Ulysses at the Edge of the World - A Minor Adventure in Rhythm
Twelve Intrusions - Study #1 on Olympus' Pentatonic
Study #2 on Archytas' Enharmonic
Soldiers War Another War
Cloud Chamber Music
Cancion de Los Muchachos
Barstow: Eight Hitchhikers'
Grammy Award–Winning PARTCH Ensemble Announces Bridge Records Release of ‘Sonata Dementia' by Harry Partch
Includes 3 World Premiere Recordings
The Grammy Award-winning PARTCH Ensemble, hailed as "funny, moving, inventive and insanely theatrical" by the San Francisco Chronicle, announced the release of Sonata Dementia, their third volume of music by American maverick composer Harry Partch (Bridge Records 9525). Sonata Dementia follows on the success of the ensemble's Vol. 1: Bitter Music: Harry Partch's Depression Journal (Bridge 9349A/C); which earned a GRAMMY Award nomination in 2012 for Best Classical Compendium, and Vol. 2: Plectra & Percussion Dances (Bridge 9432), the 2014 GRAMMY Award winner for Best Classical Compendium, which was also nominated for Best Chamber Music Performance. Early reviews recognize Partch as "truly one of a kind, and the group PARTCH does a wonderful job of capturing both the letter and the spirit of his music."
Three world premiere recordings are included, among them the title track, Sonata Dementia, with movements appropriately entitled, Abstraction and Delusion, Scherzo Schizophrenia, and Allegro Paranoia; Windsong, Partch's first soundtrack written for Madeline Tourtelot's film by the same name, now brought back to life in all its symphonic glory; and a live 1942 recording of the composer performing one of his most famous works, BARSTOW: Eight Hitchhikers' Inscriptions from a Highway Railing at Barstow California (1941).
The recording opens with jazz-inspired music written for Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan, Ulysses at the Edge of the World for trumpet and baritone sax with bass, diamond and bamboo marimbas, and carries the subtitle A Minor Adventure in Rhythm. Written in 1955, its swinging syncopations and infectious time signatures of five and seven culminate in a surprise ending when-spoiler alert-an officer of the law enters and attempts to arrest the protagonist.
The curiously titled 12 Intrusions, Partch's collection of vocal jewels, is a cycle of accompanied dramatic readings. The intoned texts range from ancient Chinese verse, to modern nature poetry, and a hobo's letter, all captured by Partch's uncanny ability to evoke the spirit of each in tone. The closing Cloud Chamber Music quotes a Native American chant the composer heard on a 1904 Edison cylinder recording, which is also reproduced as one of the bonus tracks that close the recording.
As an added special feature, the composer makes a posthumous appearance on the bonus track from a newly discovered recording of BARSTOW. Recorded live at the Eastman School of Music in 1942, Partch's charming introduction and performance are a revelation, displaying all of the wit, pathos, and compositional acumen that has made his music some of the most essential listening of our time.
Legendary composer Harry Partch created a body of emotionally powerful music. He undertook a new compositional approach with a scale of at least 43 tones to the octave, and the revolutionary aesthetic of matching the human voice with equally versatile instruments. David Bowie called his works, "By turns creepy as hell and positively rocking." Partch wrote music drama, dance-theater, multi-media extravaganzas, vocal music and chamber music-all to be performed on the extraordinary orchestra of 24 instruments that he designed and built himself. With names like Cloud Chamber Bowls, Boo, Spoils of War, Marimba Eroica, and Diamond Marimba, these instruments create an enchanting world of sound that has to be heard to be believed.
Based in Los Angeles, CA, the PARTCH Ensemble, led by Music Director John Schneider, includes some of the city's most dynamic voices in contemporary music including Erin Barnes (Diamond Marimba, voice), Alison Bjorkedal (Canons, Kitharas), Matt Cook (Canon, Cloud Chamber Bowls, Spoils of War), Vicki Ray (Canons, Chromelodeon), John Schneider (Adapted Guitars, Bowls, Canons, Spoils, Surrogate Kithara, Adapted Viola, voice), Nick Terry (Boo), T.J. Troy (Bass Marimba, Adapted Guitar II, voice), Alex Wand (Adapted Guitar III, Canons, Surrogate Kithara) and guest artists Ulrich Krieger (baritone saxophone), and Dan Rosenboom (trumpet).
For the past two decades, the ensemble has been dedicated to performing and recording some of the most dramatically ear-bending, toe-tapping and often hilarious music of the 20th century. The PARTCH Ensemble has been called "outlandish" by the New York Times, and "stunning...startlingly visceral" by the Los Angeles Times.