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December 09, 1982 - Image 7

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-12-09

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ARTS
Thursday, December 9, 1982

:The Michigan Daily

Philharmonic simply am

Brian Dennehy confronts Sylvester Stallone in a scene from 'First Blood.'
Stallone can't
shake Rocky image

By Robert Cassard
A S CARLO Maria Giulini strode out
onto the stage of Hill Auditorium
Tuesday night, the atmosphere seemed
strangely casual. The musicians
fidgeted in their chairs and squinted out
at the audience and Giulini himself
seemed very relaxed. From those first
few moments of the concert, the Los
Angeles Philharmonic contrasted
greatly with the two European or-
chestras which have performed in Ann
Arbor this season-the Prague Sym-
phony and the Gewandhaus Orchestra
of Leipzig.
This American orchestra is different
from the others in that it has no formal
barriers between it and the music it
plays, a fact which was obvious from
the first few measures of Schubert's
Symphony No. 4 in C minor. Precision
and technique, while not forgotten,
were subordinated to involvement,
spontaneity, and musical "rightness,"
and a directness lacking in the
European orchestras was the result.
Giulini's involvement was,
amazingly, even more pronounced than
the orchestra's. As befits a great
maestro, he conducted entirely from
memory, standing on the podium with
his legs apart as if to gain a better stan-
ce from which he could manipulate the
orchestra with more control. While the
visual impression of his way of beating
time was clear and almost mechanical,
the sound it produced in the orchestra
was free and fluid. In the Adagio the
orchestra was like a single body
"breathing" under his baton and in the
Allegro molto Giulini evoked fiery
playing from the entire group--
especially the violas-without overex-
tending the limits of Schubert's
classicism.
The second movement boasted nearly
effortless playing from the whole or-
chestra. While the ensemble sound was
excellent, that sound was characterized
by a looseness which managed to bring
out the highlights of the music without
distorting them.
It was obvious that Giulini is a very
young, vital 68 and his performance
was openly emotional as he sang under

his breath, coaxing the orchestra and
pushing it to the boundaries of its
lyricism. While he was largely suc-
cessful, his singing and humming
(which went on throughout the concert)
was somewhat of a distraction at least
to those seated on the main floor.
The chromatic and heavily syn-
copated Menuetto was very tight
rhythmically while it was conducted in
a relaxed "one" (i.e., conducting one
beat for each three written beats) and
the Allegro exemplified the or-
chestra's superb dynamic control. The
movement was marked by very
physical playing in every section of the
orchestra, most notably the basses.
Giulini chose to stress the Beethoven-
like qualities of the music, especially in
its sforzandos and other quick dynamic
changes. Flawless phrasing in the
violins and crisp French horn lines ad-
ded to the effect. The sixteenth-note
patterns in the middle strings were
well-articulated but sounded harsh and
tinny. Still, the overall effect of the
movement was powerful and it
received a good response from the
audience.
For Bruckner's Symphony No. 9 in D
minor, the orchestra called out its full
forces. The piece gave both the
musicians and conductor a chance to
"stretch out." There was a certain per-
fection in nearly every element of the
performance and especially in the
logical development between sections
of varying dynamic levels. Fortissimo
passages crept up unnoticeably so that
their impact was very dramatic.
At times, the Philharmonic's vir-
tuosity overpowered its blend. After all,
this is a group of highly individual
musicians and in fact a group of fine
soloists. It is a natural pitfall for this
kind of ensemble to experience
problems in achieving correct balance
and blend, but, in this case, it provided

a benefit as well: the first movement
contained some of the best brass and
woodwind soloing I've heard in a sym-
phonic context.
Occasionally, Giulini pushed the tone
of fortissimos to almost vulgar propor-
tions, sacrificing some clarity. At the
end of the movement, however, as the
tonalities of E-flat and D minor clash
head-on with each other, the sound was
so assertive that its dissonance was all
but forgotten.
The Scherzo at first seemed a bit
rushed but quickly slowed down as the
'arco' section began. The strings bowed
broadly and gave the notes their full
value instead of playing them staccato
as is usually done. In the "Trio" the
strings lacked precision but the audien-
ce got to witness an impressive ritual of
passing a viola back for restringing
while the music continued. The return
to the Scherzo utilized a nice lag beat
in the brass to make it seem even
broader than before.

Page.7
azing t
Finally, the lengthy Adagio, while
obviously carefully rehearsed, came
across as fresh and heartfelt. The
violins worked in perfect unison and
again the solos were beautifully played.
After a deafening triple forte climax,
the piece ended with a calm and reflec-
tive passage of complete serenity. The
audience was spellbound.
What might have been mistaken for a
lukewarm audience reaction-Giulini
was not called back for an encore-
was actually more a product of the con-
cert's sublime finish. The excited chat-
ter did not begin until after Giulini had
waved goodbye to the crowd. "Simply
amazing" was the general consensus.

By Chris Lauer
V AGUELY resembling a social
statement, First Blood is from
beginning to end an exercise in hate.
Startng from a premise ofa malad-
justed Vietnam war hero, played by
Sylvester Stallone, the result is another
good guy-bad guy shoot 'em movie,
complete with fist fighting, machine
,guns, and car chases.
Except for modernizing twists, the
plot is something everyone can
recognize. Harry, a former Green
Beret, is reflective and peaceful early
on, but is arrested, beaten and
humiliated by a small town sheriff and
his deputies. It is apparent that the
audience has been set up to identify
with Harry in his triumphs of rampant
violence against "the system."
The sheriff is played by Brian Den-
nehy, one of those character actors that
everyone recognizes on sight buy not by
name. His seemingly natural mean look
which makes him a standard ingredient
in movies and on television, here makes
huim the most stereotyped of a cast of
stereotypes.

Intelligence is left out of this play on
emotions. Given a normally quiet small
town-why does it have such a large
police force? How did it get the high
tech police station? How did the police
force come to be equipped like a SWAT
team? Where did the dobermans come
from? Where did the helicopter come
from?
For all this action, there is very little
dialogue. Harry runs through the forest
breathing heavily but not saying much.
To counteract these long moments of
breating, scenes of the sheriff shooting
off his mean mouth are mixed in,
trading one awkwardness for another.
Very little is done to sustain the social
theme of the "maladjusted Vietnam
veteran." Harry has a few falshbacks,
his former colonel shows up, and there
is a relevant but pathetic song at the
end.
First Blood is not as sloppily made as
it might sound. It is poor not by sloppy
workmanship, but because its
suckering intentions under the guise of
social comment is offensive and sen-
selessly violent. Sylvester Stallone
again fails to be in a good non-Rocky
movie.

STUDENT ACCOUNTS: Your attention is called to
the following rules passed by the Regents at their meeting on February 28,
1936: "Students shall pay all accounts due the University not later than the last
day of classes of each semester or summer session. Student loans which ore
not paid or renewed are subject to this regulation; however, student loans not
yet due are exempt. Any unpaid accounts at the close of business on the last
day of classes will be reported to the Cashier of the University and
"(a) All academic credits will be withheld, the grades for the semester or
summer session just completed will not be released, and no transcripts of
credits will be issues.
"(b) All students owing such accounts will not be allowed to register in
any subsequent semester or summer session until payment has been made."

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TAKE HOME THE ROSE BOWL.

On New Year's Day, the 94th Pasadena
Tournament of Roses Parade and the
Rose Bowl Game between UCLA and
the University of Michigan will capture
the imagination of America and much of
the free world.
These two events, among the oldest
and most exciting traditions of our na-
tion, will be commemorated in the first
annual striking of the Official- limited-
release Pasadena Tournament of Roses
Silverpiece by the Pasadena Mint.
At one Troy ounce of .999 fine silver,
this investment-quality Silverpiece is ex-
pertly engraved and presented in a spe- ,

cial display case, along with a certificate
of authenticity.
Minted for participants, spectators, in-
vestors, collectors, and for use by officials
at the Rose Bowl Game, this limited edi-
tion Silverpiece is available now at $27.95
each.
Please allow 3 to 4 weeks for delivery,
however, a limited number of the earliest
orders will be shipped before Christmas.
Your satisfaction is guaranteed. To order,
call TOLL FREE, 800-227-1617, Ext. 250
(in California, call 800-772-3545, Ext.
250), or return the coupon below. And
own a piece of history you'll value for
years to come.

PASADENA MINT, INC.
P.O. Box 92744 - Pasadena, CA 91109-2744

Please send me Rose Bowl
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Card #

Exp. Da te

>ar "" E .,. ..

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