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    Partch at California Plaza

    Partch at California Plaza 2007.
    Beneath the blaring hot sun.

    Los Angeles, California
    July 20, 2007

    Harry Partch (1901-1974) merely succeeded in realizing the most perfectly constructed, personal musical universe of the 20th Century. Shunning twelve-tone equal temperament—which has dominated Western music for well over a hundred years—he formed his own 43 tone scale realized through an antiquated pure tuning system known as Just Intonation. Harry then built his own strange, sculptural instruments to realize his exotic scores. Over several decades, he meshed this otherworldly-sounding music with dance and drama into what he called “corporeal” presentations, in which these three elements are fully integrated into a powerful, transporting whole. None of them were omitted or relegated to the background, as in traditional stage plays, classical concerts, etc.

    Partch at California Plaza 2007.
    I’d like to hear you play some power chords on these guitars.

    Under the looming skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles, beneath the blaring hot sun, I hid my fair skin under a hoody as the Partch ensemble sent Harry’s odd-sounding microtonal music aloft around the heads of a lunchtime crowd. Some folks sat attentive in a concrete ampitheater in front of the band, while others shuffled by in between pools of water and assorted randoms enjoyed lunch at nearby restaurants. What an unusual and delightful setting in which to experience the music of Harry Partch! As always, Partch delivered the goods with a faithful and playful yet intense interpretation of Harry’s scores. They repeated this performance in the evening, but, unfortunately, I had to make like a tree and leave.

    Partch at California Plaza 2007.
    Playful yet intense.

    Also read Partch at the REDCAT 2007 and Partch at the REDCAT 2008.

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