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NOTEWORTHY

THEATER
JUST ASKING

That some functionary, some bureaucrat, some cog in a military mechanism should have collaborated with the Nazis causes nary a ripple of surprise. But that a figure from the world of the humanities, someone like the great German philosopher Martin Heidegger, might have leant intellectual succor to Hitler's people is a genuine cause for sorrow. And what about the great orchestra conductor Wilhelm Furtwangler, who held his position as maestro of the Berlin Philharmonic during those tortured years? That is the subject of Ronald Harwood's play "Taking Sides." The play is set in the American zone of occupied Berlin just after World War II, where Furtwangler is relentlessly interrogated by an American major. The questions raised do not reduce to a simple yes or no, and there are persuasions on both sides, which accounts for Harwood's title. In the Kavinoky Theatre production opening Thursday, David Lamb plays Furtwangler and Steven Cooper plays the American officer. Others in director Donn Youngstrom's cast are Jack Hunter, Eileen Dugan, Katie White and Michael Karr. Performances are at 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, at 4:30 and 8:30 p.m. Saturdays, and at 2 p.m. Sundays, through Dec. 7, in the theater at D'Youville College, 320 Porter Ave.

-- Terry Doran
CHAMBER MUSIC

FLEXING THEIR TALENTS

I suppose you could call the next guest artists on the Buffalo Chamber Music Society Series "the oldest established permanent floating chamber ensemble in New York." Officially, however, it's called the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. Eight members of this infinitely flexible, mix-and-match chamber ensemble will be in Kleinhans' Mary Seaton Room at 8 p.m. Tuesday, with a pre-concert talk by the performers at 7:15. It will be the Society's third appearance on the BCMS programs since its founding in 1969, with a different configuration of musicians each time. You will know many of the musicians, such as clarinetist David Shifrin, who is the group's artistic director, violinist Joseph Silverstein, who is former Boston Symphony concertmaster and conductor of the Utah Symphony, cellist Fred Sherry, violist Paul Neubauer, and Robert Routch, French horn. These and the others are all top musicians, and Tuesday's contingent of five strings and three winds will be presenting a most unusual program of just two works. First there will be Beethoven's Septet, Op. 20, written in 1800. Beethoven at first was very satisfied with the Septet, but later as he veered toward a more heaven-storming style he said he wished it could be burned. Beethoven's initial opinion was the right one. The program will conclude with Schubert's 1824 Octet, Op. 166, commissioned by Count von Troyer, a fine amateur clarinetist, as a companion piece to the Beethoven Septet. Both works are decidedly cheerful and sunny, despite the fact that Beethoven was depressed by his encroaching deafness and Schubert was in poor health and living in poverty at the time they were composed.

-- Herman Trotter
JAZZ VOCALIST

STILL HAVING FUN

Cleo Laine recently turned 70, but no one would ever guess it. With her rich, voluptuous voice, her exuberant cloud of hair and her unending joie de vivre, she is one of the first ladies of jazz. Her life has the wide-screen feeling of an epic. The daughter of an English mother and a Jamaican father, Laine had a wild, gypsyish childhood. As an adult, she worked for a while in a pawnshop and as an apprentice hairdresser -- but got her big break as a singer in the early '50s when she landed a job with the crack English jazz group led by John Dankworth. Laine went on to marry her boss. Her career, meanwhile, skyrocketed -- over the past 40 years, she has done everything from sing with Duke Ellington to star on the British stage. Cleo Laine's voice is a marvel. She can belt a devil-may-care blues, and the next moment pour out honeyed ballads (two she's famous for are "Bill," from "Show Boat," and "Sophisticated Lady"). She performs Saturday at 8 p.m. in UB's Center for the Arts, Amherst Campus.

-- Mary Kunz

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