Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia on July 11, 1976 · Page 85
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July 11, 1976

Sunday Gazette-Mail from Charleston, West Virginia · Page 85

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Charleston, West Virginia
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Sunday, July 11, 1976
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Page 85
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Critic defends right to make own judgment By Martha Smith Cecil Underwood turned a nice phrase last weekend. During a July 4 lecture stint, he eferred angrily to the business of ·foreigners" entering West Virgina to tell the natives what's good for hem. He wasn't just whistling ·Dixie." He wouldn't be permitted to. ei- her. if the likes of Madeline Steiner of Boston and William J. Kirvan, a recent arrival to Charleson. had their way. ·*' You all remember Mrs. Steiner, don't you? It was she who wrote to he Gazette Readers .Forum, suggesting that anyone who doesn't ike avant-garde 'music is a rube. She also pointed ot|t that it is the duty of the music critic to enlighten readers to the joys of this curious mode of expression. Baloney, I replied. That response was based on the firm conviction that the reviewer.'s primary obligation is to be honest. It is impossible to wax poetic over a work that is personally repulsive. Kirwan is a late bloomer in the business of writing hate mail. He put typewriter to work a week or so ago, chiming in with Mrs. Steiner to peevishly protest my aversion to what he carefully termed "non- melodic compositions." Non-rnel- odic compositions, for those not In The Know, sound like someone dropping a large number of dishes in the sink. Apparently Kjrwan is a subscriber to the Charleston Chamber Music Society. Clearly he fancies himself knowledgeable about music. In language that scarcely masked his disdain, Kirwan implied that I am not among those who can distinguish between a viola and a bass drum. If asked to guess w h a t instrument Kirwan might play. I would be forced to place him in the wind section. He will be relieved to learn, on the other hand, that I once made my way in the cruel world as a church organist and choirmaster, and sometime barroom entertainer. I supply this information so Kirwan can give his smirk a rest. It must be very tiring. In one ear. During the 15 years in which I was a devoted student and practitioner of musical arts, I became rather fond of composers who were thoughtful enough to include melodies in their works. Their music was a source of spiritual upliftment and joy, not of misery and discomfort. Avant-garde music had its chance, but it failed to win my esteem. I found that, while fashionable and sophisticated to profess a craving for the tuneless tweeting and tootling, it was a painful bother to sit through. Consequently. I never pretended to like avant-garde music. It was an honest choice I've never regretted. Mrs. Steiner and Kirwan are examples of the mentality that seeks to raise the masses .from abysmal ignorance by forcing their own tastes to be adopted. If Mrs. Steiner, who feels obliged to advise us from the distant city of Boston, and Kirwan. who is moved to break his committment to the non-melodic long enough to harmonize with her. wish to embrace avant-garde mu sic, so be it. They must be reminded, however, that not everyone agrees. Contrary to Mrs. Steiner's theory, it is not my job as reviewer to proselytize anybody to one musical form or another. It is my duty to attend cultural functions and evaluate them honestly. It is a 'task I enjoy and one for which I am continually preparing and studying. In addition to Kirwan's published letter, he also wrote directly to Mrs. Steiner, presumably to inform her that not all West Virginians are barbarians. On the other hand, he makes a point of explaining that he has lived here only a year. It's the sort of p a t r o n i z i n g apology to which native West Virginians have grown accustomed. I'm confident Watcii for These Saturday E M E R G E N C Y - ( R e p e a t ) . "Above and Beyond. Nearly." A citation for bravery has the unexpected result of making paramedics Cage and DeSoto very uncom- f o r t a b l e . A 1 0 1 - y e a r - o l d man breaks an ankle dancing and a rock climber is injured in n fall. 8 p.m. JEFFERSONS - I Repeat I. All is lair in love and war -- for the moment i t ' s war -- and George .lefl'crson jumps in with both feet in this second half of a two-part epi- sode.8p.in. CBSOCD DOC -- ( R e p e a t ) . Doc is re-oducnted on the subject of aging. When lie asks, an old friend, a ,re- lirod dentist i guest, .^tar Jack.Gil- · f o r d ) , to enter a retirement community, another friend. Mr. Goldman, invites him in turn to a Gray Panthers meeting. 8:30 p.m. CBS OH) MARY TYLER MOORE - Lou sutlers an acute case of jealousy when an ex-girlfriend, whom he is. still very fond of. arrives at Mary's party w i t h a m a l e companion. 9 p.m.'CBSOH) BOB NEWHART - ( R e p e a t ) . Kmily Hartley must contend with irate teachers, hamsters, and an escaped snake when she is unexpectedly lipped to .the position of school vice p r i n c i p a l . 9:30 p.m. CBSOCD ; . . . ' . ' . ' , that he compensates by reading the best magazines. I'll have to hand it to Kirwan for one revelation included in the Steiner papers. He said he obtained his information about me at a cocktail party. It is all too rare, indeed, that a man will confess to having per- cewed the light while bending an elbow at a cocktail party. Very little profundity results from cocktail parties. Somewhere between the vermouth and the olive, William J. Kirwan went awry. Two things he said he learned were that I use audience opinion and reaction in formulating my reviews, and that those reviews aren't given much serious consideration. There is, in Charleston, a reviewer who liberally uses crowd commentary and other people's opinions under his byline. He calls it a review. I do not. Reviews bearing my name are entirely mine. I believe that kind of honesty nurtures credibility, something with which Kirwan may be unfamiliar. His second error was insisting nobody places relevance on locally written reviews. The fact that he became so exercised when I panned something he liked shows the folly of that statement. In a few short months, Kirwan can travel to the local book shop and purchase of copy of the Dictionary of American Theatre Critic*, a collection of reviews and biographical sketches. From that volume, he may learn how the executive board of the American Theatre Critics Assn. felt about my .work when they asked if it might be included. Meanwhile. Mrs. Steiner and Mr. Kirwan. may all your noise be joyful. F O O T L I G H T FOOTNOTES:Those of us .who have cheered on the work of Dorothy Callison O'Donnell, the talented songstress from Hillsboro, were very proud when Dorothy and her group, The Committee .of- Correspondence, was selected to perform for Queen Elizabeth II in Phil- fimii T DISCOUNT AUULI BOOKSTORE ADULT FILMS-PEEP SHOWS BOOKS-MAGS-MARITAL AIDS -JULYSPECIAL- tmm COLOU MOV IIS SHCIAiniKHASC ILM[TIDSH[CTION WITHTHIS tmiliKU JttH.nun niirt inMnv ^, ., KIP'S DISCOUNT ,84 SUMMERS ST., PH. 342-4282 «iMiic.4ri.ll).S;T««,»*,TfcB,SttH-fcM. 6AMAWERICARD- MASTE8 CHARGE _ _ s ^xx-xxxx-xxx-x-xxx-icxx-xxx-xxx-i" * ADULT * Movies-Magozines-Novelties also FILM RENTALS Mo vies-Mqgazines--Novelties CAPITAL NEWS BOOK MART IStSAWosh.St.f. 342-9435 Open 10 A. M. Till 11 P: M. Daily 1P.M. to 9P.M. Sunday adelphia last week. Dorothy has paid long, hard dues in the entertainment business and her success is well-deserved...John Shuffle, former member of the Charleston Symphony Orchestra violin section, and a graduate of the Indiana University music school (degrees in .voice, viola and history), is working this summer as a singing-waiter in Massachusetts... A lot of persons weren't happy with the quality of Charleston's Bicentennial pageant last Sunday. Frequently heard complaints were that the programming was bad, the direction uninspired and the rou- tines sadly routine. Other gripes focused on the lackluster music direction and the powerless orchestra. Some suggested that Bill Wiant would have been a vastly superior music director, others pointed out that the National Anthem wasn't even included on our country's 200th birthday, and a surprisingly large number accused Tom Murphy of merely going through the motions of directing a show. I stayed home w i t h Walter' Cronkite. After seeing every Charleston show for the past five years, I've developed a very low threshold for pain... PRESENTED BYENTAM, LTD. SPECIAL GUESTS BOBSEGER JHESIVERBULLETBAKD SATURDAY JULY 17,8P.M. TICKETS ON SALS NOW FESTIVAISEATINGS6.00LIMITEDAOVANCE PIUSCUTIETSEINICE CHARGE CIVIC CENTER BOX OFFKEANDAUENTAM TICKET OUTLETS OR HER BY MAIL MOW KISS C/OENTAM.ITD REYNdDS STREET. CHARIESTON, W.VA. 25301 CAU M8-8070FC* INFOSMATION CHARLESTON CM CENTER ENiAM.UD. SUMMER '76 ENCOREAPPEARANCE SPf-CIAL GUESTS FIREFALL SUNDAY AUGUST 1,8P.M. TICKETS ON SALE NOW FESTIVAL SEATING $6.00 UMlTEDADVAtJCE PLUS CUTLET SERVICE CHARGE CIVIC CENTER BOX OFFKEANDAUENTAM TICKET OUTLETS OKI)I-:RBVMAII.M)\X DOO8IE BROTHERS.c/oENlAM. LTD. REYNa.DSSWEET.CHAHl6$TON.W.VA.2530 CAU 348-8070 FOR INFORMATION CHARLESTON CIVIC CENTER Use Want Ads. Dial 348-4848 KANAWHA CITY CLUBHOUSE With A European Atmosphere LUNCH SPECIALS VEAL PARMESAN '1-50 LASAGNA . '1.50 BREADED PORK LOIN...'150 ygj^ EVENING SPECIALS JgsfJ* .,,. Steak With French Fried Mushrooms W N.Y. STRIP S 4.00 FILET- $ 4.00| PORTER HOUSE S 4.00T-BONE B 'c lunch Dnik 11 A M ^ PJH.-NO CARRTOHlJ Live Entertainment Fri. Sat. Nites Featuring JAY PAUL--Vocalist Enjoy a delicious meal while listening to your favorite "Oldie-Goldies" from the 40's, 50's, 60's. OP EN 7 Days A Week 4102 MacCorkle Ave. S.E.. Kon. City Ph. 925-9960 ·»»-· CHARLESTON. W.VA. 19m

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