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November 20, 1995 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-11-20

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8A - The Michigan Daily - Monday, November 20, 1995

Panavision yields a new point of view

The Tafelmusik orchestra,
low s o

By Matthew Steinhauser
Daily Arts Writer
Tafelmusik - one of the continent's
premier period performance groups -
took all in attendance at Rackham Au-
ditorium Wednesday evening back to
the 17th century for an evening of Ba-
roque music. The performance featured
the music of Henry Purcell in the 300th
yearafterthe English composer's death.
Tafelmusik arrived in Ann Arbor for
itsUniversity Musical Society debut with
a growing reputation for playing an au-
thentic, spirited brand of Baroque music.
Afterits inception in 1979,violinistJeanne
Lamon took the helm as music director in
1981. All the members of Tafelmusik
contribute an expertise in performance on
period instruments, and arter 14 years,
Lamon has channeled this expertise, cre-
ating a rich, vibrant sound.
* 1002 PONTIAC TR.
® 994-1367


Rackham Auditorium
November 15
Tafelmusik seems to value subtle
expressiveness without overindulgence,
yet for much of the first half of its
program, the orchestra over-restrained
itself to the point of sounding passion-
less. Although the orchestra played ev-
ery selection on the evening with tech-
nical control and balance that flirted
with perfection, often during the open-
ing selections, it failed to capture the
spirit of the music. While deftly, grasp-
ing control over the measured rhythms,
and subtleties of the period music, the
Canadian group often sacrificed its reso-
nant, sonorous potential, leaving the
music limp and unimpressive.
Tafelmusik opened the evening with
a wimpering rendition of Purcell's Suite
from "The Fairy Queen." The orchestra
sounded more like it was playing back-
ground music at a party rather than
taking center stage for a captive audi-
ence. Despite its lack of vigor in the
opening piece, Tafelmusik maintained
a light touch, creating tight, polished
In Antonio Vivaldi's Concerto for
Two Violoncellos in G minor, the or-
chestra controlled its sound nicely, back-
ing up Christina Mahler and Alan
Whear. In many of the faster sequences
where the violoncellists played simul-

taneously, they muddied their sound.
But when the two violoncellists played
off of one another, their notes melded
beautifully together, creating brisk, spir-
ited progressions.
Handel's Concerto Grosso in B-flat
Major fit perfectly with Tafelmusik's
strengths. The orchestra displayed a
skill for interpreting the roles of every
member of the orchestra. In Handel's
concerto, the orchestra deftly withdrew,
allowing perfect exposure for the deep
notes of the bassoon complemented by
the sweet sounds of oboe above.
A small portion of the orchestra took
the stage for the performance of
Purcell's Fantasia Upon A Ground for
Three Violins and Continuo in D Ma-
jor. The smaller group of musicians
allowed Lamon to give the audience a
more exposed sampling of her sub-
dued, eloquent talent.
The group completed the evening
with Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 1 for
Two Oboes, Bassoon and Strings in C
Major. Tafelmusik set a lively tempo in
the Ouverture, maintaining it through-
out the suite. Each member's instru-
mentation fit snugly with the over-arch-
ing dynamic ofthe orchestra. The cham-
ber group finally released a powerful,
rich sound, while playing in unison.
Tafelmusik salvaged the "Celebra-
tion of Purcell" in the latter portions of
its program Wednesday evening. After
opening with a feeble rendition of
Purcell's Suite from "The Fairy Queen,"
the group recovered the mature, lush
sound, that entitles it recognition as one
of the world's premier, period instru-
ment orchestras.

By Alexandra Twin
Daily Arts Editor
While many of us are sitting huddled
in front of our computers, our lips
pressed against a stack at the Grad, our
noses deep into books, attempting to
absorb it all by reading, or perhaps
sniffing the eau d'Acadamia, there's
something a little different going on in
the film department. They are, for all
intents ande purposes, making a movie.
Yeah, sure, you say, they're film
majors, they do it all the time. But this
is a little different. This semester marks
the first time that the Advanced Film-
making class has combined with the
Acting for the Camera class in the Mu-
sic School to make what is probably the
closest thing to areal film that either the
film or acting students will get to expe-
rience during their time at the Univer-
It seems logical enough: Filmmak-
ers-in-training should get to direct and
photograph actors-in-training; actors-
in-training should get to work with and
be directed by filmmakers-in-training.
Yet, for all its logic, it's something that
has never happened before. To add to
the aura of the "real thing," this joint
class's project was filmed - thanks to
a special program that the University's
film department annually participates
in - with a Panavision 16mm camera.
It's the kind of camera that would be
used on a real movie set.
In exchange for covering the cost of
shipping and insurance, as well as bring-
ing in a Panavision representative to
speak with the students, the film depart-
ment has use of the camera for about
$4,000. It would normally cost about
$250,000 to buy such a camera, but
here, from Halloween through Thanks-
giving, students essentially get to use it
for free.
But more important than the fact that
high-tech equipment is being made
available to students is the overall rel-
evance of this joint project.
Filmmaking Prof. Robert Rayher -
who, along with Acting for the Camera
Prof. Janet Mailey, co-instructs the class
--said "It's about breaking down walls
and expanding notions of education, so
that students, through multiple view-

points, can have a richer experience.
We want to build bridges between the
parts of the University that, as yet, don't
work too well or too often together.
Theater and film have operated out of
the Frieze Building for years, but this is
the first time that they've worked as a
Said Reeb Venners (BA Film '96),
who, during the shoot, experienced the
roles of camera operator, assistant di-
rector and sound recordist, among oth-
ers: "It's the first time I've gotten to
interact with other film students on a
production. The experience was mostly
valuable because we got to learn pretty
close to the way a real crew works, and
the Panavision camera's been cool."
Megan Weikart (BA '96), who was
referred to by her classmates as being
something of a "jack of all trades," or
"really knowing her stuff' enjoyed the
opportunity to work in a group atmo-
sphere for the first time. "This was
great, because in classes, we go over all
these cameras, but you're not always
working with a whole group like this,
really putting out something together."
"While the script ('A weekend in
Madison,' by Kathleen Tolan) and the
set are a bit limiting," acknowledged
Matthew Heckerling (BA Film '96),
who served as director and assistant
director on different days, "getting to
be in this environment and seeing how
many people you really need to get
everything done has been really useful.
Not to mention the fact," he added a
little sheepishly, "that I'm in love with
the camera. It's the best camera in the
"Getting to work with professional
actors was great," enthused Tim Aten
(BA Film '96), who spent several days
on the set as director.
From the actor's perspective, the ex-
perience was similarly rewarding.
Said Kim Gainer (BFA Theater '96):
"I think it's been really helpful to me as
a theater student in that it throws an
interesting spin on things. You get to
shoot in 16mm. You get to see the
dynamics of how it all works."
"I've never done anything like it,"
said Camilo Fontecilla (BFA Theater
'96). "It (film) really forces you to look

back at what you're doing as an actr*
because it doesn't have the same cont
nuity as theater."
"You really need to be prepared as A
actor in a way that's very different froi
theater," agreed Ingrid Eggertsen (9 F
Theater '96).
"It (film) is a lot of hurry up and
wait," admitted Kristen Savage (BFA
Theater' 95), "but the degree ofprofes-
sionalism exhibited by the film stu-
dents has been really impressive:
They're learning, too."
"It's like a team sport," said Rayher.'
"I think that everybody did a really
great job of working together."
Sitting in on the last day of shooting,
there is a real sense of a workshop
atmosphere: The two classes really work
off of each other as a coherent troupe,
even teasing and amusing each other
in-between takes.
"It was fun working with the actors,"
said Venners, "they were very actor-
like - witty and entertaining."
None of the students found it diffi-
cult or confusing to have two profes-
sors working with them simultaneously.
Said Acting Prof. Janet Mailey, "We
(she and Rayher) both knew the poten-
tial difficulty of having two professors
and so we just made sure to keep it in
mind at all times so that there wouldn't
be any difficulties."
Overall, the experience was so
successful that Mailey and Rayher
intend to team up again next semes-
ter for the same type of project,
combining his Advanced Video pro-
duction class with her Intro. Acting
for the camera class.
"What's most important here," con-
cluded Rayher, "is not that you get to
use or experience this or that piece of
equipment. What we're really con-
cerned with is the mind, the soul that
gets behind that camera. We want stu-
dents to truly experience the art offilm-
making and that's why this is so impor-
tant; it's about enhancing the larger
Perhaps the whole experience was
best summed up by Luis Salazar (BFA
Film '96) who said, quite simply: "You
get to experience what an actual film is

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