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The Music of Lou Harrison (August 1968)

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Item Type: Sound Recording Duration: 218 min
Event Type: Interview and Music Program Origin: KPFA

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Recorded in August of 1968 this is a wonderful four part program in which American composer Lou Harrison presents a selection of his varied works, in roughly chronological order. The program begins with Harrison providing a brief biographical sketch of his life in which he describes being born in Oregon and how he then moved with his family to Northern California, and his subsequent self-identification as a San Francisco Bay Area composer. The rest of the first half of the program is then dedicated to presenting many of his earlier, Mission Period compositions, (a term meant to reflect his adopted home in California), including some of his groundbreaking percussion ensemble pieces such as his “Suite for Percussion” and “Labyrinth No. 3.” In the third hour of this program the emphasis switches to his longer works written for large ensembles or orchestras, including excerpts from his “Suite for Symphonic Strings” and “Symphony on G.” In the last hour, Harrison focuses on works that emanate from his political conviction, as well as his technical studies of world music, and includes chamber works for the piri, psaltry, and other non-Western instrumentation. Radiating throughout this program is the sunny disposition and dulcet voice of one of America’s most talented and warm hearted 20th century composers.

Part 1 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Six Cembalo Sonatas, (1934"43) -- Suite, for percussion (1940) -- Mass for mixed chorus, trumpet, harp, & strings (1939-52)
Performers:  Margaret Fabrizio, harpsichord (Six Cembalo)
American Percussion Ensemble (Suite)
Paul Price, conductor (Suite)
Genre:  Chamber Music
Subject:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Harpsichord music; Chamber music; Sonatas (Harpsichord); Percussion music; Masses; Copyright -- Music; Ethnic music
People:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Fabrizio, Margaret; Price, Paul, 1921-1986; Hersh, Howard
First Broadcast Date:  8/6/1968
 
Part 2 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Labyrinth No. 3 (1941) -- Jephtha's Daughter: A theater kit (1941) -- Concerto, for violin with percussion orchestra (1940-51)
Performers:  Cabrillo Festival Percussion Ensemble (Labyrinth ; Concerto)
Gerhard Samuel, conductor (Labyrinth ; Concerto)
Mills College Chamber Players (Jephtha's)
Robert Hughes, conductor (Jephtha's)
Austin Reller, violin (Concerto)
Genre:  New Music
Subject:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Percussion ensembles; Music theater; Concertos (Violin with percussion ensemble); New music
People:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Samuel, Gerhard; Hughes, Robert, 1933-; Reller, Austin
First Broadcast Date:  8/12/1968
 
Part 3 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Suite for Symphonic Strings [1st, 2nd, & 3rd movements] (1960) -- Symphony on G (1947-64)
Performers:  Louisville Orchestra (Suite)
Robert Whitney, conductor (Suite)
Cabrillo Music Festival Orchestra (Symphony)
Gerhard Samuel, conductor (Symphony)
Genres:  20th Century Classical; Orchestral Music
Subject:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Orchestral music; 20th century classical; Suites (String orchestra); Symphonies
People:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Samuel, Gerhard ; Whitney, Robert, 1904-1986
First Broadcast Date:  8/14/1968
 
Part 4 of 4:  
Musical Selections:  Prelude, for piri and harmonium (1961) -- Psalter Sonata (1961, rev. 1962) -- Music for Violin with Various Instruments [excerpt] (1967) -- Pacifika Rondo [3 excerpts, Lotus ; A Hatred of the Filthy Bomb ; From the Dragon Pool] (1963) -- Incidental Music from Cinna (1955-57) -- Four Strict Songs, for 8 baritones and orchestra (1955)
Performers:  Lou Harrison, piri (Prelude)
Robert Hughes, harmonium (Prelude)
Lou Harrison, psaltry (Psalter)
Lou Harrison, mbira (Music)
Honolulu Symphony (Pacifika Rondo)
Lou Harrison, piano in just intonation (Cinna)
Louisville Orchestra (Four Strict Songs)
Robert Whitney, conductor (Four Strict Songs)
Genres:  Microtonal Music; Unconventional Instruments
Subject:  Violin and mbira music; Ethnic music; World music; Unconventional instruments; Sonatas (Psaltry); Piri and harmonium music; Chamber music; Piano music; Songs; Microtonal music
People:  Harrison, Lou, 1917-2003; Samuel, Gerhard ; Whitney, Robert, 1904-1986; Hughes, Robert, 1933-
Recording Date:  8/19/1968
 
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