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March 31, 1987 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-31

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4

Page 8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 31, 1987
Gaiway and Yamashita embody performer's art

By Rebecca Chung
At a reception following his
concert with guitarist Kazuhito
Yamashita, flautist James Galway
said that music schools didn't
produce virtuosi, but music
teachers.
Furthermore, he also said he
didn't believe that graduates of
music schools could play all of
their scales, one after the other,
without making a mistake.
There are many music schools
who would certainly take issue with
the former, and students who would
not only do so with the latter, but
question its relevance to music
performance.
One can only guess at the result
of the final dispute, but Galway,
and by association Yamashita, have
one thing riding in their favor.
They can play. Oh,; boy, can

they play.
Even more astounding- they
can perform.
Now, anyone who has started
rolling his eyes because of the
program, a pastiche of trans -
criptions and "light" classical
pieces, should ask himself if
Galway and Yamashita promised
anyone anything else. No, they
didn't. Besides, as fluffy as a
transcription may seem, face
it-there isn't much out there for
flute, guitar, and flute/guitar. How
many times can you listen to the
Prokofieff Sonata? How many
times can you play it? Not to
mention the Bach transcriptions of
"Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring"...
Admit it, folks, Yamashita's
transcription of the "Largo" from
Dvorak's Ninth was spellbinding.

No one in that room imagined that
anyone could make a guitar sound
the way Yamashita did. As for
Galway...well, more about him
later.
Now there's nothing wrong with
wanting one's classical complicated
and authentic (even authentic
instruments are permissible some -
times...forgive me). But this isn't
the issue at hand.
What we're talking about here is
the art of performance. Galway has
mastered it. The formula is simple,
and Galway makes it look simpler,
but if it were easy, there would be
more Galways.
First, one has to know one's
instrument. Admittedly, Galway
has the pleasure of knowing a 14-
karat gold Muramatsu, but the
principle is the same even for a

Bundy. Galway's technique is clean
and smooth, his tone full-bodied
with an enormous range of tone
color, his vibrato natural but
controlled (sounds contradictory?
Vibratos are like that) and his
intonation was absolutely impec -
cable- I could have listened to his
long diminuendos all evening.
Second, one must interpret
convincingly. It could be argued
that there isn't much to interpreting
transcriptions of Paganini, Cime -
rosa, and Castelnuovo-Tedesco (he
was an American composer who
died in 1968), but Galway and
Yamashita gave these pieces all of
their musical attention nevertheless.
Furthermore, the result had that
visceral oomph which guarantees an
expressive success.
Now we're edging into the tricky
part; the third requirement is one

that often turns an artist's stomach
upon mere contemplation. The third
requirement is that you have to
communicate with the audience.
This means speaking the musical
language that they understand. Part
of this is taken care of the second
requirement, but communication
goes beyond a tenable interpre -
tation. It's an attitude that begins
with assuming music is a
communicative medium- the
universal language bit.
Now there are good reasons to
argue against this claim, not to
mention good reason to deplore the
fact that much of the musical
public is stuck somewhere before
the first world war. But this dispute
doesn't matter much to the average
listener, because face it, much of
the modern stuff is unintelligible
until one has had a reasonable dose

of theory first. Then one has to ask
if one is listening to theory or
listening to music. It would
probably be safer not to.
Galway has come down
resoundingly on the side of commu -
nication, of taking the public
seriously. He not only picks pieces
that are emotionally satisfying, but
takes the time to talk about theng
onstage without being condes -
cending (a real talent).
Again, this would turn the
musical crusader's stomach, and
certainly there would be no musical
variety without musical upheaval.
But Galway isn't about upheaval.
He is the consumate performer-
and probably the best one we have.

'The Screw' takes a turn in the right direction

By John Ganun
A young governess is hired to
care for motherless children whose
father is too busy to bother with
them. Though it sounds like Julie
Andrews preparing to teach the
VonTrapp children how to sing, the
plot to Benjamin Britten's The
Turn of the Screw is considerably

deeper- and much darker.
The University's Opera Theatre's
production last weekend enhanced
the alluring darkness of Britten's
masterpiece. Especially successful
was the designer's and director's
intergrated approach in capturing
the feel of the Henry James short
story upon which the opera is
based.

Viewing the entire show with a
black screen between the actors and
the audience not only created a
desirable visual effect, but also
helped move the action. Besides
disposing the need for a curtain to
be dropped in and at between each
of the sixteen scenes, the screen
allowed for dramatic lighting effects
to be used. With stark figures in the

midst of black appearing from
nowhere, and constant shifting of
focus, the stage lighting at times
became the center of attention.
Director Jay Lesenger used Alan
Billings's simplistic set design and
David Bowling's everchanging
lighting to create a strong, lively
energy onstage. Particularly in the
"Prologue," when the story and

charcters are presented on a bare
stage, the audience sees a powerful
picture. With no extraneous move -
ment allowed, the feel of a short
story began, and continued,
throughout the show.
Friday night's cast (the cast on
Thursday was almost entirely
different) sounded like opera
singers- and they acted well.

H

ISTHE RIGT
.L YOR PRE U

TO

Ci

'P
U

a) When you're stuck in your room because
someone "pennied" your door.
b) When you spent all your money playing
video games and you still have to buy books
for Developmental Psych.

c)

When you just miss hearing their voices and
telling them what you've been doing.

Diction was very good for some and
not so good for others, but each
produced a believable character.
Beth Veltman led the cast as the
insistingly courageous young
governess, not only because she had
the largest role, but also because
she had the strongest presence.
Vocally and physically she floated
across the stage (in beautiful
Kristine Flones-Czeski dresses)
with wonderful ease.
Linda Venable as the motherly
Mrs. Grose sang beautifully, but4
greater still was her precision in
getting the meaning of the text out
to the audience. Monica Dona -
kowki's Flora was right on the
money also, a part well suited for
her clear, lyric voice.
The rest of the cast, Paul Wiltsie
and Laura Lamport singing the
haunting calls of the ghosts,
Timothy Morningstar straight -
forwardly introducing the story in{
the "Prologue," and Philip Ficsor
from the Battle Creek Boys Choir
holding his own as the devilish (?)
boy Miles, all should be
congratulated.
Conductor Gustav Meier once
again led a tight ship, this time
with only thirteen musicians
playing eightenn instruments. The
Turn of the Screw could very
easily have been musically over -4
dramamtic, yet Meier's direction
was controlled and never over -
powered the singers or the action.
There are no parts for baritones
or altos written in The Turn of the
Screw- not even a mezzo. Britten
evokes tension and horror in his
music without simply using lower
registers. Jay Lesenger, and all
involved with this production
turned the screw even tighter.
Art Shows
(Continued from Page 7)
bold pieces tend to lend their
strength to less dramatic works.
The viewer can appreciate each
artist on his own level and at the
same time compare and contrast the
methods of artists working in
different media, all in one exhibit.
These shows will be open from
April 1 through the 29th at both
the School of Art's Jean Paul
Slusser Gallery and the Rackham
Gallery. For more information on
individual openings, call the School
of Art at 764-0397.
*4
Oscar!
As of press time, only two of
the five major Oscar were given out
at the 59th Academy Awards in Los
Angeles. Michael Caine and Dianne
Wiest, both of Hannah and Her
Sisters, won the awards for the best
supporting actor and actress 4
catagories. Hannah also won best
screenplay by Woody Allen. A
Room with a View won best
screenplay adapted from another
medium. Room also won best
costuming and art direction.
Platoon was awarded best sound,
'Round Midnight won best film
score by Herbie Hancock, and song
went to Top Gun for "Take Your
Breath Away." Aliens received two

One thing about parents: they love to hear what you've been up to.
But you should call them anyway.
And when they ask where you were last night, tell them that
you always call using AT&T Long Distance Service
because of AT&T's high quality service and
exceptional value.
When they ask how your studies
are going, remind them that AT&T
gives you immediate credit if you
dial a wrong number.
And when they ask about your
plans for the weekend, note that you
can count on AT&T for clear long

; ;.
~
. t
j i
x+ti. ...,......,,

distance connections.
And when, at last, they praise
you for using AT&T, then-and only
then-you might want to mention
those Psych books.

\,_..J

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