The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio on July 13, 1969 · Page 102
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The Akron Beacon Journal from Akron, Ohio · Page 102

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Akron, Ohio
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Sunday, July 13, 1969
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Page 102
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) Akron Beacon Journal Sunday, July 13, 15&3 Conductor Pierre Boulez I I i !V- V 5 ?. k v, i w 5? ''Af-:R? o mi Accompanist He Knocks By LEONARD FEATHER Icicon Journal-Lsi AngelM TImel The image of a singer tackling an entire show without accompaniment is about as likely a prospect as finding a dowager at the wheel of her own Rolls Royce. The pianists who play for popular vocalists, most of them doubling as conductors and musical directors, are the chauffeurs of the music world. Their role is a thankless one. This, at least, is the view of Ronnell Bright, a 39-year-old composer from Chicago who has spent most of the last 15 years driving celebrated voices through tricky terrain. "AN ACCOMPANIST must be a complete musician," says Bright. "He must be flexible enough to play everything from 'The Lord's Prayer' to 'Doodlin,' as I did when I worked with Sarah Vaugh-an. "An audience never stops to think that the singer doesn't produce all the sounds that come from the stage. The vocalist leans on the accompaniment. "The pianist, on the other hand, must be sensitive to the singer's temperament and moods. You can tell from their performance whether they're in love or out of love. You must know just what tempo to play on each occasion and maintain a broad-minded outlook. "WE ACCOMPANISTS have our own thing going, and there aren't that many of us, Hank Jones, Jimmy Jones, Lou Levy, Ellis Larkins, Don Abney. W e're never mentioned in the polls why don't they have a special category for us?" (I'd say Mr. Bright has answered his own question there are too few of this particular breed to justify a separate division.) Bright has a blunt and outspoken view of some artists for whom he has worked. OF CARMEN McRAE, he says: "She's great an excellent, creative singer. Her only fault is that she thinks she's a musician, whereas she Art Akron Art Institute, 69 E. Market St., today 2 to 6, Tuesday-Friday 12 to 5, Wednesday-Thursday 7 to 10, Saturday 9 to 5: Recent sculpture by Louise Nevelson (closes Tuesday); Eugene Carirere Seer of the Real; London Prints; Impressions of Music in Art (children's exhibition); contemporary acquisitions and loans; Free children's drawing class (grades 1-fi), Saturday 2 to 3:30; Children's Music and Sound Workshop, Monday through Friday. Akron General Hospital, 400 Wabash av., daily: works by Russell Colley. Art Cellar, 1177 Canton rd. (rear), daily 1-9:30: water-colors by Leroy Cross. Blossom Musie Center, 1145 W. Steels Corners rd tonight through Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, open l1 hours before performance times: outdoor invitational sculpture exhibit, "New Techniques in Prints." Chouinard Gallery, 2940 Woodlawn av. NW, Canton, today 11 to 8: Outdoor art sale. Citizens Savings, 195 S. Main st, Monday-Friday 10 to 3: paintings by Betty Magoun. Clyde Art Guild's 5th Annual Clothesline Art Show, South side of Rt. 20, West edge of Clyde, today 12 to 7. Galleries IV, 2919 Kent rd., Cuyahoga Falls, today 12 to 6, Monday-Saturday 10 to 6: "Young Impressions." Manchester Studio Gallery, 6158 Manchester rd., daily 12 to 9: works by local artists. Massillon Museum, 212 Lincoln Way E., today 2 to 5, Monday-Saturday 10 to 5, Thursday 7 to 9: works by Florence Reisenfeld; enamels by Richard Prather; prints and ceramics from tlie permanent collection. Packard Gallary, 933 W. Exchange st., Monday-Saturday 10 to 6: works by Krushenick, Arp, Lindner and Tamayo. Summit County Historical Sciety, Perkins Mansion, 550 Copley rd., today, Tuesday-Saturday 1 to 5: paintings by Max Barnard. Music Akron Muniripal Band, Darrel Witters, conductor, Har-desty Park, West Market at Beauparc dr., Tuesday at 7:30. AU Summer Orchestra, Henry Smith, conductor; Kar-len Ragle, soprano, on the mall between Gardner Student Center and Education bldg., Wednesday at 8. "Blossom Hilights" by Frank Caputo, Peninsula Library, 6105 Peninsula rd , Monday 8-9. i if I PEGGY LEE ... "a fine talent" doesn't reach the standards of any of the accompanists she's had, and she lacks the scholarly mind of a musician." (Miss McRae at one time was a professional pianist.) LENA'HORNE: "A superb artist whose performance makes up for her lack of musicality. She hangs too far behind the meter, she wants to swing, but her tempos are unsteady. More could have been done with her if her husband, whose musical strength is not felt in her work, had taught her more." (MLss Home has often stated that her husband, Lenni Hayton, has been of great importance in establishing her musical standards.) PEGGY LEE: "A fine talent. Just great at staging and pacing she knows how to play hpr audience. But she falls in the same category with the others who think Ronnell Bright The Greats they are musicians." (Miss Lee, who hired Bright for only two weeks, commented: "I'm happy to be in the company of Lena and Carmen.") SARAH VAUGHAN: "The greatest ! The only one I know who can claim the highest standard o f musicianship. Fantastic ears she could tell you to move the F-sharp to an E-natural In the middle of a 10-note chord." AL HIBBLER: "A fine stylist with a wonderful sense of humor. Easy to work with." NANCY" WILSON: "A charming lady, very appealing voice, as warm as Nat Cole, but not a jazz artist, not a creative singer. I saw her grow from a sweet, humble talent into a n over-assured person. She thinks she's a musician and tells conductors how to do things, but she hasn't the experience or musical training to justify this." (Miss Wilson, in Europe, was unavailable for comment.) LOREZ ALEXANDRIA: "Greatly underrated. Should be listed under coming attractions. She belongs with Carmen in terms of jazz credentials." ABBEY LINCOLN: "She has an original approach; a lot of her material is African, or close to folk-jazz. She demands respect; with her, you have the feeling that you've become part of a fight for independence." SUMMING UP he observes: "Tv been lucky. Despite my derogatory remarks, these are all great voices and very special talents. My complaint is that singers in general, with rare exceptions like Sarah, should stop trying to pretend they are musicians." It is curious, though presumably coincidental, that almost all of Ronnell Bright's comments are aimed at the female of the vocal species. Certainly there must be many who feel that accompanists aren't perfect either. Ladies off with your gloves! Blossom Pre-Concert Music Appreciation Series by Klaus G. Roy, Akron Public Library Auditorium, Tuesday 8-9:30. Dialog Concert: Dennis Conley, baritone; Richard Shir-ey, piano, Akron Art Institute Auditorium, today at 3:30. Oberlin Music Theater: "H. M. S. Pinafore," Herbert Grossman, conductor, Hall Auditorium, Wednesday-Saturday at 8:30, Saturday at 2. Teachers' Performing Institute Orchestra, Choir and Wind Ensembles, Warner Hall, Oberlin, Saturday at 8. BLOSSOM MUSIC FESTIVAL Tonight at 7: Cleveland Orchestra, Istvan Kertesz, conductor; John Browning, piano. Monday and Tuesday at 8:30: The Rowan and Martin Show. Thursday at 8:30: Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, conductor; Judith Raskin, soprano. Saturday at 2: Children's Matinee The Singing Angels. Saturday at 8:30: Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez, conductor; Grant Johannesen, piano. Theater Canal Fulton Summer Arena: "Holiday for Lovers," with Mr. and Mrs. Pat O'Brien and Bridget O'Brien, tonight at 7:30; "Mr. Roberts," with Gardner McKay, Tuesday-Thursday at 8:40, Friday and Saturday at 7 and 10. Great takes Shakespeare Festival, Lakewood Civic Aud., 14100 Franklin blvd. at Bunts rd.: "As You Like It," today at 2:30, Tuesday at 8:30; "The Would-Be Gentleman," tonight at 7:30, Wednesday at 8:30; "Macbeth," Thursday-Saturday at 8:30. Henley Players, Warren Music Hall: "The Happy Time," with George Chakiris, today at 2:45 and 7:30; "The Impossible Years," with Paul Lynde, Tuesday-Saturday at 8:30, Saturday at 2:45. Kent State University Summer Theater, E. Turner Stump Theater: "Death of a Salesman," with Arnold Moss, tonight at 7:30; "A Streetcar Named Desire," Thursday-Saturday at 8:30. Musicarnival: 4101 Warrensville Center rd., Cleveland: "The Iron Butterfly," tonight at 7; "Mame," with Janis Page, Monday-Friday at 8, Saturday at 7 and 10:30. Peninsula Players, Players Barn: "Dracula," Thursday-Saturday at 8:30. Weathervane Playhouse, 1474 Copley rd.: "She Loves Me," tonight at 7:30, Tuesday-Saturday at 8:30. 1 SARAH VAUGHAN . . . "the greatest" NANCY WILSON . . . "not a creative singer" sr CARMEN McRAE . . . "lacks scholarly mind" 4 " t - i By day he wears dark russet shirts and murky, monochromatic ties. By night he wears tie and tails. Today, the 44-y e a r -o 1 d French conductor still seems restive but more reflective and reserved. His battles with the French cultural establishment started when he was a teenager studying at the P a r 1 s Conservatoire. His piano teacher failed him. The administration ignored a petition he and other students submitted, demanding their harmony teacher, Olivier Messiaen, be elevated to professor of composition. LATER AS the angry young man of tine French a v a n t garde, he turned on his former teacher, calling him a composer of "bordello music." Bureaucratic officials kept his avant garde compositions off French radio for 15 years. Finally in 1966, after years of verbal strikes and counter-strikes, he moved to Baden-Baden, Germany. Cultural revolutionaries amuse and entertain the indifferent public audience, while they raise the hackles of the protectors of culture. Conservators of Status Quo man cultural barricades when they are threatened by the very changes necessary to sustain vital music, art, drama and literature. SO THERE you have the paradox of Pierre Boulez, conductor of five concerts at Blossom Music Center, the first to be heard Thursday at 8:30. He has earned a reputation as an enfant terrible, a pooh-pooher of The Establishment. Yet he wants to reorganize music from the bottom up without blowing the top off it. Until June 11, when he was named Leonard Bernstein's successor as music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, most musical prognosticated guesstimated he would be the man to whom 71-year-old Cleveland Orchestra conductor George Szell someday would pass his baton. But apparently Boulez was not docile enough to ride out his principal guest conductor-ship of the Clevelanders and wait until 1972 before assuming the musical directorship of one of the Big Five Ameri-c a n orchestras. So New York's gain was Cleveland's loss. DURING BOLLEZ'S first season at the helm of the New York Philharmonic, he also will become chief conductor of the BBC Orchestra in London for three seasons beginning 1971-72. Perhaps he has aroused more ire in musical Academia. than in any other institution he has attacked. Boulez is the confessed enemy of "scholars who bring only Death to music. "The university situation," he pokes, "is incestuous. It is one big marriage in which the progeny deteriorates ... the university musician is in a self-made ghetto, and what is worse, he likes it there." MORE paradox. Why? Boulez has consented to teach contemporary chamber music this Summer at the Blossom Festival School on Kent State Unversity campus. "I will do one concert with the students," Boulez explained in a recent, exclusive interview with the Beacon Journal. "I also will have one class in contemporary analysis. "And then I will do some open rehearsal to show some of the students how one can conduct these pieces." BOULEZ, aware of the cul-t u r a 1 schizophrenia which slices across America wants to build some bridges between the university and society at large. "I want to try to join the two sides to the musical life of this country," he says. "The first side is, let's say, the intellectual side a side which is a minority and much Top Imports In the patriotic mood, "Call Us Americans," edified by Dorothy A. Chernoff (Double-day, $3.95), is an interesting collection of stories about immigrants from all parts of the world by Cather, Lewis, Fer-ber and others. I music 1 V" I ( l 1 : 1 v v i I by LIJ 1 itheodore price 1 too isolated here. I want to join that side to the practical level and the big symphony orchestra. "I think that if people stay in the university without preoccupation of what is around them, the intellectual life is of absolutely no importance. "You can influence the life only if you are going into the life," Boulez proclaims, leaning toward time-honored Gallic aphorism. DOES BOULEZ think symphonic life in the U. S. is on the decline? "Yes, but no," he answers in a contradiction characteristic of his career and temperament. "The symphony life as it is now IS declining. But that does not mean an orchestra in the classical sense is finished. "We cannot have anymore this kind of split activity we have now. People specialize in symphonic literature. People specialize in theater. People specialize in ballet, in opera, in chamber music! All this is absolutely irrelevant for an intellectual life in mu- sic. "Many symphony musicians 'The university musician is in self-made ghetto' can play excerpts from a Wagner opera, but never even in a career 30or 40 years long play a whole work by him." BOULEZ believes the basic fault in the musical marble lies in educational institutions ("They are still operating like at the end of the 19th century."), and in the control and organization of new performing arts centers. "You cannot create naive- The Blossom phenomenon continues to flower this week with a variety of events from symphonic concerts, to comedy and singing. At 7 tonight Hungarian-born conductor Istvan Kertesz srteps onto the Blossom podium for his Blossom debut. Kertesz has programmed Mozart's German Dances, Kodaly's Dances of Galanta and "Hary Janos" Suite. Pianist John Browning returns for the second time this weekend, to play the familiar Tchaikovsky B-flat minor concerto. TOETRY to pratfalls? Gags to wretches? No one knows what to expect on Monday and Tuesday evenings at 8:30, when Dan Rowan and Dick Martin bring television's "Laugh-In" show to the Blossom Pavilion. The cast includes singing-comedy team, Gaylord and Holiday, bell-ringing sports commentator Alan Sues, born loser Ruth Buzzi, shy little poet Henry Gibson, bosomy blond Inga Nielsen and busy confetti tosser Dave Madden. THE CONTROVERSIAL French conductor Pierre Boulez will conduct the pair of concerts by the Cleveland Orchestra Thursday and Saturday nights at 8:30. On Thursday Metropolian Opera soprano Judith Raskin will sing Berlioz's "Summer Nights" and Ravel's "Scheherazade." American pianist Grant Johannesen is slated as soloist for Beethoven's Third Piano Concerto on Saturday evening. Boulez will conduct the Cleveland Orchestra in Schubert's Symphony No. 5 and Debussy's "La Mer." THE THIRD children's matinee this season begins at 2 on Saturday afternoon. Cleveland's youthful, 100-voice 1 y-WJf ly," he admonishes. "You cannot create the functions without having the organs, but also you cannot create organs without functions. People think because the auditoriums are built, things will automatically happen in them. They are wrong. "It is NOT sufficient to make the campaign to sell -A t PIERRE BOULEZ tickets. It is more necessary to do something first for programming and reorganizing." WHEN SHOULD administrators go to work on these two necessities? "The main problem is to begin education very soon . . . early in life. If you begin too late, most people are no more interested at all." Boulez senses the aware-n e s s of the audience for change, but finds countless problems still embedded in the structure of contemporary musical society. ("They are absurd.") "After talking with many people, I believe you don't spend MORE money, but must change the organization to protect it," he says, serving up an evolutionary bromo contradicting his earlier blow-'em-up recipes. "WITH YOUNG people I can understand what has dis-cour-a-ged them from the for Variety Blooms At Bl ossom i, . X 4 " mal concert. Everything there is formal from the way of sitting to the way of behaving. It is not attactive at all for them. And they don't want to do what the parents do, you see? "You must be quite aware of that. And you must give them the opportunity to go to the concert without this 'old father' structure." WHY HAS Boulez programmed each of his five Blossom concerts this Summer w i t h an early-20th-century work? "Don't forget you cannot make the same type of program for everybody. Maybe two-thirds of the people at Blossom have never heard the concert in their life. Can you imagine what would happen if I begin with programming something very eccentric? It would have exactly the opposite effect they would walk out. "When I come to Blossom, I put on each program some 20th-century music. (It is) not very advanced, but you cannot jump from Brahms or Mahler to the latest contemporary music. "You must increase understanding BEFORE beginning." SO PIERRE Boulez is taking risks: Of temporarily giving up his avant grade leadership with the possibility that it will be absorbed by popular culture; of conducting more and composing less; of taking 0 n almost insurmountable problems to b u i 1 d an audience which understands and supports contemporary music. But Boulez has boundless courage to match his controversial ideals. "I am always optimistic," he says. "Even if 1 am very negatif at the beginning. Sometimes things can happen much quicker than one thinks." ERIC SALZMAN, o n e of America's most aware and articulate music critics, has 'Boulez has enthusiasm of discovery' minimized the contradictions in Boulez's career during the past 20 years. They have, Salzman writes, been a part of modern Europe, from Boulez's "enthusiasm of discovery and vision, (his) search for a new and more rigorous orthodoxy, (to his) struggle for a coherent position and for the acceptance of new ideas." Now we are assured that enthusiasm, searching and struggling will become a part of modern America, too. am it rmuir , ' r. -V- '' A: ' jgi ISTVAN KERTESZ chorus, "The Singing Angels," will e-form the world premiere of "Lunar Modulations" by Klaus George Roy, ubl c?t or.s director for ;he Cleveland O-chestra. Tie new choral and percussion work subtitled "A Thinking-Out-Loud '"iecp." will I heard for the first time f'u-ing the Apollo 11 flight, just prior fo the first landing of the Lunar Module on the moon July 21.

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