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August 06, 1976 - Image 6

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1976-08-06

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Page Six Friday, August 6, 1976
Arts & Entertainment THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Jel inek-Gurt concert
not quite a triumph

WEDNESDAY evening in Rackham Auditorium
the University's School of Music presented
cellist Jerome Jelinek and pianist Joseph Gurt
in a concert of cello sonatas by Beethoven, Pou-
lenc, and Rachmaninov.
The concert began in magnificent fashion with
the introductory bars of Beethoven's Sonata in
C major, op. 102, no. 1. This elegaic and noble
music was given a sensitive and penetrating
reading. The performers complemented one an-
other perfectly-Jelinek's golden, yet subdued
tone was matched by a soft and mellow piano
With the beginning of the Allegro, however,
flaws began to show themselves. Beethoven's
compositions thrive on fire, passion, and violent
contrast. One example of this is the opposition
set up between the slow introduction and the
allegro. Gurt and Jelinek missed the point en-
tirely, going on just as before-soft, slow, and
,subtle. And that's just not Beethoven. The
finale, with the exception of the very last bars,

tion. Here the use of pedal takes away from the
crispness which the music of this composerI
needs. Finally, the consistantly slow tempo did
not help.
All composers have their trademarks (it is, for
example, impossible to mistake the music of
Brahms or Mahler for that of any other com-
poser), but the harmonic quirks which identify
Poulenc become terribly trying, making his
music sound overplayed at first hearing. Well,
I suppose I shouldn't complain. From their per-
formance, it was obvious that Jelinek and Gurt
were as bored with the music as I was.
THE SECOND HALF of the concert featured
the Sonata in g Minor, op. 19, by Sergei Rach-
maninov. While he is a far greater talent than
Poulenc, his music inclines toward overlush
melodies, endless layers of counterpoint, and
flashy virtuosity. Whoever said, 'Romanticism
began with gunpowder and ended with sleeping
powder," must have had the music of Rach-
maniov in mind.

was better, if still too matter or tact
e u. In spite of the fact that I do not enjoy this
ALL OF THE FAULTS that marred the Bee- music, I was particularly impressed by the per-
ALLvenpeo manHeFAUretamifedntheed-formance. Jelinek at last played up to his poten-
thoven performance were amplified in the read- tial, providing a brilliant, crisp, and bright tone
ing of Poulenc's Sonate (1948). Like Beethoven,tiahepr rarit, cisandighond
Poulenc makes extensive use of contrast, pitting in the upper registers, while sounding rich and
percussive attacks against lyric melodies. While full-oied in the lower. A cellist, to be success-
percssie atacs aaint lricmeldie. Wile ful, must be able to make his instrument sing,
this was not glossed over by the performers, a fndthutbhabentonseisyinum es -g
lac ofspiit as ainull evden. Te rsuling and that had been conspicuously lacking all eve-
lack of spirit was painfully evident. The resulting ning. At last, in the Rachmaninov, all of the
sound was detached, distant, and cold. melodies sang out beautifully. True, the playing
was rather cold and emotionless, but when con-
Jelinek's tone contributed to this impression, trasted with the remainder of the evening, the
sounding thin and colorless, as if he were play- conclusion was almost breath-taking.
ing in another room with his mute on. Then, too,
he had great difficulty fitting all of the notes This concert came as quite a surprise to me,
into the rapid runs. In the upper register of the following so closely on the heels of the unforget-
instrument his intonation became uncertain. This table performance by therAmerican Trio (in
which Gurt and Jelinek were joined by violinist
was mirrored by Gurt, who used altogether too Charles Avsharian) given earlier last month. I
much pedal. This device adds body and color to suppose that demonstrates that 2 out of 3 just
the piano's tone, but it must be used with modera- isn't good enough.

Jeffrey Selbst
I ~ Summer lag,
P tej..Fledermaus,
and Nashville
W E NOTE with some dismay that summer has about had it
This fact, distinctly regrettable in a climatic sense, should
provoke nothing but joy for the arts-minded of you. The summer
is traditionally everywhere the slowest season for culture and
pursuits of the mind in general.
And in Ann Arbor, the blight is worse. The only offerings,
almost, are spontaneous-type, such as the Medieval Festival, or
overblown, such as the various and sundry Art Fairs. What of
orchestral music, drama, opera, and interesting cinema? It all
goes by the wayside in the hotter months. For that reason alone
we might hail the end of the summer, which is rapidly approach-
ing on its little cat feet or whatever.
Except for one thing. In the last gasp of the beautiful season,
there is going to be the third local production in two years of
Strauss' Die Fledermaus, which ranks as perhaps one of the more
perfect of lilting, silly operettas.
The first production I saw was a year ago November, when
the newly-formed Comic Opera Guild chose this opera as its
premiere presentation. The show was marked by wonderful sing-
ing, though the acting was of a distinctly awful type. It was
straight from the Metropolitan Opera's "stand and project" school
of operasinging. This may make for better diaphragmatic control,
but it makes lousy theater. On the whole, though, the production
was rather good.
Then the Michigan Opera Theater, the one that calls Music
Hall Center in Detroit its home, did a production. That was a
year ago February or so, and their show was marked by the
coy and inventive acting. But as to singing, well . . . one of the
minor roles was played by a state senator from northwest De-
troit. The singing was from the Ted Mack Amateur Hour cast.
The Music School's show ought to be something of a treat,
though. I've attended almost every one of their operatic pre-
sentations in the last few years (with the exception of Carmen
this spring) and I have nothing but lavish praise for the way the
opera department is run, and certainly for the way the shows
are put together, combining grace, taste, and professionalism.
It is with particular delight that I recall the production of the
Marriage of Figaro, though the recent La Boheme takes a close
second in the overall sweepstakes.
It is also true, as some have said, that the Music School's
summer productions are necessarily inferior to those during the
regular year. This is probably true, but a word of caution to
those who would bandy about such nonsense: That is not the
point. The School does the best with its available resources at any
given time, and that's about all that can be asked of anybody.
I've never been disappointed, except when I found that I couldn't
get tickets to Carmen. The operas tend to sell out fast.
Fledermaus opens Thursday, running through Sunday (Aug.
12-15). And after that, we'll have to wait until the fall.
SPEAKING OF which, as long as we're on the subject of Good
Taste (for a change), it seems to me that the film groups
about campus, of which there are and have at various times
been hundreds, have taken a distinct turn for the better this sum-
mer. This isn't to say that their usual offerings aren't worth see-
ing, especially at bargain rates, but this summer they managed
to show one film that I consider simply collosal, and it's showing
(by the way) tonight.
I speak of Robert Altman's magnum opus, Nashville. I don't
believe I was ever quite so immediately impressed with a film
as I was the first time I saw it. In Nashville Altman has been
able to create what in a way may be the most perfect Art-a
film that works busily on both the conscious level and (strongly)
on the unconscious as well. Its texture is so rich and so varied
that one cannot help but gasp through innumerable sittings.
Films really are like classical music in that sense. Tschai-
kovsky is easy listening, but becomes boring because of its
obnoxious lack of complication. There it is, on the surface,
and nothing more to say. One tires rapidly of listening to it. Rich-
ard Strauss, on the other hand, is so rich and varied in his works,
each of them (though particularly that most delightful of all
operas ever written - Der Rosenkavalier) that one could con-
ceivably hear his music uninterruptedly, for days.
Similarly, one cannot watch fatuous garbage like Kubrick is
fond of making more than once, and I find that I can't even gO
that long. Yet a film like Cabaret, or Nashville, manages to hold
my attention through any number of sittings, precisely because
it says different things to me every time I see it. It reveals itself
slowly, and maybe in twelve sittings one can understand it bet-
ter than in one - yet with Art (and this may be a working defi-
nition-gadzooks!) the whole cannot be explained in toto. There
is always that final leap to be made; if it can't, if the piece
defies absolute explanation, it may be Art.

Susan Flanery and Joanne Nail race down the road in the soon-to-be-released film, "Gum-
ball Rally", which also stars Michael Sarrazin.

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