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Henry Cowell at the KPFA piano & Critics Circle on Censorship in the Arts

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 10 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

Here are three brief excerpts from a transcription disc of some of the earliest broadcasts on KPFA, recorded in mid-August of 1949. The first and probably most interesting clip includes three excerpts of early piano works by Henry Cowell, presumably performed by the composer himself. Heard are bits of “Tides of Manaunaun,” perhaps his best known tone cluster piece, “Aeolian Harp” in which the strings of an open piano are strummed, and “Lilt of the Reel,” with Cowell commenting on the harmonization strategy he employed in its creation. Following this four and half minute segment there follows a short example of the type of eclectic conversation that was heard on KPFA in 1949, a discussion of Freud’s theory of sex and the role of sin in Christian thought. The last segment is little more than an introduction to a panel discussion on censorship in the arts. Whether this refers to the previous discussion or represents a different program is uncertain. Either way, while very short and incomplete this transcription disc provides an intriguing window into the philosophy and practice of KPFA at its conception.

Musical Selections:  Tides of Manaunaun, for piano [excerpt] (ca. 1917) (1:08) / Henry Cowell -- Aeolian Harp, for piano [excerpt] (ca. 1923) (1:28) / Henry Cowell -- Lilt of the Reel, for piano [excerpts, with commentary] (1930) (1:39) / Henry Cowell
Performers:  Henry Cowell, piano
Genres:  New Music; Current Events
Subject:  Freud, Sigmund, 1856-1939; New music; Piano music; Sin -- Christianity
People:  Cowell, Henry, 1897-1965; McGiniss, James; Harris, William J.
Recording Date:  08/16/1949
 
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