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February 11, 1978 - Image 5

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-02-11

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Baroque concert sparkles

T HURSDAY night at Rackham
the Ars Musica Baroqueorches-
tra played, to a standing-room-only
audience, the second concert of their
Bach Brandenburg Concerto series.
Though bedeviled by 'acts of God,"
it was superior to the first. And that
was no easy feat.
Ars Musica Baroque Orchestra
Rackham Auditorium
Concerto in A major .................. Telemann
Brandenburg Concerto No. 5in D major . Bach
Instrumental Suite ...................... Rameau
Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F major ....... Bach
Friedemann Immer, baroque
British clarino trumpeter Don
Smithers, who was scheduled to be
the featured act, beginning the
program with a Telemann concerto
and ending it with the Second
Brandenburg became seriously ill
last month. His replacement, Friede-
mann Immer, plays clarino, cornetto
and modern piccolo trumpet, and has
recorded with Collegium Aureum, a
German baroquelinstrument .group.
Immer saved the group from making
a quite unauthentic instrumental
Due to the change in soloists, the
Telemann concerto originally sched-
uled was replaced by Telemann's
Concerto in-A major for two record-

ers, two oboes, two violins and
continuo. This work, in four short
movements, is practically a trio
sonata in which motivic fragments
are passed between the pairs of
instruments. Very seldom do more
than two melody instruments and
continuo play at once. This gives the
work a pellucid texture, which was
well served by the subtle phrasing
and accurate intonation of the en-
semble, though oboist Grant Moore
sounded as if he had reed problems in
his entrances throughout the even-
THIS WAS followed by the best per-
formance of the Fifth Brandenburg
Concerto I have ever heard, except-
ing, a little bad intonation in the
ripieno violins. Penelope Crawford
rendered her first-movement harpsi-
chord cadenza with crisp elan. But
Shigetoshi Yamada, violin, and Mi-
chael Lynn, flute, stole the show
through phrasing and dynamic con-
trol, especially in the imitative se-
quential passage before the second
ritornello (about one-third of the way
through the first movement), where
the ensemble produced an unbeliev-
ably eerie pianissimo.
The second half of the concert
began with the Instrumental Suite
from "Castor et Pollux Tragedie,"
for flute (doubling recorders), two

oboes, bassoon, and strings, by Jean
Philippe Rameau.
French baroque music has its own
style of rhetoric, which demands
such refinements as double-dotted
rhythms and heavy ornamentation
for its success. These things are'the
purpose for Ars Musica's existance,
and they do them extremely well.
The strings were fine throughout,
and Robert Quayle provided some
tasty bassoon solos in the concluding
The long-awaited appearance of
Mr. Immer for the Second Branden-
burg was a bit of a letdown. First the
good points: this piece only works on

Baroque trumpet. In modern per-
formances the valve trumpet obliter-
ates everything else, especially the
recorder, a fact which encouraged
Thurston Dart in his theory that the
part was originally for horn, sound-
ing an octave lower. Immer proved
that the trumpet can be an equal
partner with the violin, oboe and
recorder. His tone was sweet, his
intonation true - that is, when he
played the right pitches.
THERE WERE an inexcusable
number of mistakes, especially in the
first movement. True, the natural
trumpet is a fiendish instrument to
play, since all the notes must be
made-with the lip on the upper har-
monics,' which are closer together.
But the most elementary require-
ment in presenting a piece as the
composer intended it, is to play the
pitches. Neglect of this makes the
search for the historical sound mean-
I was also dissatisfied with the
second movement. The historically
"correct" detached bass line coupled
with a faster than usual tempo led to
a perfunctory performance. Violinist
Deborah Paul added as much passion
as she dared. Still, I have heard far
worse performances, and this one
could not ruin what was for me a
most enjoyable evening.

HighAn xiety' highly humorous

The Michigan Daily--Saturday, February 11, 1978-Page 5
Can loud rockmusi
damag,01e your ears.?
WHEN I LEFT my first and only Beach Boys concert at Pine Knob two
years ago, I felt a tremendous ringing in my ears. It was almost pain-
ful. I had to listen carefully to hear anybody. It did not occur to me then but
as I look back on it, I ask myself could I have suffered a temporary hearing
loss? Could it lead to something permanent?
According to several audiological authorities who have conducted
several experiments, a one-time exposure to "loud" music (I was sitting no
more than 25 feet from the mammoth stageside speakers) will not lead to a
permanent hearing loss.
"For some reason, youlig people are little interested in what may hap-
pen to their hearing in later life and are reluctant to forego a pleasure which
appears to be innocent," says the West Virginia Medical Journal in a 1974 ar-
ticle. "'The youth philosophy seems to be the louder the music is, the more
fun they have," the article continues.
A study conducted in 1974 by Dr. Ulrich, a post-doctoral fellow in the
Neurology Division at Case Western University School of Medicine, and
published in the Journal of Acta Otolaryngology in the same year "in-
vestigated the hearing of teens who voluntarily exposed themselves to'
repeated sessions of loud pop music. Hearing thresholds were measured
before and 30 minutes after exposure for eight weekly sessions of listening to
music with an average sound pressure'of 110-115 decibels. Significant tem-
porary threshold shifts were found in all subjects, especially in high
Hearing sensitivity recovered between the sessions.
PROLONGED EXPOSURE to rock music might produce threshold shif-
ts and permanent cochlear damage, especially in persons unusually suscep-
tible to noise.
The cochlea nerve carries sound to the brain. When sound waves enter,
the ear, a membrane inside the inner ear pounds at a cluster of sensitive hair
cells and the cochlear nerve "like an act of destruction," as Koch put it. "It's
a mechanical action." This is what creates the problem - thebeating of the:
In 1972, Dr. Rintelmann had subjects listen to an hour of loud live rock
music under both continuous and intermittent conditions in an outdoor am-
phitheatre. The hearing recovery pattern was followed up after exposure.
"It was concluded that daily exposures to rock music over an extended
period would be hazardous to hearing."
THE PURPOSE of the experiment was "to study the temporary and
possibly permanent noise-induced hearing losses in a group of teenagers ex-
posed to long hours of loud and live rock and roll" (live music is usually,
louder than studio recorded rock music).
Of all the randomly selected young people who were willing to have their
hearing tested, 14 completed the project. These included four males and 10
females between the ages of B3and 17. None had any history of ear trouble..
When pure tone test results for before and after the sessions were com-
pared, the amount of temporary hearing loss at 2,000, 4,000 and.8,000 hertz
was significant."
"IN THE FOLLOW-UP study conducted five months later, all subjects
had hearing within a normal range. The hearing sensitivity of most of the
subjects had returned to original levels within five decibels," the article
One of the places where there is a threat of a noise-induced temporary
hearing loss is at discotheques. The enclosed nature of discos make the
sound seem much louder and more intense that normal.
Headphones are one of the most serious threats to hearing and are a
potential health hazard, audiologists warn.
NOW YOU ARE thinking that we know about the people who listen to it;
how are the poeple who play it for a living and are exposed to it every day af-
Drs. Rintelmann and Borus (1968) investigated musicians who were ex-
posed to loud rock as an occupational hazard and reported that only five per
cent of the 42 performers had permanent hearing losses 'after long-term ex-
Three separate studies in the late 1960's measured shifts in hearing
thresholds of performers at two minutes, 20 minutes, 40 minutes, and one
hour, respectively, after exposure. Temporary hearing losses were present
in almost all of the subjects and permanent losses were reported in about
25% of the musicians, says the story in the Jounalsof Acta Otolaryngology.
I've been told that many bands wear ear plugs on stage. Without them,
you might begin to wonder how the groups survive - especially the louder
bands such as Kiss, The Who, and Ted Nugent. Nugent, I understand, is deaf
in one ear. It doesn't surprise me. Koch said the ideal way to avoid any kind
of hearing loss in musicians would be to have them wear ear muffs or an in-
conspicuous noise controlling device hooked up to the sound system on stage
so they could control the sound level.
KOCH SAYS a frequent rock music listener won't feel the effects of the '
music immediately, but might feel the affects 20 years from now.
According to one Medical Journal article, "... occasional listening to
loud pop music did not constitute a serious hazard, but habitual exposure
could result in a permanent hearing loss."
Another journal reports that "concern over the harmful effects of rock
music on young people's hearing appears to be unwarranted."
So you see there are conflicting arguments, but it can all be narrowed
down to the following theory: the more you listen to loud rock music (over 95
db,seemingly, the greater your chances are of suffering some degree of
hearing loss.

M EL BROOKS' latest film effort,
High Anxiety displays a con-
scious transition from Silent Movie'a
shlocky and vulgar Mel Funn, to a
more mature and sophisticated com-
ic artist.
High Anxiety is a parody of Alfred
Hitchcock suspense thrillers. Brooks
respectfully dedicates the film to the
master in the first few moments, and
rightfully so, as the entire film is
formed around familiar (and
not so familiar) Hitchcock scenes
and techniques. It's easy for Brooks
to poke fun at westerns and horror
films, because the jokes are more
loose and easier to identify. But the
world of Alfred Hitchcock presents
different and more complex prob-
lems in the realm of mood, tone, and
camera movement that Brooks isn't
quite able to grasp. Hitchcock is
more adult entertainment than either
cowboys or monsters, and suspense
techniques are also more subtle and
less well-known. Brooks tries to be
subtle, and loses a lot of laughs
because of it.
High Anxiety opens with a lengthy
scene of a 747 landing in Los Angeles
(where else). When we finally get our
first glimpse, of Mel (cast as Dr.
Richard Thorndyke), grimacing out
of a jet window, it's obvious that this
comedy is going to present a new and
different Mel Brooks. After a very
dramatic (and marginally humor-
ous) airport scene, Dr. Thorndyke is
picked up by his trusty, bumbling
chauffeur, Brody (Ron Cary).
BRODY IS THE first of many
living cliches that Brooks feeds us.
On the ride to Thorndyke's new
residence as head of the psychologi-
cal Institute for the Very, Very
Nervous, Brody breathlessly unrav-
els a seemingly endless plot about

evil administrators, mysterious
deaths, and other forms of foul play.
Suspense films need complex plots,
but a comedy with too much narra-
tive intrigue draws the audience's
attention away from the funny
business. Brooks has his characters
speak in forthright 1940's-style dia-
logue, which indiscreetly unravels
the plot and deliberately sounds like
dialogue everyone's heard in a dozen
other movies.
The real talent of a director like
Hitchcock is his ability to make
absurd situations and conversations
seem honest-to-God realistic. Brooks
makes absurdity seem even more
absurd, which is not only easier to do,
but also not very funny. On arriving
at the sanitarium, Thorndyke is
greeted by the villainous pair of
administrators, Dr. Montague and
Nurse Diesel. Harvey Korman (who
I'm getting a bit tired of) plays
Montague in his usual slimy namby-
pamby style, and Cloris Leachman
(who I never get tired of) does a deli-
cious portrayal of the cruel and dyke-
ish Nurse Diesel.
FROM THERE the movie flows
rather loosely. High anxiety is the
ailment Dr. Thorndyke suffers from,
and it seems to amount to a fear of
heights with a "funny" name. Thorn-
dyke must travel to San Francisco to
speak at a convention. His travels
cover a as much Hitchcomedy as
Brooksdcan think up, and some of it
In a room on the 17th floor of San
Francisco's towering Hyatt Regency
hotel, Thorndyke takes Janet Leigh's
place in the shower and is brutally
flogged with arolled up newspaper.
Shortly thereafter, Thorndyke sits on
a lonely park bench as pigeons start
to gather behind him. More pigeons
gather, cooing suspiciously. Thorn-
dyke flees and the birds follow, bom-
barding him with their white cargo.

The major fault of High Anxiety is
that not many people will be familiar
enough with the works of Alfred
Hitchcock to understand all the gags.
There are countless Hitchcock in-
jokes that just become a wasted
effort. Why include jokes that no one
will understand?
THORNDYKE also encounters a
mysterious lady in grey, played by
Madeline Kahn. Then a psychopathic
killer appears, to wreak a bit of

jumpsuit, Nurse Diesel's deadly
breasts, and Harvey Korman's vam-
pire imitation. These throwaway bits
insure a funny product, despite other
One must hand it to Mel Brooks.
The mere concept of making a
"psycho-comedy," as he calls it,
presents a vast amount of fundamen-
tal problems to a comedian. Although
comedy and high drama both rely
heavily on suspense, a comedy based
upon serious suspense is somewhat

Brooks and Kahn in 'High Anxiety'

havoc. A plodding sequence at the
Psychiatric convention is followed by
an even more unsettling scene in a
nightclub, where Brooks takes over
the microphone and rasps out the
title song, which he also wrote.
But despite the many low spots in
this film, Brooks still has his forte:
the off-hand sight gag, which no one
can do better. High Anxiety has
plenty of them, including Madeline
Kahn's color coded Cadillac and

Benson's new live album shows
change of sound and direction

contradictory. It forces the audience
to wait for a killing and wait for a
joke at the same time. In this manner
the jokes become half as funny, and
the murders half as scary.
Yet, High Anxiety signifies that
Brooks is running out of material. By
parodying Alfred Hitchcock movies,
Brooks has moved into much more
exclusive territory. Far fewer people
are comfortably familiar with the ins
and outs of Alfred Hitchcock's cine-
matic style.
The only people who will fully
enjoy High Anxiety, as it should be
enjoyed, are fifty-year-old Hitchcock
movie fans, who've been addicted to
suspense films for decades. Mel
Brooks is probably just such a per-
son. Thenest of us will just have to
get by on what we do know of Hitch-
cock, like the shower and, bird
BUT ALL IN ALL,;Mel Brooks is a
very creative gagman, and High
Anxiety, for all its rough edges, has
plenty of very funny moments in it.
Brooks' comic imagination is peer-
less when it comes to putting funny
business on the screen. People go to a
Mel Brooks film to laugh, and High
Anxiety will not disappoint the

Just fr athe
health of it.
Get moving, America!
Physical Education Public Information
American Alliance fot Health
Physical. EdUcalion and Recreation
1201 16th St N W Washington D C 20036

Thompson A prtmrets
furnished efficdencles
1 and 2 bedroom apartments
available for Fall 1978 occupancy
Locatedttcorner of
William and Thompson
call "5-2289

G EORGE BENSON'S new, live
two-record set, Weekend in L.A.,
is i-n a completely different vein than
his last album, Breezin'.
Weekend in L.A. sounds like very
laid back nightclub music. Over-all it
is mellower listening and slower
paced than the jazz on Breezin'.
Benson still comes on strong with
Weekend in L.A.
George Benson
Warner Bros. ZWB 3139
many excellent lead guitar solos, but
the music is not as energetic as his
earlier works. The majority of tunes
were written by other people. Some
of the tunes are old movie soundtrack
titles, such as "On Broadway."
SOME OF THE songs, such as
Leon Russell's "Lady Blue," succeed
simply because they're good songs,
and not because of any special
treatment or arrangement. A single
exception is "We All Remember
Wes," a fast-paced Stevie Wonder
piece with beautiful melodic phras-

ing is reminiscent of a bootleg. But
then the tune develops, and soon the
audience is silently attentive. En-
thusiastic outbursts of applause fol-
low the tune in which Foster's piano
is a key instrument.
THE WORST moment on the
album is during a drawn out rendi-
tion of "The Greatest Love of All,"
which has become the first George
Benson song I cannot listen to all the
way through.
Benson's sound is moving away
from jazz, however, and into big
Hollywood show tunes. They aren't
jazz interpretations; they're an at-
tempt to capture the big band sound
in Columbia Pictures and Screen
Gems movies, complete with over-
dubbed strings.
The LP was recorded at the Roxy
Theater in Hollywood during Septem-
ber and October of last year. The
musicians playing with Benson this
tour were Foster on keyboards, Phil
Upchurch on rhythm guitar, Jorge
Dalto on acoustic piano and key- .
w m mr r mm mmrm rmm rm rmm - m m m

boards, Stanley Banks on bass,
Harvey Mason on drums, and Ralph
MacDonald on percussion.
After finally hitting the charts with
Breezin', one would think Benson
would want to cash in on its success
and play somewhat similar music.
But it's possible that none of that
matters to George Benson, because
he's going to go on playing whatever
he wants to anyway.



Y 1. f J Wt'

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versities in the U.S. Also, tours, cultural and recreational
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