Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on June 6, 1976 · Page 90
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Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 90

Charleston, West Virginia
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 6, 1976
Page 90
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Page 90 article text (OCR)

A child's avant-garden of musical verse By Martha Smith In a letter to the Gazette's Readers' Forum, a Boston woman peevishly suggested that it is the duty of small town music critics to educate the poor, culturally deprived rubes to the delights of avant-garde music. J5he referred in particular to a review of a Charleston performance by the Boston Symphony Orchestra Chamber Players. That review, which lavishly praised the concert in general, indicated that one modern selection on the program was less than pleasant to the ears. The Boston writer is concerned that we hillbillies may become bored with Beethoven, Bach, and other such composers who were careless enough to include melodies in their compositions. Compared to the "exotic, coloristic" work of George Crumb and other modernists, the writer concluded, thfislime-honored composers' were dull, indeed. In a state in which the hills are alive with the sounds of pickin' and fiddlin', I find myself in disagreement with the proper Bostonian. While there may be those who revel in the peculiarities of modern music, I find it depressing at worst and bizarre at best. It has no tune, no structure. It In one ear seems to defy the listener to take it seriously. In one Crumb composition, highly regarded by Those In The Know, the score includes portions in which paper is torn with a rending sound from a harp, a musician plinks away on a toy piano (complete with painted-on black keys) and a soprano soloist turns her back to the audience and yodels into the bowels of a grand piano. I often have found myself in the position of listening to two philosophies of this type music, each fervently being explained. On the one side are those who attempt to describe the deeply symbolic meaning of compositions like the one m e n t i o n e d above. I ' v e o f t e n thought that many of the persons who swoon over modern music do so merely to appear knowledgeable. On the. other hand, there are those who regard a concert as an uplifting experience and they don't care to be besieged by an onslaught of eerie, morose dissonance. Some people do like to leave the concert hall humming something from the program, I've found. Those who have failed to grasp the deep meaning of the tuneless avant-garde works include some very learned chamber music devotees. Of the composition glowingly described by the Boston writer, chamber music expert Fedor Poppelsdorf remarked: "It gave me the creeps."" The Gazette's own Jim Haught, who has been known to write his share of chamber reviews, said of the work: "All that modern stuff sounds to me like a tree full of birds." It is, then, not the reviewer's singular task to convert a resisting public to one musical genre or another. While that may be a legitimate function, an even more imp o r t a n t d u t y is the honest expression of the opinion in the review. It's entirely possible that I may loathe a piece of music, but give full credit to the players who got through it with dignity. My secret guess is that more West Virginians know the music of Loretta Lynn than the writings of George Crumb. Just getting them to Beethoven, Bach and those other conservatives who might be banned in Boston is a never-ending battle. I will concede one benefit of modern music: there's no way of telling when somebody's hit a sour note. p- FOOTLIGHT FOOTNOTES: Two former West Virginians will be on the road together this summer in the touring production of Eccentricities of a Nightingale, a reworking of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke. Mbrgantown native Dave Selby will play the male lead, opposite veteran actress Betsy Palmer, and former Kanawha Player director Barry Steinman will be advance director of the production. Selby recently closed on Broadway in The Heiress. Steinman, who describes the rewrite as "brilliant," will work with Williams for a week, finalizing technical staging aspects, then precede the show on tour, readying each theater . . . Soprano Michele Dunlap will present a voice recital at 4 p.m. next Sunday, June 13, in Cross Lanes United Methodist Church. Her voice coach is Herb Smith .. . Totally reliable sources indicate that an outrageous quantity of beer was toted into the Civic Center backstage area so the crew of Play It Again, Sam could imbibe while they "struck the set last Saturday. As a member of the Charleston Performing Arts Council house committee, which is mandated to enforce Civic Center rules, Kanawha Players director Tom Nash certainly shouldn't condone such activities. The Civic Center board, which long has contended that local theater groups abuse their privileges in the little theater, complained bitterly last fall about drinking in the facility. There is a regulation strictly prohibiting consumption of alcoholic beverages in the Civic Center and it should be enforced. Continued abuse of the Civic Center theater will result in additional conflict with the board, I fear, and the offending arts groups have nobody to blame but themselves.. . . Speaking of the Kanawha Players, the organization will hold its annual membership meeting at 4 p.m. today in the KP workshop in Kanawha City . . . As an afterthought, I'd like to set to rest the rumor that I'm inattentive. That charge was leveled at me in a May 31 letter to the paper signed by "D. Pauley, Box 195, Dunbar." The letter praised the KP productions Of Look Homeward, Angel, Play It Again, Sam and spoke out for the good folks at Sears. I am attentive enough to know that D. Pauley is Denny Pauley, who was assistant director of the first show, lighting technician for the second and is employed by Sears. Perception is nine points of the critic's law . . . 'Fire/all' solid country-rock band ADMIT MLJULI By Jim Carnes "Please don't call us a super- group. People are sick of super- groups," says Michael Clarke of Firefall. But Firefall is a super- group--one of the most solid country-rock bands imaginable. Its members have performed with some of the absolute best early country, rock and country-rock bands: Clarke was in the Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and Dillard Clarek; Rick Roberts was a Flying Burrito Brother; Mark Andes was in both Spirit and Jo Jo Gunne; Jock Bartley was in Zephyr ' and Gram Parsons' band. Guitarist arisinger Larry Burnett holds the 'Stars'' together. The band's album, Firefall (Atlantic SD 18174), contains vocals that are smooth and up-front, and instrumentation that is tight. There's an exciting and unexpected saxophone on Livin' Ain't Livin and a very strong song in It Doesn't Matter. Other especially good tunes are Love Isn't All and Sarf Ol Love Song. Another exciting album is the new live J. Geils band set Blotv Your Face Out, (Atlantic SD2-507). This 2-record album is pure dyna- mit^again from the Boston boogie band. Where Did Our Love Go, the new single is a little limp, but the rest will blow your ears--if not your whole face--out. Included are some of the band's best tunes://iuio Got Lost, Give-It to Me, Southside Shuffle, Detroit Breakdown, Love-llis and. Uouteparty. Two records, four sides, six maniac m u s i c i a n s -- o n e h e l l u v a time.B/otc your Face Out. When I first heard of Guthrie 20m CHARLESTON. W.VA.' Dise-cussion Thomas, I was a Httle leary. Something about the story of a guy whose parents were sure he'd be a troubadour and named him after Woody Guthrie spelled trouble to me, but I guess not. Lies and Ali- 6/s(Capitol ST-11519) is his second album, and it's pretty good stuff. Thomas is a kind of contemporary folk-rock performer, but the arrangements behind him here accentuate the pop rather than folk aspect of his work. The vocals are strong and the nice full arrangements complement it well. Best cuts are Band of Steel (written by Ringo Starr), Sweet Virginia and. Knmblin' Cocaine Blues. America's new album is called Hideaway (Warner Brothers Records BS 2932), and it is another excellent collection of soft rock. She's Beside You is marked by nice, tight harmonies and Hideaway (Parts 1 and 11) are excellent instrumental tunes. There are very nice horn ar- OPEN SUNDAY 1-11 P.M. ADULT BOOKS mVES-MAGAZMES-NOVELTES PLEASURE ISLAND DAY-NIGHT BOOK CLUB CONVOKHTLY HDDEN-JUST BEHIND HEARTOTOWNMOTORMl. JIWAY FROM ALL THECROWDS AND TRAFFIC PHONE 342-9475 OPEN Mon.-Sat. 10 i.m.to2 a.m.Sun 1 to 11 p.m. rangements by George Martin, who also produced the set, and over-all h i g h q u a l i t y , w o r k t h r o u g h out. Ifatenhip Down inspired by the book of the same name, also is topnotch. The Olympic Runners is one of the tightest, strongest bands today in the disco mold. Its music, besides being very danceable, is intelligent. The latest Runners set is Don't Let Up (London PS668), and it is a really good set. It is interesting to listen to and will remain enjoyable after this disco craze is gone.Parly Time Is Here to Stay, In the Can, with an especially fine organ and churning guitar piece, and Don't Let Vp are super cuts. DISCOUNT BOOKSTORE ADULT FILMS-PEEP SHOWS BOOKS-MAGS-MARITAL AIDS I KIP'S DISCOUNT 3 184 SUMMERS ST., PH. 342-4282 ^ HTOJ: Hni-fri. 10-9: Ton, Hti. Ttai_Sit. IO-6JO. x x x - x x x x - x x x - x x x - x x x - x x x - x x x - x x x - WESTVIRGWABl-CENTONALALfiUM featuring TRADITIONAL MUSIC OF WEST VIRGINIA AIR CONDITIONED NOW LOCATED 305 WEST WASHINGTON ST. PHONE 342-2622 X-RATED-ADULTS ONLY OPEN DAILY liOO-NOW SHOWING iii * ROBIN LANES COFFEE SHOP * J *21 SHRIMP ........ SEAFOOD SPECIALS ^SEAFOOD BASKET . . . S 1.50 J IFILETOFSOLE S 1.50$ Bar-B-Q l .5O lo be released in July. 1976 * 6545 MacCorkleAve.S.E. Kan. City * £********· ************ Hilarious! LATE SHOW SATURDAY (X NIGHT 11 TO 1:30 ALSO SHOWING XAVIERA HOLLANDER June 6. '1976,.Sunday Gazette-Mail

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