Harry Partch

Composer(s): Harry Partch
Album Title: The Harry Partch Collection, Volume 4 
Cat. No.: 80624
Genre: Classical
Release Date: 04/2005
Description: The Harry Partch Collection, Volume 4

The Bewitched-A Dance Satire (1956)

Freda Schell, The Witch; The University of Illinois Musical Ensemble, John Garvey, conductor

The Chorus of Lost Musicians (in order of appearance):
William Olson, Chorus Leader (male solo voice), Marimba Eroica; Warren Smith, Bass Marimba; Thomas Gauger, Boo (Bamboo Marimba); Michael Donzella, Spoils of War; George Andrix, Cloud-Chamber Bowls; Danlee Mitchell, Diamond Marimba; Jack McKenzie, Surrogate Kithara and Gongs; Georgi Mayer, Harmonic Canon (Castor); Barbara Grammar, Harmonic Canon (Pollux); Sanford Berry, Kithara (right side); Jan Bach, Kithara (left side); Warren Birkett, clarinet; Joseph Firrantello, bass clarinet; Charles Delaney, piccolo; Carol Zuckerberg, koto; Peter Farrell, cello; Herbert Bielawa, Chromelodeon


The Bewitched was Partch's first work solely intended for dance (and mime-dance at that; he was not overly enamored in his lifetime of so-called "modern dance"). Drawing heavily from his deep affection for the music-theatrical performance traditions of Greek theater, as well as those from Africa, Bali, and Chinese opera, Partch conceived of a contemporary American music ritual-theater where musicians not only play, but also function at times as movers-singers-actors. Such is the case of The Bewitched, where the instruments are the set, in front of (and around) which dancers "dance," but where the onstage musicians also move and sing. Partch's masterpiece has been lovingly remastered from the original mono masters and the 24-page booklet includes never-before-published photographs from productions of The Bewitched. This is the definitive document of this very important work.

"The Bewitched is in the tradition of world-wide ritual theatre. It is the opposite of specialized. I conceived and wrote it in California in the period 1952-55, following the several performances of my version of Sophocles' Oedipus. In spirit, if not wholly in content, it is a satyr-play. It is a seeking for release-through satire, whimsy, magic, ribaldry-from the catharsis of tragedy. It is an essay toward a miraculous abeyance of civilized rigidity, in the feeling that the modern spirit might thereby find some ancient and magical sense of rebirth. Each of the 12 scenes is a theatrical unfolding of nakedness, a psychological strip-tease, or-a diametric reversal, which has the effect of underlining the complementary character, the strange affinity, of seeming opposites."
-Harry Partch 
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