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July 12, 1975 - Image 7

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1975-07-12

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Saturday, July 12, 1975


Page Seven


'Restless Night':
COryell awakens'
When he isn't working out of his new format,
Eleventh House, Larry Coryell likes to go solo and ex-
periment - at least that's what his latest release The
Restful Mind (Vanguard) implies - and that imagina-
tive collaboration with three members of the jazz
group Oregon has payed off in his most beautiful if
not brilliant work in the past few years.
The album compares favorably with John McLaugh-
lin's My Goals Beyond - it features an acoustic guitar
with an Eastern (as in Indian) flavor to the back-
up but where McLaughlin professes his devotion and

worship, Coryell displays only a shining serenity. It is
peace, not faith, that he is striving for.
As a result, Coryell's approach is more subtle. He
performs the improvisations on Robert De Visee's
"Minuet II" and "Saranande" with a classical re-
straint that is powerful without being intense. "Pavan-
ne For A Dead Princee", clearly the most dangerous
work to interpret because it is such an overplayed
classical piece, is given the original simplicity that
Ravel meant for it as a piano, rather than an orches-
trated, work. Consequently, what comes across is not
so much public anguish as private sorrow.
The album's best moments are two of Coryell's own
compositions - "Ann Arbor" and "Song For Jim
Webb." "Ann Arbor" starts out restrained, building a
departure point for some slow solo reflections by
Coryell - and then it picks up and he soon escapes
(with his sidemen) in avery fast but fine fashion - a
carefully-balanced four-part work that somehow re-
minds me of my college career. "Song For Jim Webb"

has a definite feeling of the Southwest (brought about
by Larry's electric) that is a trademark of that pianist-
composer along with some excellent piano and guitar
The other two numbers vary in pace and mood -
one is exciting and one is collected - while substain-
ing the album's relaxed and refined feel. Guitarist
Ralph Towner fully supports Coryell on guitar - giving
him the room to play while he establishes a complex
rhythm base - as does Glen Moore on acoustic bass
and Collin Walcott on congas and tabla.
The Restful Mind creates an involving atmosphere
that is hard to forget once you've experienced it - you
hear certain riffs and you hang on notes - sometimes
for hours. It's a one-in-a-hundred record and, for jazz,
that's not half bad.
Kurt Harju is a regular contributor to the
Arts Page.

aws: Spielberg on the
By JAMES VALK able tools. scenes for maximum editing effect, con-
A formula is beginning to surface: The construction of the film is immac- ferring on composition and angles to be
take one beat-selling novel, preferably ulate, where camera angles become no- used. Once the filming was completed,
appealing to the morbid curiosities of ticeable to even the unobtrusive viewer. Fields simply manipulated the footage
the masses; adapt it to the screen by There is a definite attempt throughout in such a way that it literally raises the
turning mteaskaovertoahe misien y the film to thematically relate technique audience from their seats, turning Spiel-
young director; solicit the talents of the with event, which subconsciously serves berg's jocular moments into spasms of
best special effects men in the business a bizarre catalyst to suspected terror. pure terror.
(invade Disney if necessary); wait two It is only in the sequences which take This "off balance" technique that is
years through a seemingly doomed pro- place well away from the ocean does the cleverly employed by Spielberg allows
duction schedule; and - presto, anyone audience feel unthreatened, for as soon the director to maintain emotional con-
resembling a human being will be sub- as the action nears the water, the mere trol of his audience, dictating every turn
jected to the final product in one form thought of a shark becomes an omni- that the film's effect has. Purposely in-
or another. serting comedy-type interludes through-
The process worked in 1973 with The out much of the film, often directly be-
Exorcist, and it looks as if it may work fore and after a harrowing confrontation,
even better this year with Jaws. But Spielberg allows his audience a neces-
this time, the scenario is slightly dif- sary vent for mounting tension, only to
ferent. Unlike the Friedkin follies of two have the brief recess abruptly snapped
years ago, Jaws, only the second major by a quick turn of cinematic manipula-
film by cinematic whiz-lkid Steven Siel- tion.

pro wi
film succeeds, in part, due to the mas-
tery of the mechanical sharks which
were built at a cost fo $150,000 each
(three were used) by former Disney ace
Robert Mattey. Although the mechanical
sharks proved a gigantic pain during
filming, their believability is astonishing.
But with all the technical wizardry
that the film exhibits, the real wonder
is 27-year-old Spielberg. Directing with a
style and pace that is noticeable in vir-
tually every scene, Spielberg leaves his
signature with wit and intelligence. He
leads the audience down blind alleys,
and attacks their contrived tranquilities
with startling precision. Jaws is Spiel-
berg's film from beginning to end, and
not an audience who experiences it can
say they didn't feel his presence.
James Valk is a member of the
Arts Page staff.

berg, is a tense and terrifying work, con-
structed in almost classic cinematic style
under the tight utilization of the direc-
tor's sense of mounting fear.
Unlike The Exorcist, Jawsrperpetrates
an unwinding continuem of tension, re-
sulting in an almost unheard of degree
of terror, both seen and imagined. Where
The Exorcist proved to be little more
than a garish freak show, Jaws succeeds
in bending and twisting its audience with
basic cinematic technique, building on
the primitive fear of the unknown, and
threatening to expose the hidden menace
at some. unsuspecting moment in the
very near future.
It appears that the success of the-film
as a whole can be traced back to its very
roots. Much of the literary filler that
packed the pages of Peter Benchley's
enormously popular, but trashy novel has
been eliminated for cinematic adaptation,
a move that ultimately proved as neces-
sary as film in the camera. Within the
mere span of just a couple of hours, the
director cannot possibly expect to gen-
erate a level of anticipated terror when
the delicate mechanism created is in-
terrupted by insidious, unrelated sub-
The film's screenplay, a co-effort by
Carl Gottlieb and Benchley (who has a
brief cameo appearance in the film as
a TV announcer on the beach) serves
as the framework by which Spielberg
crafts his effort. With remarkable cine-
matography by Bill Butler and the gut-
gripping editing of Verna Fields, Spiel-
berg has created a film of stunning im-
pact through mere manipulation of avail-

And it shouldn't be overlooked that the

present force. With the actual visual
connection of the shark withheld until
over an hour into the film, the tension
builds where terror breeds most effec-
tively - in and of the unknown.
Spielberg realizes the benefits of cine-
matic restraint, and his film surpasses
the banality of blatant gore for a plateau
of generated terror. (One of the great
worn-out cliches of film: the blood-
curdling scream magically turns into the
ringing of the telephone.)
Friedkin used this in virtually every
"traumatic" scene in The Exorcist,
quietly and smugly dissolving into un-
related sequences that separate the audi-
ence completely from the unresolved
action just abandoned. This technique
ultimately proved cheap.
Instead, after the violent shark attack
in the film's opening scene, Spielberg
(and editor Fields) extend the terror of
the moment, cutting in a static shot of
the now quiet waters in stark black and
whites that serves as an affirmation of
an eerie finality - a sort of early testa-
ment that establishes the awesome au-
thority of the unseen menace.
This remarkable collaboration between
editor and director is evident in hair-
raising juxtapositions of action that
pounce without notice. With Fields pret-
ent throughout much of the actual film-
ing, Spielberg worked out individual

'Concerto for orchestra':
A delight for samplers

Compared to other classical works,
there is certainly no dirth of performanc-
as of Bartok's Concerto for- Orchestra;
recordings which range from Ozawa's m-
effective effort and von Karajan's some-
what lugubrious rendition to Reiner's
classic interpretation and the newer, ex-
citing performance by Pierre Boulez and
the New York Philharmonic. The most
recent addition to this collection is Ra-
fael Kubelik's excellent release with the
Boston Symphony Orchestra on the Deut-
sche Granmnophon label.
What makes this one particularly in-
teresting, are the though that 1) this
is the same orchestra that premiered the
work scarcely thirty years ago and 2)
that this is Kubelik's second recording of
the work, showing marked improvements
over his first, already fine performance.
Kubelik's intimate understanding of the
work is reflected in the pacing of each
movement. He ably controls and inter-
weaves the various sections without stif-
ling the work's personality. The two most
striking features of this intepretation are
Kubelik's eloquent sense of phrasing
which brings out some of Bartok's most
subtle nuances and the crrispness he in-
stills throughout the orchestra. The work
fairly sparkles under his baton. There
is no better illustration of this than the
second movement, Allegretto Scherzando,
which displays some of Bartok's finest
Kubelik plays these jests to the hilt in a
witty rendition almost assured to inspire
chuckles. In the third movement, he
shows a real sensitivity to Bartok's pas-
sionate Elegia without imparting the
feeling of a dirge which so many wish
to read into this portion of a work ad-
mittedly written during Bartok's final
bouts with leukemia.

No recording could do more for the
Boston Symphony Orchestra's rising .re-
putation. Ater years of gradual decline,
they have certainly done an about-face
over the past few years.
Although this transition results in oc-
casional rough edges, particularly in the
fifth movement, the new spirit, along with
some of the new personnel, are very ap-
parent on the new 'release. No small
credit should be given to DGG, who have
added still another first rate recording
to their excellent catalogue.
The older and ever-popular recordings
by Fritz Reiner and the Chicago Sym-
phony is, in many respects, a good yard-
stick for any new release of the Concerto
for Orchestra. While Reiner's interpre-
tation is impeccable, it seems somewhat
less alive than Kubelik's, but no so pre-
cise and crisp.
Then, too, Kubelik has the advantage
of DGG's first rate recording techniques.
Pierre Boulez's highly regarded re-
cording is, indeed, more of a contender.
Typically, Boulez is precise and almost
cold, but brilliant. Under his baton, the
New York Philharmonic performs ac-
curately and with the virtuosity for
which they are renowned, even though
they frequently don't display it.
The fifth movement, in particular, is
taken at a hair-raising tempo w h i c h
they handle beautifully.
For those not swayed by the quadro-
phonic option of Boulez's recordings, one
of Columbia's best, I would still tend
to recommend the Concerto for Orches-
tra. It is a rendition which keeps listen-
ers on the edge of their chairs while wel-
coming them to all of Bartok's subtlety
and mastery; a first rate listening ex-



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