100%

Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options

Download this Issue

Share

Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

This collection, digitized in collaboration with the Michigan Daily and the Board for Student Publications, contains materials that are protected by copyright law. Access to these materials is provided for non-profit educational and research purposes. If you use an item from this collection, it is your responsibility to consider the work's copyright status and obtain any required permission.

December 10, 1982 - Image 21

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-12-10
Note:
This is a tabloid page

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.



47

* 9

CIdIIICI

.............. n... ....,... ......., .:........ . ..... ....{."........ k.... ..... ..... :,.: ..{,.....,..:........ ......... .... -........, w. ::.w: ., .: :::.: ::. :::::.-::. .:, : ,h+:i: i:":titititi% " '%:: t ti"Y .::. ::: :: x::.,y " ": ".w: ": w:
.........:.....,,......., .......... .............. ., : ...,.... k.......,:::...,, ..... ..... x ,... ................. .....; .:; ..... v.4::: " :.. . ::v ".w;.w:hw3 w.:ow::. "'.v::. ::. 4, :..... .., ..............:. k... , ".{. "}::."
:.:..:.::.,":.,:..,......"r...,....,.........,..: ::.., }.,".".,":::.,,"}.,,"}}.S:}., ?::.":::}w}...":.:.,"".:.+.::..,., '' S.^~'un:t'}...%kv :i} :.:;>:: ;i5r ri:"}}:4 "}}izi;:}. 3..>':.;.,. :.:._ :::;,,,a:., .,,,.:.a:::::.::: }.t

_______________________-_____

Classic
pro blem
J.S. Bach's Mass In B-minor
Joshua Rifkin
Nonesuch
By Robert Cassard
'T HIS RECORDING of Bach's Mass
in B Minor is beautifully trans-
parent. As a result of greatly reduced
vocal and instrumental forces and a
very conservative but superb recording
job, the album generates a feeling of
depth and space. There is space bet-
ween the notes and physical space bet-
ween the singers and instruments. the
listener, in turn feels like he is part of
the musical environment.
The sound of the recording perfectly
matches the pristine performance of
Joshua Rifkin and The Bach Ensemble,
a group of musicians which he has
gathered specifically for this project
and others like it. As a group, they are
dpdicated to the performance of Bach's
works "as he heard them." Although
their concept of what Bach must have
heard has 'proven very controversial,
this two-record set presents a convin-
cing case that using solo voices to sing
choruses may truly have been what

Bach actually expected. It is, in a sen-
se, the musical proof of Rifkin's
musicological claims.
Importantly, no "doctoring" of the
balance and quality of the voices and
instruments occurred in the recording
process, so the recording accurately
conveys the sound.of the ensemble's
performance. What is most surprising
is that the sound of the choruses -most
notably the "Kyrie" and "Sanctus" -
sound almost identical to traditional
performances of the Mass using many
more voices. This is at least partially a
product of the acoustically sympathetic
church in which the recording was
made, but that may be another
historical point in its favor. This chur-
ch, in fact, would be similar to the
reverberant churches in which Bach
himself would have performed the
work.
This performance is not without its
problems, many of which derive from
the very clarity which was previously
praised. The digital recording process
combined with the reduced number of
performers works to expose
every nuance of the piece as well as the
technical quality of its performance.
Extra-ordinary precision becomes
necessary both melodically and rhyth-
mically. On the whole, everyone seems
to rise to the occasion, but when there
are problems, they are spotlighted.
When unison violins are not in perfect
harmony, they sound completely out of
tune and when a vocalist in the chorus
slightly misses a note, the whole chord
slides out of pitch. Although this does

t

COVER STORY
Year end picks Page 1
It's that time of year when the world wants to know
what were some of the best and worst movies, recor-
ds, concerts, etc.
MuSIC
Take Five Page 4
A pair of diverse holiday concerts as Dave Brubeck
and his boys follow the Swans and Sonic Youth into
town.
DISCS
Silk Electric Page 5
Diana Ross' latest offering gets panned, while Flag
of Convenience receives flying colors from our
diligent music critics.
THEATER
Tintypes Page 6
The Professional Theatre Program's latest of-
fering is a turn of the century musical revue.
THE LIST
Happenings Page 7-10
Your guide to fun times for the coming week in Ann
Arbor. Film capsules, music previews, theater notes,
and bar dates, all listed in a handy-dandy, day-by-day
schedule. Plus a roster of local restaurants.
RESTAURANTS
Argiero's Page 11
Have a pasta festival at Argiero's, one of Ann Ar-

Joshua Rifkin: Solo voices

ROY SCHEIDER

MERYL STREEP

not occur very often, it is noticeable
enough to take the listener's mind off of
the music and put it on the performan-
ce. In most traditional recordings, this
does not pose a problem because the
greater number of voices and in-
struments act as a buffer to the erros of
individuals. This is perhaps the most
obvious drawback of the small chorus
format used.
Another drawback is that this is a
relatively "dry" reading of the score
adhering entirely to the notes and em-
bellishments which Bach put in the
page. This fully exposes Bach as a com-
poser and placesethe burden of
Rif kin
speaks
W HILE THE full-scale confronta-
tion over Rifkin's controversial
musical direction is taking place using
High Fidelity Magazine as a battlefield
(September, October and December
issues), the matter is beginning to
receive more and more attention from
musicians and listeners everywhere.
While visiting Ann Arbor for the recent"
convention of the American
Musicological Society, Rifkin took time
out from a hectic schedule to answer
some questions about the, new recor-
ding and its origins.
Daily: On what evidence do you base
your contention that Bach used musical
forces smaller than those which have
been traditionally considered correct?
Rifkin: The evidence that we've
normally used for determining the for-
ces that composers have had is
documentary evidence-lists of
payments, rosters of choirs and or-
chestras, descriptions of performances
and things like that-and our estimates
of Bach's forces have been based
almost completely on such material. In
the case of Bach, it has seemed to me
that this evidence is not very infor-
mative as it is very fragmentary, im-
precise, and subject to widely differing
interpretations.
Daily: What exactly is it that makes
critics of your contention so uncomfor-
table?
Rifkin: The problem is that in the
great majority of Bach's compositions

sustaining the listener's interest en-
tirely upon him.
All in all, the Mass in B Minor fares
very well in this "new" version, which
will serve as an excellent addition to
anyone's collection. The liner notes
themselves are an in-depth
musicological "Bach-feast" and would
be worth the price of admission.
Whether or not this is the one absolutely.
correct version of the Mass is not the
important issue. However, the act of
striving to attain authenticity in per-
forming this and other works like it, is
of vital importance. When it produces
results like these, the reward is the
revitalization of a masterpiece.
there is only one copy of each line of the
score. The fight that is now going on
centers upon whether, as I believe, one
person sang from each part or, on the
other hand, if two or three could have
done so. I contend-based on what I feel
is an overwhelming body of evidence
supporting this-that only one person
ever- sang from a part which would
mean that the number of parts equalled
the number of singers, that is, four or
five.
Daily: Was doubling of parts more
frequent in the orchestra?
Rifkin: That is a little more
problematic, but, yes, you may find
doubling in the string parts. Bach nor-
mally had more than one violin playing
each line but gave them separate parts.
In the recording, we used very, very
small string forces and, for reasons
even more complex than with the
voices, I think they are what Bach ac-
tually used.
Daily: Perhaps making a case for a
small number of voices automatically
makes a case for a small orchestra
simply for reasons of balance ...
Rifkin: Actually, I set the numbers
without regard to my own pre-
conceptions or guesses. In other words,
I tried to look at the evidence as a cold-
blooded historian and ask: what would
the forces have been? After finding the
answer I said: Well, let's see what hap-
pens if we play it this way, that is, with
the right number of 18th Century in-
struments and the right number and
type of singers. The balance was just
fine! In fact, we discovered, almost to
our astonishment, that it worked very,
very smoothly=-a fact which made all
of us involved with the project feel that
Bach knew what he was doing and that
the Mass, as he must have heard it,
"works."

Weekend Weekend is edited and managed by students on the Weekend, (313) 763-03
Vol. 1, Issue 10 staff of The Michigan Daily at 420 Maynard, Ann Ar- Daily, 764-0552; Circulati
Friday, December 10. 1982 bor, Michigan, 48109. It appears in the Friday edition tising, 764-0554.
Magazine Editor ............Richard Campbell of the Daily every week during the University year
Assistant Editor ...................Ben Ticho and is available for free at many locations around the Copyright 1982, The Mu
campus and city.
------- - - - - - ---' -cmu -n - iy
USED EQUIPMENT SPECIAL SAVE BIG DOUG
ALL GUARANTEED AND RECONDITIONED
SAVE up to 60% (OFF Manufacturers Suggested List Price)\ THIS CHRIS
" Fisher Cassette Deck CR 120 * Teoc 124 Cassette Deck BIG
I Phillips Turntable AF887 " Teac o3300sx, 10" reel to reel
" Toshiba receiver sa3500 Recorder with remote
Sharp cassette deck rt1157 " Onkyo t9 am/fm tunerM/
" Marantz speaker system " Onkyo a7 140 watt rms amplifier
3 way 12" woofer " Infinity quantum 5 speakers
S Sansui r70 receiver " Hitachi turntable ht-205
" Technic 5 bond equalizer sa801O Wad Receiver Model 7020, -
S* Genesis I speakers
* ~ANDMANYMOREI
HI FI STUDIO 215s. ASHLEY DOWNTOWN 1 BLOCK WEST OF MAIN
769-0392 or 668-7492 % BLOCK NORTH OF LIBERTY
F RI
ESECOND F RI
VfC ANCE7 ?P M-
N EVER
P tC
Mon., Dec. 13
1982
-.209 ---tat--St-,Ann-Arbor-MI-4810

Joshua Rifkin: Getting Bach to basics

bor's favorite food stops for people with a fetish for
fettucini.
CLASSICS
Bach's best Page 12
Conductor-pianist Joshua Rifkin is well known for

his album renditions of
his wide-ranging mus
album of Johann Sebasti
an admirable attempt t
17th century German r
Weekend interview, Rif

ROY SCHEIDER MERYL STREEP 'STILL OF THE NIGHT"
JESSICA TANDY D=iord hNHgraphyNFSOR ALMENDROS, A.S.C. Sry by DAVID NEWMAN and ROBERT BENTON
S&renpay by ROBERT BENTON Pm&.d by ARLENE DONRAN Dimeted by ROBERT BENTON
PoriIBIAIom 4 "C""'eeotwe ms e AA%.:IQO - Wf eet :.
Starts Next Week at your
Local Theater!

I Weeen~dl c , e _O. _ ... ... _-......---------f

Back to Top

© 2020 Regents of the University of Michigan