The Minneapolis Star from Minneapolis, Minnesota on August 17, 1973 · Page 28
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The Minneapolis Star from Minneapolis, Minnesota · Page 28

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Minneapolis, Minnesota
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Friday, August 17, 1973
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Page 28
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FINAL 'GETTOGETHER' Guest conductor a better violinist Reviewed by ROY M. CLOSE Minneapolis Star Staff Writer . The St. Paul Chamber J Orchestra concluded its all-too-brief series of "get-Jtog ether" concerts at. O'Shaughnessy Auditorium last night. The first two "getto-'gethers" earlier this month were notable not only for the excellence of the orchestra's performances but for the high quality and interest of mu-, sic presented. Last night's finale, under the direction of guest , conductor Oscar Shum- sky, proved to be some thing of adiminished third, however. Shumskv, who also soloed in Haydn's Violin Concerto in C Major, left little doubt that while he brings enthusiasm, vigor and a wealth of expressive gestures to the podium, his presence is less than absolutely essential. Not since Aaron Copland led the chamber orchestra in a concert last season has this ensemble been forced to such a degree of self-reliance. Like Copland, Shumsky became a conductor after THE MINNEAPOLIS STAR g g Fri., Aug. 17, 1973 excelling in another realm. A child prodigy, he made his concert debut as a violinist at the age of 8 with the Philadelphia Orchestra. He has developed into a more polished conductor than Copland, to be sure; but he shares with the fa- zChristie's 'Ten Little Indians' lore well portrayed at Old Log One of the principal as-s e t s of long-established companies like the Old Log Theater is their ability to draw on reliable tal- . ent, whatever the needs of the play being staged. ; This strength is evident ' in the Old Log's production of "Ten Little Indi- ans," Agatha Christie's T engaging melodrama about murder on an island off the coast of England. The production opened a five-week run Wednesday evening in the Excelsior theater. . Director Don Stolz's cast is studded with veter-ans: John Varnum, Cleo - Holladay, Ken Senn, Jim ,'. Horswill and Ann Blager, l among others. And though .' his staging is neither as -strong nor, judging by the opening niht performance, as sm.oothly executed as it should be, his cast is generally successful in conveying the mood of heightening tension and terror Dame A g a t h a 's script requires. "Ten Little Indians" epitomizes what is meant by an "actors' play." Each of its characters is sharply defined by age, attitudes and mannerisms, and an actor who can project these qualities is virtually certain to prosper in his role. At the same time, the play is, so utterly dependent on acting that no degree of technical expertise is likely to save a production that lacks actors capable of bringing off their parts. Reviewed by ROY M. CLOSE Minneapolis Star Staff W riter Stolz's staging features well-delineated performances by Varnum, Miss Holladay and Terry 0 'S u 1 1 i v a n in principal roles. Horswill contributes a splendidly etched characterization of an aged general, and the rest of the acting ranges from competent to good. Perhaps wisely, the players do not attempt British accents. As a con sequence, a slightly subur ban and decidedly un-Eng lish atmosphere pervades the production. By and large, however, the cast manages to make Dame Agatha's thriller interest ing and enjoyable. Peter Stolz s set sug gests the comfortable but confining luxury of a British country estate, a nec essary ingredient in most Christie tales. The furni ture doesn't quite fit his set, though, and it has been placed so poorly that two crucial scenes that take place upstage are all but blocked from the audience's view by downstage chairs and sofas. "Ten Little Indians is based on a novel that con cludes with a long written statement the murder er's confession which is impossible to translate to the stage. In adapting her novel for the stage, Dame Agatha's only bad mistake was the way in which she changed the ending to make it more "dramatic" but infinitely less satisfy ing. Another production of this play, currently run- Chicago 'explores' old ground in concert Reviewed by MARSHALL FINE The eight members of the jazz-rock group Chicago provided few surprises as they bobbed and weaved through a 90-min-ute show last night in the St. Paul Civic Center Arena before an extremely appreciative capacity crowd. Jn recent interviews in rock publications, the band's musicians have re-newed their assertions that they are trying to explore new directions with their music. At one point in last night's concert, trombonist James Pankow told the crowd, "We're going to play something a little different. This is a new direction we're exploring." What followed, "Air," was, if anything, absolutely traditional in concept and execution. A new instrumental, it f o 1 1 o w e d standard jazz form, with a theme introduced and extrapolated upon by various members of the group. The solos, while all well-played and interesting, could hardly have startled anyone in the audience who has listened to Miles Davis, Chick Corea or Herbie Hancock. Perhaps Chicago is aiming itself directly toward traditionalism, striving to perfect conventional style in the mainstream of jazz. Whatever the case, the group's playing vas tight and thorough last night, as it performed most of its popular songs and a majority of the tunes from its newest album, "Chicago VI." Chicago has had innu merable hit singles in the past four years, each of which, while engaging and catchy enough, sounded remarkably like its prede cessors. The group has found its formula for success with aggressive brass, liberal conscious ness lyrics and as slick a sound as one might hope to hear. It is not too hard to imagine these musi cians in five or ten years headlining in Las Vegas, playing their old hits to a generation which has grown a f f 1 u en t with them. The Pointer Sisters, a quartet of preachers' daughters from Oakland, Calif., preceded Chicago with a smashing set that drew only a lukewarm reception from the crowd. The Pointers have only recently launched an inde-pendent career, after doing extensive session vocal work behind other artists. They combine a background in gospel with a penchant for jazzy, 1920s music, exploring a middle ground between Bette Midler and Dan Hicks, but with little camp. The four were show-stoppers in their gossamer gowns and marcelled hair as they sung, jived and danced their way through a disappointingly short set. Whether igniting the blues standard "Wang Dang Doodle" or launching into scut-singing breaks, they were exuberant, sensual and inviting. MAKSIIAI,I. I'MK Min-iicapiiJn free-lane writer. ning at Theatre in the Round, restores the sense of the novel's climax, but leaves several loose ends in the process. For the Old Log, director Stolz has made only slight modifications of the Christie script. Although I prefer TRP's conclusion, the opening night audience at the Old Log lapped up the action right to the final corpse. mous composer a common inability to fashion an at-tractive interpretation from other people's performances. Indeed, there were moments during last night's concert when it was questionable whether Shumsky was fashioning any interpretation at all. In the final chord of Wagner's "Siegfried" Idyll, for example, the musicians began their diminuendo a full half-count ahead of Shumsky's request for it. Several times in Haydn's Symphony No. 83 the or-c h e s t r a anticipated his downstroke by lesser, but perceptible, margins. The guest conductor seemed most comfortable in slow, quiet passages, from which he was often able to extract a measure of flowing lyricism. During livelier sections the musicians tended to go their separate ways, with the usual results. Whatever the evening's musical shortcomings, however, there can be no denying that Shumsky is fascinating to watch. He has a genuine flair for the dramatic: His gestures are sweeping, his signals bold, his entire demeanor una-pologetically exuberant. During most of the concert his music stand was set at an angle, so that he could more squarely face the violins for whom a preponderance of his directions were intended. Shumsky did much better as a soloist than he did as a conductor. His playing of the Haydn Violin Concerto permitted him to exhibit a clear, sweet tone and an accomplished technique. The second movement, a beautiful, long and uninterrupted solo accompanied by orchestral pizzicati, was especially moving; Shumsky's treatment had the delicacy of a caress. As if to de-emphasize the conceit of a performer serving as both conductor and soloist, Shumsky arranged to have the musicians (except cellists and harpsichordist) standing for the playing of the concerto. This unusual procedure seemed designed to enhance communications between Shumsky and the orchestra. And it may have worked; the concerto received a better performance than anything else on the program. About 900 persons attended last night's event: the third excellent audience in a row for a thoroughly pleasant little concert series that deserves to be expanded next summer. DAYTON'S OUTLET STORE IfeJl ffj.?! IMI 'j , I t 1 L P mm Refrigerator bargains! General Electric 2-door and duplex refrigerators See our selection of sizes and colors to fit your family's needs. 249-$499 Use your Furnish-A-Home Account $ Furniture specials! . You'll be impressed with the fine choice of styles, fabrics and colors in upholstered sofas and chairs. There's something for almost every decor. And savings for every shopper. Sofas $169-$299 Upholstered chairs $69-$149 Recliners $89-$169 Chests $89-$169 Dressers $99-$219 Dining tables $89-$219 Dining chairs $24-$54 5 pc. dinette sets $99-$199 Hurry in for your bargains! M iuirlif Spviuiimj Potter lLxtra Spvviul Prhw Raccoon'n'Leather Come see a flock ol newly-abbreviated flight jackets, definitely the 73 approach to lur. This, natural raccoon and brass-closed brown leather. Come see all ol our lurs, with August-only prices, in our shiny new lur salon on main. SCHLAMPP'S Use Your k Karl a Spvntling i'oirvr on our 1'ashmvrv Coals Regularly $1504185 A fabulous coup on wanted cashmere (the kind that's selling lor $13.50 a yard!). Five styles, six colors, including vicuna, beige, navy, black, cherry red, melon. Sizes 6 to 18 on main. S C 11 L The Gatsby Oxford: S26 Two-Tone: that's the shoe to na,b now lor pants, and skirts. Grey with black or chocolate with amber kid. On our shoe floor, the third. C H L A M P P -' -a - -rtf fit in ifi- iifam - :" '- - Milium i 1. 1 a mmsm hum C S C 11 L A M P P ' S Take a Ribbing from Hark: $20 & $22 Featherweight polyester knittings to go with everything in your fall closet. Saddlo-shouidor turtle In white, black, wine, camel,, grey, rust; $20. Insert-rib mock turtle in black, navy, whito, camel; $22. Both, with long back zippers. Sizos S, M, L on floor tour, but sorry, not by mall or phono. Shop 9 to 5:30 at 2919Honnopln. Free parking at ,rcar entrance. ' ' ' ' ' il rii -ti'---ni-p- ---- "- -i"-iir-ini

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