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February 02, 1994 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-02-02

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, February 2, 1994

Coloring emotions

More Shostakovich?

By DONNA OBEID
"Every time I sit down to write,"
Faye Moskowitz said, "I feel as if I
am doing it for the first time."
It is a surprise to hear such an
accomplished writer talk this way,
but it takes only a moment to realize
it is exactly this fresh approach to .
writing that attracts readers to
Moskowitz's books again and again.
The author adroitly colors everyday.
emotions with unique shades, caus-
ing readers and critics alike to con-
tinually praise her heartwarming es-
says.
Her simplistic writing style is de-
ceptive in the amount of emotional
depth it reaches. The message she
repeatedly threads through all of her
work is an important yet often forgot-
ten one: "The bridge that connects us
all to the past ... is our love for one
another."
This week Moskowitz comes to
campus to read from "And the Bridge
is Love: Life Stories," published in
1991 by Beacon Press. The book is a
collection of personal essays which
focuses upon eye-opening events of
the author's life - from growing up
in Jackson, Michigan to caring for a

dying friend. The subjects of the es-
says reflectpersonal experiences from
the past - the self-consciousness of
adolescence, an encounter with anti-
Semitism, the guiltof gluttony, watch-
ing someone we love die. Moskowitz
embraces all of these situations and
turns them into touching anecdotes,
causing her readers to cling to every
page. Many of the stories pertain to
the isolation Moskowitz has often felt
as a Jew in a predominantly Christian
society.
Sprinkled with sapient observa-
tions on family life, Moskowitz's book
has the flavor of sensibility that is
self-indulgent yet incredibly altruis-
tic. Each of the untitled pieces is at
once self-contained and connected by
the author's personal insights of the
human condition. She explains her
ardent desire as a writer is to not only
appeal to a Jewish audience but to
"anyone that is human ... anyone that
can feel." And Moskowitz's success
in doing that stems from her persever-
ance and dedication to writing, de-
spite the often arduous confrontations
she has with her memories.
When asked how it all began,
Moskowitz admits she became a writer

Faye Moskowitz will be reading from "And the Bridge is Love: Love Stories."
by mistake. During her senior year of the American short story assuming
college, she registered for a class in she would be reading the stories. The
course turned out to be an introduc-
tory creative writing class in writing

By STEVE BURTON
Vladimir Spivakov and the Mos-
cow Virtuosi will offer a fascinating
coda to last week's Shostakovich con-
ference and quartet cycle when they
perform the composer's Chamber
Symphony in F Major Op. 73bis this
Thursday night in Rackham Audito-
rium. The work is Rudolph Barshai's
arrangement for chamber orchestra
of Shostakovich's Third String Quar-
tet, which was performed in the same
venue last week by the Borodin Quar-
tet.
"Shostakovich once said that many
of his quartets would be very good for
chamber orchestra," said Spivakov in
an interview. In fact, he added,
"Barshai arranged two or three of the
quartets for chamber orchestra while
Shostakovich was still alive," with
the composer's approval.
Those who heard the Borodin's
performances last week will have
noted that Shostakovich's quartet
writing often strains the capacities of
the medium to the very limit. In some
cases, ideas that might more naturally
have been expressed in symphonic
terms found their way into the com-
posers quartets - perhaps because
chamber music came in for less in-
tense scrutiny from the Soviet cul-
tural authorities and was therefore a
safer outlet for music of dubious ideo-
logical content. At any rate,
Shostakovich's quartets.are natural
candidates for orchestral arrangement.
Spivakov noted that "Barshai al-
ways had the opportunity to talk with
Shostakovich himself." Once a mem-
ber of the Borodin Quartet, Barshai
knew and worked with the composer
for many years, even conducting the
premiere of his 14th Symphony in
1969. His intimate understanding of
the composer's idiom gives us the
chance to hear these works as they
might have sounded had Shostakovich
himself written them for orchestra.
According to Spivakov, the Third
String Quartet "is very rarely per-
formed, but it's one of the greatest -
very deep, really phenomenal mu-
sic." Among many striking passages,
one of the most powerful is the mys-
terious conclusion - quiet but not
calm, strangely intense in its near
stillness - not unlike the conclusion

U

Ohitstanding..
.i. . . . . . Student... . . . . . .
. . ..Outstanding ..
. .. . . . .. . 'tt
S ew.Menber . . . . ...Y.a. .
- - .-""-..- Organization-.-
outstanding.-.- -:--
Organization -Advisor -:-'-f-t-e
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gie Student ecogniton
Awards honor individuafs
an!student organizations
who have demonstrated
outstanding leadership
qualities and have made
sinicant contributions to the
'University andi community

short stories. But she stuck with the
class just to give writing a try. Only
much later did it become evident to
Moskowitz that the college course
was part of a map leading to buried
treasures within her.
As director of the Creative Writ-
ing Department at George Washing-
ton University, Moskowitz is con-
stantly interacting with student writ-
ers. She is hopeful that aspiring writ-
ers will relate their own experiences
in a personal way, just as she has
done. But she warns that writing can
become bittersweet, since writers al-
ways strive to taste the "pleasure from
the pain." When asked what one piece
of advice she would give to an aspir-
ing writer, Moskowitz paused foronly
a moment before saying, "courage --.
you cannot be afraid of writing ... it's
something you must always have the
courage to do."
FAYE MOSK-WITZwiifI redXat
Hillel's Green Auditorium tomor-
row at 7:30 p.m. For more informa-
tion, call 769-0500.

of the Eighth Symphony. There has
been much speculation about the
meaning of such passages in
Shostakovich: do they express hope,
or dread or emotional numbness?
Spivakov suggested a compelling
and chilling analogy: "if you rem9-
ber Solzhenitsyn's 'Cancer Ward, it
was winter time, and under the board
of this automobile was written 'bread,'
but inside of this automobile were
people instead of bread - people
who were supposed togo to the gulag."
The disquieting hush of these pas-
sages in Shostakovich, he seemed to
say, is like that of such a vehicle,
concealing unsuspected human f r
and anxiety as everyday life goe
untroubled around it. Can Americans
(Barshai's) Intimate
understanding of the
composer's idiom gives
us the chance to hear
these works as they
might have sounded
had Shostakovich
himself written them
for orchestra.
fully understand this music born of
suffering? "People in America also
have heart, they have emotion.
sure such emotion is eternal - it gos
through centuries, like the tragedies
of Shakespeare."
Flanking the Shostakovich on
Thursday's concert will be two works
by Haydn: the D Major Cello Con-
certo featuring soloist Wendy Warner
and the First Violin Concerto, played
by Spivakov. "Shostakovich himself
preferred that his work be perfor
together with works by Hayd ,
Spivakov pointed out. "He always
asked the Beethoven Quartet to per-
form his quartets with Haydn quar-
tets."
Spivakov is unwilling to concede
such repertoire to the period instru-
ment ensembles that increasingly
seem to be taking it over. Though he
allowed that scholarly approaches
have uncovered useful informatie
about such matters as ornamentation
and phrasing, he observed that in many
respects "no one can say exactly how
it was," and, besides, "The listener is
different" - we cannot hear these
works with 18th century ears.
Thus "authenticity" is in some re-
spects an unrealizable ideal. In any
case, he concluded, "most important
is the spirit of the music"
scholarly approaches have no m
nopoly on that.
The Moscow Virtuosi will perform
in Rackham Auditorium at 8:00
p.m. tomorrow. The program will
also include works by Pdrt and
Shchedrin. Tickets available at the
University Musical Society Box
Office. Call 764-2538.
per
person
DAYTONA
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