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March 02, 1958 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1958-03-02
Note:
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THE MICHI

DAILY

A Z1NE

Sunday, March 2, 1958 Sunday, March 2, 1958

THE MICHIGAN DA

ZINE

r.;-...... . ...... ..

THE MUSIC

REVIEWER

A WOMAN PRESIDENT
University Alumnae Gain Fame in Politics, Pharmacy,
the Theatre and the Arts

The "Call To Review" Produces Curious Group
Including Music Lit Students, Dilettantes and "Comp" Ticket

Seekers

By DAVID KESSEL
CRITICISM of the arts, appear-
ing in a widely circulated lo-
cal newspaper has become rea-
sonably secure from serious pub-
lic appraisal. To be sure, an oc-
casional brave soul will disagree
via the Letters to the Ediftor
route, but usually the would-be
contributor is unfamiliar with
such devices and the critic gets
the best of the exchange.
After a time, the curious person
begins to wonder how these critics
or reviewers are recruited, where
they come from, where they go,
and who keeps them.
The answer to the first of -these
is easy to -discover. About twice a
year appearing on the editorial
page is a little box which says:
A meeting for Daily review-
ers will be held at 7:30 p.m.
Monday.
Those who have previously
reviewed for The Daily, and
those interested in reviewing
art, movies, music, books, and
drama are invited to attend.
This quickly leads to a people-
filled room, stuffed to overflow-
ing with more-or-less confident
individuals who have read books,.
heard music, watched plays, taken
(or taught) Music Literature,
strolled through art galleries, and
now feel the "call" to review.
These aspiring reviewers can, with;
their heightened perception, sense
that the time has come to divulge
their superior appreciation and
evaluation of various. art forms
to the campus at large.
After a trifling discussion about

~ ~
:......
1 V
WOODWINDS
i..20,Oeo tiny filter traps"
deadlines, headlines, and free
passes, this group is set free, un-
supervised, to review that which
is t9 be reviewed.
The mdst remarkable observa-
tion to be made about this state
of affairs is not, that many of
these reviews are bad, but that
some of them are not.
IN ORDER to avoid trouble, I
shall confine my remarks to the
realm of musical reiewing, where
the situationt has been deterior-
ating steadily.

An o c c a's i o n a l well-turned
phrase pops out though, from time
to time, to brighten an otherwise
dreary picture.
For instance, Avo Somer, de-
scribed the Honneger Liturgique
Symphony as a "sort of hell-to-
heaven tour in three easy chap-
ters." Or Philip Benkard on Myra
Hess: "The three great B's of mu-
sic were a vehicle of triumph for
Dame Myra Hess last night as she
ran the gamut from the classic to
the romantic period."
But these elegant sentences are
lost amidst a variety of techniques
covering great voids in the re-
viewers' musical knowledge.
We are told after a particular-
ly poor performance of the Cleve-
2and Symphony Orchestra in 1956
that the "strings showed true su-
periority," whatever that is. This
means a "mastery of forte and
piano playing" by these strings,
with "all the subtle variants be-
tween these two extremes."
Now, if a play reviewer would
say: "The actors had superior
voices both in loud and soft speak-
ing, and at all volumes in be-
tween," one might expect a deluge
of comment. But its musical
equivalent passes unnoticed.
IN THIS same review it is men-
tioned " he' woodwinds, parti-
cularly the bassoon sounded par-
ticularly good." One is tempted to
add, "like a woodwind section
should." And then mention the
twenty thousand tiny filters which
keep woodwinds free of harmful
tars. This sort of review sounds
like an advertisement for the or-
chestra rather than a critical ap-
praisal.
The kindly reader magnani-

aI
} M S
AMATEUR
CRTI

By ROSE PERLBERG
Daily Activities Editor
IHE PHRASE, "it's a man's
world" grows increasingly ob-
solete as more and more members
of the opposite sex receive pub-
lic recognition for their achieve-
ments. To see how some of our,
coeds of yesteryear fared once out
of the ivy-covered halls we took
a trip into the basement of Alum-
ni Memorial Hall, where rows and
rows of gleaming steel filing cab-
inets house the life stories of
thousands of University grad-
uates..
Each about whom something
has been written has a carefully
tended and up-to-date folder. We
leafed through them and followed
some Michigan girls out of the
classroom and up to the top of
a variety of professions.
In law and politics, the name
of Martha Wright Griffiths, '40L,
stands- out. Mrs. Griffiths, pres-
ently Congresswoman Griffiths
(D-Mich.), has several firsts be-
hind her.
She and her husband were the
first husband-wife team to grad-
uate from the University Law
School. When appointed as re-
corder's court judge by Michigan'
Gov. G. Mennen Williams, Mrs.
Griffiths became the first woman
to hold the post in the court's
history and one of the few wo-
men to hold a high judicial posi-
tion of any sort.
Previously, Lawyer Griffiths
had served two terms in the
State Legislature. The la'y lawyer
was selected bythe press several
years ago as one of Michigan's
10 best legislators. She was named
by the Detroit Free Press as one
of the 12 women of achievement:
in Detroit.
Mr. and Mrs. Griffiths are
partners in the Detroit firm of
Griffiths, Williams (the Gover-
nor) and Griffiths.
E XPLORATION into the culture
of the past is a challenge Eliz-
abeth Sunderland, '31, has takeri

up with a devotion and tenacity
:that won her France's highest
distinction four years ago. History
of Art Professor Sunderland was
made a Knight of the Legion of
Honor by the President of France
in recognition of ner research
and publication in the field of
French medieval architecture:
The award was a culmination of
the many honors tht Prof. Sund-'
erland has won for her studies of
ninth, tenth and eleventh cen-
tury former Benedictine Monas-
teries at Charlieu ,France. In 1952,
the city's people showed their ap-
preciation for her interest and
contribution to art by electing her
an honorary citizen of Charlieu
and naming a street for her. The
year before she was made an,-of-'
ficer of the academy of French
Ministry of Education.
In addition to her degree from
the University, Prof. Sunderland
has a doctorate from Harvard.
She received a Guggenheim Fel-
lowship for a year's archaeologi-
cal work in France in 1952.
Turning to the bright lights of
Hollywood and television we
found Ruth Carol Hussey's name
starred. Miss Hussey went from a
year of graduate study (1933-34)
in theatre at the University into
a successful stage and screen ca-
reer.

Plays in which she has taken
leading or subordinate roles in-
clude the Broadway vehicles Dead
End, State of the Union, and
Good-Bye My Fancy. Millions of
movie-goers' have seen her in
such selections as The Philadel-
phia Story, Louisa, The Great
Gatsby, Mr. Music, That's My Boy
and Our Wife.
SADYBETH Heath Lowitz, '25Ed,
has made a, name for herself
in a rather unique form of edu-
cation. She and her husband, An-
son, pioneered in the writing of
children's books, and eventually
established a syndicated column.
Mrs. Lowitz graduated from
children's books to higher edu-
cation and in 1947 became Dean
Finch Junior College in New
-k.
A spry little--5'4"-89-yea'-old
lady has earned the title of Mich-
igan's most distinguished alumna.
She's Dr. Alice Hamilton, M.D.,
'93, Hon. A.M., '10, ScD. (Hon.)
'48, whose pioneering work in in-
dustrial medicine has 'gained her
world-wide respect and recogni-
tion in medical and labor circles.
When Dr. Hamilton started out
around .the beginning of the cen-
tury, the American Medical As-
sociation had never held a meet-

ing of industrial medicine in the
United States. In 1948, the lady
doctor was given the $1,000 .Lask-
er award for 50 years spent
battling industrial germ hazards.
She worked to eradicate carbon
monoxide poisoning, white lead,
arsenic and cyanide poisoning
prevalent then in so many trades
and taking lives of hundreds of
workers. Dr. Hamilton cam-
paigned vigorously for ventilation,
helped to develop anti-toxic rinses
and safe guards of all kinds.
PROFESSOR Emeritus of Indus-
trial Medicine at Harvard, she
was the first woman member of
the Harvard faculty.
Dr. Hamilton, who taught path-
ology at Northwestern University
before joining the Harvard staff
was also a member of the Health
Committee of the League of Na-
tions for six years. At the age of
80 she was still serving as con-
sultant on industrial labor for the
U. S. Department of Labor.
In 1949, Look Magazine named

I
_. --

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S

Shop

STATE and LIBERTY

mously might assume the review-
er had had a bad night. But, he
was back on the "job" a few days
later when Herbert von Karajan
and the , London Philharmonic
were at Hill Aud.
IT WOULD seem obvious the
least courtesy a writer could pay
a visiting artist is spelling cor-
rectly the artist's name. Von
Karajan's name appeared correct-
ly in front of the auditorium, in
news releases and in The Daily
and on each of several thousand.
programs. But not in the review.
There, we find the myster.ous
German "Von Karajon" named in
the headline, and four times in
the story.
"Every measure of every com-
position bore the mark of Von
K a r a j o n 's (sic) individuality
which was what enthralled the
audience." German scholars will
remember that "von" is never cap-
italized, but this fine point is lost
when, next morning, readers
wonder about a reviewer who can't
spell.
A few months later, we are told
via headline that "Rubenstein is
Powerful but Often Inconsistent."
This strange spelling of Artur
Rubinstein's name really caught
on, in grim tribute to the power
of the press. In several letters
criticizing the review, the mistake
was repeated.
A target of many critics'
shafts himself, David Kessel
now comments on the skill of
his fellow music reviewers.
Mr. Kessel has been a fre-
quent contributor to the Mag-
azine writing such assorted
features as Dormitory Li'ing
at M.I.T., How to Travel by
Auto and a profile sketch of
Arturo Toscanini.

T HE "Rubenstein" reviewer then
wrote, sometime later, an es-
say for The Daily Magazine about
"how to review," and again had
the misfortune to mention "Ru-
benstein." This time the mistake
was caught by a musically in-
formed broom-pusher.,
The reviewer here mainly criti-
cized Rubinstein's tendency to-
ward showy rather than artisti-
cally excellent programming
which was a fairly accurate de-
scription, although expressed in a.
rather petty way. Rubinstein had
struck a chord on the piano before
playing his first piece, it seems.
Note how well Albert Tsugawa,
reviewing Rubinstein a yea'r ear-
lier, makes this point.
Rubinstein had played a piano
version of the Bach Chaconne
from the Second Partita for Un-
accompanied Violin, in an ar-
rangement by Busoni.
"The Bach-Busoni Chaconne
was transmuted into a warming-
up piece in a Lisztian hothouse by
a musically Germanized Italian;
and the result is a decibellic
jungle of pedal tones. Someone in
the process. obliterated not only
the transparent structure of Bach,
but the tension that results when
a single violin attempts to play a
set of variations . .."
No mention of the artist's pos-
ture, arm waving, chord striking,
but a clear, concise, musical criti-
cism which is, after all, the point.
Unfortunately T s u g a w a also
spelled the pianist's name "Ru-
benstein," so he doesn't quite get
off free either.
R EVIEWERS are usually inclined
R to "play it safe" by writing a
good review although a consensus
of readers might, indicate other-
wise. When the critics condemn
something, retribution is usually
swift.X
Philip Benkard, criticizing a so-

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