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December 02, 1994 - Image 12

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1994-12-02

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12 - The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 2, 1994

Oslo Philharmonic traverses musical map in an inspirational A2 show*

By BRIAN WISE
Traditionally, Norway has never
yielded the output of great orchestras
that its German or Austrian neighbors

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Oslo
Philharmonic
- Hill Auditorium
November 27, 1994

of its ensembles, thanks largely to a
succession of top-notch music direc-
tors.
On Tuesday night, the Oslo played
under the baton of Mariss Jansons
and traversed a diverse musical map
that included Beethoven, Bartok,
Shostakovich and Ravel. As one of
the better programmed concerts at
Hill Auditorium in recent years, their
diversity produced remarkably in-
spired results.
A few minor intonation problems
in the violins were the only blemishes
in a nearly flawless account of
Beethoven's Leonore Overture No.
3. This early Romantic staple
sounded remarkably fresh and vivid,
particularly in the coda, as each com-
ponent of the string section was dealt

a vigorous scalar passage to work
through.
Pianist and orchestra are equal
partners in Bartok's Piano Concerto
No. 1, a percussive, restless interplay
of expanded techniques and sonori-
ties. Yefim Bronfman's piano play-
ing was focused and crisp, although it
struggled at times to project over the
driving ostinato figures delegated
through the orchestra.
The piano's rhythmic character
was best evoked in the second move-
ment, as it was pitted against a large
arsenal of percussion instruments.
Bronfman hammered out blocks of
sound that imitated, challenged, and
mimicked the various percussion tim-
bres, only later to be united with the
winds. His playing was received well

enough, that, with some coaxing by
the principal violinist, he treated the
audience to a brief encore of Chopin
before intermission.
From Hungarian to Russian, the
Oslo offered an exciting account of
Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony.
Jansons' fine skill as a conductor
should not be understated. He led
with exceptional control and inter-
pretative clarity that seemed to bring
truth to Shostakovich's assertion
that "musicians will love to play it."
This was by all means apparent in
a gorgeously played bassoon solo in
the fourth movement, as well as
some brilliant brass fanfares in the
finale.
"La Valse" by Ravel is essentially
a Frenchman's depiction of a Viennese

Waltz, but taken to spectacularly exu-
berant and colorful extremes. Not
unlike the Shostakovich, "La Valse"
is a study in orchestral writing, par
excellence. Jansons inspired many
wonderfully shaped phrases and dark
string textures that were as rich as
Viennese chocolate. Tempos were
always well under control yet the
piece's feverish conclusion sounded
anything but restricted or held back.
The only unfortunate aspect of the
evening was the large number ;
empty seats in Hill Auditorium. The
Oslo Philharmonic had not simply
settled on "phoning it in" as is of en
the norm with touring orchestras, but
played with an energy that one hears
all too seldom at orchestral perfor-
mances.

to the south have.
Over the past century, however,
the nation has gradually staked its
claim as an eminent center of music-
making in Europe. The 75-year-old
Oslo Philharmonic is likely the finest

*I

Mariss Jansons

;RECORDS
Continued from page 11
purpose of hearing the beats, then you
will be doing nothing less than deny-
ing yourself the much-needed educa-
tion it provides. Enjoy the beats, but
listen to the words - really listen.
Paris' concerns, fears and anger over
the plight of the Black community are
:embedded within each cut. If the in-
side cover of this CD alone doesn't
affect you, then I guarantee that songs
contained within, like "Blacks &
B lues," "40 Ounces and a Fool" and
"One Time Fo' Ya Mind," will.
With racism running as rampant
as it ever has in this country, and with
people continuously trying to
downplay the great role Blacks have
played in the formation of this coun-
try, Paris and "Guerrilla Funk" are a
breath of fresh air.
Paris kicks much knowledge, and
that's why so many are afraid of him.
Paris is a living repudiation to asser-
tions made by everyone from dunce
cap-wearing KKK to writers of books
like "The Bell Curve," who are no
better than members of the KKK, to
politicians who see Blacks as nothing
but a group of lazy welfare recepients.
Paris' language and explicitness
may offend some, but what should be
even more offensive is that the atroci-
ties Paris describes are facts of life for

many Blacks in this country, rich and
poor. Buy "Guerrilla Funk," and let
your rage flare.
- Eugene Bowen
Various Artists
You Got Lucky - A Tribute to
Tom Petty
Backyard
The dazed and confused Tom Petty
and the Heartbreakers have been trip-
ping around for almost 20 years now,
rolling out such classics as "Don't
Come Around Here No More" and
"American Girl." Petty's absurd im-
ages and songs have given him a
cultic status for many, and the reputa-
tion as a plain old rocker for others.
On "You Got Lucky - A Tribute
to Tom Petty" a dozen indie bands
decide to pay tribute to the master of
musical surrealism. This collection
of pre-"Full Moon Fever" songs adds
new dimensions and accents to many
of Petty's early classics.
Everclear kicks off the album with
a hard and true version of "American
Girl." The tracks is one of the best on
the tribute, and stays true to the origi-
nal, keeping with the tight riffs and
whiny vocals. Others like Truck Stop
Love's "Listen to Her Heart" and
Throneberry's cut of "Here Comes
My Girl" still sound like the origi-
nals, with an extra something to them.
However, many of the others don't
sound at all like Petty's creations, but

most are still good tracks. Fig Dish's
"Don't Come Around Here No More"
is even more drugged out and trippier
than the original 1985 version, but
adds more to the track because of it.
Others like "Southern Accents"
performed by Dexter Methoropham
go further into the great wide open,
and sway into the realm of the even
more unusual, creating an interesting
and also excellent tribute to the early
days of Tom Petty and the Heart-
breakers.
-Brian A. Gnatt
Black Sheep
Non-Fiction
Mercury Records
Black Sheep have reannounced
their presence in the hip-hop scene
with their "Non-Fiction." Leaving
behind much of their catchy disco
inspired tracks for a more jazz ori-
ented style,they have likewise up-
dated their lyrics as well. Their free-
flow trademark style is still evident,
but something is remarkably differ-
ent.
Black Sheep were obviously con-
cerned with creating a more coherent
and unified album. On their nascent
effort "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing,"
their was an equal number of good
and back tracks, creating an album
that averaged itself out. Nonetheless,
the slamming tracks more than made
up for their less than worthy counter-

parts. "Non-Fiction" however has no
truly bad tracks, but, perhaps as a
result, their are no particular stand-
outs either. Tracks like "City Lights,"
"Without a Doubt" and "Peace to the
Niggas" stand-out somewhat from the
other tracks, but not in the way that
past chart-breakers like "The Choice
is Yours" or "Stobelite Honey" did.
"Non-Fiction" is an album with
no real highs or lows. The lyrics are
tight, the music is funky, but there
seems to be some essential ingredient
missing. None of the songs are phe-
nomenal, which for most groups
would not be a criticism, but we ex-
pect a little more from Black Sheep.
The question of whether or not their
new found maturity is a good trans-
formation certainly comes into ques-
tion. Wiser doesn't necessarily mean
better.
Black Sheep is no longerjust Dres'
project, MistaLawngesharesmic time
for about half of the album. Showbiz
and AG, a rap act most notable for
their disappearance, make an appear-
ance on the album, but do not seem to
further the albums aims.
"Non-Fiction" is good , but noth-
ing more than that. Black Sheep made
too many changes in trying to create a
more modern sound. Granted, none
of the tracks are bad, but average is
just not enough, especially from such
a highly anticipated album.
- Ben Ewy

WALK 500 MILES TO RICK'S

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Everyone loved the rollicking stomp of "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" but the
song hardly stands alone among the Proclaimers' other songs, in terms of
sheer pop charm. "Hit the Highway", their follow-up to the LP that featured
the instant-classic, is a potpourri of folk, rockabilly and gospel, in which
Scotland's Reid Brothers Two unabashedly wield their brogues like strange
new weapons of propaganda for love, spirituality and a strong work ethic.
Hear them tear-the-roof-offa Rick's, tonight at 9 p.m. Just $9 at the door
and less than 500 miles away. It's required listening for all Britain-o-philes
- Thomas Crowley
THE ASS PONYS ARE RIDING TO GLORY

Sing Hallelujah, Handel's
"Messiah" is here again. Kick off
the holiday season with the
University
Musical Soci- 72 l

After the demise of Rough Trade Records, which distributed their debut "Mr.
Superlove" and the distribution mess that was their highly acclaimed (and
aptly titled) second album "Grim," the Ass Ponys have finally found a reason
to lighten up. Chuck Cleaver and his Cincinnati-based band decided to leave
indie label Okra Records and sign with A&M, which recently released their
again appropriately titled "Electric Rock Music."
Produced by pal John Curley of the Afghan Whigs (a band with whom they .
recently split the excellent 7-inch "You My Flower") and offering songs like
"Earth to Grandma" and "Wall Eyed Girl," "Electric Rock Music" shows Ass
Ponys perfecting the art of odd, deceptively jangly pop.
Not that they're all smiles quite yet. Like a parched Michael Stipe, Cleaver,-
creaks out cheery lyrics like "It's evening and I'm alive / No bruises or
abrasions outside / No bones protruding through my skin / What a
wonderful way for the day to end."
Randy Cheek, John Erhardt and Dave Morrison back him up with melodies
drenched in influences ranging from acoustic country to folk to punk. In the-
end, "Electric Rock Music" belies its title by sounding totally original.
Haul your own ass over to Alvin's and catch watch these guys open up for
fellow happy campers American Music Club this Saturday night. Doors open
at 9 p.m. Grab a $8 ticket through Ticketmaster at 645-6666 or try your
luck at the door for $10.

0

Introducing the Winter 1995 LS&A Theme Semester
Conflict and Community
Presented by The Program On Conflict Management Alternatives
1IBATURING:

- Jennifer Buckley

Conflict and Communities
The Centerpiece Course
American Culture 308/510
3 credits (Aparicio, Douvan, Weingarten)
Lecture: Mondays, 7:30pm-9:00pm
A course considering the various approaches
to conflict, violence, ethnic and cultural
differences, and social justice issues that
promote the viability of local, national and
global community. Lectures will feature
many local and national guest speakers.
Lectures are open to the public.

Working Across Difference:
Women Creating Community
Women's Studies 482 (001)
2 credits (Lewis, Schulz, ZUliga)
January 12 - March 9
A mini-course focusing on the
potential and challenges facing the
development of multi-group alliances or
communities of women and the potential
these groups have for effecting political,
social and economic change.

Building Bridges through
Intergroup Dialogues
American Culture 301 (003-009)
1 credit (Sevig, Zinliga)
January 31 - March 22
Dialogues include: Women & Men,
Lesbian/GaylBisexual/Straight, Black
People & Jewish People, White People
& People of Color, White Women &
Women of Color, Black People and
Latino People, People of Color.
Call IGRC (936-1875)for override.

2i

AFFILIATED COURSES
Afro-American and African Studies 358 (001)
Racism, Nationalism, and Ethnocentrism: The Politics of
CAltral Supremacy (Holliman)
Afro-American and African Studies 358 (001)

Environmental Studies 412
Amish in America (Huntington)
English 319 (001)
Theater and Social Change (Alexander)
English 317 (001)

Residential College 390
Victors and Victims: A Theater of War (Walsh)
Romance Languages 374
Writing Violence in Colonialist Discourses (Rabasa)
Romance Languages 485/Amer Culture 498 (002)
Latinota Lits: The Politics of Language and Cultural Identity

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