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March 03, 1992 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1992-03-03

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Tuesday, March 3, 1992

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

Crawford shakes 'Booty'
Harpsichordist Penelope Crawford explores an
assortment of Baroque tunes with funny names

by Liz Patton

Where does travel begin? With suitcases, of course. Ann Savageau takes you away with The Armchair Traveler.
Ann Savagau takes i on the road

The Armchair Traveler
The Clare Spitler Works of Art
February 21, 1992
"Art is the only Nyay to run away
without leaving home," Twyla Tharp
once said. Residential College pro-
fessor and artist Ann Savageau has
done some running away of her own
kind with her latest exhibit The
Armchair Traveler, which displays
12 mixed media works on the theme
of travel. Whether they're the five
pieces depicting actual locations or
the seven imaginary places, they all
begin - where else - in a suitcase.
Suitcases collected from various
garage sales open to display detailed
works comprised of unique composi-
tions of wood, canvas, earth, bones,
snake. skins, stones and/or pho-
tographs. Savageau admits "I never
know exactly how it's going to come
out. I like the risk and challenge of
not knowing what's going to hap-
Age-old baggage tickets dangle
from the handles of many of the an-
tique suitcases. Even the gallery it-
self captures the flavor of travel
through displays of airline tickets,
travel brochures, stamps, postcards
and travel journals which Savageau
has been collecting for years.
Many of the pieces include lad-
ders, representing the desire to
search or suggesting an escape to a
distant, fantasy place. "Ladders turn
life, they suggest the future," adds
Savageau. One piece even has a
"Ladder Burial Ground with tiny
ladders placed among pieces of bone
and earth. Savageau explains, "Lad-
ders are symbolic much like bridges
providing connection. This also sug-
gests human connotations of connec-
Having grown up on a farm in
Colorado, Savageau became inter-
ested in natural history at a young
age. In college, her anthropology
major sparked a fascination with ru-
ins, especially mythical and South-
western ruins.
One piece from The Armchair
ANAb 1&

Traveler entitled "Facial Land-
scape" depicts desolate areas
stripped by the gold mines in
Colorado with topography designed
in the shape of a face. She utilizes a
technique she began in Australia a
few years back. She began to use
colored earth as a medium instead of
paint, which is actually a very old
tradition. The integration of natural
objects has since become a signifi-
cant part of her work.
The theme of spoiling the land is
as prevalent as the ladder motif in
the exhibit. While "Landscape" de-
picts an area mined to death, Sav-
I never know exactly
how it's going to come
out. I like the risk and
challenge of not
knowing what's going
to happen.'
-Ann Savageau
ageau also highlights the tourist as
vandal, seen in "Looted Ritual Site,
Andean Plateau."
Savageau remains intrigued by
our culture's esteem for travel to
exotic places, and the strong empha-
sis on tourism as an escape from the
mundane and familiar. She suggests
that the notion of exotic depends on
one's perspective; any place can be
exotic to an outsider.
One work entitled "Atwood,
Illinois," (where many of her rela-
tives lived and farmed), captures
four generations in a highly original
manner. The piece tells human his-
tory with its narrative content, re-
flecting Savageau's own delightful
talent of storytelling.
Having spent many summers in
Atwood as a child, the piece evokes

the rich pleasures of living in a small
town. The tribute to great-grand-
parents and grandparents includes
items typical of each generation
including a Victorian doll, an old
marble and a photo of Grandma in a
corn field. Overlaying an old photo-
graph is an inscription on acetate.
Penned by Savageau's grandmother,
a letter asks three questions on living
a good life.
As a child of 11, Savageau lived
in Iran for two years. The piece,
"Iran" depicts these travels. She in-
cludes photos taken with a brownie
camera. Savageau has also included
a storybook "Jube Dos" retelling a
traumatic memory -- a pet's violent
death. "That was my introduction to
cruelty ... It was very cathartic to do
a piece on it."
Savageau says she finds an ob-
ject, reacts to it and then uses it in
her work. "Artifacts" displays fast-
food collectibles discovered in Mc-
Donald's and Burger King parking
lots. She found fossils alongside
plastic trinkets, so she painted the
modern objects to resemble the old
ones. They are delicately arranged in
an elegant suitcase resembling a box
of specimens of insects or shells.
While Savageau sees a certain
comedy and disillusion in tourism,
she admits that "Travelling has been
very important material for my work
... it is a summing up of things in
life." Her complex pieces of art al-
low one to relive and reinterpret her
travels. And, as Savageau adds,
"There is always latitude for perso-
nal interpretation."
The Armchair Traveler will be on
exhibit at Clare Spitler Works of Art
throughout March from 2 p.m. to 6
p.m. every Tuesday and by arrange-
ment. Call 662-8914 for more in-
- Julie Komorn

You thought songs had funny names today. Well
there was a guy in seventeenth-century France named
Frangois Couperin, who titled dozens of keyboard
pieces with cute little names like "The Mysterious
Barricades," or "The Satyrs."
The one to be performed by School of Music pro-
fessor Penelope Crawford at Kerrytown tonight is
called simply "Le Trophle," or "The Booty." The
name fits - it is a hidden treasure of sorts. Many
gems of old music are hidden under the accumulated
years of history. And Couperin hid the names of these
splendid harpsichord pieces by grouping them under
the uninspiring rubric "ordres."
The rest of Crawford's program has more usual
Baroque sorts of titles, such as Partita, Galliard, and
Sonata. There weren't any really standard generic ti-
tles back then (like symphony or concerto), because
musical norms were in such a state of flux. One big
change during the seventeenth century was the differ-
entiation between vocal and instrumental music. Mu-
sic was beginning to be written for a specific instru-
ments, without the assumption that musicians would
simply use whatever instrument was on hand.
One result was an explosion of brilliant keyboard
music. For the harpsichordist in particular, said
Crawford, there is an incredible variety of musical
styles to explore from this period. The composers
themselves were exploring, creating an idiom, and for
a performer it can be a challenge to handle the
changes between such different styles.
Crawford's concert will include pieces of many
nationalities: an English Pavane by Byrd, a Dutch
theme and variations by Sweelinck, an Italian toccata
by Frescobaldi, and a German partita by Bach. "To
have all those wildly different aesthetics on one pro-
gram requires as much quick shifting as I can mus-
ter," she says.
The program is a sort of an introduction to the ma-
jor keyboard genres as represented by some of the
most important figures of the Baroque. Crawford de-
cided to explore the seventeenth-century music in the
first half of the program both to expand her own
range and to get others to hear it as well.
"Previously I was much more familiar with eigh-
teenth-century repertoire," she said. "This is for my
own satisfaction, both for a learning experience and
because I like the music. And some of the places I'm
playing, I'd like to introduce the music to people I'm
sure haven't listened to much of it at all."

J. S. Bach, of course, nearly everyone knows and
loves. And although he was from Italy, Domenico
Scarlatti's music practically represents another na-
tionality: Spanish. He spent most of the latter part of
his life in Portugal and then Madrid, and many of his
sonatas show exciting instrumental effects remi-
niscent of Spanish guitar playing.
William Byrd, on the other hand, wrote with
charming tunefulness and smooth harmonies, with no
shocking dissonances or other startling effects.
Frescobaldi? Italian passion. Couperin? French con-
trolled elegance. Sweelinck? Netherlandish brilliance.
This music was all written in the days before the
modern steel-frame piano was invented, and the harp-
sichord was the hottest keyboard instrument around.
It is possible to play this music on a piano, of course,
and it often has been done. But today, with the idea of
"authenticity" in the performance of early music, it is
accepted that there are many things a harpsichord can
do that are difficult or impossible on a modern piano
Such as? "Speech-like qualities," answers Craw-
ford without hesitation. "One simply cannot do
enough subtle things with articulation on a piano to
bring the speech-like and rhetorical qualities to life,"
she says.
"The modern piano has such a long singing sound,
the sound doesn't die fast enough, so articulations
sound chopped off. A good pianist could achieve a
similar result, but it's hard work, and the results
sound unnatural.
"Another thing is the whole dynamic question in
early music," says Crawford. "For early keyboard
music it can become awfully artificial in pianists'
hands. Here they have this instrument that has all
these dynamics, so what do they do with it? Often
what they choose to do is totally out of keeping with
the aesthetic of that music.
"The piano has such tremendous dynamic range
that it's impossible not to use it. For early music, ter-
raced dynamics (sudden changes from uniform loud
to uniform soft) and other techniques can create the
illusion of varied dynamic levels.
You can recreate the articulations, you can recre-
ate the instrument, but you can't have the setting.
You'll just have to imagine that the Kerrytown Con-
cert House is a ducal court somewhere in Italy.
PENELOPE CRA WFORD performs at the Kerrytown
Concert House tonight at 8. Tickets are $1O-$5,
Students $5. Call 769-2999. Reservations suggested.

who what where when

What is one to do? Spring break
has wrapped itself up, and while the
rest of the University seems to be
back in the swing of things, you
can't quite manage to get yourself to
crack open that book on the agro-
ecology of the lower Huron flood
plain. Well, we want to let you know
that your plea has not fallen on deaf
ears. We have scoured the files, the
press releases, and all the other pa-
pers to find, well, not a whole hell of
a lot.
But the search wasn't entirely in
vain. Our man on the street has
turned up the latest episode of the
Ann Arbor Poetry Slam. Strap on
your best verse and mosey on down
to Club Heidelberg at 8 p.m. tonight.

Open mike readings open the
agenda, immediately followed by the
actual Slam competition. But that's
not all you get for your $3 entrance
charge. Karen Malfy, Sandra Vallie,
and Brian Wallace (three organizers
of Granite Line Writers) are featured
guests. Ring Club Heidelberg at 995-
9857 for dress code, menus, direc-
tions, or more info, but not, we re-
ally must insist, just to chat.
And do you know who's the best
band on Sub-Pop? You probably
have your own opinions, but you're
all wrong because it's really Afghan
Whigs. Their complex, extremely
rockin' music and twisted, sarcastic
lyrics make them one of the most

exciting bands around today. And
now that they have a video on
MTV's 120 Minutes, you might
have even heard them. They're play-
ing tonight at St. Andrews Hall for
five measley bucks at the door.
Doors open at 9.
Forced to grow up on the tough
streets of Livingston, NJ, Tequila
Mockingbird guitarist Jeff Gordon
learned the blues the hard way. His
solo show at the Blind Pig tonight
should be a showcase of the 19 years
of pain and misery buried in his
soul. The T-Mocks are still together,
so don't worry. You can catch them
at Scorekeeper's tomorrow to benefit


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