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April 17, 2013 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-04-17

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0 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 5A

I The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Wednesday, April 17, 2013 - 5A

Takics Quartet attracts
an orchestral newcomer

Warmer
weather means
healthier habits

Learning to love
conductorless
classical music
By CARLINA DUAN
Daily Community Culture Editor
Let me be clear: I don't play the
violin. But I flirted with the idea
ofbecoming a music conductor for
about a week in the sixth grade,
when the boy I had a crush on
strutted to the front of our orches-
tra class, slipped off his shoes and
began whisking around a pen-
cil, conducting our class to the
"Pirates of the Caribbean" theme
song. Sockless. I thought he was
hot stuff.
I don't play the violin, but
occasionally, I fall in love with
orchestral music, and mostly
with conductors. I love the way
that everything comes together
beneath one tip of the baton - the
cellos, with their booming grand-
daddy voices; the violins, with
their smirking, high-pitched glee.
The violas, who are often over-
looked but are still appreciated
wholesomely -theirstrings hum-
ming out a buttery tenor. In the
moment right before an orchestra
begins playing, I always suck in a
sharp breath of air, never released
until that first flip of the conduc-
tor's hand. Conductors make me
feel safe. I watch their fingers
prancing around during orches-
tra concerts, and I feel as if I have
direction, as if I know where I'm
going in this concert, with my
back flopped against the seat and

mybreathless lungs huffing.
That's why, when my friend
Heather invited me to the Takacs
Quartet concert in Rackham
Auditorium on April 12, I was
pretty hyped. Music! Classical
music! I could be classy! Prob-
ably there would be very classily
dressed men there! Probably the
classiest person would be the con-
ductor! Yeah!
Here bounces in my ignorance.
After four years of playing the vio-
lin, I dropped the lessons as soon
as I hit high school. My orchestra
experiences consisted of: A) Mim-
icking a shaky vibrato by flapping
my wrist around the fastest as I
could and B) doodling bouquets
of flowers all over my sheet music,
so by the time we performed our
annual Spring Concert, I couldn't
read the notes beneath a layer of
graphite blossoms andI paused in
the middle of the concert, sneakily
reaching for an eraser. Needless to
say, orchestra was not a good time
in my life.
So, how was I supposed to
know that in a quartet, there's no
conductor?! No classy black suit-
clad man or woman to watch. I'd
have to watch the instruments,
which was, OK, fine, but past
experiences at middle-school
orchestra concerts had told me
that there wasn't going to be
much to watch. Justbows streak-
ing across a few strings.
I hid my disappointment by
reading the program. The Takacs
Quartet, formed in 1975 in Buda-
pest by four founding members
- only one of whom still remains,
Kdroly Schranz, on the violin.

The remaining three members,
Edward Dusinberre on the vio-
lin, Geraldine Walther on the
viola and Andras Fejer on the
cello, now currently comprise
the group, which has won a num-
ber of prestigious awards since
its creation, including the order
of Merit Commander's Cross by
the president of the Republic of
Hungary.
On Friday, the quartet met the
Rackham stage with the grace of
those familiar to a lit-up stage.
They bowed, slowly, then sat
down on simple, cream-colored
seats. In the audience, muffled
coughs blurted. Then, silence.
No conductor, yet the quartet
members all began at the same
time, with a fluidness to their
bodies and their bows, as if being
pulled together by the same wire.
The notes rippled from their
instruments in haunting, spi-
raling tones. Midway through
the, first piece (Franz Joseph
Hayden's No. 63 in B-fiat Major,
Op. 76, No. 4), I marveled at the
quartet's motion. They weren't
rising off their seats, but they
weren't still, either. There seemed
to be a kind of secret dance alive
in their elbows, their hands, their
backs: A dance that manifested
itself in quick flicks of the wrist; a
whirring of the torso; a resonant,
almost holy-looking reverence on
the face.
There was art in their body-
work as much as there existed
art in each musical note, a kind
of art that inhabits the imagina-
tive space. Every time the music
would leap forward in a swell of

crescendo and rumbling notes,
the quartet would also seem to
puff up in huge and loud move-
ments. Their actions mimicked
in the music. I wasn't craving a
conductor anymore. These guys
were it. Watching them was
almost more fascinating than my
previous obsession with watch-
ing a conductor's direction.
As the concert pulsed through
the night, Britten's String Quar-
tet No. 3, Op. 94 reminded me,
at times, of salt shakers spread-
ing over vegetables; and at other
times, of the hum and lull of
water waves. The last piece,
Beethoven's String Quartet in
C-sharp minor, Op. 131, tapped
my feet hard on the concert
floors and made my legs swoon.
The quartet's synchrony and
vibrant motion allowed me to
recognize classical music's abil-
ity to reveal the imaginative. As
an audience member who rarely
listens to Beethoven or Hayden,
let alone understands all the
complicated factors that make
up a "good" performance, I left
the show in awe.
In the eighth grade, my last
year of playing in an orchestra,
I often dreaded performances
because I didn't think we were
playing anything "important,"
and that our orchestra teacher,
the conductor, had a bigger role
to play. Looking back, those
performances were incredibly
important opportunities to cre-
ate art - through connection
with music in bodily, imagina-
tively and emotionally charged
ways - on the stage.

aybe spring finds
some perverse sense
of pleasure posing as
her less-attractive sister, winter,
but I am not amused. I'm not
a fan of the
recent display
of Motherr
Nature's
sadistic sense
of humor.
Born
and raised
in Michi- CARLY
gan, I'm no KEYES
stranger to
the vacillat-
ing weather. Last week, when
I turned on my car and the
thermometer read 70 degrees,
I knew better than to gather
all of my boots - strewn across
the floor from frequent use
- and pluck my heavy jackets
from their easy-access wall
hooks and nestle them deep in
the closet for a long summer's
nap - it's still too soon.
As I write my final column
of the semester, in my usual
study spot at the counter of
Biggby Coffee on E. Liberty, I
have a panoramic view of the
unrelenting cascades of sleet
currently attacking the streets
of Ann Arbor. There's no better
word to describe the past four
ays_ L____tn: . T

ping a trip to the gym because I
decide that the treadmill is too
monotonous, and the elliptical
isn't entertaining enough and
who wants to ride a bike that
doesn't go anywhere?
And then, if I need extra con-
vincingthat the next two hours
are better spent catching up on
"Homeland" (If you've seen this
show, then you understand my
dilemma), the "germ excuse"
kicks in, and all of a sudden I'm
certain that I'll catch the flu
that's going around if I use pub-
lic equipment - spray bottles
or not.
Excuses live, breathe and
wreak havoc everywhere, but
they're especially strong and
active in my mind during a
Michigan winter. For me, the
inclement weather, a somewhat
legitimate obstacle to being
active, sparks this chain reac-
tion of ridiculous reasons not to
exercise. But seeing as I'm stuck
in this state for at least one
more year - moving to Texas
or Southern California is still a
few pages ahead in my playbook
- all I can do is wait for that
exhilarating moment when my
winter garb does finally go away
for the season.
And when that happens,
folks, there are no more excus-

'Soul' summons solid updates

By JULIAN AIDAN
Daily Arts Writer
More often than not, the idea
of a group of highly skilled hack-
ers running around calling up
monsters from
the underworld B-
will be met with
apprehension. Shin
Fortunately for .a
the Spookies, ivgamI
the elite hacker Tense: Devil
clique "Shin Summoner:
Megami Tensei:
Devil Summon- SUl
er: Soul Hack- Hackers
ers" revolves
around, their Nintendo 3DS
demon-sum- Atlus
moning antics
are exactly
what the doctor ordered.
"Soul Hackers" takes place in
Amami City, a futuristic cyber-
utopia that has benefited heav-
ily from the ominous company
Algon Soft. At Algon's expense,
the tech giant installed city-
wide intranet throughout the
formerly sleepy, no-name town
and provided each household
with a PC. Their next big idea is
to launch "Paradigm X," a virtual
city where the citizens of Amami
can do just about anything -

days the
really w
I'll just
These A
and uni
It's
le
kid
I'm n
I can't h
tion or'
I said, I
The Not
over no
thing as
pus. I'm
because
better f
spirit th
I atte
ing tem
covered
it, but I
alwayst
when I
need an
against
stantial
gym me
"weathc
lenges a
late No'
But j
problem
ing exci
at me. A

an just plain gross. If I es.
'ant some May flowers, Summertime provides an
grab my watering can. ideal atmosphere for everyone
kpril showers are cruel to get moving, especially the
necessary punishment. avid runners of the world - dry
pavement and a T-shirt trumps
slush and spandex any day. But
thes a perhaps the most important
eseason element of this drastic weather
shift is how it offers a million
or pick-up more ways for people who gag
'agues and at the thought of physical exer-
tion to have fun with exercise.
kball teams. If you're part of the crowd
that just doesn't understand
why a human being would ever
want to run 26.2 miles, then
ot complainingbecause get active by joining a pick-up
iandle a little precipita- league - any kind. Every year,
40-degree weather. Like right around this time, I yearn
think I've bought out for that smell of fresh-cut grass
rth Face a few times because it means soccer season
w; I'm prepared for any- ishere. But I don't just stick to
I trudge around cam- sports that I used to play in the
especially perturbed NCAA. Even though my experi-
for me, there's nothing ence amounted to one season
or my mind, body and in eighth grade, last summer
ian outdoor exercise. I played in a pick-up softball
mpt to run in freez- league, and just being outside
peratures on sidewalks with other people engaged in an
1 in snow and ice. I do activity improved my mood and
don't like it, and as life enriched my life.
tries to get in my way So, if you've struggled to
want to exercise, I don't implement fitness into your
:ything else working life, this summer is a glorious
me. So, I pay a sub- opportunity to dedicate, or
fee every month for a rededicate, yourself to being
mbership to evade the active. And, even if you claim
er excuse" that chal- you're not a so-called "athlete,"
my exercise habits from there's still no excuse: We all
vember to mid-May. can do just fine at kickball.
ust when I think my
ns are solved, the "bor- Keyes is soaking up
use" rears its ugly head the sun. To see, e-mail
kl of a sudden, I'm skip- cekmusic@umich.edu.

"Ain't nobody fucking with my clique."

the co
boast e
and be:
ingser'

]
d

Play
known
nist,"
sonaliz
Alongs
ceeds i
Paradi
self acc
that ev
hell for
As
revolve
the Sp
picked
with t

mputer-generated streets demons. This gun-shaped PC, or
verything from pet shops "GUMP," allows its user to store
aches to a love matchmak- and call upon otherworldly mon-
vice, and even a casino, sters in battle. The protagonist
finds himself in aunique position
after acquiring the GUMP: Now
Re-release at odds with the Summoners, a
group of individuals also capable
[ lose of summoning demons, he must
unfurl the mystery of Algon Soft
its touch. and the demonic intrusions both
in the physical Amami City and
the virtual Paradigm X.
Fortunately, the enemies in
ers control an individual "Soul Hackers" aren't the face-
simply as "the protago- less, mindless hordes players
whose name can be per- have become used to in games
ed early on in the game. like "Resident Evil" and "Halo."
ide his girlfriend, he suc- Instead, demons brim with per-
n remotely accessing the sonality and depth. Affected by
gm X and granting him- a variety of factors, be it deci-
ess. It's around this time sions made outside of battle, the
verything starts to go to lunar phase or the composition
'the Spookies - literally. of the current party, demons
it turns out, a vaguely can interact directly with the
r-looking piece of junk player during battle. The turn-
pookies' leader recently based battle system allows for
up is really a computer the summoning of up to four
he capacity to summon demons alongside the protago-

nist and his girlfriend, and a talk
option leads to a variety of inter-
esting conversations.
More intelligent demons
can grill the player with ques-
tions or question their motives.
Demons under your control will
occasionally leave the party
as they see fit, though more
loyal - or drunk - demons
will enthusiastically heed com-
mands. While their human
counterparts level up in the tra-
ditional sense, demons must be
fused together to become more
powerful.
For a re-release, "Soul Hack-
ers" does a pretty solid job tak-
ing advantage of the current
hardware. Environments are
carefully layered and the bot-
tom screen displays the local
map, with the option to turn on
additional hacks to make the
game easier. The pseudo-3-D of
the 3DS merges seamlessly with
the virtual-reality aspect of the
game, with half of the action
taking place within Paradigm

X. The sound design leaves little
to be desired, with much of the
character dialogue being voiced
for the first time and a badass
high-octane soundtrack pump-
ing throughout.
The updated graphics don't
do an exceptional job of keeping
the game competitive with its
peers, and lazily differentiated
textures make every environ-
ment feel more or less the same.
The game's strict first-person
camera and limited mobility
instills a sense of claustropho-
bia at some points, but regular
battles and interactions keep
monotony from setting in.
Providing gameplay that's
radically divergent from the
norm, "Soul Hackers" delivers
a genuinely entertaining expe-
rience in a heavily fleshed-out
and detailed world. While the
environments aren't excep-
tionally distinct, the depth of
combat and demon summon-
ing will keep players enthralled
throughout.

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