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October 14, 1977 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1977-10-14

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Beaux Arts players
do Ives with grace
Beaux Arts Trio
Rackham Auditorium
October 12,1977
Beethoven..... .......Trio in E-flat major, Op. 1, No.1
Ives . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Trio
Schubert .. .......... Trio in B-flat major, Op.99
Wednesday night marked the first concert of the Chamber Arts Series.
The Beaux Arts Trio performed to an anxious and appreciative audience,
and they succeeded in defining the meaning of chamber music. The program
was well-balanced, accurate, and careful to detail without being academic
or stuffy.
The artists, Manahem Pressler, piano, Isidore Cohen, violin, and Ber-
nard Greenhouse, cello, were a superb-ensemble-their subtly blended tones
and sensitive understanding of the perfect delicacy of each piece made the
Beaux Arts Trio very exciting to listen to.
The first piece of the evening, Beethoven's Trio in E flat major did well
to illustrate the ensemble's virtuosity. The piano solos by Pressler were
played so delicately, so expressively that the audience experienced the piece
totally and one could not tell where listening and watching were separate.
The third movement, Scherzo: Allegro assai was dynamic-cello, violin and
piano became one, expertly co-ordinated yet, throughtout the movement,
each instrument sang with perfect clarity and preciseness. The absolute
joyfulness of the music and the performers own excitement for the piece ad-
ded immensely to the audience's delight.
The second piece, Ives' Trio, was a surprise, and a happy one. Few
chamber concerts feature the work of Charles Ives, as he is a difficult, yet,
fascinating composer. The Beaux Arts Trio mastered Ives' use of polytony,
dissonance and toneclusters and brought amazing insight to the piece. We
heard the sounds of Ives' childhood, the parades, patriotic ballads-and in
the second movement, TSIAJ-presto, which is whimsically derived by
using the first letters of 'This Scherzo Is A Joke" the diffuse harmonies
came together so perfectly blended, creating a single personality for the en-
Schubert's Trio in B-flat major showed all the finesse of a well-polished
performance. The piece proved not only the individual musicians under-
standing of the music, but what is also the entire idea of chamber music; the
Beaux Arts Trio has it-virtuosity and the style of the music, a perfectly
balanced tone, and a dynamic rappor with their audience. While Schubert
was arranging the publication of the Trio in B-flat major, he wrote, "This
work will not be dedicated to any special person, but rather to all who find
pleasurein it.

-The Professional Theater Pro-
gram's new production of Equus
opened Wednesday night at Power
Center to tumultuous applause and
the by now de rigeur standing ovation
at the finish. Not that this isn't a god
show, because it is, it is. And a very
good production. But it has a few
minor problems; ovations on-the-
hoof ought to be reserved for those
once-in-a-decade delights. Oh, well.
Equus by itself, the actual play, is
a marvel of theater - taut, well-
constructed, and thoroughly absorb-
ing. The underlying philosophy is glib
and slick, and at the base, nonsense.
But this objection is brushed away by
the marvel of sheer histrionic spec-
PTP's production, too, was well-
constructed and absorbing. The pro-
duction values - set, costuming,

props - were all of the finest quality.
The acting, however, was rather
The show concerns a young boy,
Alan Strang (Tony Burdick), tor-
mented by both a religious obsession
transmitted by a neurotogenic moth-
er (Edna M. Williams) and a love of
horses. He is further racked with am-
bivalence toward his stern, hypocriti-
cal father (Leo McNamara), and
emerging sexual feelings for a
beautiful co-worker named Jill (Si-
mone Davis).
The many-stranded psychosis re-
sults in an act of (seeming) senseless
violence: Alan blinds six horses in
the stable where he works.
At which time he is brought to the
attention of magistrate Hesther Salo-
mon (Patricia Kihn), who commends
him into the hands of Dr. Martin

"a a

The Michigan Daily-Friday, October 14, 1977-Page 7
whinner .1

TVT ii

Ph itharm onia opens
season with promise

Power Center
By Peter Shaffer
Martin Dysart ................. William Leach
Alan Strang...................Tony Burdick
Hesther Salomon................. Patricia Kihn
Frank Strang ................Leo McNamara
Dora Strang .................... Edna M. Williams
Nugget ................................ John W ojda,
Jill Mason......... ........... Simone Davis
Nafe Katter, Director
Lighting, Michael Brill; Settings, Alan Billings;
Costumes, Henry van Kuiken
Produced by Professional Theater Program
Dysart, (William Leach); a relent-
lessly self-questioning psychiatrist.
Ultimately Dysart is not unique in his
profession - this was my imme-
diate impression - he is a game-
player, and a manipulator, but cares
terribly about and for his patients,
and about the progress of Alan
Strang in particular.
Mixed in with all this are his own
doubts about his marriage, his effec-
tiveness, and the presumption of a
doctor to "cure" a patient. What is a
"cure", then? asks Dysart. To bring
him out of madness and into a "nor-
mal" existence that resembles noth-
ing quite so much as Kraft processed
cheese food?
This is supremely irrelevant to
psychiatry, the play, and Alan. More-
over, it smacks of simpleminded
Laing (do not pity the poor psychot-

ic; envy him - he is wise beyond b4'
ways). Not even that; Dysart recog-
nizes that insanity is painful to Alain
-but asks if he can take away his
pain, the only thing he can call hs
Bill Leach, as Martin Dysart, was
superb. A well-modulated joy to
watch, to hear - irony, wit, all
ranges of emotion - these are his
strong points. I saw Leach two years
ago as Gutman in Camino Real.
He has (if this is possible!) improvedI
- what an actor!
His understanding magistrate
friend Hesther, however, was pretty
stiff. Patricia Kihn's idea of gesture
is to throw both arms down the length
of her body with a violent snap; he.r
idea of vocal modulation is shouting
or sounding exasperated. Even her,
"nice" lines sounded unconcerned.-
But the parents, particularly the
father, were simply terrific. For an
essentially one-dimensional part,-
McNamara plays the father with'
admirable depth. Ditto Williams,
who somehow must try to make the
simpy mother believable. She does
so, too.
Alan Strang (Tony Burdick) W .
emotionally correct. But he began
the show at a fever pitch; there was
nothing to which to build, and he
ended up shouting more often than
necessary, and making too ma'ny'
athletic leaps. He had a strained
voice by the show's end; this comes,
as no surprise.
The production values did have one
noticeable flaw: the lighting was off:.
Yes, two or three feet off - every
focus, every spot, except the one-on'
the horses' head far upstage.
I felt rather wrung out at the end
even aware as I was that I could'j
agree with the message, I was
moved. It was in all a really good
piece of work, though nothing'
deserving of an on-the-hoof bit. of
clap. But then, what is? .'

The Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
opened its forty-eighth season
Wednesday night with Jean Anouilh's
comedy the Waltz of the Toreadors.
The competent acting and direction,
as well as the handsomely designed
set, entertained an approving audi-
ence in Lydia Me'ndelssohn Theatre
while three hours glided effortlessly,
by. The performance was a success.
As one watches the plot develop,
the waltz structure of the play, as
suggested by the title, comes to life in
the actions of the characters. Bas-
ically, the ploy follows the mayhem
that develops when an old general's
woild-be lover of seventeen years
arrives on the scene to collect on St.
Pe's promises of marriage. One
problem: his invalid wife must be
dealt with first. The action moves up
-and down like the frustrated old
man's blood pressure, or like chil-
dren growing and rejected lovers
leaping from windows. It moves
backwards as General St. Pe spends
all his time writing his memoirs. The
action moves forward as his boyish
secretary passes into manhood. It
moves in circles like a spin around
the garden. Ultimately the action
stays in one place like the paralyzed

a treat
Waltz of the Toreadors
Lydia Mendelssohn Theater
By Jean Anouilh
Mme. St. Pe...................... Sandra Hudson
General St. Pe..............Charles Stallman
Gaston ..................... .. David Marshall
Sidonia ...................... ...... Heidi Cowing
Estelle............................ Chris McMullen
Dr. Bonfant............... ...... William J. Cross
Mile. de Ste-Euverte............Susan Morris
Mine. Dupont-Fredaine........... Lenore Ferber
a Hilary Cohen, Director
Produced by Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
wife. On the surface, the elements of
this play seem zany, but underneath
the comic plot they come together to
make a point about the necessity of
reckoning with the present momeRnt,
not past moments of glory and not
future promises of fulfillment. "At
once!" cries young Gaston in refer-
ence to General St. Pe's bemusing
counsel:'"That's all I'll keep of his
advice." The audience does best to,
keep this admonition as the best part
of Anouilh's advice, too.
See CIVIC, Page 5

After our experiences listening to
the University Philharmonia last
year, when they did such things as at-
tempting Tchaikovsky with sixteen
violins, I was a bit hesitant about
reviewing this year's first concert.
The orchestra, however, is much im-
proved, and gave a concert more in
keeping with their former standards.
The opening piece, Dvorak's Sym-
phony No. 8, was performed ade-
quately, but it was not particularly
inspiring. Osmond was not able to
bring across the broad, sweeping
scope of some of the sections, and the
tenderness of others, and the piece
ended up sounding a bit mechanical
and strained.
The celli were most impressive in
this piece, playing with good inton-
ation and a 0 warm sound. The
trumpets also played well in their big
spot at the beginning of the fourth
movement. They were in tune, and
played forcefully without blaring. In
some spots such as the really frantic
section of the finale, the entire or-
chestra played with energy, and
conviction, and the ending was quite
stirring. However, the overall im-
pression was of unevenness and in-
The high point of the evening for
this reviewer was the Bach Sinfonia.
It is refreshing to hear some music of
the classical period other than Mo-
zart and Haydn. A purist could
complain that the orchestra was too
large to be authentic -and he would.
be right. The size of the group also
was the cause of some muddiness in
the lower and middle parts. The fact
is, that the University Philharmonia
is not a professional orchestra,but a
student group. The. students are
paying a good deal of money for their
education, and it would be a shame to
deprive even the last chair fiddler of
the opportunity to perform a work

University Philharmonia Concert
Hill Auditorium
October 11, 1977 -
Antonin.......Symphony No.8 th G Major, Op. 88
Johann Christian Bach .................. Sinfonia
Carl Ruggles..............Menand Mountains
Stephen Osmond, Director
like this,,.or any work performed by
his orchestra. Our congratulations to
Osmond for a progressive attitude.
The violins played better in tune on
this Sinfonia than before. The real
congratulations, however. go to the
horns for the professional aplomb
with which they handled that can-
tankerous maze of plumbing. The
Bach was one of the most difficult
things they will do all year, and they
played flawlessly.
The final piece was a bit more
difficult to listen to, although it is
certainly worth an occasional airing.
One is not tempted to rank Ruggles
with his more noteworthy contem-
poraries such as Stravinsky and Ives,
but if we only listen to the music of
the great masters, we would serious-
ly limit ourselves.
The Ruggles piece is an interesting
atonal piece that explores some pos-
sible organizing of sound outside the
traditional tonal methods. The open-
ing movement, Men, begins impres-
sively with bombastic brasses, and
ends impressively with ringing brass
and percussion, with a bombastic
center section. (One might say that it
lacks variety). The second move-
ment, Lilacs, is mdre contemplative
with shifting tone colors.
---2 - -~l

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