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March 28, 1994 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-03-28

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Hitch your wagon to Beethoven

In a fine performance by the
Emerson String Quartet Friday night,
the audience was treated to a musical
journey from Austria to New England

Emerson String
Rackham Auditorium
March 25, 1994

and back in a program of quartets by
Beethoven and Charles Ives.
Beethoven's Quartet in G major,
Op. 18, No. 2 both depicts and
parodies Viennese polite society. One
may imagine in the first movement
the excessively polite discourse of
the salon. The second movement,
then, might follow the ladies and lords
to the opera, peeking in during an
overly earnest love scene. Next we
find the aristocrats at a lively dance,
twirling and perspiring to a jocular
scherzo. High spirits continue in the
finale, as we picture the boasting and
jesting of four tipsy gentlemen.
The Emerson's performance was
well scaled to the style of the piece,
exercising classical restraint and
humorous abandon when appropriate.
The playing was crisp and technically
sound, and the ensemble tight.

From the drawing rooms of Vienna
the Emersonjourneyed to the churches
of New England with Ives' String
Quartet No. 1. Composed in 1896
while Ives was a student at Yale, the
work is subtitled "A Revival Service,"
and features several hymn tunes, such
as "All Hail the Pow'r of Jesus'
Name," and "Come, Thou Fount of
Every Blessing."
Ives' youthful work benefited from
The Emerson's
performance was well-
scaled ... exercising
classical restraint and
humorous abandon
when appropriate.
the Emerson's loving attention. The
performers carefully shaped the
beautiful church tunes and
accentuated the trenchant dissonance
that populated the work.
Beethoven's Quartet in B-flat, Op.
130, the final work on the program, is
worlds away not only from Ives' New
Haven but from the composer's earlier
Op. 18 quartet. While the G major
work evokes the trappings of society,
the later quartet delves into
Beethoven's inner world. It is as if
Beethoven wrote his musical memoirs

in this work, looking back over his
life with a mixture of nostalgia,
ridicule, rage, despair and triumph.
The performers drew from a richly
varied emotional palette. The first
movement alternated between
melancholy and fury, while the two
dance movements were more
restrained, conveying an image of
Beethoven considering the outside
world from afar. The third movement
was executed with Mozartean grace;
the quartet's playing of the cantabile
continues to haunt this reviewer.
Beethoven's "Cavatina," the
penultimate movement of the quartet,
is some of the most painfully beautiful
music ever composed. First violinist
Eugene Drucker's ethereal, vibrato-
less tone combined with an organ-
like accompaniment to produce a
deeply poignant sound.
The Emerson reproduced the alien
landscape of the concluding "Grosse
Fuge" in a furious, almost violent
manner. This contrapuntal juggernaut
seemed on the brink of self-destruction
at times, but Beethoven and the
Emerson raged against the dying of
the light to triumph in the end.
Any encore risked being
anticlimactic, but the slow movement
to Beethoven's Quartet, Op. 135, one
of his last works, was an appropriately
ruminative end to an excellent concert.

People dance, play with imaginations

Unusual?Yes. Boring?No. While
it may involve less use of music than
we're used to, People Dancing
- definitely holds your interest.
Celebrating its 10th year in
People Dancing
Performance Network
March 17, 1994
performance, "People Dancing"
previews the show with a video clip
of highlights from past performances.
Terri Sarris, a University
Communications Lecturer, is one of
the three talented ladies that are a part
of People Dancing's 10 year
celebration, along with Whitley
Setrakian and Laurie Zabele.
"People Dancing: Celebrating Ten
Years" is an eclectic mix of music,
words and movement. The
performance combines humor,
sarcasm and discordant images.
Gang Starr
Hard to Earn
"I go from one format and switch
to the next / Reflex sets the pitch,
vocals rip through projects," says the
Guru when "Blowin' Up the Spot."
No arguments here. Guru has flipped
the jazz scene on its head and come
back with hip-hop styles as strong
and unique as ever. On the heels of the
last year's successful "Jazzamatazz,"
Guru is back with D.J. Premier (KRS-
One, Jeru The Damaja as of late) and
back to the straight-up butter cuts and
smooth roughness that Gang Starr
established in their first release,
"Manifest" in 1989.
The amount of material that Guru
and Premier have produced within
the last year is astounding, but it has

Whitley Setrakian's choreography
throughout the performance combines
elements from all the different art
forms, from drama, to music, to
movement and dance.
Setrakian's, "I, or Someone"
combined dry wit and changing
images that seem to lack a solid frame
of reference, almost like a drug-
induced hallucination. With little
music, her spoken words run
counterpoint to her movements.
The most intriguing and
humorous of the numbers is
"Desperate, Lovely" which combines
the classical elements of dance with
humorous antics and on-stage dress
changes. Laurie Sabele's solo of a
sultry rebuff is charming and
The irony of relationships comes
through during the last section as roles
and attitudes switch dancers with the
same ease as people exchange
partners. Humor is often created
through the antics of the dancers,
including a moment where Setrakian

sticks her head in a bucket of water.
Since the arts are supposed to
suspend beliefs, "Three Mirandas"
takes it literally as the dancers suspend
themselves with ropes hung from
ceiling supports. This number has the
dancers rather than the audience
hanging from the rafters.
The most dramatic and compelling
of the numbers, "Three Mirandas" is
subtly lit with blue light, dimming the
intensity of the lights but not the
Usually a mixture of individual
movement and style the dancing at
times calls for group harmony.
However, Thursday night they were
unable to move in tandem as they
seemed to be attempting to do. (Of
course, the continuous lack of
harmony could be seen as a statement
in itself.)
Including a number of premiere
works, "People Dancing," whatever
else they appear to be, are not afraid to
use their imagination as they play
with the imagination of the audience.

MUSKET's "Fiddler on the Roof" proved that a happy ending
6Fiddl~r' 9div%
"Fiddler on the Roof' is a different kind of musical.
It's not a big British extravaganza. It's not one of those
with-huge-production-number shows. It's not a comedy,
although it does
have comic
Fiddler on the Roof elements. It
doesn't even
Power Center have a happy
March 25, 1994 ending.
Welcome to
Anatevka, a tiny, turn-of-the-century Russian village with
a strong and religious Jewish community. The story
revolves around Tevye, a milkman with wife, five
marriageable daughters and acart that hemustpull himself
because his horse is always in the shop.{
Throughout the course of the show, he comes face to
face with the changing times: his three eldest daughters,
rather than using the services of Yente the matchmaker,
insist on marrying for love, with the one even going so far
as to marry outside of her faith. The Jewish population in
general must live with ever-increasing Tsarist aggression ;
against them, and in the end, upon edict and with the1
dubious prospect of ever seeing each other again, they
must leave Anatevka.
Not a particularly happy show. But MUSKET's;
production, directed by Carrie Barnhardt with an able
cast, handled the subject matter with humor and heart.
Beneath theirrather peaceful,albeit poor little lives bubbled
a very perceptible fear - fear of change from the outsideI
world, fear of Tsarist anti-Semitism, fear of starvation.
Most of the performances reflected that dual existence,
but no one better than Jonathan B. Cogswell as Tevye.

g is not necessarily a requirement for a good musical.
l'ii Pby people
Cogswell, a dominating presence with a booming
voice that rolled to the rafters and back, gave Tevye the
kind of depth the role needed so that he didn't become a
clich6 of a domineering father. Underneath the bluster,
Tevye is a teddy bear, a man who dotes on his daughters
and is afraid of his wife, who bastardizes aphorisms from
the Good Book and argues with God about each new
occurrence in his life. Cogswell instilled every spectrum
of the emotional rainbow in his performance: joy, fear,
love, anger and even a little sadness. Instead ofa caricature,
he was a flesh and blood human being.
The supporting cast helped out capably. Allison Tkac,
in spite of the fact that her singing voice lacked the range
to really nail the high notes, gave a wry, "tough-love" sort
of quality to the part of Golde, Tevye's wife. The actors
playing the five daughters were fine as well, especially
Caroline de Fauw as Hodel, with her lovely voice and her
charming demeanor. And then there was Marisela
Martinez, an unforgettable presence as Yente, the Jewish
matchmaker, complete with accent and Yiddish phrases.
There were elements that didn't necessarily work. One
was the famous fabricated dream scene, which takes place
at a wedding and ends with death threats from the ghost of
the future husband's first wife. MUSKET's version put
the scene in a graveyard, complete with tombstones and
ghosts flitting around. Instead of beginning innocuously
and progressively becoming more sinister, the dream
started eerily ... and from there had nowhere to go. The
dramatic potential simply was not taken advantage of.
But overall, MUSKET did justice to "Fiddler on the
Roof," giving the musical the kind of sensitivity and depth
that the script requires. "Fiddler" proves that a show does
not need pyrotechnics or even a happy ending to succeed;
all it needs is a good story driven by people.

done anything but stifle their creative
flow - the album is over an hour
long, with 15 full tracks. At the same
time Guru's themes are as strong as
any album, with songs called "The
Planet," "Code Of The Streets" and
"ALONGWAYTOGO" each sticking
closely to a train of thought, wrecking
the idea and then leaving the

microphone smokin'. On the duo's
last effort, "Daily Operation,"
Premier's sound was noticeably
slower and more sparse than on the
outstanding tracks on their former,
slammin' album, "Step In The Arena."

The new one fills in the gaps left on
"Daily Operation" and Premier does
it with strings, piano and sound effects
only he can make so funky.
There is a little more sexism and a
little more of the "n" word so

fashionable on wax right now.
However, Guru's messages are still
all real, never preachy and up to the
minute reporting, as in "Tonz 'O'
Gunz." Topping this all off is the
addition of the "Take it Personal" B-

Side favorite "DWYCK" with Nice
and Smooth. It is clear that the Gang
will not stagnate, but will be a
consistent force;they will - be the
copied, not the copiers.
-Dustin Howes

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Colorado Springs, CO 80903

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Session1-June 6-july 8
Session It-July It-August 12
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FAX: (617) 736-3420I

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