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The Harry Partch Collection Vol 3

Release Date: 01/25/2005 
Label:  New World Records   Catalog #: 80623   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Harry Partch
Performer:  Harry PartchFreda Pierce
Conductor:  Jack LoganJohn Garvey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harry Partch EnsembleGate 5 Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This third volume of “The Harry Partch Collection,” salvaged from CRI’s demise, catches Partch moving into the stereo era and features two of the best-sounding takes in the series and two of the worst. For Madeline Tourtelot’s film evocation Windsong, Partch resorted to the expedient of performing all parts of his score himself and overdubbing—in tubby mono—which makes for a stiffly tentative reading, with some instruments looming like gangbusters and others receding. A booklet photograph, in which the series is rich, catches Tourtelot in 1958 priming a reel-to-reel machine with Partch and the instruments in the background, apparently in her living room, revealing the origin of the boomy, reverberant sound. Retitled Daphne of the Dunes, the Read more piece may be heard to somewhat better advantage and exponentially better sound performed in 1994 by Dean Drummond and ensemble on Partch’s unique instruments (Mode 33—for this and the “The Harry Partch Collection” generally, see Fanfare 21:4) and, best of all, from the 1969 LP album “The World of Harry Partch” (Columbia MS 7202), where takes of Daphne, Barstow, and Castor & Pollux, with Partch supervising and occasionally participating, are given their most compelling performances on discs of any description. Rotate the Body in All Its Planes (1961), whose over-close capture threatens to burst the aural frame, is a smart-alecking accompaniment to gymnastic movements that would not be out of place on a program with Janá?ek’s Sinfonietta. Something like up-to-date recording technology seems to have attended performances of the remaining works. Water! Water! (1961) and The Dreamer that Remains (1972) are frankly comedic, the former a “satirical farce”—silly, endearing, and pure West Coast—while the more coy Dreamer is Partch’s valediction, funny and moving at once. As always, the sharp particularity of the Partch instruments—the Partch aesthetic (or anti-aesthetic)—wings through the vagaries of time and technology rife with piquant pizzazz, magic, and a sort of surreal grace. Extensive notes by Partch’s biographer, Bob Gilmore, confect a final elegance. Highest recommendation.

Adrian Corleonis, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

The Dreamer that Remains by Harry Partch
Performer:  Harry Partch (Spoken Vocals)
Conductor:  Jack Logan
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harry Partch Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Date of Recording: 1972 
Venue:  San Diego, California 
Length: 10 Minutes 29 Secs. 
Rotate the Body in all its Planes by Harry Partch
Performer:  Freda Pierce (Soprano)
Conductor:  John Garvey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Harry Partch Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1963; USA 
Date of Recording: 1961 
Venue:  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Length: 8 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Windsong by Harry Partch
Performer:  Harry Partch ()
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 
Date of Recording: 1958 
Venue:  Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 11 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Water! Water! by Harry Partch
Conductor:  John Garvey
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Gate 5 Ensemble
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1961; USA 
Date of Recording: 1962 
Venue:  University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign 
Length: 37 Minutes 49 Secs. 

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