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November 01, 1984 - Image 6

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-11-01

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4

ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Thursday, November 1, 1984

Page 6

Unconventional brilliant
Pogorelich piano debut

By Neil Galanter
IANIST IVO Pogorelich is a brilliant
phenomenon!
And he proved it Tuesday night in his
debut recital at Rackham Auditorium
by showing original, new, fresh inter-
pretive ideas (as usual) always full of
life, coupled with an awesome
technique that enabled him to surpass
the technical traps in the music and
concentrate solely on the musical ideas
themselves.
Beginning the program with Bach's
English Suite No. 2 in a minor,
Pogorelich spun out smooth even
phrases with surprisingly constant
color throughout. His trills were like
little spinning tops which rang as clear
as bells. He also kept an excellent
balance between the hands, voicing
each area appropriately, which gave a
certain sense of continuity and suspen-
sion that probed the listeners ear.
A standard Bach interpretation it was
not, but its insights were worth more
than all the gold in the world because he
provided a fresh approach that so many
pianists miss in Bach, especially when
used as an opening number in a
program.
Pogorelich followed the Bach
chronologically by period, turning next
to Haydn's Sonata in a flat, HOB 46.
Again Pogorelich didn't disappoint.
The performance was a myriad of
chiseled-clean passage work and great
zest. His non-conformity here was a bit
more evident in the Adagio movement
which probably would have been played

much slower by other pianists.
But Pogorelich made it more in-
teresting by quickening the pace and
carefully underlining the chord
progressions. It ended with a whirling,
bustling Presto finale played with as
much ease as we walk or put on our
shoes in the morning. Pogorelich
seems to create a certain sense of joy,
jubilation and relish in the music
which is as satisfying as an amusement
park ride-you never really want to get
off.
After intermission came the real
meat in the program: Beethoven's
Sonata No. 32 in c minor. Pogorelich
dug right into the real essence of the
music like a hungry man digging into a
steak. Every possible contrast in the
score was highlighted which was a real
asset because it enabled the listener to
hear all the many aspects this piece has
to offer. Dynamic contrast were han-
dled with amazing variety, from for-
tissimo to pianissimo, suddenly and
gradually.
His skill in producing effective "for-
tepianos" is also astonishing, as well as
the powerful accents which depicted
storm and rage so well. Every section
he played, painted a different picture,
and a picture is always worth a
thousand words.
His playing is the variations was ex-
tremely engrossing and he created a
pendulous image which drewme even
more into the music. To close the
program Pogorelich played Prokofiev's
Sonata No. 3 in a minor, with the distin-
ct Russian flavor needed for Prokofiev.
His playing was luxuriously rich with
regards to tempo and dynamic variety.

Playing with an almost satanic rythmic
drive, Pogorelich captured the swif-
tness of the development of the piece,
combining serene gentle lyricism,
where appropriate, and fiery bursts of
power and passion. The performance
ended definitively with a strong bold
statement.
To my disappointment Pogorelich
didn't play any encores. He seemed to
be almost uninterested in the audience
throughout the evening, walking on and
off the stage almost lackadaisically and
robot like. His concentration was
almost primarily in the many diverse
musical pictures he was portraying and
at times it seemed as if the audience
was only second.
The real issue though is the fact that
Pogorelich is truly an extraordinary
and unique performer. His pianism is
marvelous, his personality decisive and
his musical ideas highly intelligible.
His fascinating acrobatic artistry, the
willful hard-edged extremes and the
constant attention to every detail is
what is making the great success he is
enjoying. In my opinion he will con-
tinue with that success as one of the
greatest pianists ever.

Moraz-Bruford
Patrick Moraz, current keyboardist for the Moody Blues, formerly of Yes; and Bill Bruford, now drummer for King
Crimson and formerly of Yes and Genesis will bring their acoustic music for piano and drums to the Michigan Union
Ballroom tonight. Tickets are still available at Schoolkids or the Michigan Union Ticket Office for $9.50 and a smile.

Keaton makes little drumming worthwhile

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By Byron L. Bull
D IANE KEATON may not have a very
good idea just what she's sup-
possed to be doing in George Roy Hill's
clumsy adaptation of The Little
Drummer Girl, but she's such a joy to
watch it really doesn't matter.
Even though Keaton doesn't seem to
have a good grasp of her character,
Charlie, and she hits more than a few
bum notes, her sheer brillant presence
carries her through unscathed.
Condensed from John le Carre's den-
se 1983 novel, Drummer Girl wanders
for most of its two and a half hours
trying to decide if it wants to be an ad-
venture story, a thriller wit, political
overtones, or a character study. Direc-
tor Hill succeeds with each approach in
a few fleeting sequences, but the bulk of
his effort is so much padding.
There's no connecting theme running
through the narrative, and even the
narrative, jumping across five con-
tinents and half a dozen characters, is
weakly defined.
Hill keeps the film as heavily
brooding as thenovel, and ends it on
perhaps an even more downbeat swing,
but without any of the ideas (namely,
how an idealistic crusade can be
poisoned by fanaticism) to give it a
conscience. The whole Israeli-
Palestinian conflict, as viewed through
the eyes of protagonist Charlie, an ac-
tress employed as a double agent by the
Israeli's, is very vague and skimply
presented.
All of the historical and ideological
underpinnings are swept aside, and
both sides end up being depicted as
essentially hoodlums. The complex
dualities of the people Charlie comes in
contact with from both sides, how they
could be compassionate under one
situaiton and cold blooded the next, gets
a cursory passing reference so that the
characters emerge as inconsistent and
not complex.
One wonders just what about the
novel attracted Le Carre' in the first
place, as he has merely filmed the story
in such an uninspired, superfical way.
Hill is by no means an unintelligent
filmmaker, a director whose work
(Slaughterhouse Five, Slapshot) is
distinctively witty, well crafted. Hill's
signature here is virtually unreadable,
the film has a cold, unpersonalized feel
like it was shot by a novice who lacked

1

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the confidence to risk a few bold
flourishes.
The film is paced with a rushed
urgency, with the cast running through
their scenes so hurriedly they're on the
verge of breathlessness much of the
time. The screenplay by Hill and
veteran television writer Loring Man-
del packs in much of Le Carre's maze of
a plot, but in a confusing, muddled
smear.
There's very little convincing charac-
ter exploration, and save for Keaton
(whose the only member of the cast
with any warmth) there's no one in the
film fascinating enough to watch or
human enough to sympathize with.
Admittedly paring down an intricately
woven structure-like the ones Le
Carre' is a master at-is a formidable
task, particularly within the time con-
straints of a feature film, but Hill and
Mandel seem to have been intimated
out of reverance from simplifying the
plot.
Had Drummer Girl been filmed in the
mode of a miniseries, like the wonder-
ful adaptations of Tinker, Tailor,
Soldier, Spy and Smiley's People the
BBC did several years ago, with plenty
of time to play with the mechanics of
the plot, their approach might have
been better served.
Here, they leave out the irreplaceable
ingredient of inhabiting their story with
characters fleshed out enough to absorb
ones attention.
It's hard to believe that either the

Israeli's or the Palestinians (both of
whom at least come across as being run
by very intelligent leaders) would em-
ploy someone like the flakey, fashion
conscious Charlie for their respective
missions.
Charlie, as sketchy a character as
she is, does seem consistently unstable
and clutzy enough that one wonders if
both parties are so desperate they
would take her into their ranks.
There's a crucial scene early in the
film where Charlie, after having been
abducted by the Israeli team, is in-
terogated through the night with such
brutal efficiency and intensity that by
the next morning her entire character
has been torn to pieces, at which point
they begin to remold her into their own
unwitting tool.
Hill races the scene by, with so little
regard for any subtle nuances or in-
sights into Charlie's psyche that he fails
to make us feel Charlie's
traumatization and consequently fails
to forge the critical link that the story's
whole premise rests upon.
The ensuing action, involving
Charlie's training, and infiltration into
the Palestinian camp, is lengthy, but
not very intriguing. Somewhere along
the way a subplot evolves involving a
romance between Charlie and an,
Israeli agent, Joseph (played by Yorgo
Voyagis with visible detatchment) that
leads to him seriously questioning his
own ethics, and those of his cause, but
it's handled so and-by-the way that it's

only a minor inclusion in the story, of
little actual consequence.
The only time Hill actually focuses
his camera on Charlie, and gives
Keaton enough space to run through
more than a token gesture, is at the
very end of the story, in what amounts
to a mere afterthought.
Keaton gives a performance
curiously comic inclined, with man-
nerisms that at times strongly recall
her characters in her earlier roles.
While it's.a bit refreshing compared
to the otherwise sullen cast, the effect
detracts as much as it adds. When
Keaton uses it sparingly, as a minor
counterpoint to the somber ongoings,
it's fine, but often she indulges in sheer
slapstick that's jarringly out of place.
To see Charlie lead a truck full of
Palestinian commandos through a
ragged rendition of "Downtown" as
they roar off through the desert is a
jewel of a scene but it belongs in a
wilder, more irreverant treatment (like
Hill's version of World According to
Garp).
Keaton's saving grace (and the
film's) is her radiant, overflowing en-
thusiasm that few other actresses (or
actors) possess. Keaton doesn't have a
well defined role here to let her give a
peak performance, like in Shoot The
Moon, but she's still a fascinating
figure if only for the way she glows on
film.
It's too bad this film can't do her
justice.

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