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December 08, 1982 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1982-12-08

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Wednesday, December 8, 1982

Page 7

U I

Hornback

'S

Troupe takes new directions

Dickens
no
humbug
KNOW. You missed your Charles
Dickens fix last Christmas
season. You don't want to make the
same mistake this year. Well, you
don't have to, because help is on the
way.
Thanks to English professor Bert
G. Hornback and the Ann Arbor
branch of the International Dickens
P ellowship, you can hear old Charlie
dome to life right before your very
ears. Hornback's dramatic readings
of A Christmas Carol will fill the
decked halls of the Clements
Library (on S. University) this
Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m.
Seasonal music will precede both
Clements Library readings, and will
begin shortly after 7:30 p.m. On
Friday evening, Clair Ross perfor-
ms at the harp. Saturday's music
will be provided by the "Cantabile
Brass Quintet : Carolyn Bybee and
Mark Morgan, trumpets, Willard
Zirk, French horn, Brooks Barnes,
trombone, and Robert Calkins, tuba.

H ornback
... gets Scrooged

By Jerry Brabenac
HE UNIVERSITY of Michigan
T music school's Contemporary
Directions Ensemble remains one of
the best kept secrets on campus. Maybe
a listening public so hip to the strains of
new wave rock, vintage blues and tribal
reggae just hasn't gotten the word yet,
but the CD ensemble's regular perfor-
mances, combining drama, music and
high technology with the remarkable
ambience of Rackham Auditorium, are
one of the great cultural resources Ann
Arbor has to offer.
Cleveland composer Edwin London
was on hand Saturday night for a
program devoted entirely to his
dramatic, eclectic works. An excerpt
from his program notes for his musical
adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "The
Bells" might serve as a fitting introduc-
tion to his unusual approach to com-
position and language:
The P(r)o(e)-gression apparent in
the musical adaptation (a ritual ac-
tion) of the oft-tolled tale, is (one
hopes) a silver-plated mirror of
Edgie P's bronze bomba tonica . .
bronze bomba tonica...''
London bends musical, dramatic and
literary conventions all to his com-
positional purposes, much as he bends
language in the above quote. In Lon-

A Christmas Carol, peopled by
such notable characters as Tiny Tim
and Ebenezer Scrooge, was written
by Dickens in 1843, and remains an
important part of the Christmas
spirit nearly a century-and-a-half
later. It was a great favorite of
audiences in Dickens' own series of
public readings from his books.
Hornback will present an ad-
ditional Dickens reading at The
Earle (121 W. Washington) on Sun-
day from 8 to 10 p.m. Doors open at
7:15.
-Ben Ticho

don's version of Poe's "The Bells," a
company of musicians clad in
traditional black mount the stage in
darkness; the rising lights reveal that
they wear, not regular concert dress,
but black cowls, and their faces are
transfigured into eerie masks by
makeup.
The two vocal soloists enter wrapped
in mufflers and stocking caps, for the
first movement of "The Bells" is about
sleigh bells. They return, the tenor in a
tie and the mezzo-soprano in a bridal
veil, for the second movement, "Wed-
ding Bells," leaving in a shower of rice.
Throughout, the massive percussion
orchestra wraps them in a baffling
euphony that turns to jangling tension
in the third movement, "Alarm Bells."
Like the best of Poe's short stories,
the dread that filled this movement was
instilled in the audience by nothing
more than the emotional statenof the
soloists, communicated with chilling ef-
fectiveness by mezzo-soprano Julia
Pedigo and tenor Richard Fracker.
Narrator Todd Levin handled the dif-
ficult pacing of his part with great
poise, even when called upon to recite
his lines into an onstage telephone.
The concert opened with London's
overturn to Moliere's "The Imaginary
Invalid," a concise, lively number for
chamber orchestra, but the wonderful
sonorities and dramatic mood of "The
Bells" dominated the concert's first
half much as the huge percussion en-
arty
ty is not for you. It did little in my case
to erase the bad taste from the fact that
ye olde reviewer had to pay to see the
film.

semble dominated Rackham's small
stage.
Intermission was an opportunity to
visit Rackham's oppulent restrooms
and run upstairs to sip some cham-
pagne at an art school BFA exhibition,
before returning to the concert's second
half with the hypnotic "Moon Sound
Zone" and the "Portraits of Three
Ladies."
"Moon Sound Zone" is an exploration
of the musical ramifications of the
principal of concrete poetry. A roughly
moon-shaped poetic form, starting and
ending with one syllable and increasing
in a diamond shape to nine syllables on
the middle line, is used as the
mathematical basis for a repeating
harmonic progression that waxes and
wanes in a similar manner. Four
strings, a percussionist and a twelve-
voice choir maintained a controlled
blend at a pianissimo level throughout,
and the piece achieved great effect
through a simplicity that greatly con-
trasted with the rest of the program-
particularly the closing triptych, "Por-
traits of Three Ladies"
In his program notes, London revels
in the datedness of this multimedia
spectacular, in which a female soloist
and the orchestra vie for the audience's
attention with a narrator speaking
through a distorting echo device and
three projectionists beaming slides
upon screens behind the orchestra.
Narrator Theodore Rulfs spoke with
great resonance, and brought a sort of

off-the-wall earnestness to his part that
left the reviewer thinking he could do a
wicked imitation of Jimmy Stewart.
Julia Pedigo returned in a more con
ventional singer's role, handling her
share of atmospheric interjections and
occasional quotes (including Dolly
Madison'slast words: "there's nothing
in this world worth caring for") with
assurance as the slide projectors took
over the more dramatic side, flashing
iconic images of Abe Lincoln, Indian
artifacts, and sardonic illustrations of
the texts.
Under conductor Carl St. Clair, the
CD Ensemble's next performances,
February 11 and 12, will feature the
works of California composer Lou
Harrison.
HAPPY.
C
HOL IDAYS
'OALL!
(}
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Entire Family
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Get smashed at.

By Joshua Bilmes
SLICE OF life, Don's Party
is one of the best films I have seen.
Because it succeeds so well as a slice of
life, it attains only partial success as a
comedy, for the events it depicts are not
the kinds of things which are commonly
perceived by everyone as being funny.
The premise of the film is simple:
Don decides to have a party on October
25, 1969 to celebrate what is going to be
e widely predicted end of twenty
ears of Liberal Party rule in
Australia: the conservative Labor Par-
ty is supposed to pick up many seats in
the day's nationwide election. All of
on's guests slo wly filter into his nice,
suburban Sydney house, and the party
begins.

The guests are all, for the most part,
blue-collar workers who have names
like Cooley, Simon, Kent, Evans, and
Mack. They all have very attractive
wives, and they are named, respec-
tively, Susan, Jodie, Jennie, and
Kerrie. Mack's wife just left him so she
does not come to the party.
After the guests arrive, they start to
ingest ;large quantities of alcohol. As
they drink more and more, they start to
do more and more fun things and we
learn more and more about these assor-
ted guests and everyone sprouts lots of
very profound advice. Most of the fun
consists of all the men making passes at
all the women, who all manage to hold
their own ground.
Other fun things consist of borrowing
the neighbor's swimming pool and run-
ning over trees. The most startling

'Don's P
revelation is the news that Cooley slept
with Mack's wife.
As a depiction of what happens at a
paty when the alcohol flows and the fun
begins, Don's Party is truly a top-notch
film. It depicts the atmosphere and
behavior almost perfectly. Bruse
Beresford, director, and David
Williamson, who wrote the screenplay
from his play of the same name deserve
a hearty round of applause.
Yet how funny you might find Don's
Party depends on how much you enjoy
going to a party and watching other
people get drunk. Even if you do find
that amusing, be forewarned that the
film is very methodical. It does not
have a joke a minute by any means.
If, like me, you are somewhat less
amused by the sight of drunk people
having fun, I can safely say Don's Par-

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