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    Partch at the REDCAT 2008

    Partch at the REDCAT 2008.
    Partch ensemble founder, John Schneider.

    Los Angeles, California
    May 31, 2008

    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 the REDCAT 2008.
    Let’s see you shred some hammer-ons with this beauty, pal.

    On the last day of May 2008, the Partch ensemble, who formed in 1991 to play the music of Harry Partch, played their fifth annual show at the REDCAT, featuring a major percussion work called Plectra and Percussion Dances, a longform piece divided up into three parts. The first, Castor and Pollux, was an upbeat percussion-heavy workout that flipped the pessimistic tone of Oedipus, which was composed right before it. Next, the band blazed on through the concert satire Ring Around the Moon, then offered up some highly altered Afro-American and Latin American-influenced rhythms during Even Wild Horses.

    Partch at the REDCAT 2008.
    Not exactly your average, everyday drum circle down at the beach.

    Joining in all the fun this year was none other than harpist extraordinaire Rebekah Raff, who womanhandled one of the Harmonic Canons with arm-lashing aplomb. Some of you may remember Rebekah from the cover of Arcane Candy issue number two. If you were just born yesterday, however, you might not. As always, the Partch ensemble wowed the crowd into a standing ovation. The only bummer of the evening was when one of the REDCAT staff made me stop taking photos during the first break. It’s not like I was popping off flashes or anything, dude! Despite that, look for a full gallery from this concert coming soon.

    Also read Partch at the REDCAT 2007 and Partch at California Plaza.

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