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December 06, 1980 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1980-12-06

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The Michigan Doily

Saturday, December 6, 1980

Page 5

New music thrives in A2

A sloppy Soph Show

Contemporary classical music at its
liveliest has brightened the Ann Arbor
music scene this year. The Music
School's Composer's Forum, and Con-
temporary Directions Ensemble,
Eclipse's Philip Glass concert, and in-
dependent local groups like The Current
and Modern Consort have all provided
excellent performances of local com-
p6sers and well-known modern
Jazz, rock, ethnic and classical music
have been converging and cross-
fertilizing in recent' years. Jazz
musicians like Anthony Braxton,
Richard Abrams, and the Art Ensem-
ble of Chicago have earned new respect
for classically influenced jazz; Brian
Eno and Robert Fripp, former rockers,
now produce ambient electronics with a
strong minimalist direction; classical
composers like Steve Reich, Terry
Riley, and Philip Glass have gained
wide acceptance in the jazz and rock
avant-garde; and modern neo-
Romantics like George Crumb create a
gripping, folkloric new eclecticism that
ses the ear and mind. Those who
asscitecontemporary classical
music with the abstruse mathematical
calculations of Schoenberg are in for a
pleasant surprise.
THE MUSIC SCHOOL'S composition
department is one of the most respected
in the nation, and the Composer's
Forum showcases new student com-
positions at informal concerts in the in-
timate and resonant Music School
Recital Hall. Pieces for woodwind quin-
tet, alternate with solo marimba, elec-

tronic tapes with dancers and pianos;
and the audience is treated to a
program of world premieres, but it's
wise not to be too loudly critical-the
composer may be sitting next to you!
The disorganized and demoralized
Contemporary Directions Ensemble has
returned to vigorous life under the
direction of Carl St. Clair, and the
season premiere November 1 was
triumphant. The programs opened with
Hyperprisms', a modern classic by
Frank Zappa's idol, Edgar Varese, con-
tinued with an Ives-influenced brass
quintet by UM composition prof
William Bolcom; Cammer Konzert by
Lighetti, whose work you've heard in
Kubrick's 2001 (remember the choir
singing when the monolith is awakened
by the sun in Tycho Crater? The strange
sounds during the "trip"?); and a new
suite for harpsichord by the Univer-
sity's William Albright. Ever hear a.
harpsichord play hot solo lines over an
eight-to-the-bar, boogie-woogie bass?
THE CD ENSEMBLE'S last concert
of the term is December 6 in Rackham.
Don't miss it, if only to experience the
wonderful beauty and calm of the"
auditorium. Rackham was the setting
for Eclipse Jazz's presentation of Ann
Arbor composer George Cacciopo and
the Philip Glass Ensemble. Cacciopo's
half of the program included a magical
work for keyboards and percussion,
Cassiopeia. Pianos, electronic pianos,
organs, marimbas and gongs were
distributed around the auditorium, im-
provising off a starchart-like graphic
score, creating a fascinating, oceanic
environment of sound.

Philip Glass' eight-piece ensemble of
keyboards, reeds, vocalist and audio
mixer plays a ' sort of trance
music-rapid arpeggios gradually shift
in a.narrow range of chords, combining
and recombining in an absorbing
stream of sound that sounds like
traditional melody but doesn't quite
work like it. Sometimes the keyboards
dominate, sometimes the saxes,
sometimes the singer's soprano. Eclip-
se's presentation of this concert signals
an extension of their admirable produc-
tion into new fields.
Local composers are no longer
restricted to the resources of the music
school-The Current and Modern Con-
sort has produced two superb chamber
concerts siice summer, in a modest but
assured fashion that sets a high stan-
dard of literature and performance,
largely through the efforts of com-
poser/percussionist/conductor David
Colson. Their last concert October 7
featured dancers, tapes, a handbill
choir and the gamelan-like musical
sculpture of Midland composer David
Another concert is tentatively
scheduled for February, and this
modest beginning may signal the
emergence of one of the premiere con-
temporary ensembles in the Midwest,
so keep your eyes, ears, and mind open,
and don't miss-the Contemporary
Directions Ensemble's free concert,
December 6, at 8 p.m., in Rackham.
The present-day composer refuses to

The UAC Soph Show production of
Hello, Dolly! was not without
redeeming features. But one felt
relieved not to have to entrust one's
health to the care of a pre-med, if this
staging was characteristic of the
professionalism which can be expected
from pre-professionals.
WHILE SOME mistakes are bound to
be made from time to time, this cast
seemed determined to, if not destroy, at
least knock over everything in sight. As
Dolly Levi sang goodbye to Horace
Vandergelder, the podium from the
courtroom scene immediately
preceding came crashing down. Earlier
in the evening, when Cornelius and
Barnaby were supposed to be hiding in
Mrs. Molloy's hat shop, they knocked
over the table which was to have been
their hiding place.
The ad libbed scene which followed
said much for the creativity of Shawn
Howard and Lex Martin, (Cornelius
and Barnaby, respectively), as they not
only very nearly succeeded in making
the accident look like part of the show,
but also sustained it for a good three or
four minutes. Having nowhere else to
hide, Howard stepped behind a con-
venient hatrack and cowered there.
Martin then relieved him of the
position; being scarcely larger than the
hatrack himself, it almost seemed as
though he had a hiding place. Howard
left without anywhere to go but upstage
stage, began to mimic the dance steps
of Mrs. Molloy, Mrs. Levi, and Mr.
Vandergelder, who had by this time

burst out in song. Martin joined him in
his mimicry, so that it looked as if they
were making fun of being out in the
open. The whole thing could have
passed until Mrs. Molloy, played by
Mary Fisher, pointed out that indeed,
Mr. Vandergelder's suspicions were
correct; there was a man hiding under
the table. Alas, the table was now on the
Martin and Howard were very good
in their roles as head clerk and
assistant. Martin used his spindly body
to an advantage, conveying Barnaby's
timidity without overplaying the role.
Howard's character had just the right
amount of self respect without being in-
dignantly self-righteous. Unfor-
tunately, his tendency toward clowning
made Cornelius, at times, seem less a
dissatisfied 33-year-old shop keeper,
than Shawn Howard. But on balance,
his performance was the evening's
best. He has, among other things, a
rich, pleasing Voice.
dergelder, in comparison, had a
range of about six notes, all' of which
sound bad. He also had a bizarre desire
to stress every word he says, so that he
came off sounding much like a certain
ex-president ("Let me make this per-
fectly clear").
Debbie Klein's (Dolly Levi) singing,
though somewhat better, tended to be
shrill, when she was not overpowered
by the orchestra. Her first song was
almost completely lost to the horn sec-
tion. She does convey, however, exactly
the right kind of endearing meddling
personality. Her performance in Mrs.
Molloy's hat shop was particularly con-
vincing, as it gave her the opportunity
to be extremely Yenta-like.

And one wonders whether a director
sat in the auditorium while assigning
chorus parts. The front line of the
chorus was so badly balanced that I
was forced to wonder if there had been
no guidance at all. One of the dancers,
obviously trained in classical. ballet,
made the rest of the line look !like the
klutzes they were. Though she was far
and away the most graceful of the bun-
ch, she should have been in back, so the
faults of the others would not have been
so glaringly obvious.
Aside from an occasional glimmer of
acting talent, the show is barely above
the level of a high school production,
and could benefit from a few more
weeks of rehearsal. Given the tradition
of Soph Shows of the past, this comes as
no surprise. It is distressing;
nonetheless. The players are not, after
all, in high school.
Every FRI &

At 12:00 midnight


'Cockburn's' latest is best

It's always a pleasure to witness a
consistent improvement in the work of
a talented artist, particularly in the
field of music. Ten years ago, Canadian
singer-songwriter Bruce Cockburn was
in the earliest stages of his career,
recording his guitar-based folk com-
positions, seemingly destined for ob-
arly albtums,likeigh Winds White
gkyhowed a good deal of promise, but
the music was annoyingly simple at
times, and the lyrics too closely resem-
bled coffee-table poetry-' "pretty" but
vague. Later releases exhibited a
maturity in both aspects of his work,
finally leading to the well-deserved
critical acclaim for Dancing In The
Dragon's Jaws, his tenth LP, which ap-
peared earlier this year. The single
release, "Wondering Where The Lions
Are," proved to be Cockburn's first hit
in the U.S.
HIS LATEST album, Humans, con-
tinues Cockburn's investigation of
mankind's conflict with a variety of
forces. Frequently it is human frality
which sparks the conflict, and often the
songs center on man's struggle kith his
own emotions. This concept is most
strongly represented in "What About}
The Bond." A slow reggae beat drives
home Cockburn's convincing argument
to reconstruct a failing love. The stance
he presents is based both on the
Christian belief of the sanctity of
marriage, and the desperate tug of his
own feelings. Yet he sums up the song
simply, and almost ironically-"Do you
want, the pain that's already. been
spent/to all be Wasted-c'mon."
In Cockburn's earliest recordings, his
lyrics often seemed directionless, and
heavily weighted with vague images of
nature. He's certainly made
magnificent progress in developing
lyrical cohesiveness; he deals more
with specifics and has eliminated much
of the unnecessary embellishments.
The words have a stark philosophical

air about them, although not to the
point of inaccessability.
"How I Spent My Fall Vacation,"
which opens side two of Humans,
exemplifies Cockburn's refined lyrical
presence. The song describes three in-
cidents of human interaction, each a
glimpse of emotion. The last scene
evokes an almost existentialist picture
of a man on the brink of losing his life
through a misunderstanding. A Roman
police officer readies his gun at a
traveler, who is sick, and unable to
communicate the fact that he means no
The music in this tune, as it is through
the album, rolls smoothly, and just
about as trim as anyone could ask. The
arrangements on Humans are intricate
without becoming over-bearing, and
the result is melody work which enhan-
ces the lyric rather than buries it.
technique on the acoustic guitar is daz-
the ann arbor .
Film cooperative
7:00-MLB 4
9:00-MLB 4
$2 single feature
$3 double feature

zling, rivalled only by the likes of folk
artists John Fahey and Leo Kottke.
This is perhaps less evident on his
albums than when he is heard in live
performance, but only because the
recordings exhibit the guitar work
masterfully blended with the perfor-
mances of his very capable backing
Cockburn's music today is at a point
that fellow-Canadian Joni Mitchell
*might have reached had she not met up
with Tom Scott in 1972 and taken the.
L.A. Express out to jazzland. His
melodies and arrangements eminate
from the folk-rock genre, but nuances
of blues and even reggae are evident to
give the music a substantial variety.
Although he. often focuses his songs
on the grim realities of human existen-

ce, Cockburn usually offers a
suggestion of hope which peers out
from behind the imagery. To some
degree, each tune presents a scene of
humans on their knees, but rising up to
meet whatever challenge they face.
In the tune "Fascist Architecture"
Bruce Cockburn shruggs his shoulders
in a perfect summary of his outlook
when he states:
Been throughthe wringer but I'm
Walls are falling and I'm OK
Under the mercy and I'm OK
Gonna tell my old lady
Gonna tell my little girl
There isn 't anything in the
That can lock up my love again

Tonight ANNIE HALL Tonight
An intelligent comedy! Don't see much of them around lately, ask Grammy
Hall. Mellow from Marin County, Lobsters from Maine, everything from Man-
hattan, and a truly probing and enjoyable film from Woody Allen, my favorite
guilt-ridden hedonist. 7:00-9:05 LORCH.
Sunday at 7:00 & 9:00 TABU Lorch Hall Aud.
Robert Flaherty teamed with F.W. Murnau for a hauntingly romantic story.
filmed in the South Seas with native actors. "Images are wonderful and the
drama still oddly touching" -U. Robinson.
CINEMA GUILD Celluloid Garters

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