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US orders secrecy pledge

The White House, determined to stop leaks of classified information to reporters, ordered officials involved in national security to sign a secrecy pledge.

The order sets up a system under which every copy of a document circulated by the council will have a different number, identifying who has handled it.

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On the cover sheet will be a notice that the document is to be read and discussed only by people authorized by law. It requires each person signing the cover sheet to cooperate with any investigation, which could include lie detector tests.

Monitor correspondent Richard J. Cattani reports the administration also backed off on an earlier attempt to shut off National Security Council leaks by limiting press access. New NSC classified information regulations drop a Jan. 12 rule requiring ''pre-clearance and follow-up memorandum'' for every press contact.

Most conductors prepare the desired results in rehearsals and plan the ''show'' for actual performance. Sometimes what is fixed then never really changes. Sometimes, as in the case of Tennstedt, he fixes it in rehearsal so it can be changed in performance. His performances often have a free-wheeling, visceral excitement that arouses audiences and orchestras into modified or complete frenzies. Yet there are those who will say they cannot understand how such an awkward presence can be considered the stuff of an important conductor.

Zubin Mehta is a conductor who comes under fire for his podium manner. Some call it arrogant, others off-putting; there are those who accuse him of not even being ''in the concert hall'' mentally. These are fairly wild accusations. Conductors do have their off days, such as the time Ozawa tried to repeat his Tchaikovsky Fifth triumph at Tanglewood: The entire venture ended up soggy and out of sync. Mehta's podium manner is efficient -- back erect, beat extended outward and high. Efficiency in this overwrought age is often misconstrued as breezy or indifferent. Yet watching that back and the tensions it expresses is to witness a conductor always involved in what he is doing. And when he does get animated, he seems to be veritably willing sound into being with majestic, power-fraught gestures.

So does it all have an effect? To a certain extent, yes. A flashy podium style can certainly cover up a lack of musical depth by keeping the audience's attention on extramusical matters. Today's maestros are more and more conscious of the theatrical values of their podium address. They captivate where their older colleagues -- the Kubeliks and Giulinis -- persuade.

Nowadays there is entirely too much listening with the eyes, which is why flash is so acclaimed. When it is all put in the right context, it can heighten enjoyment. When it is used as the sole criterion for effectiveness, or even greatness, some reassessing has to be in order. For even that great wizard of showmanship, Leopold Stokowski (who used to spend hours having the podium lighted to show off his hands), made music while he was making theater.

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