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May 25, 1982 - Image 7

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1982-05-25

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Arts

The Michigan Daily

Tuesday, May 25, 1982

Page 7

Bach's Brandenburgs
brought back to life
has led many connoiseurs to ask why,
By Jane C a r l a question which was explained by
Lyndon Lawless, founder and musical
5director of Ars Musica. His explanation
N A WINDOW overhanging a pew at denied the old musicologically based
St. Andrews Church in Ann Arbor, is theory that works should be performed
an ornate stained glass window that only on the instruments they were com-
contains miniature portraits of posed for, instead presenting the more
Beethoven, Bach, and Brahms. aesthetically satisfying argument that
Beethoven and Brahms had little to do the instruments' strengths,
with a concert presented there on Sun- weaknesses, and idiosyncracies
day, but Bach was reincarnated enlivened the music of their own ac-
through the efforts of Ars Musica. cord.
Ars Musica, Ann Arbor's resident His most convincing statement said
baroque orchestra, presented a delight-
ful afternoon consisting of all six of exact recreation of a performance as it
Bach's Brandenburg Concerti on in- had occurred in Bach's time, but to
strudients of Bach's day. The growing present the music on its own terms in
use of original instruments for works of
the baroque and early classical period See CONCERTI, Page8

The Jam will perform tonight at the Michigan Theatre.

The Jam is coming!
The Jam is coming!

By Michael Huget
T SEEMS odd that a band such as
The Jam, with decidedly British
nationalist/anti-American attitudes,
would tour the United States.
Although they consistently garner
both critical and popular acclaim in
England, The Jam has somehow
managed to avoid much of the latter in
the United States. Unlike their punk
peers and influences (The Who, The
Kinks), the Jam has never been ob-
sessed with conquering America. Their
unembarrassed preference for em-
phasizing dramatic melodies over
rhythms has much to do with it: pop
music stressed with American black
music roots tends to be more popular
here.
Although the Band's latest release,
The Gift, borrows once or twice from
American R&B, the LP's sound con-
tinues in the vein of past releases. But
Paul Weller's songwriting imagination
doesn't seem as active as on All Mod
Cons or Setting Sons, and the result is a
much more absorbable album - The
Gift has more stable grooves than
anything Weller has ever put together.
Potentially exciting pop hooks are
generally displaced by a rhythmic or
melodic shift, although never enough to
upset the insistently danceable beat.
There is, however, a more
remarkable difference between The
Gift and earlier efforts: Weller's lyrics.
Once overflowing with punk fervor,
Weller seems, at times, to have become
more contemplative, as if questioning

the angry attitudes so prevalent on
earlier works ("all the time that gets
wasted hating.. . " he remarks on
"The Gift"). He even criticizes punk
nihilism on "Running on the Spot."
The whole album isn't so pensive,
though; there is still some anger, but it
reflects more of the post-punk con-
sciousness of New Order or Teardrop
Explodes without the gloomy, porten-
tious atmosphere. Especially notable is
Weller's slash at technocracy ("The
Planners Dream Goes Wrong").
Themes common on all Jam album"
- romantic desperation, glorification
of the worker's plight - appear again,
only with an increased understanding
and a more penetrating senstivity. The
mood of The Gift, however, lends itself
more readily to such a sensitivity. In
the past, Jam LPs have been
dominated with anger, making Weller's
brief romantic tangents particularly
unsettling. ((Even though "English
Roses" from All Mod Cons is one of the
most beautiful ballads composed in the
past five years, it was unsetting.) But
because of the confusion of The Gift, a
song like "Precious" doesn't seem en-
tirely out of place.
Undoubtedly, tonight's concert at the
Michigan Theatre will feature most of
the songs from The Gift. A live com-
parison of the new and old tunes should
help put into perspective where Weller
and the Jam are headed. Or better yet,
where they really were.

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