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March 18, 1987 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, March 18, 1987

University Choir lacking in enthusiasm

By Sherrry L ichtenwalner
The University Choir churned
out a rather uninspired performance
last Monday night at Hill
Auditorium. Joined by the
Contemporary Directions Ensemble
in a repeat performance of Jacob
Durckman's Bo, the choir also sang
works by Felix Mendelssohn, Leos
Janacek, and Nicholas Thorne,.
The Contemporary Directions
Ensemble performed excellently as
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usual. Conducted by David
Gompper, the ensemble performed
Druckman's unusual work with the
emotion necessary to convey the
meaning of the piece. Even Hill's
organ pipes "whooshed," a
testimony to the extreme quietude
of the work. Imitating the sounds
of waves, Bo crescendoes into a
crash of the gong and recedes once
more into the quietness of a calm
Mendelssohn's Watching Over
Israel , although technically well-
performed, had little feeling. The
choir sounded lovely. Bored, but
lovely. The tenor section was
especially notable for their beautiful
sound, but I found myself wishing
the choir would "go for it" and sing
like I know they can. This is not to
imply that their performance was
poor. It wasn't. But the lack of
enthusiasm displayed on most of
the singers' faces caused my interest

in the beautiful piece to fade.
Otcenas, by Leos Janacek, is a
Czechoslovakian translation of The
Lord's Prayer. The composition for
harp, organ, and tenor solo with
choir, was the longest work on the
program. The choir performed this
piece well, doing a rather
impressive job with the Czech text.
Here they let their expression show
a bit more, but each time their
fervor was interrupted by the
insertion of a tenor solo, sung by
Stanley Cornett. Cornett had
difficulty with the high notes of his
solos and inserted an operatic

quality inappropriate to the soaring
line of the piece. The choir
displayed their large range of
dynamics, but again, seemed rather
uninterested in the work as a whole.
Four Fall Etchings, by local
composer Nicholas Thorne,
consisted of three sections, none of
which employed any standard text.
All three sections were sung a
cappella, allowing the choir to be
heard clearly. Part One, Fall Sky,
consisted of a repeated "ooh"
through the whole section, with
about four measures of "ah." The
change made me happy.

Conductor Pat Gardner appeared
to have some trouble with the choir
in this section, conducting with
very large movements to keep the
singers together. Part
T wo,Catching Leaves, was
basically a percussion section, with
hard syllables and hissing to
represent falling leaves. Here the
choir showed some interest in the
work, a few members fairly dancing
on the risers. The final section, A
Song in the Dry Hills, consisted of
more "ooh" and "ah," with short
solos to represent various woodland
creatures. The work was different,

to say the least, and the choir did an
admirable job with the difficult
tonality of the work.
Although the University Choir
is talented enough to perform
difficult works such as the Thorne
and the Janacek, perhaps the choir
should stick to repetoire they enjoy
performing. The obvious lack of
interest from most of the choir
members only caused the audience
to join in their reticent attitude.
But, they are a beautiful sounding
choir and should be closely
watched. If they decide to do
Mozart's Requiem, I'm there.

Ouija Board says 'stay home'

A full-text retrieval database of
classical French Writings
The University of Michigan participates in a
consortium of institutions with access to a
computerized full-text retrieval database of
classical French writings. Known as ARTFL
(American and French Research on the
Treasury of the French Language), the
database is a cooperative venture between the
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
and the University of Chicago, ARTFL users
can create a dictionary and frequency count
of words used in a text; trace the origins of a
word or phrase back through the 17th
century; develop a concordance for particular
terms; graph the distribution of word occurences;
or search for a specified configuration of words
and phrases in a single text or across any number
of works. The database includes literary works,
political tracts, philosophical writings and
technical treatises. It is therefore useful to
scholars in a number of disciplines.
This seminar will demonstrate some basic uses
for the ARTFL database and will provide
instruction how to access the system either
through the Graduate Library or directly via a
personal computer. Faculty already using the
system will be invited to discuss how ARTFL
supports their work and to answer questions
about the potential of such a tool for research
in the humanities.
Wednesday, March 25 3:00-4:30
Room 205C Graduate Library
Instructors: Ronald Austin
John Price-Wilkin

(Continued from Page 7)
threatened, upon pain of death, to
exclude anything that hasn't been
tested and approved in at least a
dozen other horror movies (Tenney:
"Gee, we need one more good scare
to reach our quota. What say we
have a pair of hands shoot out of a
coffin and strangle the heroine as
she's bending over it? It's only

been used 150 billion zillion times
before." Cohort: "But that has
nothing whatsoever to do with the
plot!" Tenney: "Details, details...")
The story, for anyone who's still
reading, concerns a young couple
(the earth-bound goddess Tawny
Kitaen and the irratatingly ami-
able/amiably irratating Todd Allen)
whose bowl full of cherries is upset

by the arrival of a sinister Ouija
board and Kitaen's deepening obs-
sesion with it. The board slowly
gets under Kitaen's skin as she uses
it to rap with a spirit who might be
a 10 year old boy or who might be
- just concievably might be,
mind you - a vicious axe-
Tenney does generate a little
excitement by utilizing helter-
skelter, ghost's-point-of-view cam-

era movements during the killings
- hardly an idea bursting with
originality, but one which does
break up the monotony a bit. This
little innovation, however, seems
to exhaust his well of creativity,
and the remainder of Witchboard
left me with little to do except
admire Kitaen's cheekbones and try
to ignore that whiny little bastard
of a voice that kept repeating, over

and over, "Sucker..."


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