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February 20, 1986 - Image 7

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1986-02-20

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Thursday, February 20, 1986

The Michigan Daily

Page 7

Quartet continues the Cycle

By Mike Gallatin
OVERALL, the Guarneri String
Quartet's performance Tuesday
nevemng at Rackham auditorium was
another magnificent showing of
superb musicianship offering itself in
service to the muse of Beethoven's
It is always difficult to find fault
with the Guarneri because their ren-
ditions tend to be as flawless and
diplomatic as are Rubinstein's of
Chopin. Their approach is more in-
tellectual and cerebral than it is
emotional and tempermental. The
music sounds less the result of a.
passionate and Romantic hero, and
more the offspring of a highly
disciplined composer who subordinated

violent outbursts and poignant cries to
the law of form and structure. Yet
what Beethoven wrote was considered
revolutionary in his day, and only sin-
ce has become the rule rather than the
exception. Beethoven established
precedents which were to become the
models to emulate thereafter.
In the opening selection, Quartet in
E-Flat major, op 74, the Guarneri
established their ownhprecendent
which has become their trademark.
The so-called "harp theme" which
passes from one instrument to
another in succession was or-
chestrated among the instruments in
a symphonic fashion with such grace,
ease, and flexibility that the in-
dividual instruments were barely
distinguishable from one another.
They sounded like one string ensem-

ble, spanning the range of three oc-
taves that the cello, viola, and violin
cover, with a single voice.
The early Quartet in A major op.
18 #2 followed next, moving us back
time to Beethoven's early period. The
calm beauty and deceptive simplicity
was played with a certain self-
effacement which downplays the im-
portance of the performers in favor of
the music. In letting the music speak
for itself, the Guarneri has
paradoxically been elevated to the
height of notoriety and critical ac-
claim that they have received and
deserved over the past two decades.
As was to be expected, the high
point of the evening was the
Rasumovsky Quartet in E minor oD.
59 #2. The second movement (Molto
adagio), with its solemnity and

flowing hymn-like nature, bears the
directions,"si tratta questo pezzo
con mo/to di sentimento" ("this
piece should be played with much
feeling"). It looks forward to the
third movement of the late A minor
quartet op. 132 which is headed by
"Heiliger Dankgesang eines
Genescenen an die Gottheit"
("Hymn of gratitude from one who
has recovered to the Deity").
Czerny has told us that this slow
movement came to Beethoven while
he was gazing at the starry heavens
and thinking of the music of the
spheres. Again the Guarneri let the
music speak for itself, and David
Soyer's deep richness at the cello
communicated a sense of stability so
necessary to a truthful interpretation

of these works. What at moments ap-
pears as a willful and stubborn
moodiness in the other parts is tran-
sformed into a stellar tapestry which
transparently conceals the order of a
higher design.
The New York Times review of the
Quartet's special twentieth anniver-
sary concert in 1985 concluded with,
"It was another in a long string of
splendid Guarneri concerts, proving
that happy marriages do exist, even
among string quartets." Again at
Rackham auditorium, there was none
of the dullness that may come with
familiarity and none of the monotony
that can result from constant repition
and sometimes tiresome routing.
They are true, bona fide


Bad Manners: the best

Sandy Danny -Who Knows
Where the Time Goes? (Car-
We sometimes stereotype folk-
rockers as long-haired men and
women, starry-eyed and out to save
the world with their acoustic guitars,
harmonicas and humane ideals. We
should put aside these stale thoughts
when we consider Sandy Denny, the
late folksinger best known for her
work with the legendary Fairport
Convention. Denny, who joined the
British folk-rock group in 1968, only
toured the U.S. twice before her death
in 1978. Yet, she managed to amass a
devout cult following, cast a' shining
influence on folk music, and leave
behind a notable collection of songs.
Joe Boyd, who produced much of
Denny's work, and her husband
Trevor Lucas have collected the songs
-including many unreleased ones -
into a four record set, Sandy Denny:
Who Knows Where the Time Goes?
To listen to it is to step along with an
extraordinary life. If Denny's lyrics
are not always successful, her
evocative, flute-like voice never lets
us down.
Denny's early songs, such as the
title cut, are classic folk melodies
with a tendency towards the
anachronistic. Yet "Who Knows
Where the Time Goes?" manages to
rise above that. Denny takes a simple
cliche that we often hear our parents
or grandparents say at family reunions
and turns it into a very moving song.
The words may be spare and simple,
but the emotion is not.
Later songs such as "Listen,
Listen" express a more mature folk
style. The song blends with a silvery
mandolin with lush harmonies to
create an enchanting atmosphere for
Denny's gentle ballad about a story
teller. .
Traditional material, however, also
defined Denny's style. Denny and the
wonderful Fairport musicians tran-
slate "Tam Lin," a traditional folk
tune, into a rock song with a mystic

edge. Denny's voice provides the
crowning glory to the long ballad,
proudly dipping and swaying, not only
to the swirl of music but to the
demands of the lyrics.
Denny's singing, in fact, sets her
apart from most other folk singers.
She really knows how to use her voice,
as she proves in the elegant "Now and
Then." Here, Denny displays her
clean phrasing and lets her voice curl
around the lyrics like a strand ofP
pearls. A live version of Bob Dylan's
"Knockin' on Heaven's Door" shows
off Denny's glowing style, though we
miss her version of Dylan's "I'll KeepI
It with Mine." "Knockin' " pales to the
vocal inspiration of the other Dylan
cover. We can only wonder why such
a good cover should be left out here.
The again, we have Denny's later
material which are gems in them-1
selves. Though some tend to mean-l
der, the majority of the songs never1
lose sight of their intentions. Her
unreleased work especially shows
Denny's extraordinary abilities. "By
the Time It Gets Dark," a 1974 demo,
is simply Sandy at her guitar and is
nothing less than an engaging song
about settling a lovers' quarrel.
"What is True?", another demo, asks,,
through its complicated tangle of
simple imagery, where we can find
happiness within ourselves and with
our friends. Both songs hint at what a
more mature Sandy Denny might
have created.
But Denny declared in "Who Knows
Where the Time Goes?": I have no
fear of time. " She didn't need to
worry about time. We can be quite
assured that her legacy - her songs
- will stand well against the test of
time. - Arona Pearlstein
Dead Can Dance-
Spleen and Ideal (4-AD)
Dead Can Dance is an Anglo-
Australian rock enigma. They. break-
down conventional rockist structure,
instrumental roles and accepted
codes of musical behavior. And don't
See RECORDS, p.8.

of. the bad to grace A


By Jay Dorrance
An English band with the name Bad
Manners seems to be a contradiction
in terms, but rude boys these guys
are. Fronted by a giant three hundred
pound lead singer named Buster (Fat-
tie) Bloodvessel, this is one strange
collection of characters. You'll
probably never see a more hyper-
kinetic or weird looking group on
Now that both the Specials and
Madness have splintered, the Bad
Manners crew is the last surviving
band from the two-tone ska craze of
the early eighties. They carry the
mantle well, and Mental Notes, the
band's latest offering on Portrait, has
faired well on the college radio charts.
General commercial success in the
U.S. has eluded them. However, in
England they've managed several hit
singles with "Lorraine" hitting the
top ten a couple of years back.
The Bad Manners sound is rooted in

ska, unadulterated by a lot of mo
nistic influences. They basically
to the sound pioneered by for
label mates, the Specials.
It's been over two years since
Fattie and the Bad Manners crew
down Second Chance (now the
tarine Ballroom), bui. anyone who
there then will probably be t
again. These guys put on a shell
show (you may need another
years to recuperate), running thr(
their ska repertoire, hit after hit,
o .f

an express train in rush hour.
This is the top ranking, mutant ska,
threatening to bust a blood vessel. So
bring on your dancing shoes and wear
some loose threads. It's music to
move ya.
Locals Snake Out will try and raise
the blood pressure level in
preparation. The show's tonight at 10
p.m. at the Nectarine Ballroom. It'll
cost you ten bucks unless you bring
your student I.D.

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Program in Humanities
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Is Pleased to Announce
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the "Cooley Writing Contest Description" available in the Human-
ities Dept. office, 2028 E. Engineering.


an address by

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' Please send-me a copy of my latest soft
contact lens prescription Please complete
and mailit-as soon as possible Thank
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If you have at least
two years of college left,
you can spend six weeks at
our Army ROTC Basic
Camp this summer and earn
approximately $600.
And if you cjualify, you
can enter the ROTC 2-
Year Program this fall and
receive up to $1,000 a year.
But t hs bgayoff
happens on graduation day.
That's when you receive
an officers commission.


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