vol. 3, no.
For its mid-March concert, the Austin Symphony joined forces with the
Choral Union to present Bach's Mass in B-Minor. It was a wise decision to
concentrate an entire program on this choral masterpiece. Bach's Mass is a
perfecdy proportioned piece of musical architecture, both grand and sublime
in expression. The performers assembled under Akiro Endo's direction did
honor to this music and to the profound aspects of the liturgical text.
That the Choral Union shone brightest should come as no surprise. The
sheer size of the choir - almost 150 strong with the women outnumbering
the men almost two to one - was over three times the force required effectively to perform the work. This limited somewhat the dynamic range —
things tended to go from loud to louder - and a clear delivery of the contrapuntal texture. But this did not prevent the Choral Union from giving a vivid
and inspired performance, particularly in the mid-section of the credo -
the "Et incarnatus," "Crucifixus," and the "Et resurrexit."
The same could not be said for the four soloists. The tenor and mezzo-
soprano in her "Agnus Dei" solo struggled with pitch problems and seemed
hard prepsed-just to stay in tune. (Although, in all fairness, Ms. Wilmore's solo,
"Qui sidis ad.dextram Patris," was the most pleasing of \heMissa.) Discord was
by GARY REESE
not confined to vocalists. In the bass aria, "Et in Spiritum sanctum," the obbli-
gati of the oboes broke out into a reedy argument where harmonious collaboration should have prevailed.
More disappointing than any particulars, however, was conductor Endo's
conception of the work. While the pacing never became sluggish - the solemn
piety of the Kyrie being nicely rendered - Endo did not offer much variety in
his tempi and at times his interpretation threatened to become prolix rather
than revelatory. The orchestra was never able to match the sense of exaltation
the choir imparted. Nevertheless, for the most part Endo kept the considerable
musical forces coherently together and was successful in projecting an overall
effect of the spiritual and the monumental, if sublimity and intimacy did evade
Unquestionably, the star "soloist" of the evening - to judge from the
applause — was concertmaster Leonard Posner. His accompaniment of the alto
aria "Laudemas te" in the Gloria almost turned it into a violin solo with alto
obbligato! Posner drew a strong, sweet string tone which incredibly filled every
corner of the auditorium and was a model of sterling, if not entirely
self-effacing, instrumental support.V
Continued from page T
ing up suddenly. If the drop in blood pressure becomes too severe, die person
will faint. Few people do poppers to the point of actually fainting - but
many feel a bit intoxicated or unsteady on their feet.
All drugs, including poppers, involve certain risks and side effects. The
decision to use a drug involves weighing the expected benefits against the risks
Some of the risks involved with poppers are what might be termed mechanical - they involve the circumstances in which the drug is used.
— Butyl nitrite preparations are extremely flammable. This must be considered when poppers are done at a party, where there may be candles or where
people are smoking.
— Butyl nitrite cannot support life. Only oxygen can do that. Things like
getting into a plastic bag with butyl nitrite are extremely foolhardy.
— Poppers induce temporary faintness and intoxication. Doing poppers
while driving, around dangerous machinery, or where there are lots of hard
sharp objects to fall against is decidedly unwise.
Poppers can cause undesirable effects including nausea, vomiting, dizziness,
fainting, cold sweats, and, most often, headaches. In fact, it is not uncommon
to hear only of ill effects: "All it did to me was give me a headache." Adverse
effects can be warning signs. Any recurrent or strong adverse effect should be
viewed as a message to leave poppers alone.
On the other hand, butyl nitrite has received a number of bad raps. Because
they are sniffed, poppers are sometimes associated with paint, glue, gasoline, and
other petroleum products. While paint and glue are extremely dangerous inhalants, they are in no way related to butyl. Nitrites are not guilty on this
There has also been increasing concern about nitrites and nitrates as preservatives in food as possible causes of cancer. While this is an open question, the
danger would seem to lie in the introduction of the substance into the digestive tract. There does not appear to be an association between inhaling the
nitrite vapors and cancer. Butyl, of course, should never be swallowed.
Poppers do not seem to have a potential for physical addiction, although
users note that in the course of an evening's use, it takes more and more to
get off. Some people report a saturation point at which no additional sniffing
produces a high.
All drugs, however, have the potential for psychological addiction. This is
especially true of sexually related drugs; people tend to substitute the drugs for
sex or believe they need them in order to have sex. The feeling of the "need"
for the drug in certain situations is a sure sign of psychological dependence.
While there are no documented cases of death or serious harm from the
use of butyl, still there are possible dangers and certain "high-risk" situations
in which it is wisest to avoid it.
Because of its strong effect on the cardiovascular system, persons with any
■form of cardiovascular disease would be well advised to avoid nitrites, except
when taken under the advice of a physician. This includes persons with angina
pectoris, varicose veins, coronary heart disease, hardening of the arteries, and
high or low blood pressure. Also, for anyone taking a medication associated
with any of these diseases, especially medication for high or low blood pressure,
using poppers is just asking for trouble.
In theory, poppers could cause a variety of dangerous effects in susceptible
individuals, ranging from stroke to shock.
Reports of bad effects from poppers are most common in people who arc
dehydrated - probably because fluid in the body is a primary means of coping
with blood pressure variations. Avoid poppers when drinking alcoholic beverages heavily, particularly in the sun, or when taking diuretic medications (water
Because poppers open up the blood stream, they may dislodge blood clots
and the clots may become lodged in damaging positions. Persons with a history
of clots or who take anticoagulant medications may find themselves in dire
straits if they use poppers. Persons with kidney or liver disease or persons
taking other vasodUating or vasoconstricting drugs may be in a high risk group.
Persons subject to migraine may find that poppers aggravate their condition.
Even if you are not diagnosed as belonging to one of these high-risk groups,
there is always a certain risk involved with any drug. On the other hand, very
many people seem to use this drug regularly without apparent ill effects.
Legally, butyl is in limbo. Various authorities have attempted to limit its
manufacture and sale, but without the force of law they can be ignored with
impunity. But if a manufacturer or retailer implies the drug is meant to be
inhaled, he may be in violation of numerous food and drug laws — which generally have less teeth than controlled substances acts.
If you are going to use butyl, then some comparison shopping may be in
order. Prices of nationally advertised brands may vary by as much as 300 per
cent. All of the weU-known brands are butyl nitrites - although the chemical
names on the labels may vary. Butyl is a fairly unstable chemical, so shopworn
bottles may indicate that potency has been lost. Imitations and "bootlegs"
are common, as are fly-by-nights which may produce inferior or adulterated
products - but it is not necessary to pay the highest price to get as good as
the market has to offer.V
The OLD PECAN STREET SPRING ARTS FESTIVAL
for the continued ReultaHzatton oj Downtown and Sixth Street Area
• Held Saturday and Sunday. April inh and I5lh Iron
IO p.m. lilt dusk.
(In rase of raln-OUl, April ."is. and 22TKL)
• Located on Hie sidewalks <>( the 200 through 700 block ol
Historic old Pecan siren (Bust Sixth Sheet).