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December 10, 1991 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-12-10

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The Michigan Daily Tuesday, December 10, 1991 Page 5

Ma, Ax
the Hill1
Duo will play
Bolcom sonata
by Valerie Shuman
H e's back! YoYo Ma, the leg-
endary, awesome, incredible (you
get the idea) cellist is returning to
Ann Arbor. He's been everywhere
(Europe, Japan, the United States),
performed with everyone (from
Isaac Stern to the Chicago Sym-
phony Orchestra), made scads of
recordings for Sony Classical, some
of which have won Grammy awards
(at last count, he had five), and just
generally spent the last 30-odd
years impressing the world (his
first recital was at age five). He's
also a teacher at Tanglewood.
Tonight, Ma will be performing
with Emmanuel Ax, a pianist who
is so good he's referred to as collab-
orator instead of accompanist.
But none of that's new. What is
different is the music they'll be
playing. Both artists are interested
in new music, and tonight they'll
present a brand-new piece by Wil-
liam Bolcom titled Sonata for Cello
and Piano. The work was com-
missioned by our very own Uni-
versity Musical Society (with other
organizations) in an attempt to
expand the repertoire used in con-
cert recitals.
The duo will also be performing
music by Bernstein (a clarinet and
piano sonata - I didn't get it either,
and Ma was unfortunately too busy
performing to comment, though
Bolcom, a professor at the Univer-
sity School of Music, suggested that
it might have something to do with
Bernstein's death last year), Brahms
(Sonata in E minor) and Chopin
(Sonata in G minor).
Bolcom, who is on a two-year
leave from from the University, has
also won a Pulitzer prize for his

Streisand, Nolte make lovely

schmaltz together in Tides
The Prince problems surface as he grows aged matron routin
closer to the Jewish psychiatrist, Gould, Streisand's re
of Tides whom he addresses with a mix- surprisingly good as
dir. Barbra Streisand ture of cynicism and affection as obnoxious child.


e and Jason
eal-life son, is
and Becky

by Aaron Hamburger
Barbra Streisand's The Prince of
Tides is grand schmaltzy
filmmaking in the tradition of old
romance classics like Now,
Voyager and Random Harvest, a
film for which adjectives like
"sappy" and "sentimental" are
compliments. In Tides, high
school teachers live in beautiful
seaside homes, writers live in de-
cent apartments (in New York!)
and lovers hide away in beautiful
countryside estates, munching on
French bread.
Yes, the movie's romantic all
right, but the fine performances
by the stars, especially Nick
Nolte, ground the film in reality,
and save it from careening off to
romantic outer space.
Tides is the story of the emo-
tional journey of Tom Wingo
(Nolte), an unemployed football
coach from South Carolina. Tom
learns to deal with his bitter
childhood memories, which he's
repressed all his. life. When his
sister, Savannah (Melinda
Dillon), a writer who lives in
New York, attempts to commit
suicide, Tom travels to New York
at the request of her psychiatrist,
Susan Lowenstein (Streisand).
Lowenstein interviews Tom about
his sister's past, which Savannah
has blocked out of her mind.
Tom's own tragic memories and

As Tom, Nolte does every-
thing right. He shows Tom's use
of humor to avoid dealing with
emotional situations. Nolte's
character is a tortured boy pre-
tending to be an affable Southern
gentleman. It's too bad he has to
go up against Anthony Hopkins in
Silence of the Lambs for the
Oscar; in any other year, Nolte
would win the award hands down.
Streisand is unusually re-
strained as Lowenstein. This style
is appropriate for her unhappy
character, who is dominated by her
severe, egomaniacal husband, a fa-
mous violinist (Jeroen Krabbe).
The subplot involving her rela-
tionship with her family isn't as
interesting as the main storyline
involving Nolte's character, and
Nolte's performance is so strong
that it takes away from her per-
formance. It's not completely
clear why Nolte would be so at-
tracted to her. Still, Streisand is
believable, especially when glints
of her famous personality come
through, like when she tells
Nolte, "I've got to find a nice
Jewish boy."
The talented Canadian actress
Kate Nelligan, who was excellent
in the recent film Frankie and
Johnny, gives a tough, forceful
performance as Tom's irascible,'
social-climbing mother. Blythe
Danner does another convincing
variation on her troubled middle-

Pat Conroy


Buddies/ musical geniuses YoYo Ma and Emmanuel "Manny" Ax are
longtime collaborators and consistent crowd pleasers.

work as a composer. He will be fly-
ing back from Fort Lauderdale to
speak at the Philips Pre-Concert
Presentation (kind of impressive
sounding, isn't it?) about this work
and others. He and his wife, who is
also on the University faculty, have
been on tour with the Florida Phil-
So what's it going to be like? In a
recent interview, Bolcom com-
mented, "It sounds like a cello and
piano sonata. It tries to be in the
tradition of literature for cello and
piano. It should evoke the older
style, like a new building built with
older architecture in mind." He said
it has been compared to both Brahms
and Poulenc.
When pressed for detail, he said
that the piece was written in three
movements which include "modern
harmonies." The first movement,
Bolcom said, "sounds like a first
movement," while the second is
slower and "quite lyrical" and the
third is "kind of a Night Rider
movement ... with a headless horse-
man idea." His final comment on

the piece was, "I didn't feel bound
by (the tradition), but I wanted to
haul it up."
Bolcom mentioned that he defi-
nitely had the performers in mind
when he wrote the piece. "They're
both wonderful people," he said. "I
wanted to give them something in
the tradition to play." He is quite
familiar with both performers, and
both have presented other works by
him. Ax ("Manny" to the Profes-
sor) played Bolcom's Piano Con-
certo both in Aspen and New York,
and Ma performed Bolcom's
Capriccio in New York.
will be performing tonight at 8 p.m.
at Hill Auditorium. Tickets are $18-
-$45; rush tickets will be available
for half price from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
today at Burton Tower. A CON-
Pre-Concert Presentation) is to-
night at 7 p.m. in the Rackham
Amphitheatre. Admission is free.

Johnston, who adapted the screen-
play from Conroy's novel, do a
good job in allowing the story to
unfold naturally. The dialogue
seems a bit too suave and sophisti-
cated, but then again, the movie's
based on a bestselling romance,
not a Faulkner classic. The fine ac=
tors in the cast make their interac-
tion seem believable, anyway, ex-
cept for Jeroen Krabbe, whose
character seems like a pale cartoon
imitation of Hannibal Lecter.
Though the movie gets a little too
mushy toward the end, it's gener-
ally a fascinating and fun ride
from start to finish.
December 25.

Sweet F.A.

- just what do

you think F.A. stands for?

by Kristen Knudsen
* 1 would say that you'd have to
consider us a party band," says Steve
DeLong, lead singer of the hard rock
group Sweet F.A. With a guitar-
heavy, Faster Pussycat-type sound,
Sweet F.A. - composed of DeLong,
drummer Tricky Lane, guitarists Jon
Huffman and James Lee (J.T.)
Thorpe and new bassist Mark Mat-
thews - is one band that knows
how to have a good time. The name
Sweet F.A. is, in fact, a representa-
tion of just that. "Everybody's after
a piece of Sweet F.A.," DeLong ex-
But this band has a serious side
too. "I watch CNN a lot," DeLong
reveals. DeLong says that the song
"Storm is Movin' In" from their
new album Temptation is "basically

just a CNN song." But don't let
that fool you - most of Sweet
F.A.'s music is simply meant for en-
joyment. With basic hard rock songs
like "Bad Boy," "Sexuality" and
"1800' Ta Kill Ya Sunrise," Sweet

different ... the idea of this album
was the versatility, showing that
we're a versatile band, that ... not
just every song sounds the same, and
that there's a lot of creative influ-
ences involved in all the personali-

'... the reason that we all got into it - is
because it was fun, it was a release and it
was a way of kind of "stepping away" from
some of the problems that everybody's so
preacherish about right now'
-Steve DeLong,
lead singer, Sweet F.A.

Cape Fear star Nick Nolte, not the kind of guy who gives up just like that, once again plays a family man in
Barbra Streisand's The Prince of Tides. He's pictured here with screen wife Blythe Danner and (1-r) kids
Brandlyn Whitaker, Maggie Collier and Lindsay Wray.

F.A. is clearly having fun.
Having a good time is just fine
with DeLong. "Right now, the big
kick is everybody's so socially
aware," DeLong says. "And they're
writing songs about this and that,
and, you know, that finds its way
into our material, but I think the
bottom line - and the reason that
we all got into it - is because it
was fun, it was a release and it was a
way of kind of 'stepping away' from
some of the problems that every-
body's so preacherish about right
"So, I mean, you'll find a little
bit of social awareness in some of
the lyrics and some of the content of
the songs," DeLong continues, "But
we still try to lean toward having a
good time because there's enough
bad times going on as it is."
From Temptation, DeLong
chooses "Vices," "Sexuality,"
"Liquid Emotion," "Paralyzed (By
You)" and "Ta Kill Ya (Sunrise)"
as his favorites, because "they're all

ties of the band."
When asked to describe Sweet
F.A. in one word, DeLong readily
answers "aggressive," but versatile
would have worked just as well.
DeLong and his band, no matter how
crazy they get, are able to see the se-
rious sides of things too. Because
DeLong has a 19-month-old daugh-
ter, that's probably good news. He
even admits to being a family man,
pointing out, "We are people too,
you know. We're just louder than

Prince and the New
Power Generation
Diamonds And Pearls
Paisley Park
"You say you want my hips up in
the air?" Prince asks his lover in the
lascivious ballad "Insatiable." It's
an amazingly telling remark, the
kind that best characterizes the new
attitude of the protean musician and
visionary on his latest album, Dia-
monds And Pearls. As expected,
Prince bares himself more than a
few times on this refreshing work
that conveys the sense that he is
realizing his second childhood in the

We find Prince clinging to im-
mature objects of fulfillment
throughout: diamonds, pearls and
orgies of the flesh approaching
Caligula levels, among other things.
The opener, "Thunder," is a state-
ment of faith so openly bold it fea-
tures sung vocals of a Western sen-
sibility - "Thunder, all through
the night/ And a promise 2 see Jesus
in the morning light" - over an
Eastern blend of keyboards and
sitars, of all things. The follow-up,
"Daddy Pop," is a humorously bold
boast of Prince's repute: "I got

grooves and grooves up on the shelf/
Deep purple concord jams/ This
party I will slam/ I don't think U
understand/ Whatever U can't do/
Daddy can/ The one and only Daddy
The bragging, however, is justi-
fied, accompanying a thick, heavy
groove layered with weird techno-
jingles, chimes and shrill, jarring
synth lines. Prince is still aiming
for the contemporary ear, and this
time his experimentation pays off in
a clever redefinition of funk, meld-
See RECORDS, Page 8

SWEET F.A. plays this Saturday,
December 14, at the Ritz in Ro-
seville. Tickets are $5 at Ticket-
master (plus evil service charge).


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