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November 17, 1982 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-11-17

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, November 17, 1982
Leipzig taps musical shoes

Page 7

By Jane Carl
T HE GEWANDHAUS Orchestra of
Leipzig has has a long and noble
history. Founded in 1743 by the town-
speople of Leipzig, the group's original
leader was Johann Sebastian Bach.
Felix Mendelssohn became the conduc-
tor in 1835, and premiered many of his
own and others' compositions. In the
19th century, the orchestra had the
likes of Arthur Nikisch, Gustav Mahler,
Bruno Walter, and Wilhelm Fur-
twangler as conductors; so when Kurt
Masur became the music director in
1970, he had a long tradition and a tough
act to follow.
In Sunday night's Hill Auditorium
concert, the distinguished looking
Masur bowed his graying head and
waited for complete silence before
beginning Beethoven's Concerto in D
major, Op. 61, for Violin and Orchestra.
The Allegro ma non troppo began
with a subtle restraint that would
characteize the evening's concert both
to its advantage and disadvantage.
Violin soloist Karl Suske displayed
great technical facility and a certain

bittersweeet aura about his playing, but
his careful restraint proved a hindran-
ce to the music.
The Larghetto showed the robust
richness and contrasting delicacy with
which the string section could play, but
the Rondo: allegretto was the work's
crowning glory. The simple theme
lilted exuberantly along with an unex-
pected freshness and crispness. Suske's
cadenza was full of subtle nuance and
brilliant precision, but Masur's manic
movements did not really inspire fiery
playing from either the dark German
winds, the silky strings, or the reticent
Suske.
The second half was taken up by
Mahler's Symphony No. 1 in D major.
The opening movement is marked
Langsam, schleppend wie ein
Naturlaut, or "Slowly, drawn out like a
sound of nature," and the difficult
beginning lent the perfect air to the
marking. The various bird imitations
in the winds gave the audience an op-
portunity to hear the different sound
that Germanwind players produce, par-
ticularly the thinner, flexible oboe
sound.
The second movement, marked
Kraftig bewegt, doch nicht zu snell,

or "Strongly agitated, but not too fast,"
was far more charming than agitated.
With a return to the lilting character of
the third movement of the Beethoven
concerto, the phrasing was eloquent
and graceful. The brass flourish at the
end was full without being bombastic,
but not quite as stirring as it could have
been.
The Feierlich and gemessen, ohne
zu sc hleppend third movement was an
interesting juxtaposition of "Frere
Jacques" in a minor key and a satirical
gypsy tune. The comedy began with the
ominous children's song as a double
bass solo which passed around the or-
chestra as a round and faded to nothing
at the end of the movement.
The final movement, Sturmisch
bewegi, wasa strong finish which began
with a starkly violent shots in the dark
from the string section hinting at fur-
ther to come. The agitation transfor-
med into the first truly romantic
playing of the evening,-and finally the
music was infused with passion. Later,
the gentle bird calls of the first
movement recurred and grew into a
lush entity full of raging brass fanfares.
The most startling visual
phenomenon of the Gewandhaus Or-
chestra of Leipzig, one of East Ger-
many's 88 state-supported orchestras,
was seeing over 100 adult males
wearing exactly the same pair of shiny,
black patent leather shoes. Upon fur-
ther examination, they were all
wearing the same white ties andtails.
The orchestra's half dozen female

members were also clad in identical
dresses.
This leads to some pondering about
the state of affairs in East German or-
chestras. The string section played with
a silky, homogenous sound, but it was.
also unremarkable. Violin soloist Karl
Suske, also the orchestra's concer-
tmaster, played with a bittersweet
sound and unflinching technique, but he
continually forsook passion for ac-
curacy. The Mahler contained the most
expressive moments of the evening, but
even they suffered foin an abundance of
restraint.
One cannot imagine every player in
an American orchestra wearing the
same shoes or playing with the same
sound. What about the other 87 East
German orchestras? If they play with
the precision, accuracy, and obvious
caring of the Gewandhaus Orchestra of
Leipzig, they are remarkable groups;
but if they play with the same
overabundance of restraint, they might
do well to buy different shoes.

The Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performs Sunday night at Hill
Auditorium.

'Records

Culture Club--'Kissing to
be Clever' (Virgin)
The singer for Culture Club looks like
a girl/the singer for Culture Club is a
boy, Boy George.
Boy George sings like he's black/Boy
George is white.
Culture .Club play white pop/Culture
Club play black pop.
Culture Club sing love songs/Culture
Club sing political songs:
"Do *you really' want to hurt
rte"/"We're dvin soldiers, we won't
.dance for the devil".
It is said that when two juxtaposing
ideas are presented that the overall ef-
fect is one of tension. I am very tense. I
simply don't understand this album at
Sall. Did someone ever say something to
you that made you drop to the floor,
clutching your head with your hands
and chanting "No, no, no, no, help, I
don't understand?"
Did you ever think how difficult it is
to write a review of an album, one that
doesn't disappear when placed against
awhite wall, when you are on the floor,
clutching your head with your hands

and crying out to your mommy?
I used to love simple things. I still do.
Sharp edges are so much easier to un-
derstand. A knife is a lot easier to com-
prehend than a French curve.
Boy that Boy, oh boy, buoyancy, boil.
There; that's the boy picture. He can
sing. He can sing. I love it when Boy
boings off the background boys. Inter-
play of vocals-oops, forgot boysen-
berry-makes for an immediate boy oh
boy!
Culture populates the album like so
many dogs on the lone prairie.
Thunk-the first dart hits white culture.
The western. Clint Eastwood. There is a
song on this album, "White Boys Can't
Control It," which brings to the screen
two lonely men at opposite ends of a dir-
ty street in a bawdy southwest dust
bowl toilet. Except, of course, for a
darkish human running between the
gunfire a thumpin and a pluckin.
Thunk-second dart. Except for one
man, todos los hombres de group son
blancos. But, they play often as black
as they do white-more so, fading to
black. And dammit if they don't con-
front the issue: Your white dance ik

an enem v. The overall picture is
fading to grey-not a mix as much as a
confusion.
Thump-dartword ho! Sexual
culture. If this George character is the
hog vou made moe, I's hate to see the
pastry chef. Androgeny, assault and
battery. But it's nice to be prepared for
it anyway: Who's got the new bov
gen d4r?
Someone once said that this album
could easily be construed (and
probably has been) as a harmless, cot-
ton-candyish meld of funk/pop a la
those Barbers of Britain 100. I got news
for you all: There ain't nothing in Hair-
cuts like the dark and shitty that runs
through side two of this here.
Nobody likes the idea of being a
member in a club and not knowing
about it. Yet there is that underlying
brotherhood (how the heck could this be
printed and not laughed at?). Isn't it
stupid that men and women and blacks
and whites still fight because men are
men, women are women, whites are
whites, blacks are blacks. Confusion
perhaps triumphs when clear thinking
dies. "Regression towards the norm"

as Wm. F. Buckley, Jr. would say.
A primer for an upcoming throwing
away of all that is make, female, black
or white? The ultimate recognition that
we're all the same? I think rather a well
played and wonderfully arranged
Clever Kiss. A kiss-off of ridiculous
s t e r e o- m a k e it quadrophonic-types.
Tension headache number three hun-
dred and ninety seven. So then he got
off the floor and decided to dance.
by C.E. Krell

How to civilize a.m.

THE ART ENSEMBLE
EM OF CHICAGO

;T
THE ART ENSEMBLE
~OF CHICAGO
(?~ ~7eftsa

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ECM
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This new two-r;uoe
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the Art Ensembles tetl
and intensely spontaneous
music. From early African frms
through be-bop to tree, this is an -
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The schedule may be less than civilized, but you don't have to be. Try a warm cup of
Cafe Francais. Smooth and creamy-light, it's a nicer way to meet the morning. And
just one of six deli-
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