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February 24, 1957 - Image 12

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Michigan Daily, 1957-02-24
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Pace Four

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Sunday, February 24, 1957

Sunday, February 24, 1957

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

The. Music Layman
A Review of Vincent Sheean's New Book, First and Last Love'

THE

EMOTIONAL

PROBI

Mental Medicine Men

Are Giving

Their Advice to Worrie<

"FIRST AND LAST LOVE" byj
Vincent Sheean; New York,
Random House; 305 pp.;
$4.75.
By A. TRIOLO
IN HIS latest book versatile writ-
er Vincent Sheean undertakes
a real and deeply personal labor
of love which is to give testimony
concerning his life-long commit-
ment to music as a listener. He
does not admit to ever having en-
gaged actively in the making of
music of any sort. His purpose is
therefore to represent the point
of view of the intelligent layman.
It must be said at once that
the book has a special focus. At
the outset Mr. Sheean readily
concedes that cf all the forms of
music which he has come to
know "the most normative and
enduring was the 'impure' form,
the quasi-muscial and quasi-dra-
matic, the distinctly literary and
indirect invention known as
opera."
It is not that he does not ex-
press genuine regard for sym-
phonic music, chamber music,
German lieder, or pay homage to
J.S. Bach, but the essence of the

book is the evolution of his oper-
atic awareness and taste. The
book's distinctive quality is that
its author has had the enviable
opportunity to see and hear opera
in all its native and not so native
habitats throughout the Western
world during his long career as
free lance writer and correspon-
dent.
He begins by recalling-rather
murkily, I fear-his earliest, frag-
mentary contact with opera dur-
ing August Chatauqua time in
Pana, Illinois, and subsequently
we see his development in Chica-
go, New York and Europe. He
gives himself free rein in the mat-
te: of the reflections and impres-
sions which his experiences sug-
gest. The book's form is there-
fore quite free despite its under-
lying chronological framework.
BEING neither professional mu-
sician, psychologist, sociolo-
gist, nor philosopher Mr. Sheean
does not pause long over theor-
etical speculations on the mean-
ing and value of music-listening,
The question, however, is a fas-
cinating one and as a sensitive
observer of the contemporary
scene Mr. Sheean is vitally inter-
ested in the role of music.

He briefly mentions, and at
once discards, such contentions
as William James' idea that mu-
sic must justify itself by inspir-
ing the listener to some ethically
good deed. The act of listening to
music for its own sake without a
thought of practical purpose or
result, he tells us, is a relatively
modern phenomenon in the his-
tory of man and furthermore it
is restricted to Western culture.
Its supporters are growing in
number and in breadth of appe-
tite. How has this come about?
Mr. Sheean poses the question but
hardly dares even to adumbrate
an answer.
He knows and values his Freud
but is not happy with the general
thory of "sublimation" as an ex-
planation. Whatever the answer
may be, he is content to fall back
upon the belief that we have
achieved an additional dimension
of experience and the possibility
of a better being as a result of
the development. He makes an
act of faith in the value of music
as an agent impregnating our
modes of thought and feeling,
widening and deepening our per-
ceptions.

There is, of course, nothing
new or startling in these gener-
alities but Mr. Sheean's purpose
is not to attempt profound analy-
sis but rather to offer a sort of
free association biography to his
readers hoping that it will shed_
some light on the relationship of
music to life.
OUR author confesses himself to
have been from his youth a
chronic sufferer of the disease
called Schwarmerei. He defines it
as one "prevalent in opera houses
and concert halls, which shows
itself in breathless and senseless
adoration of either artists in gen-
eral or some artists in particular."
Principal among the artists
whom he has singled out for ad-
miration are Madam Lotte Leh-
mann and Arturo Toscanini. To
Lotte Lehmann, who became his
personal friend, he dedicates his
book. His very warm and endur-
ing regard for this great lady is
everywhere apparent. So awed
was he of Toscanini that he was
never able to originate a 2 emark
in the presence of that musical ti-
tan. These artists and many oth-
ers - outstanding among whom
are Mary Garden, Frida Leider,
Kirsten Flagstad, Marian Ander-
son, Chaliapin and Bruno Wal-
ter - appear over and over again
as Mr. Sheean describes, and gives,
his impressions and convictions
on operas, performances, person-
alities, opera houses and cities. He
recreates the musical atmosphere
of Milan, Vienna and Salzburg
effectively if not magically, for
his style is somewhat journalis-
tically flat. It will surprise no
one that Mr. Sheean's mature
taste fastened upon late Wagner,
late Verdi, Mozart, Der Rosenka-
valier, Fidelio and Wozzeck.

Vincent Sheean the political
writer is never quite out of the
picture even in a book on music.
He has much that is of interest
to music, musicians and the total-
itarian state. He defends the rec-
ords of the vast majority of musi-
cians during the Hitler-Mussolini
era. What is more significant is
his insistence upon considering
the musician as a non-political
person, almost by definition, and
therefore one who cannot be
judged by political standards. He
takes a strong, even impassioned
stand against what he calls the
"Star Chamber justice" and the
"ghoulish vendetta" which char-
acterized the post war period. Such
things as the effort to keep Furt-
wangler from conducting the New
York Philharmonic or similar
demonstrations against Geiseking
and Von Karajan are utterly re-
pulsive to him.
The pages dedicated to the elu-
cidation of this position by a man
who fiercely prides himself on his
early conceived and lasting hatred
of Hitler and scorn for Mussolini
are of no little interest. The con-
troversy belongs to the very re-
cent past.
We have touched upon only a
few of the questions which Mr.
Sheean discusses at greater or less-
er length. We might have said
more of his disquisition on Wag-
ner or his views of the problems
of American singers in learning
operatic repertoire, or those on
atonal music, and the role of the
gramophone in our time. Let him
who will take up the book and
read. There is surely something
for almost everyone.
-A. Triolo

By JAMES ELSMAN
Daily Staff Writer
ONE wonders, when surveying
the many counseling facilities
for students on this campus, if
students aren't becoming excess-
ively reliant on "scientists and
specialists" to make their decisions
and resolve their emotional prob-
lems.
Psychiatrists at the Mental Hy-
giene Unit of Health Service, psy-
chologists at the Student Counsel-
ing division of Rackham Hall,
religious advisers at Lane Hall,
academic counselors, and residence
hall staff personnel are over-
worked, attempting to resolve psy-
chological problems students can-
not solve themselves.
Arthur Van Duren, chairman of
the freshman and sophomore fac-
ulty counselors, is convinced stu-
dents have shown "a definite in-
crease in emotional instability and
indec.ision ever since the post-war
veterans' bulge."
Heightened University concern
with the effectiveness of the coun-
seling program was exhibited re-
cently when James A. Lewis, vice-
president of student affairs, ap-
pointed a committee to "consider
the present status of the counsel-
ing system and recommend
changes if they are needed." David
W. Baad, assistant to the dean of
men and executive secretary of the
Counseling Committee, said results
of a questionnaire sent to 1,270
students would be made public
within two weeks.
The Long Wait . .

There is some overlap between
the functions of the Division and
those of Mental Hygiene, although
a student who "shows symptoms
of physical or psychological ill-
ness" is usually referred to Mental

Hygiene every year, Prof. Van
Duren revealed. He reported his
office was short-staffed because of
space limitations.
Prof. Van Duren defines the
function of his staff as "seeing
that a student has motivation for
college and that his aptitude lines
up with his vocational desire." Be-
cause 60 percent of the entering
freshmen change their vocational
directions before they graduate,
the counselors are booked solid.
No other counseling unit on
campus handles as many students
as the above three. C. Grey Austin,
program assistant at Lane Hall,
reported no waiting list for the
Hall's four counselors and that
only six students visit the counsel-
ors regularly.
Prof. Elton B. McNeil of the
psychology department and a
member of Ann Arbor Family
Service, mentioned another area
where students receive counsel-
ing. The Service, a Community
Chest social case agency, does 12
per cent of its interviewing with
married students. He remarked
that some students seek mental
counseling from local psychiatrists
and analysts.
No Proofs ..
THE INCREASED number of
students seeking psychological
counseling was explained by Prof.
McNeil this ,way: "Our culture,
because of a freer discussion of
mental illness recently, is aware
of the existence of emotional dis-
turbances, and we know how pro-
fessional counseling can be help-
ful."
He said that, although there
has been speculation about it,
psychologists have not yet design-
ed a way of proving people are
becoming crazier.
Thus, we have a situation where
students on this campus and
people in general are flocking to
queue up in waiting lines outside
psychiatrists' doors.
This situation is a reflection
ceen your color slides
"erE on our new
'SLIDE PRO J ECftTO0R r:

upon individualism in today's so-
ciety. People are becoming less
able to make up their own minds
and resolve their own mental ill-
nesses. Admittedly psychiatrists
and mental counselors are needed
to care for the few in society who
have serious mental illnesses, but
it is hard to escape the conclusion
that many people are getting
mental counseling who don't need
it. This isn't tne fault of the
mental "scientists" who have res-
ponded to a demand.
It is the fault of today's lan-
guid individual. He lacks mental
self-sufficiency and is the puppet
of the power of suggestion. Every
time he reads about-and even
Life Magazine has given him com-
mon currency-mental abnormali-
ties, he immediately gives himself
an introspective psychiatric ex-
amination.
His conclusion is that he is af-
flicted with every mal-function-
ing in the nomenclature of psy-
chiatry. This is something like
the occupational disease of medi-
cal students, who often convince
themselves of having fifteen or
twenty diseases before they fin-
ish school.

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THE THINKER

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curve conscious?

0NE thing common to the three ... no role in life
most important counseling units Hygiene. The Division takes a role
on campus-Mental Hygiene, Stu- in vocational planning as well as
dent Counseling, and academic other problems of psychological
advisers-is a waiting list.oth ndoes o pmen o. a
Dr. Theophile Raphael, a Men-
tal Hygiene psychiatrist, said the L.n. U
staff of two psychiatrists and eight pgU *
"specially trained counselors" AT THE academic counseling
working esoterically in office 218 offices for freshmen and sopho-
is "not large enough" to meet the mores, more than 100 students are
student demand. Dr. Raphael de- referred to the division and Mental
scribed Mental Hygiene's work as
" m o re c lin ic a l" th a n a n y o th e r p rf r e d o n c m p s
performed on campus.
The psychiatrist reported his
office counsels about eight per cent y r I
of the tudent body a year and yeI EreaIlIIJ
"could see more if we had the til sow®
facilities." Dropping out of school,
medication, and transferral to
Neuro-Psychiatric Institute are , y s nx
cases. Patients report the non-
directive technique is widely em-
ployed in consultation. This con-
sists virtually in the patient talk-
ing to the wall while the counselor
offers no more encouragement
than "Yes.. . yes . . . um huh."
Like all other University coun-
seling, the Mental Hygiene pro-
gram is voluntary, confidential,
and free of charge.

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COMMENTING on the seemingly
large number of students who
have emotional problems so com-
plex they seek help in resolving
them, Dr. Paphael remarked, "I
don't think you will find any more
mental upsets and anxieties in our
highly intelligent student body
than you find elsewhere in society."
At the Rackham Hall Student
Counseling Division, Prof. Stanley
J. Segal, of the psychology depart-
ment and acting chief of the divi-
sion, remarked his unit, like any
other psychological counseling
establishment in the country, has
a long waiting list. The division's
staff members handled nearly 600
individual students last year and
expects more this year.
Prof. Segal thinks the increased
work load of the Division results
from the search of "bright people
growing up in a complex civiliza-
tion for their role in life." He,
thought the University's support of
extensive counseling services indi-
cated an awareness that the ability
to learn is somewhat dependent
on emotional stability.

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