The Harry Partch Collection, Volume 1

Eleven Intrusions, Castor and Pollux, Ring Around the Moon, Even Wild Horses, Ulysses at the Edge

Harry Partch, principal vocals (Eleven Intrusions); Gate 5 Ensemble (Sausalito), Horace Schwartz, conductor (Plectra and Percussion Dances: Castor and Pollux, Ring Around the Moon, Even Wild Horses); Gate 5 Ensemble (Evanston, Illinois) (Ulysses at the Edge)

This newly remastered reissue marks a welcome return to the catalog of the first volume of the classic 4-CD collection that was formerly available on the CRI label. The works recorded on this disc span the first six years of what Harry Partch (1901-1974), slightly tongue-in-cheek, called the "third period" of his creative life. They show him moving away from the obsession with "the intrinsic music of spoken words" that had characterized his earlier output (the vocal works of 1930-33 and 1941-45) and towards an instrumental idiom, predominantly percussive in nature. This path was to take him through the "music-dance drama" King Oedipus (1951) -- the culmination of his "spoken word" manner -- to the "dance satire" The Bewitched (1954-55), in which his new percussive idiom manifests itself. The three works on this disc show Partch before, during, and after this period of transition.

In their quiet, forlorn way, the Eleven Intrusions are among the most compelling and beautiful of Partch's works. The individual pieces were composed at various times between August 1949 and December 1950, and only later gathered together as a cycle. Nonetheless they form a unified whole, with a nucleus of eight songs framed by two instrumental preludes and an essentially instrumental postlude.

Although foreshadowed by the dance sequences of King Oedipus, the Plectra and Percussion Dances (1952) are the first of Partch's major works to be wholly instrumental in conception. They stand in relation to Oedipus as a satyr play in relation to a Greek tragedy-hence the work's subtitle, "Satyr-Play Music for Dance Theater." He felt that after the prolonged period of composition and production of Oedipus it was "almost a necessity to give vent to feelings and ideas, whims and caprices, even nonsense, that seem to have no place in tragedy."

The final work on this disc is Ulysses at the Edge, written at Partch's studio at Gate 5 in July 1955. Ulysses, which Partch describes as a "minor adventure in rhythm," is unique among his mature compositions in that, in its original form, it did not call for any of his own instruments. The version recorded here, for alto and baritone saxophones, Diamond Marimba, Boo, Cloud-Chamber Bowls, and speaking voice, is considered the third version of the piece.

Gate 5 Ensemble

The Harry Partch Collection, Volume 1

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Track Listing

Eleven Intrusions I: Study on Olympos' Pentatonic
Harry Partch
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Eleven Instrusions II: Study on Archytas' Enharmonic
Harry Partch
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Eleven Instrusions III: The Rose
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions IV: The Crane
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions V: The Waterfall
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions VI: The Wind
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions VII: The Street
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions VIII: Lover
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Intrusions IX: Soldiers-War-Another War
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Instrusions X: Vanity
Harry Partch
Buy
Eleven Intrusions XI: Cloud-Chamber Music
Harry Partch
Buy
Castor & Pollux. A Dance for the Twin Rhythms of Gemini I: Castor
Harry Partch
Buy
Castor & Pollux. A Dance for the Twin Rhythms of Gemini II: Pollux
Harry Partch
Buy
Ring Around the Moon. A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now Phase 1: Well, Bless My Soul! (Well, Bless My Soul!)
Harry Partch
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Ring Around the Moon. A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now Phase 2: One, Two, Three, Four - X, Y, Zee
Harry Partch
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Ring Around the Moon. A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now Phase 3: Shake hands now, boys, and at the sound of the bell come out fighting!
Harry Partch
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Ring Around the Moon. A Dance Fantasm for Here and Now Phase 4: Mumbo jumbo, hocus pocus, hoity toity, hotsy totsy, acey ducey, hoochy koochy (Look out! He's got a gun!)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act I, Scene I: A Decent and Honorable Mistake (Samba)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act I, Scene II: Rhythm of the Womb - Melody of the Grave (Heartbeat Rhythm)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act I, Scene III: Happy Birthday to You! (Afro-Chinese Minuet)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act II, Scene I: "Nor These Lips Upon Your Eyes" (Rumba)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act II, Scene II: "Hunger, Thirsts, Shouts, Dance!" (Naniga)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act II, Scene III: "Land of Darkness and of Whirlwinds" (Slow, Fast, Wild!)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act III, Scene I: "Had I Not Once A Lovely Youth" (Conga)
Harry Partch
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Even Wild Horses. Dance Music for an Absent Drama, Act III, Scene II: "Let Us Contemplate Undazed the Endless Reaches of My Innocence" (Tahitian Dance)
Harry Partch
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Ulysses at the Edge
Harry Partch
Buy

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