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October 24, 1982 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-24

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ARTS
rhe Michigan Daily Sunday, October 24, 1982 Page 7
%alek revitalizes classics

( U s

I

BY Robert Cassard
T HURSDAY'S performance by the
Prague Symphony Orchestra at
Hill Auditorium was one of varying in-
tensity and commitment. While uneven
i spots, the concert included some
. ctacular moments which would cer-
tainly have been highlights by anyone's
standards.
From the opening notes of
Smetana's tone-poem "The Moldau,"
the orchestra was well-disciplined and
technically fine. The introduction was
played a bit louder than is normal, with
a full woodwind sound and especially
strong pizzicato notes in the strings.
Dy namic contrasts were exaggerated
t 'their reasonable limits which made
rising and falling phrases of the
"ver" them very evocative and the
orchestra achieved a lively and precise
staceato feel in the dance section and a
soft' irridescent effect during the "dan-
ce of the water nymphs," as Smetana
himself called it.
"From Bohemia's Forests and
Mead'ws" is from the same cycle of tone
poeips entitled Ma Vlast or My Coun-
try The nature of this piece with its
den shifts is dynamics made it more
Wfi cul t to unify. The strings ar-
ticiikted repetitive phrases of the in-
troduction very well and began the
following fugue section with a bang.
Their playing was near perfect even
though the full orchestra sound had
become somewhat overloaded and
mudiy with the entrance of the cellos
aI basses.
'he overall effect of the Smetana
w~%ks . was not quite as positive as one
ht have hoped. They seemed inten-
as crowd-pleasers instead of pieces
that the orchestra (and Valek) really
wished to perform. By most standards,
the performance was still excellent, but
fr1*p a Czech orchestra playing their
ow' :nation's music, the performance
seepIed a bit withdrawn and conser-

vative.
Haydn's three-movement Trumpet
Concerto in E-flat was next on the
program, featuring Vladislav Kozderka
as soloist. Unfortunately, the piece was
not well-matched to the others on the
program. The shift from Smetana's
broad romanticism to Haydn's pristine
classicism was not a complimentary
one. Disregarding this, though, the con-
certo was still well-played. The first
movement got off to a smooth start with
a nice orchestral accompaniment for
Kozderka's rather modern trumpet
sound. What kept his performance from
attaining its full potential was his slight
tendency to rush 16th-note phrases. He
simply did not sound relaxed until the
cadenza in which his technical mastery
became more apparent.
By the third movement, his playing
seemed more relaxed and in the true
flavor of the piece. He chose to inter-
pret some legato notes in the original
theme as staccato ones but returned to
Haydn's markings in the
recapitulation. The concerto was very
warmly received.
The second half of the concert con-
sisted wholly of Tchaikovsky's Sym-
phony No. 5 in E Minor, for which the
orchestra seemed to come to life. Valek
was under complete control of the score
and worked entirely without the sheet
music. For the first time that evening
he was deserving of the title "one of
Europe's great young conductors." The
musicians were very responsive to his
direction and their discipline really
paid off as it allowed them complete in-
volvement in the music. The first
movement was as well-played as I have
ever heard it. Both dynamically and
melodically it exuded a romantic ef-
fulgence that eludes all but the most in-
spired performances.
The brooding opening (reminiscent of
Romeo, and Juliet by the same com-
poser) gave way to a superb french
horn solo. By the time the strings got

the melody, it was obvious that this
music is Valek's forte. Aside from some
problems achieving unison pizzicato
rhythms, his performance was right on
target.
The finale, the Fifth Symphony's
final statement of "victory through
struggle," seemed to be an apt footnote
to the evening's performance as a
whole. The piece simply soared.
A resounding ovation brought out
Valek for an unscheduled encore, one of
Dvorak's Slavonic Dances. The Prague
Symphony under Vladimir Valek put in
a near-perfect reading of this or-
chestral showpiece, the kind of reading
one might have hoped for earlier in the
program. It was, however, a welcome
surprise at the end-attesting to the or-
chestra's virtuosity and providing a
perfect conclusion to the concert.

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Daily Photo by BRIAN MASU
Vladimir Valek conducts the Prague Symphony Thursday night at Hill
Auditorium.

flassical,
lues,
azz, and
country
F ANS OF Swedish chamber music
will find friends in the Fresk
ing Quartet, performing at
Rackham Auditorium Wednesday
evening at 8:36 p.m. Formed in
Copenhagen in 1965, the quartet ap-
pears as part of the "Scandinavia
Tittay" series, courtesy of the
American-Scandinavian Foundation
a*dthe University Musical Society.
pickets are going fast for the Musical
Soety's Thursday presentation of the
dpervation Hall Jazz Band at Hill
bXfit or ium. Also on Thursday,
r tovned Chicago blues singer Koko
T tor struts her stuff at Rick's
* rican Cafe.
on Friday, the Oak Ridge Boys
bang country and "Elvira" to Crisler
Afeda, via the Office of Major Events.

RICHARD GERE
DEBRA WINGER
AN OFFICER
ANDA
E1vo EK
Mon.-7:40, 9:55
Sun.-12:40, 3:00,
5:20, 7:40, 9:55

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PHONE 668-6066

The Hillel Foundation Beit Midrash program
presents:
"BIO-MEDICAL ETHICS AND
THE JEWISH TRADITION
lecture by DR. GEORGE SIEGEL
.University Hospital neurologist
Monday, Oct. 25, 7 PM, 1429 Hill St.

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ONE ITEM PER COUPON. ONE COUPON PER CUSTOMER.

The Non-Profit Student Bookstore. 341 East Liberty, at Division.
FLOOR 1 EXPIRES: SAT./OCT.30
I MI7E(3$5.00 OFF

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The Ann Arbor News' FORUM... LIVE Series
Presents
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VAST INVENTORY REDUCTION !
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Dr. Timothy Leary
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vs.

G. Gordon Liddy

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(convicted Watergate conspirator)

The Non-Profit Student Bookstore. 341 East Liberty, at Division.

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