“This is a simple record of musical contagion, written at the end of a three-months’ stay in Iran, during which I listened for several hours nearly every day to the traditional classic music and the folk music of the country — at concerts, at private parties, at the National Conservatory for Traditional Iranian Music (where the instructors gave wonderful demonstrations of virtuosity for my benefit), and at Radio Tehran. Tape recordings at the Department of Fine Arts were especially helpful in displaying the rich variety of music in regions too difficult to visit in mid- winter.
“Of course I made no attempt to shed my years of Western symphonic experience; nor have I used actual Iranian melodies or rhythms, nor have I imitated them exactly. Instead I have tried to develop some of the kinds of musical behavior that the two cultures have in common.
Lou Harrison’s Suite was commissioned by the Ajemian sisters in 1951. P. Glanville-Hicks has written, among notes describing this suite, that “the Harrison Suite is one of the most delicate and lovely American works of recent years. The sheer grace and joyousness of its style, reminiscent of India—both sacred and secular modes—cannot fail to charm all who hear it.”
“Its opening Overture is an Allegro in a festive mood of rejoicing; the solo violin draws long, clean lines across a scintillating backdrop of piano, tack-piano, celesta, tam-tam and harp, playing in Gamelan style. Formally, this Overture—as indeed all six sections of the suite—is quantitative music rather than climactic, though high tension points are reached by exciting handling of the melodic curve or by elaboration, and sometimes sudden simplification of the instrumentation. Such devices take the place of the constructed climax of Western musical thought.”
This title from the CRI LP back catalog has been carefully transferred from the original master tape, and is now available from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).
We have preserved the original CRI LP catalog number for this title, preceded by the prefix NWCRL, to distinguish previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc.
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Cowell: Persian Set; Harrison: Suite