Dancing with Henry: New Discoveries in the Music of Henry Cowell

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Mode's Dancing with Henry, recorded in 2000, was the first disc since two releases in the 1980s by the New York-based ensemble Continuum to expose a substantial amount of previously unrecorded material from the wealth of unpublished pieces that exist for Henry Cowell. Most of the music was written for choreography in the 1920s and 1930s in the more experimental vein of Cowell's style. The "Suite for Small Orchestra" 1934, "Suite for Woodwind Quintet" 1934, and "Four Combinations for Three Instruments" 1924 all demonstrate Cowell's interest in dissonant counterpoint as gained through his early studies with Charles Seeger, though the woodwind suite does betray an ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
Mode's Dancing with Henry, recorded in 2000, was the first disc since two releases in the 1980s by the New York-based ensemble Continuum to expose a substantial amount of previously unrecorded material from the wealth of unpublished pieces that exist for Henry Cowell. Most of the music was written for choreography in the 1920s and 1930s in the more experimental vein of Cowell's style. The "Suite for Small Orchestra" 1934, "Suite for Woodwind Quintet" 1934, and "Four Combinations for Three Instruments" 1924 all demonstrate Cowell's interest in dissonant counterpoint as gained through his early studies with Charles Seeger, though the woodwind suite does betray an awareness of French practice in terms of scoring for winds. The "Heroic Dance" 1931, "Reel No. 2" 1934, and "Dance of Sport" 1931 are all representative of Cowell's interest in rhythm, though only "Reel No. 2" makes use of percussion, and then very lightly applied. The "Sound Form No. 1" 1937 and "Ritournelles" from "Marriage on the Eiffel Tower" 1939 are written in short braces of measures that can be shuffled around by the performers to facilitate choreography, a clear predecessor to minimalistic techniques. The incidental music for Alice Pike Barney's never-performed play Atlantis 1926 is something in a class by itself; three singers moan and grunt their way through a textless fantasy based on a mythical vision of monsters, goddesses, and a Sea-King. The voices are sewn into a fabric of polyphony supplied by a small orchestra; it is a completely bizarre and far-out creation that has the dual qualities of being both amusing and awe inspiring. The California Parallèle Ensemble under Nicole Paiement and other groups listed as performing this music were organized to facilitate the recording. However, the ensembles were organized within the University of California at Santa Cruz's music department, which is under professor Leta Miller, who supplies the notes and plays flute here, and whose members are experts in interpreting American modernism of this period and has well served composer Lou Harrison's work. One remarkable aspect of Cowell's experimental instrumental music is that, though the compositional techniques are pioneering, the music is overwhelmingly gentle, even playful in tone. It is redolent of California and its culture, an aspect of Cowell's activity that often goes little recognized, but he may have been the first "California composer" in the modern sense, looking forward not only to Harrison and Terry Riley, but to Brian Wilson, as well. For those seeking a more extended entryway to Henry Cowell's compositional activity beyond his piano music and symphonic works, Mode's Dancing with Henry will be a revelation.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/23/2001
  • Label: Mode
  • UPC: 764593010128
  • Catalog Number: 101
  • Sales rank: 240,972

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 Suite for Small Orchestra - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (7:12)
  2. 2 Heroic Dance - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (4:37)
  3. 3 Dance Forms, for 3 melody instruments and 2 percussionists, HC 521 - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (4:52)
  4. 4 Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (5), incidental music for Cocteau's play for piano & 4 percussionists, HC 563: Larghetto - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (4:31)
  5. 5 Reel No. 2 - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (3:30)
  6. 6 Dance of Sport - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (4:56)
  7. 7 Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (5), incidental music for Cocteau's play for piano & 4 percussionists, HC 563: Andante - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (1:33)
  8. 8 Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (5), incidental music for Cocteau's play for piano & 4 percussionists, HC 563: Allegretto - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (2:40)
  9. 11–14 Suite for Woodwind Quintet - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (4:41)
  10. 15–18 Trio: Four Combinations for Three Instruments, for violin, cello & cello, HC 383 - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (6:28)
  11. 16 Les Mariés de la Tour Eiffel (5), incidental music for Cocteau's play for piano & 4 percussionists, HC 563: Larghetto (abridged version) - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (0:59)
  12. 20–28 Atlantis, dance drama - Henry Cowell & Brian Brandt (16:27)
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