Page 6--Tuesday, December 6,1977-The Michigan Daily
By CINDY RHODES
and DAVID VICTOR
L AST SATURDAY evening, the Uni- .
versity Choral Union, backed by
various members of the University
Symphony Orchestra, presented the
annual performance of George
Frederick Handel's Messiah. This piece
is always popular during the season,
beause it is the epitome of Christmas
and its spirit. Thus, often nostalgia in-
terferes in an objective viewing of this
piece of music. However, one could noe
0Vbeanything but objective during the
mediocre parts, even if the intermittent
fine performances'did attempt to com-
When confronted - with an excep-
tionally well-known piece, a performing
body is invariably hard-pressed._
Quality rarely matches expecation in
such pieces, as was, the case Saturday
night. The three-part oratorio's
popularity was assumed by the Univer-
sity Choral Union.
Music was handed out to the audience
by ushers for the particular beloved
"Hallelujah Chorus", from the end of
- the second part, and the audience was
invited to join in with the singing. This
~'was a nice touch, but unfortunately the
audience nearly equalled the perform-
ers in quality. Overall the performance
was average, broken only occasionally,
by a noteworthy segment equal to~the
potential of the work.
THE UNQUESTIONABLE LOW
point of the performance was im-
mediately evident in the opening bass
aria, "Thus saith the Lord of Hosts."
Singing with a froglike musicality
especially prominent in the "Why do
the nations" aria, Jost-ph McKee
managed to totally butcher the
resonant fullness that Handel's com-
position demands. The oscillating tone
lacked diaphragmal backing and
wseemed barely able to carry as he
wave red. between being annoyingly flat
h misses expectations
compared with his accompaniment.
The orchestral accompaniment was
singularly the highpoint during
McKee's croaking rendition, a sorry
situation for one of the most outstan-
ding vocal pieces written.
George Frederick Handel r
University Choral Union
December 3, 1977
Dan Merek ......................... Tenor
Joseph McKee ........................Bass
Members of the University
conducted by Donald Bryant
Soprano Kathryn Bouleyn was
somewhat more promising. Her per-
formance seesawed from unquestioned
virtuosity in the "I know that my
Redeemer) 'aria' " to the rank
amateurishness of "There were
shepherds". Technically without flaw
and at times even demonstrating a
praiseworthy clarity, Bouleyn was still
below expectations. Often forceless and
notably lacking at the bottom of her
range, she sang with an annoyingly
frequent edgy sharpness as in "There
were shepherds") which distracted
from an otherwise pleasing performan-
Tenor Dan Marek was contrastingly
better. Pure and crisp, his vocal tone
was clear, when he looked up from his
music. Apparently unsure a bit of his
part, his arias were commonly muffled
in his score, rather than directed
towards his audience.
THE HIGHPOINTS OF the oratorio
were heard in the contralto Lynn Max-
well's arias. Opening with striking
musicality in her first solo ("Behold, a
virgin shall conceive"), she maintained
the ' highest quality throughout the
evening. The famous alto aria, "He
shall feed His flock" from the oratorio's
first part was particularly marked by
verve reinforced by vocal fortitude.
The Choral Union was also quite
good, or at least nearer what one ex-
pects of Handel's masterpiece.
Somewhat lacking in balancing in the
opening chorus ("And the glory of the
Lord") the sopranos and altos over-
powered the lower scores almost com-
pletely. However, the Choral Union
soon recovered admirably, rendering a
fine performance of one chorus ("For
unto us a child"), and achieving a
musicality in another ("Glory to God in
the highest") in the second part that
will not be excelled-elsewhere. Showing
a textural weaving of soundtin this lat-
ter chorus, the group, the group
seemingly united into a single entity for
an outstanding performance.
Throughout the concert, the mem-
bers of the University Symphony Or-
chestra provided the right touch as the
musical backing for the voices of the
Choral Union. The music was distin-
ctive and clear throughout, and was not
distracting from the vocal parts. If the.
orchestra did overpower the voices at
times, it was more the fault of the
singers than of the members of the or-
Thus, in conclusion, except for a few
bright spots, Messiah did not meet our
expections. The solos of the contralto
and some of the parts of the Chorus of-
ten lulled us into' thinking it perfection.
It was a shame that this lull was in-
terrupted too frequently.
Heany wins crowd
with Gaelic ballads
By MIKE TAYLOR
W ITH HIS STRONG, handsome face and gray hair, Joe Heany seems
filled with quiet dignity. His Sunday night performance at the Ark
had an almost religious quality to it. After the show, most folks couldn't wait
to shake his hand and thank him for a wonderful evening, just a church-goers
thank the minister for his sermon on their way out.
Heany is undoubtedly one of the finest Irish ballad-singers alive. Since
he sings unaccompanied, his voice can't hide behind a wall of instruments.
Rather, it stands, in its naked intensity, as a marvelous instrument it-
self. Heany's startling range is more than sufficient to convey the emotions
and humor in the old Irish tales he sings. When he sings in Gaelic, however,
his voice seems even more impressive. Now, he offers a wide spectrum of
abstract sounds (at least to those of us in the crowd who did not understand
Gaelic), and suggests different feelings.
HEANY MIGHT BETTER be considered a storyteller than a singer, for
all the songs he sings tell stories. Besides inserting spoken tales into the
vocal mixture, he summarized the plots of the Gaelic numbers before he
Or, perbaps, he might better be considered an actor than a singer. As he
stands up front, he seems to be reenacting the stories he's singing about. His
facial expressions reveal emotional characteristics of the tales. Using these
techniques along with his magnificent voice, Heany is able to establish a
mood and hold it for as long as the song goes on.
Some of Heany's tales were genuinely comic, bringing gushes of
laughter from the crowd. His stories about a parish priest near his home
were the most successful in this respect.
HEANY EMMIGRATED to this country in 1966. "The U.S. had a good
reputation back in Ireland," he explained, adding that, "I never heard
anyone say a bad word about it." Settling in New York, he found a job as a
doorman for an apartment house. He's kept his music\ alive through ap-
pearances at the Philadelphia Folk Festival and on various campuses.
"I love to hear people sing folk songs the way they learned them where
they come from," he said, defending the traditional music he sings. After
growing up with the songs he sings all around him, Heany decided it would
be "nice to put it in front of the public. I hoped people would like it."
Heany was as happy with his audience as they were with him. Besides
frequent "thank you for having me" comments, he admitted that we have
better audiences here than "back home." "It's because they listen," he said.
"It's like a jury during a trial."
Sometime after Christmas, Heany plans to return to Ireland. When he'll
be back is uncertain; his last appearance at the Ark was four years ago. But
when he does return, he'll be sure to bring along the captivating voice that
made Sunday evening so special.
Genesis stuck i n past
By MIKE TAYLOR
THE SEX PISTOLS come at you like
a hot, angry wind. Their first
album, Never Mind the Bollocks,
Here's the Sex Pistols. (Warner
Brothers BSK 3147), is a loud, chaotic
statement of rebellion. More so than
many so-called "punk" bands, the
Sex Pistols sound like they mean it.
Ironically, as rough and anti-com-
mercial as the, album is, leader
Johnny Rotten and crew have pro-
duced a highly listenable disc.
Much of the music sounds surpris-
ingly traditional. These guys know
what a guitar solo is, and they use it
deftly, providing exciting instrumen-
tal breaks throughout the album.
Melodies, if somewhat primitive,
abound, and Rotten'sI voice, is at
times strangely reminiscent of Ian
Hunter, a rocker who also used to be
This record is the most vivid social
commentafy since the folk singers of
the 1960's. There are some big differ-
ences, of course. While folk protest
music generally came from a peace-
ful, non-violent point of view (is it
possible to seem violent with an
acoustic guitar?), this new stuff
seems a preludeto a more violent
form of street revolution.
IN ADDITION, while folkies in the
sixties attacked problems from the
outside, the Sex Pistols have, in
becoming part of the "blank genera-
tion", become part of the ,problem
themselves. As insiders, they are
now in a unique position to expose
society's ills, mniuch in the way a
ck 'n 'rebell
worm eats its way to the outside of an
Thus, there are really only two
kinds of songs on this record. Only a
few songs, "God Save the Queen",
"Anarchy in the U.K.", and "EMI"
are overt attacks on our society and
culture. The rest are confessions of
inner decadence. The band implies,
however, that they were good kids
before our rotten circumstances
made them into such lowly people. As
Rotten sings in "Problems," "The
problem is you!"
With its driving guitar and biting
lyrics, "God Save the Queen" has
already become a classic, at least
over in England.
God save the Queen/She ain't no human being
There is no future/n'England's dreamland.
"RIGHT NOW!." laughs Rotten as
the band breaks into "Anarchy in the
U.K.," my favorite. Thecompelling
melody backs the lyrics triumphant-
I am an anarchist/Don't know what I want
But I know where to get it.
With "Pretty Vacant", the band
focuses on itself. In Britain the kids
apparently get a thrill chanting along
with the Sex Pistols on this one.
We're so pretty.oh so pretty. a
we're vacant/And we don'tcare.
Similar themes make up "Bodies",
"Seventeen," "Sub-Mission", and/
"No Feeling". "You'd better under-
stand I'm 'in ,love with myself,
myself, my beautiful ,self," sings
Rotten during "No Feeling."
Never mind the bollocks, here's the
Sex Pistols works because it's origin-
al, political, and exciting, three
elements we just don't see enough of
in rock 'n' roll today.
Detroit to Los Angeles Round Trip
216 SO. FOURTH AVE.
Viewpoint Lectures presents:
World renowned journalist
Wednesday, December 7. 8:00 p.m.
MLB, Aud. 3
Co-sponsors: LSA Student Government, Office of Ethics and Religion,
Guild House, PASE Program, M.S.A., Rackham Student Government
Michigan Union Programming presents:
The Fabulous 40's
PRODUCERS AND DIRECTORS
to work with new theatre company doing mime,
children's theatre, improvisations, etc.
Applications Accepted Until 5 pm Dec. 6
2nd Floor Michigan Union
A HOLIDAY TRE AT FOR THE "LIT TLE PEOPLE"
That delightful, heartwarming Company that has been featurect on
"Sesame Street ," "Mr. Roger's, " and "Captain Kangaroo" will bring
its newest treat, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight " to Ann Arbor
for t wo per formance s only on Sunday Dece mber 11th.
By MIKE TAYLOR
THE NEW live album by Genesis,
Seconds Out (Atlantic SD2-9002),
shows a once great band hopelessly
stuck in the past, with no real future
When leader and singer Peter
Gabriel left the group two years ago,
the remaining musicians apparently
ceased thinking. They've done a good
job of concealing this, however; the
two records they've made since
Gabriel's departure, A Trick of the
Tailwand Wind and Wuthering, were
flashy enough to mask the lack of
original music on them.
Compared to the efforts with
Gabriel at the helm, Nursery Cryme,
Foxtrot, Selling England by the
Pound, and the two-LP tour-de-force,
The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway,
these two albums are shallow and
THE BAND, especially drummer-
turned-vocalist Phil Collins, has done
a great job of imitating the Gabriel
sound, but that's just the problem.
Without Gabriel's catalytic creativ-
ity, the music will never be more
Apparently realizing the weakness
of their recent material, Genesis
spends half their concerts playing old
songs. On Seconds Out, they've cut
the new tunes even further, so that
only five of the album's twelve songs
were written without Gabriel.
Many of the songs they've picked
from the Gabriel days are indeed
brilliant, including "Firth of Fifth",
"I Know What I Like", "The Cinema
Show", and the side-long "Supper's
Ready", but you'd do better to go
COMPREHENSIVE TYPING SERVICES
"let our fingers do the typing"
Dissertations-Full Line Service
Technical and Scientific Manuals
Bond Copier Services
Cal:l Mon thru Sot.
94 to 9 pm
2440 W. STADIUM BLVD.
ANN ARBOR, MICH.-995-4223
back to the original albums to listen
GENESIS IS so committed to the
past, they seem afraid to improvise
or alter the songs in any way. Thus,
the tracks are little more than
roughter, slightly louder versions of
the first takes - with applause
added, or course.
Like other severely flawed ven-
tures, Seconds Out is not without its
virtues. Much of the material, if too
static, was great when it first carr
out, and still is,. Until Genesis
releases a "greatest hits" or "best
of" album, this one collects many
important numbers nicely.
Certain highlights, like the rec-
ord's opening, stand out. Beginning
with the crowd hushed in anticipa-
tion, a couple of quiet drum licks are
followed by Steve Hackett's blasting
guitar -as the band explodes into
"Squonk", a fine tune from A Trick
of The Tail, about a race of creatures
unfortunately turning into tears.
THE CLOSE OF "Musical Box,"
the only song also on the band's
earlier Genesis Live, remains sever-
al minutes of dazzling energy. ''Sup-
per's Ready", all 24% minutes of it,
is a rich fabric of voice and instru-
The lyrics are a special treat, such
as these incisive lines from "The
Romeo locks hisbasement flat,
And scurries up the stair.
With heal held high and floral tie,
A weekend millionaire.
I will make my bed/
With her tonight, he cries.
Can he fail armed with
his chocolate surprise?
The sudden departure of guitarist
Steve Hackett from the group last
month points to possible internal con-
flicts within the band. Perhaps these
conflicts are stunting the band's
It's sad that without Gabriel lead-
ing them, Genesis has been unable to
continue in the truly creative way
that marked its history. A quick
comparison between Peter Gabriel,
his first solo album, and Wind and
Wuthering clarifies the tragedy.
Right now, all we have left are the
memories, and Genesis seems only
too happy'to keep providing them.
Dancing to 17 piece "Big Band," cash bar,
optional dinner, entertainers.
Friday, December 9, 9 p.m.
Michigan Union Ballroom.
$4/single, $7 couple
Co-sponsored by WCBN
Chilling intrigue starring Dustin Hoffman.
Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m., 9:45 p.m.
Nat. Sci. Aud. $1.50 admission
READ THE GERBIL
It's Your Magazine. For the best in University Fiction and
Poetry just fill out the subscription form.
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the ann arbor film cooperative
TON IGHTI Tuesday, Dec. 1
LAST TANGO IN PARIS
Eclipse Jazz presents:
Oscar Peterson (Solo)
Playing in swing era style with strong blues-rooted power,
Peterson is one of the most articulate pianists since the late
great Art Tatum.
Saturday, Dec. 10, 8 p.m., Hill Auditorium