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August 08, 1979 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1979-08-08

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R icTh§Mlc:imgan oly 'ernesdry, August 8 197 JrPe7
mcci: master at wr

What a pleasure to listen to such an
artist as violinist Ruggiero Ricci, so
clearly at the height of his powers, and
so unquestionably ii control of his in-
strument. Ricci is quite entirely vital
and authentic. His playing shines, be it
of Bartok or Bach.
Given the violinist's manifest ex-
cellence, I would like to spend a little
time with some thoughts on what
makes for an artist of his caliber. What
creates the electricity in the perfor-
Ruggiero Ricci
Rackham Auditorium
Sonata No.3in G major .................Bartok
Partita in D minor ........................Bach
Caprices, Nos. 13 through 24 ...........Paganini
mance? Why is everyone who hears it
so moved? What is responsible for the
degree of involvement the audience
feels that makes time seem to stand
NOTE THE similarity between the
experience of an all-involving concert
with an all-involving personal project.
In both situations, the body switches
gears. Layers of emotional reaction
that often lie dormant become aroused.
Adrenalin flows. Yet it is not the kind of
adrenalin flow that comes with an an-

ticipated fight or flight situation. In
those situations, the adrenalin flow is in
preparation of deep involvement; in the
personal project or involving concert
situation, the arousal is the sign of deep
involvement. A rich reciprocal
resonance is set up between the project
or concert and the self. The experience
of the project or concert is enriched as
well as the experience of the self. One is
no longer aware of the horizontal
passage of relatively uninvolving even-
ts, but a rich vertical experience of an
almost timeless moment is set up. In
the experience of music, the quality of
this vertical experience is what is
known as timbre.
Timbre differs from other musical
parameters like tempo or pitch in that
it is not the relationship of one note to
another but the quality of an individual
note. We get within a note in
examining its timbre and experience it
from the inside out. In so doing, we
notice that an individual note is far
more complex than we ever dreamed.
Within the vibration of a single note, a
whole universe of previously unatten-
ded-to tones sound. They are known as
You may wonder if all this isn't far
afield from Ruggiero Ricci. The con-
nection these thoughts have for me with
Ricci's concert are as follows: First, we
see the similarity between the ex-
periences of an all-involving personal

project and an all-involving coTcert
such as Ricci's; second, we begin to see
that this similarity may stem from the
agreeable vibration both induce; the
timeless moment that allows us to ex-
perience something, for a change, from
the inside out instead of with constant
reference to important but ir-
relevant outer events; finally, in
music the critical dimension is timbre,
Both violinist and violin
naturally vibrate as a con-
cert is performed; I would
guess that there is a special
way they vibrate when
someone as great as Ricci
plays. It is as if instrument,
as well as performer, comes
and Ricci's command of timbre is ex-
ceptional. One note seems as rich as ten
by a lesser artist. Experience thus
acquires depth. Emotion creates a
vibrating inner space of rich experien-
ce. We begin to notice things in the
outer world and inner world we
previously didn't.
IT IS MY belief that the kind of
response to a musical concert that I

have outlined is due to some kind of
sympathetic experience of what the ar-
tist is involved with. The artist's
creation sets up a sympathetic
vibration in the observer. With Ricci,
this is especially apt because of the in-
strument he plays. Both violinist and
violin naturally vibrate as a concert is
performed; I would guess that there is
a special way they vibrate when
someone as great as Ricci plays. It is as
if instrument, as well as performer,
come alive.
At the beginning of this concert, Ricci
appeared to be nothing more than a
short Italian man who could have
passed as a maitre de or perhaps a
Mafia don. In his hands was a string in-
strument of which I was not
pareticularly fond. I further noted that
pieces by Paganini were to be included.
Here was a composer whom I had
previously experienced as shallow and
superficial in his effects. I myself had
my doubts as to whether I would enjoy
the concert. I was feeling a bit tired and
not at all sure that I had the energy to
concentrate. By the end of the concert, I
had seen a man and his violin resonate
and produce sounds I had never before
heard. A composer I never before liked
had seemed quite profound. I heard
people buzzing and excitedly humming
in their after-concert talk and I mar-
veled at how quickly the time had
passed and how full of energy and op-
timism I was. As each thought came to
me, I became aware of many others
that were "overtones" of the former -
thoughts vertically present but unlikely
to be experienced by me because,
horizontally, I'd likely be "too busy."
Let no one tell you that the experience
I'm describing is a self-involved one; a
good concert, like an involving personal
project, leaves one full of optimism and
energy for more fully experiencing
others. When my projects are going
well for me, I feel like being with other
people; due to the high level of energy
and involvement on Ricci's part, I felt
more open to him. Even beyond the
vibration of his violin, I felt open to the
radiance of his smile.

Barbra 'sself-indulgence

If there were as many laughs in The
Main Event as there are times that
Barbra Streisand gets the camera to
focus on her scantily-clad rear end, it
would be one block-busting comedy.
However, in this shameless homage to
self, Streisand seems more concerned
with getting some part of her anatomy
jiggling within the frame than she is in
creating good comedy.
Her character is Hilary Kramer, a
perfume magnate suddenly left
destitute (which means she has to trade
in her Mercedes for a V.W. bug), when
her financial advisor leaves town with
her fortune. Hilary's only remaining
asset is a former two-bit, boxer, Kid
Natural (Ryan O'Neill). The Kid has
had quite a comfortable existence as
her tax shelter, but now he stands as
her only potential means of support.
Since he can make the best money
through boxing, he has to go back to it.
The Kid is not exactly et~cited by this
prospect, as he scores better with
women than he ever did against boxers,
and he's afraid a flattened nose might
turn off the ladies. However, he soon
realizes that a mashed face is less a
pupishment than what he would sustain
were he to challenge Hilary, who
pushes and prods him back into boxing
with the same singlemindedness that
made her successful in the perfume biz.
UNDERSTANDABLY, this situation
results in much bickering between the
two. Hilary pushes The Kid into action
largely by humiliating him, and she
finds him most marketable when she
does it in front of a big crowd (she pours
ice down his pants during a break in one
well-attended bout). The Kid gets a few;
of his own licks in, but their fighting has
no bitter edge. Theirs is a relationship
like those couples in comedies of the
30's and 40's who would antagonize each

other throughout the film, which we
loved because we knew they'd be lovers
by the end.
Streisand (who directs along with
hairdresser pal Jon Peters) and her
writers Gail Parent and Andrew Smith
have added a twist to this old formula;
Hilary changes sex roles nearly as
much as costumes. She's the tough
businesswoman who plans a marketing
strategy for The Kid. But she's also the
fuzz-brain who prances around in short-
shorts and doesn't have the sense to
realize that if she insists The Kid look
at her while she reads a fight manual to
him during a sparring session, he will
get hit. O'Neill's character also suffers
from a lack of consistency. All through
the film he plays the macho who wants
to get every woman into bed, including
his sponsor. Eventually he makes it
with Hilary (she seduces him in a cute
role reversal), and suddenly he wants
to marry her and have kids. He's hurt
because she doesn't want to settle
This mixup of roles is supposed to be
absurdly hilarious. Sometimes it suc-
ceeds in being merely funny, but the
film is ultimately unsatisfying because
the characters never relate to each
other on an equal level. Instead, script,
camera, and lighting cater consistently
to Streisand.
WE SEE HER perfectly made up and
carefully dressed throughout the film.
Even when she's in her bathrobe, in a
scene which exists to prove that yes,
she too can look frumpy, Streisand
calculates just how much skin to show.
Her frizzy hairdo is so often rim lit that
she hasan ever-present halo around her
head, which she probably believes oc-
curs naturally. O'Neill can't hold a
candle to this artificial illumination; he
is relegated to her shadow.
In contrast to Streisand's calculated

self presentation is one of the film's few
really funny characters, The Kid's
girlfriend, Donna Rochester (Patty
D'Arbanville). Donna is sexy in a
tough, casually thrown-together
fashion; she looks like a 1950's sex kit-
ten who just got out of bed. Donna pours
herself into skin-tight leopard pan-
tsuits, but her hair is always falling
down in her face. She's also a chain
smoker with a cough that would make
Camille's sound like atickle.
Donna is most appealing because she
doesn't let Hilary dominate her the way
everyone else in the movie does. When
Donna finds that Hilary is going to a
promotional party with The Kid, she
warns Hilary to keep her relationship
with him on a business level or "I'll
send someone over to cut your tits off."
Despite those threats, Hilary gets Don-
na's boyfriend. Like I said, it's
Streisand's picture.

The Ann Arbor Film Cooperotive Presents at Aud A
(Francois Truffaut, 1970) 5:40 only-AUD A
A boy who lives in the first twelve years of his in a forest is captured and an
eighteenth-century rationalist philosopher (Truffaut, in a splendid perform-
ance) tries to introduce him to civilization. A true story of a celebrated crisis
in the Enlightenment. One of Truffauts very best. English narration, with
English subtitles.
(Werner Herzog, 1975) 7 & 10:20-AUD A
A film concerned with madness and alienation, based on the legendary
Kasper Houser story about a man who mysteriously appears in a German town
with no memory 'or experience of life. The portrayal of Kasper by Bruno S.,
a psychotic with a similar case history, is as intense as it is unconventional,
The most popular film of the t975 Cannes Film Festival. Subtitled.

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