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April 16, 1991 - Image 8

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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1991-04-16

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Page 8-The Michigan Daily- Tuesday, April 16, 1991
Ensemble revives old music Records

by Liz Patton
A ntiphonal, motet, melismatic,
madrigal, continuo: these words de-
scribe some of the qualities you'll
hear at the Early Music Ensemble
concert. If it sounds confusing,
don't worry. Part of the appeal for
those who like "early music" is the
arcane terminology.' "Earlier than
what?" you may be wondering. The
music at this concert will be mainly
from the Renaissance and Baroque
periods (roughly 16th to 17th cen-
tury), a time when there was no such
thing as early music: if it was per-
formed last season, it was old hat.
By contrast, many musicians and
scholars today are interested in mu-
sic that is centuries old.
In the chamber music section of
the Early Music Ensemble, Beth
Gilford poses her students an inter-
esting challenge: they must play
from the original notation. Though
older scores aren't entirely unlike
what we see today, they aren't easy
todecipher. Playing from the origi-
nal notation is "very rewarding,"
sa.ys Gilford. "It's a special accom-
plishment. The students come away

with a first-hand experience of the
music."
The practice holds an additional
practical benefit: having learned to
read the old notation, the students
don't have to wait for someone to
come along and transcribe
manuscripts into modern form.
Instrumental pieces for tonight's
concert include a Bach trio sonata
for two flutes, Hotteterre's Suite
for Flute and Harpsichord, and a
selection of other Renaissance pieces
for recorder and sackbut.
The majority of the program
will be performed by the choir, di-
rected by Ed Parmentier. One of
singer Brad Lehman's favorite pieces
is the Schutz motet, a choral work
that holds a conversation between
two groups of voices. "Singing the
words (from Psalm 31), there's al-
ways something that hits home.
Like 'trust.' It's a very personal
emotion," he says.
The whole idea behind combining
words with music is to increase the
emotional impact, and the
"sensuous" harmony and other
musical devices toward that end are

very powerful. Monteverdi's
madrigal "Zefiro Torna" is a case in
point. Here, explains Lehman, the
Petrarch's poetry speaks radiantly
of happiness in springtime, but
grinds suddenly to a halt. With a.
wrenching change to a new meter
and key, the song begins lamenting
the misery of unrequited love. (Love
was just as popular a theme in music
then as it is now.)
At times the force of the music
can overpower the words. The Bach
motet, for example, is more virtu-
osic. "It makes it a little harder to
concentrate on the words," admits
Lehman. An "athletic" fugue in the
bass part demands intense concen-
tration. Another challenging piece
on the program is a sample of much
older music known as Gregorian
chant, which dates from medieval
times.

William Orbit
Strange Cargo 2
No Speak/I.R.S.
The difference between William
Orbit's self-titled debut and its fol-
low-up, 1988's Strange Cargo, was
pretty indicative of the new possi-
bilities that pop instrumentalists
were beginning to enjoy at the time:
the Miami Vice theme and Harold
Faltermayer's "Axel F" had be-
come hits, and house music was ris-
ing. Working in the pop-song for-

erated: given free rein on Strange
Cargo, Orbit produced an impres-
sive, state-of-the-art showcase for
his multi-instrumental talents -
which ranged from gorgeous fla-
menco-guitar excursions to eerie
techno-ambient mood-pieces and
even the odd funk-metal workout.
Three years later, with weird
themes like Enigma's Gregorian
"Sadeness" scoring top five hit sta-
tus, Orbit ought to be finding his
style even more in the swing of
things. But Strange Cargo 2, oddly,
displays little evidence of progress:
it's more listlessly incidental and
less catchy-sounding than its prede-
cessor, and Orbit's ominous com-
puter treatments now sound merely
outdated. Perhaps its just that the
songs seem like soundtracks in
search of a movie; perhaps the newer
studio stuff has stolen his fire -
but Orbit's newest Cargo carries
little weight. ,
- Michael Paul Fischer
Michael Manring
Drastic Measures
Windham Hill
Michael Manring is undoubtedly
the king of the hill- although you
could probably count them all on
one hand - among New Age bass
players.
Perhaps best known for his occa-
sional support on records by acous-
tic guitar innovator Michael
Hedges, Manring offers similarly

dexterous solo turns on his third
solo album. "Wide Asleep" is a
chiming, nimble wash of harmonics.
And by employing multiple finger-
ings at high speed on Chick Corea'
"500 Miles High," this budding
virtuoso achieves an improbably
layered effect.
But the Drastic Measures taken
by Manring's technique are hardly
apparent in his sound - a jazz.
refugee in sheep's clothing, Manring
is likely to be appreciated only by
those with an ear for the odd radical
diatonic tuning. In contrast to his
solid and flexible playing as part- of
Manring is likely to be;
appreciated only by
those with an ear for
the odd radical dia-
tonic tuning
the fiddle-fusion quintet Montreux,
Manring's efforts on Dras ti
Measures' ensemble pieces arg
largely esoteric; only the buoyan|
"Deja Voodoo" amounts to moro
than benign wallpaper jazz. And
when he applies typically wimpy
New Age woodwinds to an instru-
mental arrangement of the Police's
"Spirits in the Material World"-2
bopping the vocal part on his bass H
Manring' Measures sound more
like beautiful-muzak radio than any-@
thing else.
-Michael Paul Fischer

THE EARLY MUSIC ENSEMBLE
will perform in Blanche Anderson
Moore Hall in the School of Music
tonight at 8:00 p.m. Admission is
free.

""

a tg I 1't 1* gt t g

__ WITH
4pri
16th

i~~ke. sre
611 Church
996-2747

SOVIETS
Continued from page 5
We digress again and talk about
avant-garde film, film festivals and
the Ann Arbor Fest in particular
(which they liked, but which they
felt had "too many documen-
taries.")
MK: Igor, when I spoke to you a
couple of days ago, you said that this
wasn't the first time that you were
touring the U.S. with these films.
When were you here before?
IA: Well,there was this tour of
12 US cities organized by the Arts
Company, out of Cambridge
(Massachusetts), which was funded
by the Massachusetts Council for
the Arts and the Andy Warhol
Foundation. It was a program of
Soviet underground film.

Orbit
mat on 1987's Orbit, the London-
based soundtrack composer and
I.R.S. Records in-house producer had
been -stifled by overly-mannered
new-wave female vocals - and the
result was mediocre synth pop.
But when I.R.S. boss Miles
Copeland started his instrumental-
only No-Speak label, Orbit was lib-

MK: Do Soviet underground
filmmakers often tour the West?
IA: Well, this is the second time
in America, but we travel to the
other Western countries more often.
This is, of course, all since nineteen-
eighty-nine. There was no foreign
travel for us before then, but now
it's happening all the time.
PP: We'd really like to go to
places like Africa and Asia to see
what's happening in film there. Our
own situation and our country's sit-
uation is very much like the Third
World, and I, for one, can't wait to

see what kind of parallel cinema has
developed there.
MK: Back to my first question:
why film, Igor?
IA: I'm actually a physicist by
education. After finishing college, I
worked as an engineer for two years.
(I wanted to express myself and so)
I tried various things: I wrote, I
painted, but after I tried film, I
liked it the most of any of them...
PP: Igor's brother, Gleb, is also
an artist and a writer...
MK: So, like you've said, it
sounds like you see yourselves as
modern artists rather than strug-
gling filmmakers, right?
PP: Right.
IA: Yeah, for now. We'll have to
see how things turn out.
MK: Would you prefer if some-
day the government recognized your
work and you became "official"
artists?
IA: Well, there's no imperative
need for that. All of our projects are
fairly inexpensive and we can al-
ways find the funding without the

government's help.
MK: There are hordes leaving the,
USSR these days, including mahy
artists. Do you have any plans to
leave?
IA: I have no such plans right
now.
PP: Me neither. r
IA: It's a pretty good time for4u!
right now, at least with respect-t&
working. Living is definitely harder,
but at least we can work comfor "
ably there.
PP: There are elements of what
could be a brand new culture forme
ing there and it would really be a
shame to abandon them. The traps
pings of the old cultural heritage
are still there, but it's been almost
completely dismantled, so we car
move freely between it and the new;
culture. There are really big things
happening there, and we just dontr
want to miss them.
Note: The interview was con-
ducted in Russian and I take all re-
sponsibility for any mistranslations

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THE TOXICITY OF
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"A"

14*

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Dr.

A lecture by
George Reisman

0.
0
0

Professor of Economics,
Pepperdine University

v

"The philosophical corruption that the acceptance
of the environmental movement represents
constitutes the genuine crisis of our time."

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