Thursday, 13 September 2018

Harry Partch ‎– The Harry Partch Collection Volume 4: The Bewitched (1997)

Style: Contemporary, Experimental 
Format: CD
Label: Composers Recordings Inc. (CRI)

01.   The Lost Musicians Mix Magic
02.   Three Undergrads Become Transfigured In A Hong Kong Music Hall
03.   Exercises In Harmony And Counterpoint Are Tried In A Court Of Ancient Ritual
04.   The Romancing Of A Pathological Liar Comes To An Inspired End
05.   A Soul Tormented By Contemporary Music Finds A Humanizing Alchemy
06.   Visions Fill The Eyes Of A Defeated Basketball Team In The Shower Room
07.   Euphoria Descends A Sausalito Stairway
08.   Two Detectives On The Tail Of A Tricky Culprit Turn In Their Badges
09.   A Court In Its Own Contempt Rises To A Motherly Apotheosis
10.   A Lost Political Soul Finds Himself Among The Voteless Women Of Paradise
11.   The Cognoscenti Are Plunged Into A Demonic Descent While At Cocktails

Credits:
Bass Clarinet – Joseph Firrantello
Cello – Peter Farrell
Chorus – The Chorus Of Lost Musicians
Clarinet – Warren Birkett
Composed By, Supervised By, Liner Notes – Harry Partch
Conductor – John Garvey
Ensemble – The University Of Illinois Musical Ensemble
Koto – Carol Zuckerberg
Marimba – Warren Smith
Marimba – Danlee Mitchell
Marimba, Voice, Leader [Chorus] – William Olson
Organ – Herbert Bielawa
Other – Brian Conley
Percussion, Marimba – Thomas Gauger
Percussion – George Andrix
Percussion – Michael Donzella
Piccolo Flute – Charles Delaney
Vocals (The Witch) – Freda Schell
Zither (Harmonic Canon) – Barbara Grammar, Georgi Mayer
Zither (Kithara Left Side) – Jan Bach
Zither (Kithara Right Side) – Sanford Berry
Zither (Surrogate Kithara), Gong – Jack McKenzie

The earliest surviving recording of Harry Partch's "Dance Satire" The Bewitched was made in 1957 from a production of the work given at University of Illinois and originally issued on his own Gate 5 Records. This is one of Partch's longest continuous works of music and perhaps the most successful realization of his ideas about ritual theater, which he hoped in vain to make obsolete the "music drama" of Richard Wagner, to be produced and recorded during Partch's own lifetime. Indeed, The Bewitched has an almost Wagnerian scale, but is wildly different in just about every other way. To what extent can be gauged simply by mentally visualizing one of Partch's characteristic scene settings: "Visions Fill the Eyes of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Shower Room." The music, played by an orchestra of 18 Partch instruments, is some of the most elaborate and complex that he ever conceived. However, Partch goes to greater extent to incorporate alien styles and ideas in The Bewitched perhaps more so than in any other work this side of The Dreamer That Remains. 
The Bewitched serves as the fourth and final volume in CRI's Harry Partch Collection. This is not performed by the Gate 5 Ensemble so often credited on Partch's Gate 5 Records, which sometimes consisted of just himself, overdubbed, playing all the instruments. For The Bewitched Partch trained two dozen musicians, dancers, and actors from the University of Illinois to realize his vision. There was never a tighter and more disciplined group of Partch musicians than these, and the album is justifiably a classic. Since CRI's demise in 2002, its Harry Partch Collection, including The Bewitched, has been taken over and greatly improved by New World Records.
Dave Lewis / AllMusic

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