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    Harry Partch – The Harry Partch Collection Volume 4

    The Harry Partch Collection is a set of four individual CDs that were originally released by CRI in 1997 and reissued by New World Records in 2004. The dinner offered up on Volume 4 consists of only one course, but what a big and tasty treat it turned out to be! Titled “The Bewitched,” it combines singing, music, mime dance and theatrics into a corporeal whole influenced by the ritual performance traditions of Greece, Africa, Bali and China. “In spirit, if not wholly in content, it is a satyr-play. It is a seeking for release–through satire, whimsy, magic, ribaldry–from the catharsis of tragedy. It is an essay toward a miraculous abeyance of civilized rigidity, in the feeling that the modern spirit might thereby find some ancient and magical sense of rebirth.”–Harry Partch. The menu consists of a long prologue, a short epilogue and 10 scenes sandwiched in between. It’s kind of funny that the prologue–clocking in at 18 minutes–is longer than any of the main sections. Mostly comprised of percussion-heavy music like that found on “Castor and Pollux,” it’s highlighted by some dizzy Adapated Viola lines and solo growling vocals.

    The 10 main scenes themselves bandy about a whole collection of insanely complex music that your mind will make a feeble attempt to devour. Pinging, boinging rhythms. A witch screaming “Yee-oh-wha!” Melodic forays contrasted with sour rhythms. Somber moods. Harmonic Canon chaos. Slow, stately rhythms punctuated by frenzied rhythmic pinging. Intense percussion workouts with wordless vocals. Homely melodies with sharp Diamond Marimba accents. The surprising appearance of a keening sax with lively percussion support, sour plucks, and more witchy singing. Shrill funeral dirges with droning that give way to dry plucks and military locksteps. Homely string plucks that segue into a somber graveyard that, in turn, gets killed by a sprightly horn melody. More loud, boisterous and heavy percussion joined by all of the other instruments. A climax with screams that quietly trails off. Then the epilogue finally arrives, with its percussion stomp whistle stops and starts, Cloud Chamber Bowl tolls and more animated percussion. Composed in 1956, recorded in 1957, originally released on Gate 5 vinyl in 1962 and reissued on a CRI LP a few years later, the music of “The Bewitched” still stands in the digital age as one of Harry Partch’s most challenging yet ultimately rewarding works.

    Label: New World Records Catalog Number: 80624-2 Format: CD Packaging: Jewel case Tracks: 12 Total Time: 75:43 Country: United States Released: 2005 More: American Mavericks, Harry Partch Information Center, Innova, Last.FM, Newband, Official, Wikipedia, Yale, YouTube

    Text ©2010 Arcane Candy

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