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July 28, 1978 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-28

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The Michigan Daily-Friday, July 28, 1978-Page 7
Szeryng and Sandor: Perfection

As I listened to Sandor and Szeryng
play the three Beethoven Sonatas, Nos.
4, 5, and 10, I somehow thought of the
expression, "Beethoven would be
rolling in his grave if he heard this." In
that instant, Beethoven seemed to oc-
cupy the empty seat next to me. Not
wanting to seem annoying or nosy, yet
terribly interested in the master's
opinion, I watched him out of the corner
of my eye. All he did throughout the
evening was nod reflectingly, a small,
contented smile on his lips. Of course,
he did dab his eyes once during the
second movement of the Spring Sonata
with a lace handkerchief. But I tried not
to watch.
The duo performed what is in my
mind the definitive version of the
Beethoven Sonatas. The vitality,
exuberance, vivacity, and sheer vir-
but a blo
Those who were willing to brave
thunderstorms, tornado warnings, and
one of the most incurably cute scripts
ever written, to attend the opening per-
formance of the Ann Arbor Civic
You'reAGood Man
Charlie Brown
Book, music and lyrics by
Clark Gesner
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
Lydia Mendessohn Theatre
CharlieBrown ........ .. .Tsm Conch
Lucy ............Cachy Hilbish McNeela
Snoopy .......... .............James Freeman
Linus ......................Michael Morrissey
Patty .... .. . Jani Neuman
Liz Jelinek, direcr; Dill Murrell,
musica/director; David Marshall, choreography;
Roger Wertenberger, se designer;
Mark Bowles, lighting
Theatre's You're A Good Man Charlie
Brown found at least the individual per-
formances worth the effort. The cast of
six local performers zestfully enacted
some essentially inane roles, giving
them more life than can be reasonably
be expected of two-dimensional comic
strip characters.
The problems with this play were
probably once unanticipated. Charles
Schultz's cleverly inept entities were so
popular in print that it was only natural
to attempt to bring them to life.
However, it is one thing to read a four-
panel joke with an ironic punch line and
quite another to enact a series of them
as vignettes. It is to this crew's credit
that at least half of the ironic twists hit
a responsive chord in the audience.
THE VIGNETTES explore the per-
sonality of each character, delving in-

tuosity of their performance was in-
credible. Unlike other versions I have
heard, especially of the Spring Sonata,
Sandor and Szeryng chose not to em-
Henryk Szeryng, violinist
Gynrgy Sandorpianist
Sonata No.4in
A minorOp. 23.............Beethoven
Sonata No. 1 in
G major, Op. 96 ...............Beethoven
Fs n a.orOp. 24<("spring">......Beethoven
Presented by the University
phasize the romantic nature of the
pieces by resorting to syrupy glissandi
and that overt phrasing that screams,
"Look at me, I'm romantic." Instead,
their restraint combined with a sense of
frown ':Ago
Ick ea of a
to their fantasies and the frustrating
realities of their actual potential. It was
particularly in this fantasizing that the
cast poured out their own creative
energy to give more substance to the
The best example of this was Linus'
(Michael Morrissey) mock burlesque
number entitled "My Blanket And Me."
Morrissey's imaginative flailing of the
blanket reached one of the few true
points of near-comedy in the
production. Another notable
performance was "Suppertime," a
gymnastic ballet danced by Snoopy
(Jim Freeman) in honor of his culinary

dynamics that should be copyrighted,
allowing them to play with perfection.
THE PAIR played as if one being
with four hands were executing the
precise runs, the carefully timed accen-
ts, the dramatic legato passages. They
were both consistently listening to the
other's playing, guaging the mood and
tone, each compensating for the other's
performance in such a way that both
were heightened.
Hearing any two sonatas, one is
struck by the similarity of techniques
Beethoven used. For example, the
staccato triplets offset by the theme or
variation thereof, the grace notes prior
to an accented note, followed by quiet
staccato or lyric half-notes. Beethoven
was a master of the dramatic, increasi
ing the speed and intensity, while
holding back the volume, teasing the
audience, creating excitement and
)od -man,
THE SINGING was somewhat
uneven. Most of the cast intermittently
revealed rather pleasant voices, but
they tended to lose control, particularly
in a chorus. Often the singers ended up
rushing the orchestra.
The staging was comfortably
economical. Large blocks served as
props or furniture, and the lighting was
used to create shadows on the dark blue
backdrop. The staging quite often
enhanced the double meaning of the
On the whole, however, the produc-
tion was not nearly as entertaining as it
should have been, given the talent and
vitality of the performers. Perhaps
children voicing candidly existen-
tialist rationalizations simply do not
amuse as paradoxically on the stage as
they do in newsprint. At any rate, if you
go to see this play be sure to take the
kids - and pick them up after it's over.

suspense. The duo made excellent use
of this technique.
THE EVENING opened with the
Sonatas in A minor and G major. One
can truly see the development of the
composer by comparing the complexity
and appeal of the two. The A minor's
Presto and Allegro molto movments
are charming, the presto dashing and
kinetic. However, they do not have the
power or subtle grace of the Allegro
moderato and Poco allegretto 6f the G
minor sonata.
Both of these, however, were a
preamble to one of the most famous of
the ten sonatas - along with the Dreyt-
zerm which will be performed tonight
- the Spring Sonata, Opus 24 in F
major. The beginning of the first
movement is elegant and lyrical, with
the piano and violin trading melody and
accompaniment. The quiet, serene day
suddenly becomes stormy, long accen-
ted notes followed by short, quick jabs,
like raindrops. The Adagio was played
with immense feeling, Szeryng
especially emoting warmth and
THE SCHERZO which followed was
perhaps the most playful of any in the
evening, the piano and violin toying
with one another, the latter entering
just as the former finished. However,
surely the most optimistic and joyous
movement is the last, Rondo: Allegro
ma non troppo. Performed like a fresh
breeze which invigorates and heightens
an already glorious day, the movement
seemed alive, notes rippling off the
strings of the two with fluidity.
The evening was concluded with two
encores, the third movement form the
Sonata No. 3 and the Adagio from the
Sonata No. 2. Mr. Szeryng was
somewhat wary of doing a second en-
core, since "the dorms close at 10:00."
It was worth the evening on the

Looking fore mete?
Advertise in the

Thef Is suspense an action,cu

FRIDAY: 7:00 and 9:15
2:00, 7:00, 9:15
,edible people ynu nore about,
dlwth John Williams' music,

"You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown"
based on "Peanuts" by Charles M. Schulz
presented by
Ann Arbor Civic Theatre
July 26-29 Lydia Mendelssohn Theatre
Tickets: CURTAIN 8 pm
$4.00 Weds. & Thurs. $4.50 Fri.'& Sat.
Children 16 and under who are accompanied by an adult are $1.00 off the
regular price. Weds., July 26
Box Office (in the theatre lobby) willbe open e..July240through


Just when you
thought it -was
safe to go back
in the water...

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