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April 09, 1978 - Image 6

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1978-04-09

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Page 6-Sunday, April 9, 1978-The Michigan Daily

Singer fills Ark with zest

By ERIC ZORN
OHN ALLAN CAMERON is used to
playing in front of upwards of five
thousand music lovers in his native
Maritime Province of Nova Scotia, but
he and his accompanists put uncommon
energy into their performance Friday
night in front of a modest crowd at the
Ark. The charismatic Canadian
television and concert star stopped by
Ann Arbor for a memorable evening of
folk music on his way to Nashville to
assay the music.scene there.
It is certain that Cameron will have a
fine local reputation after just this one
weekend, and subsequent visits may
well swell the Ark to capacity. Old Scot-
tish and Irish tunes, English folk songs,
Canadian favorites, humorous jingles;
and his own compositions flavored the
evening in a smooth blend; the pace
seemed carefully controlled even
though he insisted that he always
"plays the next song that pops into my
mind."
Jerry Holland on the fiddle and Dave
MacIssac on the guitar, only with
Cameron for six months as concert
backups, lent strong instrumental sup-
port, often providing exact harmonies
to the intricately picked and strummed
lead of Cameron's twelve string Martin
D-12-20 guitar.
STAGE PRESENCE is absolutely
crucial to performers at the Ark, for if
they fail to establish a close relation-

ship with an audience that is almost on
top of them, their concerts tend to
degenerate into long series of folk songs
profferred by colorless and wooden
musicians. Cameron's concert was an
unqualified success because he im-
mediately established a friendly and
casual relationship with the gathering
of about thirty curious folk devotees.
His patter between numbers was
very light and personal as he told tales
about his past performing experiences,
introduced songs, and philosophized a
bit: "I imagine there are some studnts
of higher education here tonight. You'll
work hard, get degrees you can't read
'cause they're in Latin, and go to work
for someone who never got the chance
to go to college."
A highlight of the early part of the
evening was a song of praise to his
home region in Eastern Canada:
Cn you iMagine"a place in the universe
More fit for princes and kings?
. 01trade you ten of your cities
For Marion Bridge and the pleasure it brings.
Jerry Holland was featured next on a
fiddle medley which was pleasant and
skillfully -played, but lacking that
energetic, driving rhythm that compels
the listener to dance which many folk
fiddlers achieve.
HOLLAND HAS BEEN appearing on
Canadian TV since the he was seven,
and plays in many different fiddling
styles, from Irish to French Western.
He said that he has "bad nerves," and

thinks his future does not lie in concert
performing, but rather in playing at
dances for smaller groups. "I'll play all
night for a group of ten people who
appreciate what I'm doing."
Cameron took his turn on the guitar,
playing a medley of "Hector the Hero,"
"Captain Carswell," and "Murder
Mackinney," songs he dubbed
"Maritime Disco." He picks with only a,
thumb pick and his index finger, giving
ama
a sound as slick and strummy as flat
picking with the added dimension of
harmony plucks. "My daddy gave me a
guitar when I was small and said 'You
learn 'er or I'll sell 'er.' He gave me a
thumb pick, and I didn't even know a
flat pick existed until five years ago."
This is no doubt an exaggeration, as
Cameron has had a long and
sophisticated involvement with
Canadian -folk music since his youth,
when he started performing at age
twelve. From the Cape Breton
Highlands, he lived in a town with a
Fifty-two per cent of all airline
trips taken in 1977 were for business
reasons and the remaining 48 per
cent were for pleasure or personal
reasons, says the Air Transport
Association.

population of 425 and only fourteen
houses-"Simple arithmetic tells you
wer're Catholics," he quipped-before
moving to Toronto, where he now lives.
FOR TWO YEARS he hosted a
national network television program,
but since that went off the air he has
stuck to concerts and is "making more
TV appearances than when I had me
own show." A full time professional
musician, Cameron did not come to the
Ark for money; he knew the audience
would be small, but also realizes he must
venture into new territory to build up a
reputation in the United States. "I love
to play, of course," he said between
sets. "Whether I'm in front of five
people or five thousand, I'll always give
it one hundred percent."
Word had gotten across the border
that Ark crowds loved to sing along,
and Cameron claimed to be able to play
"songs known to all Celtic North
Americans." He engaged the audience
in a rousing "I Was Born About Ten
Thousand Years Ago," followed by a
mock spiritual with the chorus:
Drop kick me Jesus through the goalposts of life
End over end, neither left nor to right.
Straight through the heart of thenm righteous uprights
Dropkick me Jesus through the goolposts of life.
A powerful song about an Australian
war tragedy, "And The Band Played
Waltzing Matilda," highlighted the
close of the opening set, the tasteful
guitar and fiddle work holding together
the haunting lyrics which suggested
"there are worse things than dying."
This most delightful evening of music
closed with the three performers all
taking up fiddles and playing a ten-
minute assortment of English and Jrish
jigs and reels. At the very end,
Cameron set down the instrument and
started clog dancing on the resonant
wooden floors to the upbeat strains of
"Devil's Dream" We eagerly await the
day when this trio of performers finds
another excuse to visit Ann Arbor and
entertain.

Norman, symphony
thrill Hill audience
By MARK JOHANSSON
THE COMBINED talents of Jessye Norman and the University Symphony
Orchestra provided a select audience at Hill Auditorium with an
enthralling and thoroughly enjoyable evening during the Fourth Annual,
Beneift Concert for the University School of Music and the Universtiy
Musical Society last Friday night. The program of demanding vocal and or-
chestral showpieces gave both the Symphony and Norman ample oppor-
tunity to display their talents.
Our first hearing of Jessye Norman's voice came in the Concert
Recitative: "Ch'io mi scordi di te" and Aria: "Non temer, amato bene,"
K.505. As soon as Norman took her first step on stage she captured the
audience with her dramatic stage presence. Her concentration.and complete
control over her voice, facial expressions, and hand movements made her
gripping virtusoity seem incredibly simple and natural.
IN THE RECITATIVE, she sang with a full, mellow tone and effective
dynamic contrasts. During the Aria her intonation was extremely accurate,
the ornamentation natural, and the interpretation meaningful. Both the ac-
companying piano and orchestra followed her well, playing confidently and
in good balance with the soloist.
The final piece before intermission was the Firebird Suite by Igor
Stravinsky. The music tells the story of Ivan Czarevitch, who captures and
School of Music and Musical Society Benefit Aria: "Non temer, amato
University Symphony Orchestra bene,"K.505....................Mozart
Hill Auditorhmn Firebird Suite........... .......Stravinsky
Overture to the Flying
A pril7. 1978 Dutchman ....................Wagner
Overture to The Abduction Prelude and Love-Death from
from the Seraglio...................Mozart Tristan and Isolde.................Wagner
Concert Recitative: -Ch'io Jessye Norman, Moprano
mi scordi te"......................... Mozart Gustav Meier, conducfor
then frees the Firebird, which rewards him with one of its magic feathers.
This feather helps Ivan defeat the evil Kastchei and free the thirteen
beautiful princesses he was holding prisone.
The low string theme of the Introduction was played with an eerie, tense
feeling and led into the Dance of the Firebird-with exotic passages for
muted violins and brass. Both brass and strings played with good balance
and tone, and the sound was unified and precise. In the Dance of the Prin-
cesses, the interpretation was graceful and flowing and the oboe solo was
strong and sensuous. The intonation of the flute soloist, however, was flat.
THE INFERNAL Dance of Kastchei was blemished by an early entran-
ce by one of the first violins, but the complex rhythms were played exactly
and tightly and the tempo was kep steady. In the Finale, the slow increasse
in intensity was done carefully and emotionally, leading to a clean, soaring
first violin melody. The grand, awesome sound of the final section wass rein-
forced by a powerful brass melody and a very loud bass drum.
After intermission, a solid, bold performance fo the Overture to The
Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner, with its energetic, stirring string
passages, and an exciting brass melody was given. Then came the high point
of the night: the Prelude and Love-Death from Tristan ,and Isolde by
Wagner. In the Prelude, the cello and oboe motifs of "longing" and "desire"
were played with emotional and plaintive dynamics, and the followin song
was lush and moving, beginning in the celli and rising to the first violins.
At the conclusion of the Prelude, Norman rose slowly and deliberately to
begin the Love Death. Her sound was beautiful and fluid; the tone was broad
and full, and her first crescendo. over the shimmering strings was elec-
trifyng. Singing clearly over the orchestra, she displayed her mighty vocal
power and seething emotions. The agitation grew dramatically and after a
sensational climax, the music subsided gently and Norman's final note was
thin and piercing, seeminig to hang in the air as the strings provided a solemn
benediction. The audience then stood while applauding both solosit and or-
chestra, and Norman was given roses and a personal thank-you from

w

VEGETARIANS

UNITE!

JOIN LESTER HOUSE, a
cooperative vegetarian
- house, for Fall 1978.
Organizational meeting
-_._Monday, April 10, at
7:00 p.m. in the ICC
Office. For further
information, contact
Inter-Cooperative
-, Council, Room 4002,
Michigan Union.662-4414.
o/ 4"f aI

Correction
In the paper of April 8, the article
about the appearance of German film-
maker Wim Wenders should have read
as follows: "Wenders said he 'found no
difficulty in being German,' to which
the audience warmly applauded."

University President Robben Fleming.

Superb
PERFORMANCE By ANNE SHARP
TpHERE WAS A strange s6
diminutive St. Mary's
Friday night. Twelve actors,
whom possessed Jewish surnan
formed Jesus Christ Superstar
opera written by two atheists,
Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, p
"dder the auspices of the N
Association, a Catholic youth gr
Superstar, you will rem

'Super star'at
caused a big uproar amongst
rvice at theologians and drama critics when it
Chapel first opened in the early 70's. The show
half of set all the traditional interpreters of
nes, per- Christian gospels on their ears. It por-
, a rock trays Judas as a sympathetic charac-
Andrew ter, rather than a sacreligious villian,
artly un- and Jesus as a frightened, insecure
Vewman man forced into martyrdom by an un-
roup. seen deity. An even more outrageous
ember, facet is Rice's libretto, which insinuat-
ed an impure relationship between
Christ and the reformed harlot, Mary

i

ANNOUNCES

AN EVENING WITH

SHEWN P

AIvRC

Tuesday,
April 11th
8 p.m.
Michigan Theatre

m

JesusChrist Superstar
St. Mar,'s chapel
April7-9, 1978
Christ. ............................Phil W eiss
Judas ......................Tom Shaker
Mary Magdalene.............Martha Cares
Caiaphas .....................Robert Schwartz
Pilate .......................Phil Sessions
Peter ........................Josh Peck
Tom Shaker, director
Presented by UAC Special Events in
cooperation with the Newman Student
Association.
Magdalene.
Friday night's, play was a well-
thought-out interpretation of the gospel
according to Webber/Rice. Phil Weiss'
tawny makeup and blond curls freshly
contrasted with the lank-haired, pale,.
bearded stereotype of Christ in
religious pictures. We tend to forget
that no one really knows what Jesus
looked like. In a tlever bit of costuming,
the apostles, most of whom doubled in
other minor roles, wore jeans and In-
dian cotton shirts. This combination of
Ann Arbor street fashion and Middle
Eastern culture fit Superstar's at-
mosphere perfectly.
WITH A GRACEFUL, economic use
of avant-garde stage techniques, the

St. Mary's
production. worked easily within the
confines of. the chapel. Judas, on his
way to betray Jesus to the high priests
of Jerusalem, runs up the aisle looking
over his shoulder; we can see his ner-
vous expression from our seats in the
pews. When Jesus orders the merchan-
ts and money-lenders out of his temple,
they tumble off the altar proscenium
out of the audience's view, only to
emerge moments later as a whining
legion of lepers and cripples. Jesus
leads his followers in a procession down
the center aisle, carrying palms or
lighted candles; after his death, they
bear his body back to the church,
and we hear them sobbing as they pass.
Webber's magnificent score, deftly
arranged for organ, piano, guitars and
drums, rolls down from the choir loft.
St. Mary's resident clergy put its foot
down when it learned the show's
original blocking staged dance num-
bers and the Crucifixion, among other
things, on the chapel's -green marble
altar. It also forbade Weiss to lay his
head in Magdalene's lap during her big
aria, "I Don't Know How to Love
Him."
Miraculously, this cast could, for the
most part, act and sing at the same
time. Tom Shaker, when he lets loose,
has a rousing, creative rock-and-roll
style. His Judas is a combination of
Iago and Bill Cosby. The cast, when I
saw them on opening night, had some
trouble staying in synch with the choir
loft orchestra. Russel Collins seemed a
bit uncomfortable as a effeminate
Herod, and Robert Schwartz painfully
constricted by his low-register voice,
eventually throwing music to the winds
and "talking" the part of Caiaphas, the
sinister head priest. The female
singers, with their lovely, carefully,
trained voices, found it hard to conform
to Webber's rock score. The whole cast
should relax and go with the rhythm.

i

TICKETS $7.50 - $6.50 Reserved
Available of Michigan Theatre Box Office, Ann Arbor Music Mort, Bonzo
Records and all Hudson's stores.
A Son of Bamboo Production/Full Moon Production
Two Public Lectures
BY
Prefo. Gruch Levine
Professor of Hebrew, New York University
"THE TEMPLE SCROLL"
(An examination, aimed for specialists, of the largest and
least known of all Qumran Manuscripts)
MONDAY, APRIL 10th-4:00 P.M.
3050 FRIEZE
"JUDAISM AND ITS BIBLICAL
ROOTS"
(The Brunhild Kapustin Memorial lecture)

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