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Jan & Dean  

Artist & Band information for:rock music | Jan & Dean | rock n roll

Jan & Dean - Official Site
Biography, tour schedule, discography.
Jan Berry - Official Jan Site
The creative force behind the legendary Jan & Dean.
Amazon offers Ode to Freedom: Bernstein Conducts Beethoven's Ninth Symphony in Berlin (Audio CD),01 March, 1990
rock music |  Jan & Dean  | rock n roll List price $16.98
Ode to lethargy / 1
What a tub of lard! I don't see how anyone could listen to this record with pleasure. It is an assult on all which faithful musicians and composers hold dear to them. Just take a look at the score while you're listening to this music, and you'll see my point. For starters, this is one of the longest performances of Beethoven's 9th on record. The first movement is 18 minutes long, and the 2nd almost 11 with a repeat omitted. Then comes the real meat. The third movement is 20 minutes long. Bernstein takes this literally at half tempo, as he always does with important adagio movements that have "much to exploit." And then comes the big finale - 28 and a half minutes. All told - a 78 minute long symphony. Average performaces clock in at about 70 minutes; performances which follow Ludwig's metronome markings are about 60 minutes long. So, Bernstein was "just a little slow", eh? Sure. Two minutes longer and Deutsche Grammophon would have to market this performance using two CDs. (And what a pity. They would have made a killing off of it.)
And that is just the tip of the iceburg. Rhythmic intensity and accuracy are thrown completely out the window. Bernstein's pickup orchestra, the best musicians from the best orchestras in the world, lose their footing because they are not used to beating Beethoven about the head as Bernstein has them do here. There are numerous mistakes - audible and inaudible. These folks do not play as an ensemble, and who would expect them to, with all the different styles present? One might expect that Bernstein, faced with this dilemma, might be sensible enough to give them some direction as to how to articulate similarly - or at all for that matter, and to take tempos that the musicians can understand. But no, not the case here. He just trusts that everyone will understand how things run under his baton. And the result is just sloppiness and dull music-making. The harmonic progressions are lost amidst a sea of angry robotic ostinatos. It's as if the players want to be inspired, but they don't know how. On the rare occasion that a bit of unique and interesting music is made, it is completely out of context and of a character not suited to this symphony.
Another side effect of lousy direction is one of the most complete structural collapses in the history of the 9th. Bernstein's failure to acknowledge this symphony as more than just a bunch of extended episodes wreaks havoc on the musicality. There is no forward drive, no anticipation of the next musical idea that blooms from the previous one. There is no continuity. The fire just dies, even in the parts that are dramatic. "Oh, but wait!" the other reviewers say. "There is much fire in these performances! Just listen to the climaxes!" The climaxes are as bland as the rest of the performance, and they only appear to be firey because Bernstein incites the musicians to play extremely loudly; most listeners today tend to equate large volumes of sound with intensity and drama. A string quartet could play with more intensity than this lost group. Bernstein doesn't stoke up the fire, but instead sears us in the back with a hot branding iron.
This performance can be summed up as being retrograde. Instead of setting free emotions and thoughts of joy, this performance inhibits them. I'm not sure how the Berlin audience could get through this performance without crying from sheer boredom and irritation. The listener will see no joy here, only a languid, aggrivating and oppressive mish-mash of bad technique, bad interpretation, and bad music. You can certainly buy this because of the occasion, but what is the point of celebrating if the music won't even let you do that? Don't waste your time on this.

Song "Honolulu Lulu"
Queen of the surfer girls

She's got stars in her eyes & knobs on her knees now
Her crazy grass shift really sways in the breeze now
Ridin' down a-heavy you're lyin' in the sand
She's the hippest surfer girl in the land

& she's my Honolulu Lulu
She's my Honolulu Lulu
Queen of the surfer girls

Well, she handles all the big ones every year in Macaja
& all the surfers know her from Ricaud to Baja
When the beach is quiet & you know we're out of luck
We pray for surf while making out in our truck


Just me & Honolulu Lulu
Me & Honolulu Lulu
Queen of the surfer girls


Yeah she's my Honolulu Lulu
Yeah my Honolulu Lulu
Queen of the surfer girls

I tell you once upon a time, you know she got a little bold
When she tried to hook a spinner but her wax wouldn't hold
Over the falls 'stead of hangin' 10
But then she'd paddle out & try it again

But she's my Honolulu Lulu
She's my Honolulu Lulu
Queen of the surfer girls

(Ooooo's, fading out)

Collins' Oldies Website: Jan and Dean
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