen. Now a new performer
earns the right to be admitted to this
select club - Elvis Costello.
Costello's album,'My ,Aim Is True
(Columbia JZ 35037) was the most
powerful debut album of last year.
He combines the essence of rock 'n'
roll with acrid, poignant lyrics to
create an emotional collage of a man
disenchanted with the drudgery of
modern existence; his songs deal
with the frustrated attempts of an
individual to cope with a heartless
world. Elvis is a product of the 1970's.
These tunes seem to bear the burden
of his soul and the albatross of
bitterness on his guitar. He accom-
plishes this through his utilization of
primitive rock rhythms coupled with
jittery guitar solos.

on amphetamines. Different.
EACH OF COSTELLO'S composi-
tions reaffirms his musical individ-
uality. Every cut is between two and
three minutes in length; usually they
are uptempo rockers, coupled with
spartan yet entirely effective instru-
mentation. Just listen to "Miracle
Man", "Mystery Dance," and
"Blame It On Cain" for examples of
this ingenious and primal pub rock.
"No Dancing" is a throwback to Phil
Spector-style production, with the
patented Ronettes "Be My Baby"
heartbeat on the bass drum. Quite
effective. "Watching the Detec-
tives", a reggae number, demon-
strates lyrically why this world is not
conceived for such thinkers as Cos-
tello, with his embittered, desperate
vocals.
But the best two songs on the
album are "Alison" and "(The
Angels Wanna Wear My) Red

Shoes." "Alison" is a tribute to an ex-
flame he returns to visit, only to find
her happily fulfilled in marriage,
while he remains his frustrated self.
"Red Shoes" is a bittersweet rocker
whose infectious chorus and verse
offers a prime example of Costello's
inventive lyricism:
i said "I felt so happy I could die.
She said "drop dead' and then left with another gu
That's what y.ou get w~hen x.oo go
chasing after vengeance
And since you got me punctured it spinned in}, senses
"I'm Not Angry" contains some cut-
ting remarks to another past remem-
brance:
You're upstairs with Hourhoyfriend
While I " left here to listen ingry
I hear you whispering his na me
I hear the stutter of ignition Angry
I (an hear you whispering as I crept 1)y your door
Soyourfound another joker whopleases you more
There is not one song on My Aim Is
T'rue that does not meet the standards
Costello has set for himself so soon. The
album is an undeniable gem of the New
Wave.

THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN HOUSING DIVISION AND LS&A
PILOT PROGRAM/ALICE5 LLOYD HALL
POSITION OPENING: Resident Advisor-Alice Lloyd Hall
(UNDERGRADUATE WOMEN'S CORRIDOR)
Margot Morrow, Building Director for Pilot Program/Alice Lloyd Hall has announced a Resident
Advisor position opening on a women's corridor for the Winter Term 1978.
Candidates must be enrolled in a graduate degree program. Preference will be given to those
who, in addition to corridor advising are also able to teach a credit mini-course in the Winter
Semester and/or can co-direct a new Pilot Program field placement project. Full details are
available from the Pilot Program Office, Alice Lloyd Hall, 100 Observatory St., 764-7521.
Margot and the nominating committee will review the applications and resumes and will
contact individuals whose background and experience coincides with the position open to
arrange an interview time.

NOW AT ladobwabl,

REMUNERATION: 100% room and board plus a $200.00 stipend

i

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