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March 08, 1983 - Image 6

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-03-08

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'AN ARB;O--R--
5*e of Libert 7«"l710


Page 6

Tuesday, March, 8,1983

The Michigan Daily

Dresden performs
on the highest level


THURS - 6:45, 8:30, 10:15 (PG)
WED-1:20, 3:05, 4:50, 6:45, 8:30,10:15

- At
THURS - 6:45,
WED - 1:00, 3:

ND -
TRESS .. .
50, 6:45, 9:30

By George Shepherd
THE DRESDEN State Orchestra, in
its Sunday concert, at times
fulfilled the German stereotype of cool
passionlessness. Yet the group's pin-
point precision and Herbert Blom-
stedt's thoughtful, coherent direction
combined to make the evening special
and to prove that the group is among
the world's best.
The orchestra played as a single in-
tegrated instrument. Attacks were ab-
solutely together. Exposed pizzicato
sections, which often can sound jum-
bled, suggested a single hand plucking
a guitar. Balance between the sections
was proper and the solo players, all fir-
st-rate, interacted as if in a small
chamber ensemble. The violin sound
while perhaps not as emotional as that
of the Philadelphia Orchestra section,
was certainly as lush.
Though it is, for the most part, an
acoustical marvel, Hill Auditorium has
one sonic quirk: to people on one side of
the hall, sounds from the other side of
the stage are loudest. Thus, the
brasses, seated on the stage's right,
sounded muted to whoever was seated
in the right of the audience. This was
especially true in Strauss' Death and
Transfiguration, in which the brass
sound did not have the powerful bite of
for example, the Chicago Symphony
brass. But others, seated on the left of
the audience, had just the opposite ex-
perience, noting the brass' meaty
penetration. Regardless of the sonic
truth, the brass' intonation and style
were right on the mark, both in the
dramatic heroism of the Strauss piece
and in the more transparent but equally
difficult: Seventh Symphony of
The Strauss composition was the
most successful in the concert, demon-
strating that the experience gained
from the long working relationship

between Strauss and the orchestra,
which included many premieres, has
not been lost. The interpretation was
calm and classical. But since Strauss'
music has so much passion written into
it, an excessively romantic approach
only clouds the work's structure.
From the opening somber chords, the
orchestra, playing like a huge, cohesive
organ, led us through the alternating
euphoria and crushing melancholy of
the dying man's mind. Under Blom-
stedt, all the parts of the piece fit
together. And with such a magnificent
instrument responding to his baton,
Blomstedt produced a back-tingling
Strauss high. With his imprecise beat
and awkward appearance, Blomstedt,
technically, was no virtuoso, but the or-
chestra played as if he were.
Sinfonia Come Up Grande Lamento,
written by Udo Zimmerman in 1977 on a
commission from the orchestra, is a
musical expression of a poem about the
sadness of death. Its most effective sec-
tion was a quiet funeral march to which
the entire orchestra joins to createa
chaotic compression of sound. It's as if,
in the dying man's mind, sweet sadness'
had been perverted by violent
depression. Though played with care,
the remainder of the work was a lot of
effort with little result. And the in-
spiration in Zimmerman's piece was
dwarfed by that in the Strauss work,
also program music on the same
The Beethoven symphony was
frustrated, but only because it
promised so much. With Strauss, a con-
ductor must take care not to be too
emotional. But with Beethoven, he
must strive to avoid being too dry and
clinical. And here, though the orchestra
played with precise beauty, the work
just didn't romp and gallop as it can.
Only at the beginning of the second
movement did the work achieve its
potential. There, the growing surge of
sumptuous string sound seemed to be
one unified, singing voice. But the other
sections of the work suffered from slow
tempi. Though Blomstedt revealed the
work's complicated structure, the
result was a dry skeleton without
throbbing flesh.
As an encore, the ensemble played one
of Dvorak's Slavonic Dances, showing
what it could do to excite. Though a pity
that such fun was not also drawn from
the Beethoven piece, the concert, on the
whole, was on the highest level.

A typical shopping trip in 'Juggling,' featured at tonight's 16mm festival.
No restrictions
Fim festival makes most of 16 mm.


By Melissia Bryan
J UST WHEN you thought it safe to
stay home in your Lay-Z-Boy, the
16mm festival returns to Ann Arbor.
The Michigan Theatre hosts the Ann
Arbor Film festival celebrating its 21st
anniversary. The festival showcases
independent and experimental films in
the 16mm genre. 100 films were selec-
ted for this year's festival from 250 en-
tries that were submitted from across
the USA.
The Ann Arbor Film Festival has
never placed categorical restrictions on
entries. Filmmakers have been en-
couraged to experiment with different
styles and film genres, and naturally
this makes the screenings both in-
teresting and unpredictable. The
programs vary from night to night and
from showing to showing. Audiences
can expect a great variety of films in
each nights' screening, ranging from

animation to documentary.
In its 20 year history, the Ann Arbor
Film festival has featured. films from
such illustrious filmmakers as Brian
DePalma, Shirley Clarke, George Grif-
fith, and Agnes Varda. Andy Warhol
and his Exploding Plastic Inevitable
featuring the Velvet Underground per-
formed at festivals in the late 1960s.
Highlights of this year's festival in-
clude Juggling, a film by Elizabeth
Sher. It features a "New Wave" mom
and her trials and tribulations raising
children, spending hours behind the
wheel of the family station wagon, and
her social life. Jude is an animated
narrative of one Jewish family's
destruction in the hands of the Nazis.
An animated film short from Ferndale,
Michigan, Bus Stop, uses a brilliant
series of colored sketches that tell the
dreamlike story of a nightmarish bus

Possum O'Possum depicts the true
story of "The Possum Breeders and
Growers Association's undying love for
the Possum." This film, made in
Alabama, corrolates the grace of the
Possum swinging from a tree with the
agility of the Bolshoi Ballet. They claim
that the Possum has been wrongly
regarded as a dirty rodent and deserves
to reclaim its rightful position at the
head of the animal kingdom. Don't mifss
the cameo appearance of Miss Possum
of Central America/Honduras.
The Film Festival screenings are at,
7, 9, and 11 p.m. tonight through
Friday. Saturday the 12th has showings
at 1, 7, and 9 p.m. Festival winners and
highlights are on Sunday, March 13th,
at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. Admission is $2.50 per
show, $6.00 for an evening's showings,
and $25.00 for a series pass. Tickets are
available at the Michigan Theatre Box

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Fine music from Hot Mud

By Deborah Robinson
SUNDAY NIGHT at The Ark was the
cene of a fine show of family enter-
tainment provided by The Hot Mud
Family. This string band from Ohio
doesn't include the corny wit or
bellyaching on-stage'humour of a group
like the Red Clay Ramblers in their
presentation, but why should they? Hot
Mud is an American Country Band, and
their music is well-polished.
The Hot Mud Family has been
together for twelve years. At a venue
the size of the Ark, it is easy to observe
dynamics between performers. SuAnne
Edmundson, Dave Edmundson, Rick
Good, Gary Hopkins, and Greg Dearth,
who are Hot Mud, kid around easily on
stage. More importantly, they know
each others' music, and are always in
perfect sync.
The show opened with a lively old-
time instrumental. I'm used to hearing
oldtime music played in living rooms
and at informal sessions, and was taken
aback by the hard-driving sounds that
came at me through the speakers. Hot

Mud is a professional, somewhat com-
mercial band. They do what they do
well, though sometimes just short of
being slick.
Instrumentally, I was most im-
pressed by Rick Good on banjo and
guitar. Good plays three-finger picking
style and the more old fashioned
frailing, and both well. He does some
neat arrangements, (or im-
provisations) such as playing "This
Land Is My Land" as a subtle counter-
melody between verses in "Take Me
Back To My Old Carolina Home," an
Uncle Dave Macon song. His guitar
work was also quite good.
The one word I'd use to typify the
fiddle playing of Greg Dearth is
"clean." He was technically flawless,
but his playing lacked emotion. He did
have the charm of making playing look
ridiculously easy, even in high positions
and in making weird sliding sounds.
Dave Edmundson, on fiddle and
mandolin, SuAnne Edmundson, guitar,
and Gary Hopkins, bass, all played at
least adequately. To my ear, the man-
dolin leads were blandly straightfor-
ward and brash in tone. I also gritted
my teeth when the acoustic bass was


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set aside for a Fender electric for most
of the second set.
The highlights of Hot Mud's perfor-
mance were their gospel numbers.
SuAnne, Rick, and Gary all have strong
voices and produced superb harmonies.
Gary's bass voiceunderlined vocals
which are high quality for bands in this
genre.aIrwasn'tuconvinced that these
people were fervent Sunday morning
singers, but "If You Don't Love Your
Neighbor Then You Don't Love God"
was delivered- with enthusiasm befit-
ting a southern prayer meeting.
SuAnne also has an excellent voice
for Country and Western. With the ex-
ception of a short and feeble attempt at
yodelling, the C&W numbers were quite
good. I liked "Deep Deep Blue,"'a
mellow song that sounded like Linda
Ronstadt backed up by hillbillies.
The last song of the second set was a
Mud Family arrangement of
"Stewball." This version was a real
hand-clapper and vocal show-off.
"Stewball" is an old ballad about race
horses and money, and is pretty sad in
some versions. I consider what Dave
Edmundson called "what happened
when Bo Diddley and Bill Monroe got
together at a folk festival" to be the
butchering of a nice song.
I was relieved to hear the encore
which followed "Stewball." Dave and
Greg started it out with a beautiful
Swedish-sounding waltz, with the fid-
dles in harmony. The rest of the band
joined in for a last bang-up oldtime tune
which got my feet moving.
Hot Mud will never be a big commer-
cial success, but they are a decent
band. They deserve to be heard by
more folks than those who turned out to
see them last Sunday. Next time they
come through, maybe give them a

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