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April 10, 1995 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1995-04-10

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, April 10, 1995

Dutch Orchestra masters difficult music

By Brian Wise
Daily Arts Writer
The jazz scene currently flourish-
ing in the cafes and clubs of
Amsterdam reflects something much
greater. It is the high premium that the
Dutch place on the arts and culture,
even when itisnotinnately theirown.
This certainly comes as no surprise,
from a society known for its high
standard of living, general spirit of
openness and tolerance, and enlight-
ened government social policies on
everything from drug use to public
welfare.
The Royal Concertgebouw Or-
chestra of Amsterdam is a clear ex-
ample that an orchestra of interna-
tional stature can prosper in country
where a visible musical tradition has
never really existed. In fact, in the late
19th-Century Austro-German reper-
tory, the Dutch rival even the finest of
their southern neighbors.
This was demonstrated Thursday
night at Hill Auditorium, as Riccardo
Chailly directed the Concertgebouw
in a masterful reading of Richard
Strauss's "Ein Heldenleben." A large
and difficult work to be sure, it was
only one-third of an ambitious pro-
gram that included Stravinsky's
"Symphony in Three Movements,"
and Prokofiev's Symphonic Suite
from the "Love of Three Oranges."
The Concertgebouw has gradu-
ally integrated more modern reper-
toire into its programs since the ap-
pointment of Italian-born Chailly
seven years ago. Stravinsky is cer-
tainly the touchstone of modernity,

and Chailly's clear and sure beats and
interpretive skills brought out the idi-
omatic and stylistic details of the
"Symphony in Three Movements."
This 1945 war-influenced work is
certainly a workout for orchestra and
conductor, particularly as a program
opener. With an agitated and disso-
nant style framed by a strict formal
procedures, the symphony demands
the intense focus and virtuosic skill of
its performers.
Both of these elements were pro-
vided throughout the ensemble, be it
- Royal
Concertgebouw
Orchestra of
Amsterdam
Hill Auditorium
April 6, 1995
the crisp, driving French horn
ostinatos and incisive piano outbursts
in the first movement, or the irregu-
lar,jarring chordal punctations by the
entire group in the finale. Stravinsky
himself often complained of orches-
tras' inability to play correctly on the
off beat, and of conductors' inability
to navigate mixed meters. Both of
these charges were dispelled by the
tension-filled rhetorical pauses and
vivid sense of contrast provided in the
third movement.t
Prokofiev was frequently influ-
enced by his compatriot Stravinsky,

and the strong rhythms of the Suite
from "The Love of Three Oranges"
were a nod to Stravinsky's early Rus-
sian style. It is also a descriptive and
vivid sound picture, painted in glow-
ing primary colors. Chailly and the
Concertgebouw reveled in
Prokofiev's splashy orchestration,
from the quirky and chromatic trum-
pet fanfares to the fantastic wood-
wind combinations, to luxurious,
Ravelian string textures.
From extrovert Russian modern-
ism to German late-romanticism, the
orchestra moved into its most famil-
iar territory. Strauss's "Ein
Heldenleben" is the apogee of post-
Romantic giganticism in style'and
orchestration, and heroic in every di-
mension.
The Concertgebouw even pro-
vided an imposing appearance to
this piece. The large battery of per-
cussion were flanked by eight
French horns on one side, and the
remainder of the extended brass on
the other. The capabilities of all
were fully-exploited by Strauss, and
some of the intonation problems that
crept up could almost be forgiven
on account of this taxing close to a
strenuous program.
This was never indulgent, heart-
on-your sleeve Strauss, but dynamic,
incisive and detailed Strauss. The
Royal Concertgebouw is an accom-
plished orchestra, if only by the virtue
that few others could bring such a
demanding program on the road and
make it sound straight from a Dutch
concert house.

RECORDS
Continued from Page 5
not from a couple of computer nerds
who spend hours deciding where a
one-second sound blip would work
best within the whole thematic con-
text of their "art."
That image is difficult to block out,
and when the music is as bland as this,
there's nothing cosmically contractible
about Braindead Soundmachine. I'm
just looking for some hard dance music
I can take to my grave. Haven't found it
yet.
- Matt Carlson
Better Than Ezra
Deluxe
Elektra
Judging by their sudden ubiqui-
tous presence on radio and MTV,
Better Than Ezra are the latest win-
ners in the alternative hard rock sweep-
stakes. With the patented grunge gui-
tars of "Good" propelling them up the
charts, the band seems destined to at
least have a very good year - and
they would, if they had another song
that could follow it up the charts.
Although "Deluxe" kicks off with a
growling Dinosaur guitar on "In the
Blood" and segues directly into the
hit single, mostof the album is slightly
dingy folk-rock - Dinosaur Jr. with-
out the amps... and withoutthe songs.
"Good" sounds good because of
its production, not because of the song.
It's hard to build a song around a
chorus that amounts to a sustained
whine, but with the thick distortion,
stop-start rhythms and gurgling vio-
lin/synth, "Good" makes for fine ra-
dio fodder. What sinks the rest of

1

01

"Deluxe" is the utter lack of those pop
sensibilities and an over-reliance on
earnest soul-baring devoid of melo-
dies or insight. Without lyrical grace
or pop flourishes, Better Than Ezra
winds up dead in the water.
- Tom Erlewine
The Denison/
Kimball Trio
Walls In the City
Skin Graft Records
This "trio," actually a duo, plays
atmospheric, moody jazz. It's no
wonder, considering that this album,

Expert Advice for Job Search Success I

FRIARS
Continued from Page 5
cheese-in-a-can into each others
mouths, the group pulled back the
tempo and toned down the comic bits
for some heartwarming ballads.
Past Friar groups could not pull
off the slower songs with the same
ease and energy as the up-tempos.
But these eight are such fine musi-
cians that the more relaxed songs were
as tight and exciting as the rest of the
program. Some examples: "You took
your love away from me" (with a
sublime solo by Dan Ryan), "That's

the way (it goes)" (a Friar oldie) and
"Your Eyes" (featuring aforemen-
tioned gifted comedian and impres-
sive vocalist Vesbit).
But the biggest highlight of the
ballads and perhaps of the entire pro-
gram was "Bridge Over Troubled
Water," an arrangement which de-
buted at December's Study Break
concert. Matt Laura's arrangement
and Dave Hoey's solo stopped the
show then and it did on Friday night.
Thankfully, the Friars singing
backup did not make any attempts to
throw in unnecessary comic bits (as
Friars have been known to do with

Employer representatives will discuss strategies for a successful job search.
Tips on writing an effective resume, standing out in an interview,
and locating openings will be discussed.

"Walls of the City," was originally
the soundtrack to a very indepen-
dent film. Gently brushed snares
and jagged, asymmetrical guitar
lines combine to make the entire
album a darkly enjoyable walk on,
the wild side. Standout tracks in-
clude "Cold Light of Day,""Harry's
Theme" and "Separate Checks."
Each one of the songs elaborates on
the Trio's simple-yet successful for-
mula, mixing alternative simplicity
with jazz's sophistication. "Walls
In the City" is cool enough to be
anybody's soundtrack.
- Heather Phares
s
ballads to liven them up), which would
have interfered with the audience's
focus on Hoey. Hoey's solo was, quite
simply, beautiful; it reflected a confi-
dent grasp of the song's meaning and,
simultaneously, a flawless execution
of the notes.
The song did end on a bittersweet
note; it is likely the last time Hoey
will sing this song for University au-
diences, as he is one of the four de-
parting Friars. Still, one can always
hope for a reprise performance at next
year's 40th-birthday reunion concert.
With the glaring exception of that
tired let's-introduce-ourselvesjoke, the
Friars were pretty good about sticking
to relatively new material. They did
revive the "Medley of Crap" - which
got laughs despite its hackneyed repu-
tation - but only as a link to the brand-
spankin' new sequel, "AnotherLoad of
Crap: Number Two."
Smartly arranged by Laura, the
comglomeration of TV theme songs
this time featured the "Facts of Life,"
"Wonder Woman;" "The A-Team" and
the Oscar Mayer (Friar) commercial,
among many others. It proved a worthy
follow-up, but a word of advice to the
Friars: Don't over-perform it.
Another surprise of the evening
was the large amount of choreogra-
phy the Friars incorporated into their
program. They might just develop a
reputation for their dancing in addi-
tion to their wit, music and good looks.
And as the group ended with "A
Wim-o-Weh (The Lion Sleeps To-
night)," performed by the current Fri-
ars, new Friars and prior Friars, the
evening glided to a close and the
spectacular concert proved a fitting
farewell to the four departing Friars
- Ryan, Laura, Hoey and Jason
Menges. We'll remember their mu-
sic, their laughter and their legs in
those yellow boxer shorts.

Tuesday, April 11

5:00-6:00 pm

CP&P Program Room

The University of Michigan
Career Planning,;Plac ent

3200 Student Activities Building
313 764-7460

Sponsored with the
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