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July 27, 1984 - Image 16

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1984-07-27

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Prob 14d- T eh oo .F riddf r: sen Y
Summer fest strums to a close

By Byron L. Bull
AS THE LAST two evenings of the
Ann Arbor Summer Festival
proved, quite often less is ultimately
more. For a low key, inauspicious solo
guitar recital by Michael Lorimer far
outshone the much more auspicous,
elaborately staged performances by
The Northwood Orchestra and Ann Ar-
bor Festival Chorus.
Lorimer, a young, very congenial
performer, created a most enjoyable
and intimate atmosphere at his Monday
night performance at Rackham
Playing both the classical and
baroque guitars, Lorimar displayed all
the keen technical virtuosity and affec-
tionate feel for the material charac-
teristic of a mature artist.
While visibly at home with both the
modern and classical pieces in the
evening's repetoire, Lorimer was his
most successful with the older work.
His reading of Corbetta's Suite in C
Major on the baroque guitar added a
lightly whimsical touch in addition to
the music's sentimental romanticism.
The selections from Villa-Lobos
Etudes and Preludes were the
evenings' highlights, as Lorimer cap-
tured the rich melodies with a sense for
color, and sublimity that was arrest-
ingly beautiful.
Two modern pieces, the Great
American Guitar Solo by Curtis-Smith
and the American premiere of Garcia
de Leon's Sonata No. 1 were thought-
fully rendered, but less captivating in-
clusions. Both pieces were interesting
enough, but seemed too calculated and
rather unpoetic to be affecting.
Lorimer's own arrangement of a
Mexican song, "Marchita El Alma,"
with its pretty folkish quality, was
much more attractive in its simple ap-
Tuesday night's closing ceremonies
at the Power Center were planned to be
memorable, with the premiere of a
piece commisioned for the occassion,
"Death's Echo," and an elaborate
mechanical embellishment for another
number. Ultimately, the only thing
memorable about the evening was how
truly unmemorable everything was.
The performances that conductor
Don Jaeger led the Northwood Or-
chestra in were for the most part very
competent. The excerpts from Handel's
Water Music and Bizet's Symphony No.
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FRI. 1:00, 7:30, 9:40
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1 were well measured, and colorfully
Mahler's "Blumine" symphonic
movement also fared well, with all its
dark timbres and alternately glowing
passages well captured. There wasn't
much zealousness to the performances,
they were well crafted and professional
in delivery, but lacking in depth.
Aaron Copland's "Wilderness Suite"
fared quite badly. Firstly, it was un-
balanced, broken up by almost ex-
plosive percussion explosions. Even
worse, the gorgeous pastoral coloring
of the music was rather garishly over-
stated, and ended up sounding homely
in its glaring loudness.
What hurt the piece most was the ac-
companying slides projected on three
screens suspended above the orchestra.
The photographic images by James
Westwater were not very inspiring,
looking uncomfortably like photos for a
travel brochure. Their static one
dimensionality, even with their large
physical dimensions, only detracted
from the panoramic evocations
Copland's score renders in the minds
The omnipresent clicking and hum-
ming of the projection equipment, par-
ticularly during the quiet passages, was
even more annoying. The final outcome
was scarcely better. than what one
would get watching vacation slides on
someones home projector with the stero
turned up.
"Death's Echo," a work by Ann Ar-
bor resident Donald Bryant, was mildly
interesting, but not particularly
special. Bryant's score, which he also
conducted for the evening, was quite
accessible and pleasantly lyrical but
not very moving.
The text, from the W.H. Auden poem,


Acoustic guitarist Michael Lorimer provided a pleasant surprise for the
Summer Arts Festival crowd on Monday night at Rackham Auditorium.
was sung by two quarters, with a full In the end, the evening was too gim-
chorus adding support. micky and incohesive to be ultimately
The singing was adequate, but soun- rewarding. The guiding forces behind
ded somewhat lacking in conviction. next summers' festival concerts should
Perhaps part of this was due to the text, take care to concentrate on providing
which seemed to lack a theme impor- solid, traditionally-oriented fare more
tant enough to warrant its adaptation appropriate to its limited resources.
into musical form.



Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art
by Lloyd Schwartz and Sybil Estess
University of Michigan Press, 341 p., $18.50,
paperbound $8.95
The rocks are worked with lichens, gray moonbursts
splattered and overlapping,
threatenedfrom underneath by moss
in lovely hell-green flames .. .
Brazil, January 1, 1502
Randall Jarrell writes of Bishop, "Her poems are quiet,
truthful, sad, funny, most marvelously individual ... they
have a sound, a feel, a whole moral and physical atmosphere,
different from anything else I know."
This excerpt, as well as other essays by critics and poets
such as Lloyd Schwartz and Robert Lowell, appears in
Elizabeth Bishop and Her Art, a volume published as part of
the University of Michigan Press's Under Discussion series
which includes collections of studies on contemporary poets
Adrienne Rich and Allen Ginsberg.
The first part of Bishop and Her Art, "Critical Essays," in-
cludes articles on various aspects of Bishop's poetry, among
them, domesticity, prosodic transformation, and natural
heroism, written by authors such as Helen Vendler and
Robert Pinsky.
Had the essays shared a similar focus (i.e., Brazil poems,
imagery, ... ) we would have gotten a clearer sense of the
traits characterizing Bishops poems-her attention to detail,
or her mastery in unfolding the mystery of what others would
see as an ordinary event.
The following section, "A Chronology," presents essays
and reviews by writers such as Marianne Moore, Richard
Wilbur, and Mary McCarthy, that describe and evaluate

Bishop's career from her first book of poems, North & South,
to the last, Gregory III. These essays establish a more com-
plete picture of Bishop's art: her modest splendid descrip-
tions (Lowell): her calm and tender approach to poetry
(Jarrell); and her talent for being "spectacular in being un-
spectacular" (Moore).
The poets seem to show their appreciation for Bishop's gif-
ts in a more modest and genuine manner than do the critics.
For example, Kalstone writes, "Take 'Florida' (the poem
our critic found disorganized)-a poem of almost Darwinian
concentration . . . The scale changes as rapidly as
In contrast, Robert Lowell admits, "Bishop's faults leave
her best poems uninjured," and further, confesses he does
not understand completely why her poems succeed, "how
beautifully they combine toughness and elegance of mind."
The difference in the voices of critic as critic and poet as
critic confirms that danger against which Bishop herself
warns in the final section of the collection, entitled, "In Her
Own Words." She writes, "The analysis of poetry is growing
more and more pretentious and deadly. After a session with a
few highbrow magazines one doesn't want to look at a poem
for weeks, much less start writing one."
And as for poetic theory, she insists each poem is different,
deserves different treatment, and that poetic theories are all
overridden by one maxim-it all depends.
The autobiographical pieces successfully highlight
Bishop's candor and integrity. "You just wish they'd keep
some of these things to themselves," she writes of the con-
fessionalists tendency to overdo morbidity.
Of interest as well are Bishop's discussions on her life in
Brazil, her friendship with Robert Lowell, and how Marianna
Moore encouraged her out of her original career
choice-medicine. Anyone interested in contemporary
poetry will thank Moore for her convincing persuasion.
-Lisa Ryan



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