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Partch 1942



Partch, 1942

M·F 20

Liner Notes



Partch, 1942


1942 was a pivotal year for Harry Partch. After more than a decade of obscure but steadfast devotion to his unique musical vision, his bold move from the idyllic isolation of California’s Big Sur to the busy streets of Chicago brought him new recognition, putting him before a series of audiences across the Northeast. Those performances were the springboard that soon catapulted him onto the stage of Carnegie Hall, the pages of the New York Times, and eventually secured his place in the pantheon of great 20th Century composers.

Luckily, one presentation of his radically new “Speech Music” was recorded at the Eastman School of Music. These long lost direct-to-disc recordings reveal not only a charismatic lecturer but also a powerful performer, able to transform his arcane theories into captivating music. These are the earliest recordings of this unforgettable repertoire—including Partch’s only solo recording of his famed hitchhiker saga Barstow—captured in stunningly intimate detail. The Grammy winning author & producer traces the composer’s arduous steps, aided by facsimiles of his letters, scores, and rare photographs, revealing Partch’s tenacious wit, dark sense of humor, and above all, his unfailing creative genius. LIMITED EDITION: Hardbound book, 72 pages, 38 photographs

“A real gem…” — New Music Buff

“Stunning…when I got to the end of the CD and picked my jaw up off the floor…it sounds like something Tom Waits might have performed at a late night dive bar open mic on a snowy Tuesday night in December.” — Audiophile

“Now, this priceless recording, its sound brushed up into its Sunday best, is where it belongs – before the public…It’s so much sheer fun that you’ll want to keep coming back to it.” — Music Web International