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January 13, 1986 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1986-01-13

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily

Monday, January 13, 1986

Pogo 5,

'Records

Pete Townshend
White City
Atco Records
The existence of rock music has
lieen propelled by the power chord,
d4jtorted by heavy metal, trivialized
b pop art, and wasted by the punks.
Amazingly, Pete Townshend
masterminded and undermined this
ehtire charade of transitions. For
eighteen years, he directed, dissec-
ted, and destroyed the course of rock
'n' roll through The Who while
analyzing the aftermath of his group's

work as a soloist.
After Townshend disbanded The
Who, he became compelled by
society's struggle within tradition.
Townshend views tradition as the
blueprint for a measured life that
society should emulate, a tradition
corroded by myths of roles, respon-
sibility, and morality.
This decay of tradition caused him
much personal angst which frustrated
his last two solo efforts. His new
album White City is a shedding of this
past and an answer to the future. Its
mature observations reflect the
wisdom of a man who has discovered

the essence of happiness: a unique
harmony with the-present.
However, White City is not merely a
personal revelation, it is an im-
passioned response to apartheid. And
it stands as Townshend's most am-
bitious and timeless social con-
tribution not because of its context,
but because of its attitude. Unlike the
unidimensional Sun City project,
White City is more than a well-
intentioned protest album. It is a
retrospective analysis on a
"traditional" issue perpetuated by
cooperative insolence.
Townshend's philosophy is framed

by a fortress of studio-phonic energy.
The music is a menagerie of icy piano
arpeggios, a blazing envelope
follower, and swirling feddback
crystalized into a kaliedoscopic aural
assault.
In "Face the Face," a power-jazz
rocker, Townshend insists that
society must look beyond the com-
monly accepted myths of apartheid if
it ever wants to see the face of pure
traditionalism again. Then, "I Am
Secure" is a landmark because it
debunks these myths. The song
disassembles the social constructions
surrounding apartheid to exploit the

socioeconomic benefits derived from
apartheid's maintenance.
"Crashing By Design" documents
the evil of apartheid's structure in an
argument to defeat it on the in-
stitutional level. Yet, "Give Blood," a
steel curtain of vehemence, excor-
tiates the inconsequential effects of a
violent solution to South Africa. To
Townshend, blood(shed) for any
cause is an unjustifiable act against

humanity.
White City's observations on apat-
theid are enriched with integrity aild
wisdom, and deserve, if not
necessitate, your attention. But, the
real message from this aging and
recovered alcoholic is that love is the
drug and we need to score.
-Ryan Tuta

*j.

Jessye does it

THE STAGE is empty, the people
L are waiting for Miss Jessye Nor-
man, who is one of the world's
remost opera and lieder singers.
Tjie Ann Arbor audience is waiting for
an alumni, a friend.
Slightly after eight p.m., she walked
on wither her accompanist Phillip
Moll, in a flowing, multi-colored,
evening gown and then dove into a
passionate and articulate performan-
ce of the Recitative and Aria of
Oleopatra's from G.F. Handel's
opera, Julius Caesar. In the first half
;e also sang a group of songs alter-
gating between those of Mahler and
Alban Berg. Her diction in German
was crisp, clean and projecting, and
she shaped each phrase sincerely to
,te exact meaning of each of the wor-
ds in the various texts.
The Pair of Songs, Opus 91 of
4 rahms which included guest violist
Yizhak Schotten was the only disap-
jiintment of the show. Things just did
got flow in this effort to demonstrate
some very unusual scoring on Brah-
Ms' part. Although Ms. Norman's
Iocalizing was no less than stunning
throughout, the viola and the piano
seldom meshed evenly with her, and
the result was a performance more
reminiscent of a rocking boat on
Wormy waters, than of golden glow
* d cradle song which the songs are
pupposed to represent.
Norman made up for that in more
than many way in the latter portions
p0 the recital. Her Cinq Meolidies
Populaires Greques of Ravel (5
popular Greek melodies) were silken
and sumptuous with tone. They
ftolicked along at a carefree and
.plaxed pace which made one able to
lean back and just soak up the music.
_ A group of Richard Strauss' songs

based on poems of such German poets
as von Schack, Henckell, Dehmel, and
Dahn was the finale. Norman got
some very grand sounds out of this
music and her face crinkled with ex-
pression as she sang through pieces
which constantly fluctuated with
mood. There was soft whispering
elucidation, and then there was
declamatory and jovial exclamation,
but whatever it was it shone with
exuberance and control.
There are very few singers who can
make the hair on the back of my neck
stand up, but when Norman sang He's
Got the Whole World in His Hands as
an encore, it happened! Although a
standard serious lieder recital is
always enough to exhibit a large spec-
trum of emotion and sound in an
evening, this folk song vein, in which
Norman sang, was the highlight of the
evening. -Neil Galanter
Action SportsWear
FATORY CLOSEOUTS
Best Shoe Puices
in Town!
basketball
racquetball
volley ball
419 E. LIBERTY
(2 blks. off State)
663-6771

WHYT and The Office of Major Events Welcome
;,

'

Wednesday, Feb. 5
Hill Auditorium, 7:30 p.m.
Tickets available at the Michigan Union
ticket office and all Ticket World outlets.
Charge by phone, call 763-TKTS.

/

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