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PARTCH, HARRY - Plectra and Percussion Dances

Format: LP
Label & Cat.Number: Jeanne Dielman JD116LP
Release Year: 2016
Note: re-issue of this album from 1953 (!) with three very percussive pieces that were intended for dancers, with an ensemble using PARTCHs self-built or transformed instruments, such as Kithara, Chromelodeon, Diamond Marimba, Cloud-Chamber Bowls, Eroica and Wood-Block, Adapted Viola, Adapted Guitar; HARRY PARTCH was one of the first Western composers of the 20th century to use microtonal scales....
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €18.00

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"Born in Oakland, CA, but raised in New Mexico, Partch learned mandolin, violin, piano, reed organ, and cornet as a child. Clearly a unique talent, even that early on, Partch went to USC Music School but was dissatisfied with his teachers, and instead studied music on his own where he learned to reject many of the Western constructs of music and began experimenting with using scales of unequal intervals in just intonation, and was one of the first Western composers of the 20th century to use microtonal scales. These recordings were some of the first made after Partch settled in Sausalito and founded his legendary Gate 5 studio. Debuted in 1953 on KPFA radio, these compositions still sound otherworldly and cutting edge today. Essential American 20th Century composer Harry Partch, on Jeanne Dielman" [label info]

"The instruments: Kithara, Surrogate Kithara, three Harmonic Canons, Chromelodeon, Diamond Marimba, Bass Marimba, Cloud-Chamber Bowls, Eroica and Wood-Block, Adapted Viola, Adapted Guitars."

"This group of three pieces, intended by Harry Partch as a single triptych, was performed several times in the 1950s, incompletely and with an incomplete ensemble. Partch himself discusses the work in these terms in an included spoken introduction from 1953, worth the price of admission in itself. This release marks its first complete performance, and the group of performers, simply called Partch, is ideal: they have studied Partch's music in depth, including his often difficult notation system, and they know it well enough to make it fun. Which it should be and is here. The Plectra and Percussion Dances are accurately titled. They were actually intended for dancers, and a performance that included them would be the next stage in the revival of an eminently worthwhile work, but they work without them. They're for varied small ensembles of plucked and percussion instruments that periodically join forces into larger ones, and the rhythms are constantly varied. The most fun is the central section, Ring Around the Moon, where a speaking voice is added and does such surprising things as end one section with the words "Well, bless my soul!" and another with "Shake hands now, boys, and when the bell rings, come out fighting." More even than an important Partch premiere, this is one of those rare releases that presents Partch's music in its proper playful spirit." [Allmusic com]