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January 20, 1976 - Image 5

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1976-01-20

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THE MICHIGAN DAILY
A r s &Et rta itr n Tuesday, January 20, i1975 Page Five

Ilrf

Five conductors combine

'Bridegroom-
A disappointment"

By JAMES BURN

warh orses,,'

'(/'(e

JS-

,(NE OF the most difficult challenges
that faces orchestras is that of adjust-
ing to the idiosyncrasies of different con-
ductors and their styles.
In their concert Friday night, the Uni-
versity Philharmonia Orchestra rose to the
occasion by responding carefully to the
gamut of directing fashions presented by
five guest conductors.
THE PROGRAM opened with what can
be called a "warcolt" (a piece that is
played often but not yet deemed a full
warhorse), Mendelssohn's "Hebrides Over-
ture."
3 Conductor Jeremy Balmuth used Bern-
stein-like gyrations to, produce an excel-
lent blending of upper and lower strings
and the richness of wind playing so neces-
sary to {proper evocation of Mendelssohn's
music. Although the brass seemed to
ignore Belmuth's eattempts to lower their
I consistently fortissimo entrances, the over-
all impact of the piece was impressive.
James Harrer proved a much less vig-
orous conductor in his direction of Dal-
lapiccola's "Piccolo Musica Notturna,"
which helped to bring out the subtleties
'in this irregular modern composition.
ONE OF the great problems in reviewing
atonal, nonrhythmic works is telling wheth-
er or not the strange noises coming from
the stage are correct or not.
Particularly, pretentious reviewers often

praise such pieces as "revitalizing the
musical universe." But when the strings
sopnd perpetually lacking in any sort of
intonation and every entrance sounds as if
orchestra members threw dice to decide
when to begin playing, then there is simply
no way to assign credit or blame as to
how well the performers are transmitting
some sort of meaningful musical message.
In a nice change of pace, David
Urquhart-Jones led the Philharmonia in
Sibelius' "Karelia Suite," inspired by the
Finnish national epic poem "Kalevala."
WHILE THE brass generally avoided
the overplaying present in the Mendels-
sohn, instead achieving a strong well-
balanced martial sound, the strings were
not so skillful. Unable to hide behind the
atonality of Dallapiccola, the violins re-
vealed themselves as out-of-tune as they
had earlier sounded.
When playing counterpoint, the lower and
upper strings sounded as if they were
playing on separate stages or were unable
to see the conductor. Try as he might,
Urquhart-Jones was unable to resolve this
problem; consequently, the strings sounded
acceptable only in unison passages.
Is there a lover of classical music who
hasn't heard "Cappricio Italien" at least
once? Although a genuine warhorse, it is
not a simple work to perform. The open-
ing trumpet call began and ended unsurely,
possibly due to the nervousness of both

t

By ANDREW ZERMAN I hold an audience's attention for
E GOOD news first: The long with an anecdote.
CeoingR ompanyfrt:lhIe FOUND the musical both
Acting Company, formally' *l
trumpeter Craig Knepp and conductor known ash the City Center Acting too simple and too complica:ed.
Liviu Blumenthal. Company, is back in Ann Arbor Too simple because it fails to
. ~give the characters any dimren-
THE FOLLOWING few minutes of this for its fith appearhedirectionsion or reality and because it
Tchaikovsky standard were generally of Jh gouunert ient- railskto convey a sense of what
wel- paye, yt te o por i-ofJohn Houseman, is an out-
well-played, yet the plague of poor in- growth of the Julliard School's makes legendary Mississippi dif-
tonation spread from the violins to the Drama Division and is, to my ferent from legendary anynere
else.
double reeds and trumpets. Suddenly, half- knowledge, the only repertory It is simultaneously too com-
way through, the entire mood of the stage theatre in the country that is, plicated (because there are ex-
changed-Blumenthal gained confidence first and foremost, a "touring traneous characters) and un-
company." . neos charcte. and on
which spread to the orchestra. -.*~ necessarily intricate. Twists of

Improved intonation provided a better;
atmosphere in which to perform the rest
of the work, and the passages where the,
entire Philharmonia played showed the
whole to be greater than the sum of its-
parts.
To close the program, Clark Suttle,
proved to be the liveliest conductor since
Balmuth when he led the group in Weber's
"Overture to Die Freischutz." Like all
overtures, it had no constant development I
of any one theme but rather bits and
pieces of several.
THE RECOVERY heard in the latter
half of the Tchaikovsky continued through-
out this work, providing the audience with
a favorable final impression.
While demonstrating their adaptability
to the varying musical and conducting
demands placed upon them, the Philhar-
monia also revealed they require further
rehearsal time to solve the problem of!
intonation that separates them from
achieving clearly attainable first-classj
status.

The bad news is that their
first production, a new musical.
called The Robber Bridegroom,
was a disappointment. The show
impressed me as being juvenile,
-as grumpy as that adjectilve
makes me sound.
ALFRED UHRY, who wrote
the book and lyrics, and Robert
Weldman, the music, have
adapted Bridegroom from Eu-
dora Welty's novella which is
set in "legendary Mississippi.
Not having readt the book, I
can't say whether the problem
is this particular adaptation or
the material's inherent lack of
adaptability. Probably it's both.
Perhaps a more inspired team
than Uhry, Weldman and direc-
tor Gerald Freedman, none of
whom has any distinguished
musical theatre credits, cot'ld
have conceived a richer, more.
poetic and less broadly slap-
stick approach to the novella.
But-the story of Bridegroom is
really nothing more than an
anecdote and it's not easy to

plot don't make the show any
more interesting-just more con-
fusing.
Furthermore, it's all been
buried under busy and sophis-
ticated staging.sAll the tricks
and gimmicks of trendy en-
semble theatre (which, when
used well, can be not tricky but
inspired) are put into play here.
But they can't compensa:e for
(Story finished
in 1st column below)

Daily Photo by KEN FINK
fJwkl(4Jgj ig s Hhs' 'iares
Novelist John Hawkes autographs copies of his own works at
Centicore Book Store yesterday before he appeared at the
Hopwood Underclass Writing Awards ceremony in Rackham
Lecture Hall.
Cowboy shows set
to ride into sunset?
H 0 L L Y W 0 0 D, (Reu- Watergate scandal.

THE UNIVERSITY DE IMiRFrGN
PROFESSK)NAL T HEATRE PROGRAM
THIS, AN ACTOR'S TRUNK
has gone in and out of 92 cities across
the U.S. Now, it returns to Ann Arbor!
I 1
The Acting,
Company
JUAN a2225
POWER CENTER ;

ter) - Are the last of the
screen cowboys riding off into
their ultimate sunsets?
Cowboy series, once a tele-
vision staple, have disappeared
completely from network tele-
vision and the few western mo-
vies being made have not prov-
ed popular at the box office.
BUT OLDTIME western ac-
tors like James Stewart and
singing cowboy Roy Rogers be-
lieve the present slump is just
part of a cycle and the west-;
erns will come back.
Author Daryl Ponicsan, writ-
er of a recently published biog-
raphy on possibly the greatest
Hollywood cowboy ever, Tom
Mix, agrees it could be a cy-
cle but still finds the present
dearth of western production
incredible.
"Gunsmoke" and Marshall
Dillon disappeared from CBS
television last year after twenty
years on the screen. NBC's ''Bo-
nanza" finally closed down in
1973 after 14 years in produc-
tion.
"THERE really is nothing
left on television," Ponicsan;
says. "I remember on any giv-
en night you could watch cow-
boys continuously. You could
tune in at 7:30 and watch cow-
boys until 11:30."
Onethe movie side, John
Wayne, the giant of modern
screen cowboys, this year dis-
appeared from the list of top
ten box office stars for the first
time in 2S years.
Wayne's latest western "Roo-
ster Cogburn", in which he re-
played the role of the one-eyed
cowboy which won him the
academy award in 1969,' was
not a box office success.
DESPITE this setback Wayne,
now 68, has just begun anoth-
er western, "The Shootist", in
which he plays a cowboy fight-
ing his last battle against can-,
cer. Coincidentally, Wayne sur-
vived an attack of lung cancer
in the late sixties.
Ponicsan, author of a number
of successful novels about sail-
ors including "Cinderella Liber-
tv" and "The Last Detail" both
of which were filmed, chose
Mix when he decided to write a
book about an authentic Ameri-
can hero at the height of the
MORE ABOUT BRIDEGROOM
(Continued from
column 8 above)
the fact that Bridegroom is fun-
damentally vacuous.
WELDMAN'S music couldn't
fill that vacuum; it was static
and, worse than that, pre-
recorded. Amplification in live
musicals is irritating enoign;
canned music is perhaas for-

His book "Tom Mix Died for
Your Sins" is to be made into
a film by 20th-Century Fox Stu-
dio.
"I DON'T know why I picked
Tom Mix," he says. "He died
when I was two years old. My
conclusion is somehow he was
in my subconscious and I felt
if he was in my subconscious
he must be in the collective
subconscious."
In his book Ponicsan traces
the ups and downs of Mix's lifej
from his early days with rodeo
shows to his success in Holly-'
wood and his death, penniless,
after he lost all his money in a
cowboy show.
"It's a sad story when you
end up your life with your en-
tire estate in your pockets aft-
er you've made millions and
your body's been battered and
bruised and you feel you're at
the end of your powers," he
says.
"BUT IT'S healthy to find
out our heroes are pretty much
like the rest of us. There's noth-
ing discouraging in that."
Mix founded the figure of the
western cowboy in a white hat
who rides into town and solvesI
all its problems, then rides
right on out again without
waiting to be thanked.
Ponicsan believes that when
singing cowboys like Gene Au-
trey and Roy Rogers became
popular in the thirties it serf-
ously hurt the image Mix had
created.

.s.s
Pianst Pressler sparkles
in Beaux Arts Trio concert
By RICHARD JAMES He seemed withdrawn throughout the con
possibly still angry from a pre-concert disa
jM OST FIRST-RATE chamber music concerts ment with Cohen. Although he played quite
leave the audience with the feeling that he occasionally put forth insufficient effort
one piece really stood out above the other missed things technically and stylistically.
features of the concert.
The Beaux Arts Trio, however, left Friday Completing the first half was Shostakov
evening's Rackham Auditorium audience with "TCom p . 67.Th sfr oveha ofbwaso k
the strongest impression, among many good "Trio, Op. 67." This proved to be a work
thesongthe sheerexseionemongtsmangoo. *the Russian composer's characteristic blei
ones, of the sheer excellence of its pianist. almost cold, haunting material and contras
MENAHEM PRESSLER seemed to be doing boisterous folk elements.
anything but concentrating on an exacting per-
formance. He was almost constantly swaying, Particularly effective was the opening o
lunging and jumping exuberantly while watching work which featured false harmonics by
the other two musicians far more than his own cellist and muted violin. The performanc
music. this work seemed a bit less polished than i
Despite this, his performance was flawless program opener and their interpretation o
and the interpretation of each piece was both "Largo" was a bit too warm for my tast
exciting and subtle. It was clear that he spite of this, I found the work to be the
scarcely needed his score, interesting of the evening.
FORTUNATELY, for the sake of the ensemble THE SECOND half of the concert wa
as a whole, Pressler wasn't the only top-notch voted to Dvorak's "Trio in F minor, Op.
performer on stage. Violinist Isidore Cohen was The members of the Beaux Arts Trio perfo
also captivating as well as being very much on this work with all the requisite fire and pa
top of his interpretations, of late romantic chamber music. The
Only cellist Bernard Greenhouse proved dis- Adagio movement was particularly sublim
appointing, especially since his fine work as a the cleverly drawn-out close of the trio
recording artist (primarily of 20th century a delight. The striking Andante moveme
music) has received such justifiably high ac- Dvorak's "Dumky" Trio was presented
claim. wel ldervede -

SERGEI EISENSTEIN'S 1944
IVAN THE TERRIBLE (Part I)
(AT 7:00)
The first part of Eisenstein's unfinished Trilogy on the
infamous Russian Czar. Filled with experiments in com-
position. and cuttina. this film is his magnum opus. PART
ncert, 1 WILL BE SHOWN NEXT WEEK.
gee- D.W. GRIFFITH'S 1915
and BIRTH OF A NATION
(AT 9:05)
Griffith's aroundbreakina epic that made film an art
vich's form and a bia commercial industry. This great look at
Ithe Civil War is further enhanced by our tinted high
with " atality print which aives the modern viewer a goad idea
nd of' what silents were really like
sting, CINEMA OLD ARCH.
GUIShows AUD.
for $2.00 Admission $1.25
f the..-
y the _
ce of"
n the
of the
e. In!
most Art
s de-
65.".
armed
assion '.
Poco.
e and
was
ent of.
as az}

i
i
i

i

vt'Gtl U'G.'fGl YGU 'Gll'GViC.

NEW MUSEUMS
BOGOTA, Colombia (UPI) -
Colcultura, the Colombian State
Culture Institute, will open four
new museums in 1976 in the
town of Guadas and Floresta in
the central Andes mountains, Si-
bundoy in the south and Cucuta
on the Venezuelan boarder.
The museums will exhibit the
work of local artisans.

-i
UNIVERSITY
CAMPUS ORCHESTRA
The UCO membership and sightread-
ing rehearsal has been postponed, due
to the snow last Tuesday, to TUESDAY,
JANUARY 20, 7:30 P.M. in the RE-
HEARSAL HALL OF THE SCHOOL OF
MUSIC.

TONIGHT-
AKIRA KUROSAWA'S MASTERPIECE
THE SEVEN SAMURAI
(1954)
The rarely shown, long uncut version, will be
presented TONIGHT ONLY at 7:30 only in
AUD. A, ANGELL HALL. Starring Toshiro Mi-
fune A film classic. $1.25
OUR SCHEDULE HAS COME OUT!
PICK UP A COPY AT THE SHOwING
- - - - - -- - - - m -

original works of graphic art-etchings, lithographs,--
by leading 20th century artists:
Pablo Picasso Johnny Friedlaender Marc Chagall
Salvador Dali, Alexander Calder Joan Miro
Georges Rouault Victor Vasarely and others.
ALL NEW ART! 1ST SHOW OF SEASON!
THIS SUNDAY, Jan. 25th at 3:00 p.m.
MARRIOTT INN-BALLROOM
US 23 at Plymouth Rd.
EXHIBITION: 1:00-3:00. Mod. prices-Free admission
Presented by Meridian Gallery Bank Chq. Cards acpt.

Ii

All interested students, faculty, and staff are
invited. Auditioning information will be handed
out at that time. Auditions will be held on '
January 27th.
Eastern Michigan University
OFFICE OF STUDENT LIFE
PRESENTS
Les McCann
ALSO FEATURED: DECADE OF DECISION
Jan. 22nd-7:30 p.m.
Pease Auditorium
Advanced Tickets $4.00

TONIGHT AT 7 & 9
OPEN 6:45
z 3s
CAMHERME cXENV
"1Us
A RoBurtProduton inColor
AParamountPcture

77

t

^ '

The Frozen Revolution
(MEXICO)
Documentary of the political reality of Mexi-
can history.

I

m

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