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Evenings on the Roof:
Harry Partch Series No. 1

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 55 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

This is the first in a series of programs produced by Peter Yates in the mid-1960s, highlighting the works of Harry Partch. This program begins with an excerpt from one of Partch's pieces followed by a fascinating 1960 interview of Partch by Peter Yates in which the composer discusses his career, instruments, and interest in microtonal music. Part eccentric and part genius, Harry Partch was famous for his 43-note microtonal scale, typically played on instruments of his own design. Partch often incorporated dance or theatrics in his compositions, excerpts of a couple of which are heard here, including his “US Highball: a Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip” partially based on his own travel experiences. Although Partch died in 1974, a cohort of past students and enthusiasts have kept his legacy alive, and he is now recognized as one of the the finest American microtonal composers of the 20th century.

Musical Selections:  US Highball: A Musical Account of a Transcontinental Hobo Trip [excerpt] (1955) (4:03) / Harry Partch -- Castor and Pollux: A Dance for the Twin Rhythms of Gemini (1952) (15:11) / Harry Partch -- King Oedipus [excerpt, based on texts by William Butler Yeats and Sophocles] (1952-54) (3:49) / Harry Partch
Genres:  Microtonal Music; Unconventional Instruments
Subject:  Partch, Harry, 1901-1974; Microtonal music; Unconventional instruments ; Music theater; Songs with instrumental ensemble; Instrumental ensembles; Ballets; Oedipus (Greek mythology)
People:  Yates, Peter; Partch, Harry, 1901-1974; Sophocles; Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
First Broadcast Date:  9/1/1966
 
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