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December 04, 1985 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1985-12-04

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ARTS
Wednesday, December 4, 1985

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Pianist captures romance

By Neil Galan ter
My Christmas present came early
this holiday season. It came in the
form of an extraordinarily brilliant
piano recital that took place last
Tuesday at Rackham Auditorium.
A little man walked out on stage, his
movements small and concise. He
then went to the piano and began his
program. Russian born Shura
Cherkassky has been acclaimed as one
of the greatest pianists in the grand
romantic tradition, and this recital to
be sure, proved that in more ways
than one.
His recital was a jeweled ornament
in every instance. Opening with the
Organ Fantasy and Fugue in g Minor
of J.S. Bach as transcribed by Franz
Liszt, Cherkassky immediatley

showed his amazing ability to emit
different and varied color palettes
within a single framework. These
qualities were likewise evident in his
performance of the Waldstein Sonata
in C Major Opus 53 of Beethoven. The
piece is one of the most difficult in the
Beethoven piano literature and it is
also one of the most commonly
played.
Cherkassky's reading was far from
common though. He outlined the most
interesting features of the work,
bringing out a different voice each
time the material was repeated. He
coupled that with a well-mannered
frequent shift in moods. True, he may
not have kept the same tempo all the
time throughout the individual
movements, but. . . that is what
makes Cherkassky a romantic.
He isn't overly concerned with that

facts, and it does not prevent him
from giving the most spontaneous
representation of the music that he
can. His Beethoven playing also held
immaculate control over the many
fortepiano statements that Beethoven
is famous for. Shifting from loud (for-
te) to soft (piano) immediately is not
always the easiest thing to bring off
well. Cherkassky did it.. . with flying
colors.
His approach to the keyboard is
frequently one of small movements
and contracted space. This doesn't
seem to affect the overall quality of
his tone or pianistic output in the
very least. Rather, he gives out an air
of tremendous freedom that makes
his playing breathe with great space.

spianato and Grande Polonaise
Brilliante, was clear evidence of the
great emotional feeling Cherkassky
can give to music.
His interpretation in the Nocturne
was liquidly beautiful, and he wove
the most tender moments out of the
piece. The Mazurkas were brilliantly
dance-like, just as Mazurkas need to
be, and the Andante spianato and
Grande Polonaise was a marvelous
blend of tranquility and thunderous
arousal.

Pianist Shura Cherkassky held a glorious recital last Tuesday at
Rackham Auditorium.

Records

The Golden Palominos-
SVisions of Excess
(Celluloid)
On Visions of Excess, Celluloid
Records has once again managed to
cram some of today's finest
musicians into a recording studio so
that they may create for us eager con-
sumers a worthwhile vinyl product as
The Golden Palominos. While this
latest Palominos line-up of Michael
Stipe, Richard Thompson, Syd Straw,
Arto Lindsay, Anton Fier, and Johnny
(Rotton) Lydon, among others might
not quite be a band of recording
geniuses, it does succeed on another
level-and that's in capturing the
sound of these geniuses.
The first side of Visions finds Stipe's
vocals dominating three of the four
tracks, but the sound is anything but
A.E.M.tinged. Although the lyrics of
',"Boy(Go)" are very much Stipe, as
are those of the snake-congested
'Clustering Train" (both of which he
co-wrote), takes a real departure
from that of his won band. On the
former cut, Richard Thompson's ner-
vous guitar flutters effortlessly
throughout. The sound is lush and
full-nothing jangles-and Stipe's
voice is pushed to the top of the mix on
that with the aid of his newly
discovered enunciation, one can even
understand the lyrics. It's a new
dimension to Stipe's brilliance; as is
the heavy rocker that follows it,
"Clustering Train." Jody Harris'
guitar absolutely sizzles, easily
making for the album's harshest
track. Unfortunately, as most of the
other songs of the album, ex-Lounge
Lizard and producer/drummer An-
ton Fier's combination of electric and
acoustic drum work seems especially
tame and mechanical; which preven-
ts the tracks from really taking off.
Fier and his rather sedate style
seems to be there to remind us that

this really is an album of studio
players; and can never really come to
life. This is especially apparant on
"The Animal Speaks," a grizzly
demon of a track on which Johnny
Rotton wails away as if he's rising out
of hell. Most of the other instruments
are able to hold up in comparison to
Rotton's momentum, but Fier is once
agian just too damn deliberate.
There's just not enough rock 'n' roll to
this animal. An extra drum fill here
and there would really help the piece
out, as his methodical rhythm
becomes extremely tiring. This is
just one example of an album on
which electronic drums, combined
with the lack of enthusiasm of a great
drummer, can take the guts out of
good music.
Fortunatley, such peeves regarding
the prodcution of Visions are not
readily discernable on first listen, and
probably won't bother most people.
But after its spun around on your tur-
ntable long enough, they stand out
land and clear.
Syd Straw's ravished vocals
highlight Side Two and make the per-
fect earthy compliment to the artier
subtlety of Stipe's style on the first
side - especially on "Kind of True."
And Arto Lindsay (DNA, The Lounge
Lizards) sings on the disc-closer
"Only One Party," which has a nice
kick of its own.
Visions of Excess is really a
brilliant creation that manages to
pack some excellent artists into one
studio. One just wishes that it could
get some of the studio out of its artists.
-Beth Fertig
Tex and the Horseheads
z-life's So Cool
(Enigma)
YO RANCHEROS! ! Cow punks
have pulled into town in the form of
Tex and The Horseheads, and believe

you me their cow is better than their
punk. Their new album Life's So Cool
is decent, but nothin' to hoot and
holler about.
The thrashier songs are the
weakest. They're nothing new,
nothing you haven't heard before, and
nothing you'll be dying to hear again.
Lead singer Texacala Jones may be
the band's weak link. Sure she's nice
to have naughty dreams about, but
that doesn't mean she's worth
listening to. You get the idea that you
never hear her real voice. She either
sounds kittenish, hokey drunk, or like
the gnarliest gutter vixen that side of
the Mississippi.
Her best moments are in "Ban-
dana"-a real cow rustling, cactus
carousing number with a rockin' bass
line-and in "The slip," one of the
album's best tunes. It's an acoustic
strum-along featuring guitarist Mike
Martt rasping out the lead vocals.
Texacala's accompanying vocals are
reminiscent of Exene on the Knitters'
album.
Speaking of the Knitters, I thought
I'd mention that John Doe produced
the album; and sure enough, once in a
while the Horseheads do sound like X.
And the Horseheads sure know how to
milk a song.
One example is "I'll Quit
Tomorrow." It's a real dandy about
hoppin' on the wagon. The bassist, J.
Gregory Boaz, sings this one and
does a mighty fine job. His scratchy
vocals fit the part in this hokey, yet
way electrical drunk song.
"Spider and the Peach" is a darned
good tune that sounds like it could be
one of those '70's rave-up anthems.
The spoons solo in the middle of it
may be the classiest moment on the al
bum. "Bartender Sam" and "Jailed
Again" are two knee slappin' and foot
stompin' offerings which make for
two of the better selections on the
album.
Oh yeah-best line on the album:

"You know I was too drunk when
I met you. 'Words to live by for sure.
-Danny Plotnick
Fats Comet and the Big
Sound-"Bop Bop" (World
Records)
No question around these parts that
the popular dance/funk music scene
is in a pretty sorry state, flogging
the dead horses by thestable-full and
standing firm in its embargo against,
originality and innovation.
So along comes this single by Fats
Comet and the Big Sound, folks who
have confidentlyskicked aside the
cliches which surround them to
produce what has got to be one of the
year's finest singles.
At the production end of things are
the people from On-U Sound (the Big
Sound), an English label that has ear-
ned a reputation for taking basic
rap/dub/funk and reggae rhythms
and turning them into wild, dangerous
and highly original monsters, and on
"Bop Bop" they don't at all disap-
point.
Here, they join forces with Fats
Comet & Co., who lay down an infec-
tious and endearing quasi-doo-wop
nonsense hook over the Englishmens'
nasty urban space rhythms. No
hackneyed social posturing, no tired
proclamations of coital and rapping
proficiency, just plain goodness.
"Bop Bop" is executed with
rigorous economy (i.e. it's not boring
at all, quite a feat in this genre) but
maintains a looseness and spon-
tanaiety you'd be hard-pressed to find
ANN ARBOR
JEWELRY EXCHANGE
Your best buy'
322S. State St.
996-9759

His Chopin playing, which included ACtijl SportsWar
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crashin' faster than DC 10's and 747's(2 bks. oft State)
combined. 663-6771
-Rob Michaels' ,; "
GREAT CHRISTMAS GIFTS!
ART PRINTS & POSTER SALE
Art Reproductions, Laser Images, Modern & Abstract Images,
Animal Posters, Music Images, Travel Posters, Wildlife Prints,
Rock Photos & Contempory Photo-Art.
PLACE: MICHIGAN UNION
GROUND FLOOR MALL
TIME: 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
DATE: December 2 -6th
Sponsored by Arts & Programming

Poet Larkin dies

Special Feature:
MATTING IS AVAILABLE
SILVER & WOOD FRAMES
ROCK PHOTOS
SPRINGSTEEN "85" etc.

By Noelle Brower
Acclaimed English poet Phillip
Larkin died this past Monday in a
hospital in northeast England. The
cause of death was not disclosed.
Larkin had been in intensive care suf-
fering from breathing difficulties.
Earlier this year he had undergone
a throat operation.
Larkin was a quiet man, a librarian
by profession, he shunned the
spotlight. in 1984 he declined the

prestigious post of England's Poet
Laureate, a position that is held for
life.
He wrote poems about the everday
lives of everyday people.
But this poetic recluse was often at
the center of controversy. He was of-
ten criticized for being too common-
place while at the sametime he
outraged people with his explicit use
of the English language. But he was
nonetheless one of Britian's most
popular poets. He was 63 years old.

Gentle poet Philip Larkin died last
Monday. He was 63.

K

it

The University of Michigan
has a national reputation
for excellence.
THE COLUMBIA SCHOLASTIC
PRESS ASSOCIATION
awards this
FIRST PLACE CERTIFICATE
to
Caroline MuIl1lr and Nric M a -ten a-r Nt as ri in
Given at Columbia University in the City of New York,
in its Gold Circle Alards for 1985
For tajheattic i zo

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