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October 20, 1981 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-10-20

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The Michigan Doily

Tuesday, October 20, 1981

Page 7

Blake facsimiles lack

By RJ Smith
THE PRINTS of William Blake, both
his illuminated manuscripts and
the illustrations he made for other
people's writing, display an unusual
wedding of painting and engraving.
Blake worked as a painter at the prin-
ting press, adding watercolors to the
prints he made.
The printed book was, to Blake, a
means of circulating art on a mass
level. At the same time, the individual
coloring and the brushwork which
enlivened his design made the prints
like no others. Through the book he
conveyed a single message, spoken in
many voices to many people, using the
convergence of mass production and
unique images.
On view through November in the
Graduate Library's Rare Book Room is
an exhibition of facsimiles of Blake's
illustrations, made from some of the
few existing original editions.
The use of print techniques that were
unavailable to Blake, and the lack of his
individual attention give the reproduc-
tions a meaning strikingly different
from the one he had intended. The
exhibition provokes questions about the
propriety of these prints' existence. It
reveals the great impact which
seemingly subtle variations of print-
making can have,
William Blake became an engraver
for a number of reasons, prime among
them the fact that he was not able to
make a living as a painter. His
life-from 1757 to 1827-was spent on
the crest of Great Britain's Industrial
It is an irony that the social forces
which conspired to keep him from
devoting himself more exclusively to
painting and poetry hindered him in
other ways as well. The traditional
printer who worked on a small scale
and oversaw production from begin-
ning to end was disappearing. He was
forced to align with the industrialist
who divided his work among several
people, as technology and in-
dustrialization fatally crippled the prin-
tmaker's trade.,
Blake became an engraver just at

this moment of transition, yet the
mechanical nature of the printing press
hardly handicapped his creativity. His
taste in painting emphasized a crisp,
declamatory line and relegated
coloration to a role subserviant to the
outline. This bias was well-suited to the
printing techniques of Blake's day,
which treated line much better than
complex color schemes.
He sought from the beginning to have
both his poetry and his art reach the
masses. "I pretend not to holiness; yet I
pretend to love, to see, to converse with
daily as man to man," he once wrote.
What better way to achieve this than to
place poetry and illustrations in the
form of an engraved illuminated book
which could be mass-circulated?
The facts of his life tell a different
story, however, for if he had tried to
make a living from his works he would
have starved. He conversed not with
many in his lifetime. This was, sadly, a
situation out of Blake's control. All he
could do was offer a communication
with the faceless, in a personal way.
The machinery of the printing press
alone could not accomplish this, for
reproductions deadened the impact a
work of art could have.
A little more than a century after
Blake's death, Walter Benjamin was to
write that printmaking and all
mechanical reproduction stole from a
work of art its "aura" by denying it a
distinct existence in the world. Blake
himself wrote, "A Machine is not a Man
nor a Work of Art; it is destrcutive of
Humanity & Art; the word
No admirer of the spreading factories
and mills, Blake brooked only simple
technology, guided firmly and adapted
by the human touch. Thus it was that by
adding color and changing the design of
his prints, Blake thwarted the tendency

of mechanical reprod
illustrations their indi
There is no Blake,
suitably Blakean sen
the design of the print
Rare Book Room; tt
paint as Blake woul
provide these facsim
their own. Even th
which he used to mat
disappeared, so the fa
been restruck but r
something vital in th(

uction to deny the facsimiles. The purist would say that
viduality. we are better off preserving the
nor anyone with originals by not creating reproductions
sibility, to change that can only aspire to the state Blake
s on display in the once termed "the sordid drudgery of
here is nobody to fac-simile."
Id have and thus This seems unfair, for we have known
iles with a life of Blake's art since the end of the 19th cen-
he copper plates tury in a way he would almost certainly
ke the prints have have approved of even less-the poetry
acsimiles have not and illustrations separated from each
edrawn. We lose
e creation of these See BLAKE, Page 8

Dooley' s
Tues., Oct. 20
5:30-6:30 p.m.
1/2 Price for Mixed Drinks
25 Free Calendars for Women
Meet U of M Calendar Men!!

Alberto Ginostera: Argentina's premier composer
emotional music
still g igsrn

* By Jane Carl
THIS IS a decade of significant
musical anniversaries. Last year
marked Bartok's 100th birthday. This
season is Stravinsky's 100th anniver-
sary and Haydn's 250th. It is also the'
65th birthday of Latin America's most
outstanding musician, Alberto
Ginastera. At an age when most men
contemplate retirement, Argentina's
premier composer is going stronger
than ever.
Ginastera is playing an active part in
the world-wide musical celebrations
planned for him this year, and he is
working on compositions for the
National Symphony Orchestra of
Washington, D.C., in addition to works
for the New York City Opera.
In Ann Arbor, two concerts present
the works of this increasingly impor-
tant 20th century composer. The first,
performed Oct. 18, featured pianist An-
thony di Bonaventura, and cellist
Aurora Natola-Ginastera, wife of the
composer, performing sonatas by
Ginastera and the more traditional
Bach and Mozart. Unfortunately for the
Ann Arbor audience, the Piano Sonata
No. 2, which was to have had its world
premier at this concert, was not com-
pleted in time for performance.
MThe second concert will be presented
this evening as part of the School of
Music's 21st Annual Conference of
Organ Music. Performing with soloists
di Bonaventura and Natola-Ginastera
will be organist .Marilyn Mason, baritone
Lueslie Guinn, the Contemporary Direc-
tions Ensemble under the direction of
Carl St. Clair, and the University Sym-
phony Orchestra directed by Gustav

First on the program will be
Variazioni e Toccata sopra "Aurora
lucis rutilat," Op. 52, commissioned by
the Twin Cities Chapter of the
American Guild of Organists and
premiered in June, of 1980 by Marilyn
Mason at the .American Guild of
Organists convention in Minneapolis.
Based on a fragment of a 5th century
Paschal Hymn, the work consists of
twelve variations and a fiery toccata.
A highly virtuositic work, organist
Mason considers it one of the largest
and most significant works of the 20th
century-on a par with Variations for
Organ by Schonberg. The highly
chromatic, dissonant piece is described
by Mason as "significant because of its
message and strong statement."
Marilyn Mason, a student of the
famed NadiaBoulanger,has com-
missioned over 30 works by contem-
porary composers and was the first
American woman to play in Westmin-
ster Abbey, the first woman organist to
perform in Latin America, and the first
American organist to play in Egypt.
The second work on the program will
be the Serenata on Neruda's "Love
Poems," Op. 42, which premiered in
1974 with Ginastera conducting and
soloists Justino Diaz and Aurora
Natola-Ginastera. The work was com-
missioned by the ChamberMusic
Society of Lincoln Center and is based
on works by Chilean poet Pablo
Neruda, famdus for his lyricism and
epic violence.
The poems themselves are fan-
tastically romantic, often erotic works
framed by Ginastera's constant

The most celebrated
American dance company in the world.
- The New York Times
SFriday, Oct. 30
Seraphic Dialogue (Dello Joio)
Judith (Varese)
Acts of Light (Nielsen)
Saturday, Oct. 31
Diversion of Angels(Dello Joio)
Errand Into The Maze (Menotti)
Cave Of The Heart (Barber)
Frescoes (Barber)
Sunday, Nov.1
Seraphic Dialogue (Dello Joio)
Night Journey (Schuman)
Acts of Light (Nielsen)
Dance programs subject to change
Martha Graham Dance Company
.Power Center
Tickets at $12.00, $11.00, $10.00, $8.00
Tickets at Burton Tower, Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Weekdays 9-4:30, Sat. 9-12 (313) 665-3717
Tickets also available at Power Center
1% hours before performance time
In Its 103rd Year


Campus Interviews: Tuesday, October 27, 1981
Cameron Iron Works is one of the largest manufacturers of equipment and
systems for the oilfield, aerospace and nuclear energy industries. We will be
interviewing on your campus in the near future for positions at our facili-
ties in Houston, Texas.
We are looking for ambitious, highly motivated graduates with degrees in
the following area:
Please check with your placement office to schedule inter-
views with our representatives for the date(s) listed above.
Cameron Iron Works
P.O. Box 1212
Houston, Texas 77001

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