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October 11, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-11

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oro wit"hasHillh

By SUSAN BARRY
This season marks the fiftieth anni-
'versary of the American debut of
Vladimir Horowiti. And septagener-
ian Horowitz was rumored to have
big plans for the celebration. There
was speculation about the possibility,
of an orchestral performance in New
York, the first since 4953. But
whatever the eluxive maestro has up
his sleeve for the highlight of the
season, last Sunday's performance'
included a collection of the pianist's
most substantial landmarks in his
long and highly prolific career.
As Horowitz stepped onto the stage
at Hill Auditorium he was greeted
with a thunderous standing ovation,
the first of five such lengthy ovations
he was to receive before the evening
concluded. The campus in Ann Arbor,
is the only campus Horowitz intends
to include in his Golden Jubilee tour,
and the audience was determined to
express its appreciation.
The first selection of the evening
was Mozart's Sonata in C Major. The
sonata followed the most basic
sonata form with a Rondo in the third
movement and opened the evening in
1 uncharacteristically restrained
mood.The trills in the opening
Allegro were performed delicately
but rather methodically. Even the
most stately themes in the develop-
muent were not overwhelming. Horo-
witz seened to be consciously hold-

ing back, depriving the audience of
the impassioned concentration which
so often.characterizes his interpreta-
tions of the most classical selections.
This was further c6mplicated by
the sort of metallic echo that
accompanied the long, hesitant,
chords on, the Steinway concert
grand piano.
The overall effect was one of
calculated precision, which was un-
representative of Horowitz at the
height of his creative powers.
The second selection was far more
indicative of Horowitz's style. Liszt's
highly provocative Sonata in B Minor
was recorded by Horowitz in the,
mid-30's and proved to be the most
influential of all the Horowitz so-
natas. The interpretations he has
given to various classical pieces has
earned Horowitz a veritable patent
on many of them.
The Liszt Sonata, one movement of
three interweaving themes which
lasts nearly thirty minutes, plays
with Faustian themes of good and
evil influences, with the free will of
the soul being bandied about between
them. Horowitz interpreted the
theme by accenting the poetic quality
of the music and emphasizing the
contrasting moods.
The first theme began with tenta-
tive staccato chords followed by deep
bass passages. The effect was one of
demonic ferocity. This theme was

developed with rising and descending
chords that churned through the bass
and lower treble ranges.
Slowly, these chords modulated
until the chords became established
as triumphantly major and echoed
between the upper and lower ranges.
Soft, romantic chords were repeated
in the bass until the bass began once
again to dominate with spiraling
chords, and Horowitz's hands literal-
Vladimir Horowitz, pianist
Hill Auditorium
October 9,1977
Liszt Sonata in B minor
Faure Nocturne No.13 in B minor, Op. 119
Faure Impromptu No. 5 Op. 102
Chopin Mazurka, Op. 17, No.4
Chopin Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53
ly flew over the keyboard. The
themes vied for dominance;as men-
acing chords in the bass contrasted
with rapid trills in the treble range.
Briefly a third theme emnerged.
Soft and reflective, it evoked the
reminder of grace and a vision of
indecisive hesitation.
Horowitz bent over the keyboard in
concentration, straining to achieve
his perfect tone. The maenadic
chords were executed with a bril-
liance that contrasted the ferocious
with the sentimental but was never

9pIng
heavy or overbearing.
Before his brief intermission Horo-
witz returned to the stage twice to
acknowledge a lengthy standing
ovation.
After the intermissio, Horowitz
performed several short composi-
tions. First was Nocturne No. 13 in B
Minor by Faure, a minor reflective
piece with an interweaving melody
punc tua ted by echoes in the bass..
The next selection was Faure's
Impromptu No. 5. This was a more
imaginistic piece with sliding scale
ascensions and a melody that was
concentrated in the bass. This num-
ber was brief but quite demanding
technically.
The introduction of Scriabin's Pre-
lude for Left Hand in C Sharp Minor
presented a humorous moment for
Horowitz as he slipped his right hand
into his pocket to the delight of the
audience. This piece was included
with a series of Scriabin's works on
an album recorded during Horowitz's
last retirement from the stage. The
technique required playing a one line
melody as . well as accompanying
harmonic chords, all with one hand.
Horowitz accomplished this with
great ease and fluidity of style.
Horowitz concluded the program
with two pieces by Chopin; the
Mazurka No. 4, and the famous
Polonaise in A Flat Major. The
Mazurka commemorated another

landmark in that it was included in
the first recording session for RCA;
The Polonaise built vigorously to a
majestic peak and had a nicely
resonant quality, but it also served to
illustrate that which many critics
have referred to as Horowitz's
tendency to exaggerate nearly to the
point of distortion. The punctuations
were a bit extreme and even seemed
to hamper the accuracy occasional-
ly.
Nevertheless, Horowitz received
another -ovation that was positively,
overwhelming. He returned to per-.
form a total of four encores, includ-
ing a sonata and a polka, and an

extraordinarily mellifluous nocturne
that was simple and elegant in its
economy of style.
Another standing ovation resulted
in the performance of the theme from
Carmen. This is an extremely com-
plex piece in which Horowitz was
able to demonstrate his mastery of
rapid scales, trills and arpeggios, to
end on strong, rapidly rolling chords.
This proved to be his most impres-
sive performance of the evening.
It left the seemingly insatiable
audience with the echoes of its last
majestic chords and the hopeful
anticipation that Horowitz would stop
in Ann Arbor on his next perform-.
ance tour.

Benefit revue is

By JOSHUA PECK
St. Joe's Plays the Palace is the
most depressing show I've-ever seen;
comparable to an O'Neill or a
Williams tragedy, perhaps, but St.
Joe's is ostensibly a light, enterfain-
ing revue. Again and again, it sorely
misses.
" The show was staged as a benefit
for St. Joe's Hospital, and in this
respect it apparently succeeded.
Friday night's gala premiere raised
tens of thousands for the beleaguered
institution. I wonder, however, how
long Ann Arbor's philanthropists will
continue to shell out their bucks when
they are rewarded with such tedious
muck as this.
As the curtain rose, a marquee
bearing the name of the famous
Palace theater lit up. Throughout the
niight, the sign's electric drone
competed with the cast for the
dudience's attention, usually in a
different key.

ST. JOE'S PLAYS THE PALACE
A revue, conceived by Makram Joubran
and Jerry de Puit
Michigan Theater
Featuring: Constance Barron, Irene Connors, John
McCollum, Judy Manos, Willis Patterson, Charles
Sutherland, Makram Joubran, Danute Miskinis,
Te Dee Theofil, Terry Arment, Susan Dawson,
James Posante
Directed and choreographed by MakramJoubran
Produced by Irene Connors and July Manos
The opening number, Playin' the
Palace, was one of two written by
director Makram Joubran and ar-
ranger Jerry De Puit. The songs
were two of the show's lowlights, so
to speak, cause for skepticism that
the collaboration is "the beginning of
a powerful new team on Broadway,"
as the program notes claim.
The performance of the opening,
like so much of what was to come,
was a sagging, unenergetic mess. An
inadequate amplification system
filled the house with a grainy

tedious
"shushing" sound, mechanical ad-
vice that the cast ought occasionally
to have heeded.-
When the chorus cleared the stage,
producer-performer Irene Connors
launched into a little ditty called I
Don't Care. While it certainly was
more amusing than the opener, it
was not substantially livelier. And
Connors' otherwise dignified figure
was assaulted by the ludicrous piece
of gauze taped about her waist.
Connors met with mixed success
over the course of the evening. Her
high point, predictably, was dra-
matic and not musical. It came in her
rendition of a role originally played
by Ethel Barrymore in The Twelve
Point Look, a playlet by J.M.,Barrie.
Her timing was excellent; her self-
confident demeanor most convincing
and attractive.
The Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers
lovers in the audience must have
cringed to the tune of Top Hat, White

muck
Tie and Tails. Imagine six dancers
randomly clattering their taps in
what could have been a precision
dance routine.
TeDee Theofil further antagonized
the dance lovers with a massacre of a
solo from the Nutcracker Suite. She
simply wasn't listening to the music.
Briefly, the show's best moments:
professional vocalist John McCol-
lum's beautiful rendition of the
clown's aria from I Pagliacci, Con-
stance Barron's hysterical Fanny
Brice imitation, and Charlie Suther-
land's Anywhere I Wander (first
sung by Danny Kaye).
But the occasional bright moments
could not rescue the evening from the
murky depths to which it repeatedly
sank.

i

MAI®TR TOYlD' TIIATLIZ 4ICLCAN DMO®CUY, PO

Martin uses old script

76-

__
4

By ALAN RUBENFELD
STEVE Martin is a "kinda crazy
guy." What king of a comedian would
tell his audience o "go into a corner
and suck eggs?" However, America's
hottest comedian also suffers from an
ailment common in his business: he is a.
.victim of the great media overkill. Not
even this drawback could faze a crowd
of 5,000 fanatical followers Saturday
-night at Eastern Michigan University's
.Sowen Fieldhouse. .
Martin relied on material almost ex-
:lusively from his recent NBC Saturday
Night Live appearance and from his
new aLBUM, Let's Get Small. Unfor-"
tunately, this reliance on old material
alienated a portion'of the boisterous
audience. Martin began his performan-
ce by showing a brief but very funny
movie entitled The Absent Minded
-'Waiter in which the comedian played
the title role.
Martin, dressed in consrvative suit,
en appeared on stage and im--
ediately started with some tasty
anjo tunes, along with his big crowd
easer, Ramblin'. Martin's rubbery
emeanor contorted exactly to the
specifications needed for each joke. Af-
br all, as he says, he is a "unique kinda
y. I never know what I might do. At
n a.m., I might read a newspaper. At
'ye p.m., I might eat a live chipmunk."
Tis kind of humor had the arge crowd
convulsions.

But the performance suffered one
major drawback. Anybody who counts
themselves among the rapidly expan-
ding "hard core" of Steve Martin fans
must have been disillusioned by the
comedian's reliance on basically old,
word material. His act was almost an
exact duplicate of his new WarnerBros.
album. Many of the punchlines seemed
tarnished since many had already
heard the jokes and stories on one of his
thirty-five Tonight Show appearances.
The majority of the audience appeared
unacquainted with the material as they
truly relished his entire stand-up
routine. One-hopes the next time Martin
makes his way to the wilds of Ypsilanti,
he will be able to treat his audience to
some fresher routines in his charac-
teristically unique style.
John Sebastion opened the show and
treated the crowd with a trip down
memory lane with a repetoire of his old
hits. Sebastion performed such
favorites as Darlin'Be Home Soon,
Daydream, Nashville Cats, and Sum-
mer in the City. Accompanied by his
guitar, Sebastion captivated the
audience with his soft singing. At the
end of the fifty minute set, the veteran
performer returned for two encores.
Considering the boisterous ovations
which he received, John Sebastion
might consider doing a headline tour on
his next concert outing.

I

Steve Martin

RffARBORcivicsEM s
presents:

WALTZ

F THE

T

REAP

$

a comedy by JEAN ANOUILH
Wednesday-Saturday
Oct. 12-15

ii

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