Harry Partch: The Bewitched

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
If one is a devotee of the rarified music of American composer Harry Partch, then there are many reasons to love New World Records' retread of his classic 1957 University of Illinois recording of the "Dance Satire" "The Bewitched." This is one of Partch's longest continuous works of music and perhaps the most successful realization of his ideas about ritual theater, which he hoped in vain to make obsolete the "music drama" of Richard Wagner, to be produced and recorded during Partch's own lifetime. Indeed, "The Bewitched" has an almost Wagnerian scale, but is wildly different in just about every other way. To what extent can be gauged simply by mentally visualizing one...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Uncle Dave Lewis
If one is a devotee of the rarified music of American composer Harry Partch, then there are many reasons to love New World Records' retread of his classic 1957 University of Illinois recording of the "Dance Satire" "The Bewitched." This is one of Partch's longest continuous works of music and perhaps the most successful realization of his ideas about ritual theater, which he hoped in vain to make obsolete the "music drama" of Richard Wagner, to be produced and recorded during Partch's own lifetime. Indeed, "The Bewitched" has an almost Wagnerian scale, but is wildly different in just about every other way. To what extent can be gauged simply by mentally visualizing one of Partch's characteristic scene settings: "Visions Fill the Eyes of a Defeated Basketball Team in the Shower Room." The Bewitched serves as the fourth and final volume in New World's revamped Harry Partch Collection, which began after it absorbed the series from the disbanded CRI label. Whereas earlier volumes in the New World series improved the sound and made the booklets more user-friendly, this one is an entirely new creation, with updated liner notes and photographs from several productions of "The Bewitched." Gone is the accursed tape hiss so pronounced on the two CRI CD versions of "The Bewitched" and even the LP that preceded them. Gone, likewise, is CRI's bewildering choice of cover image, which looked like an invitation to a beach party hosted by Charles Manson. The cover now proudly sports a more topical production still representing the climax of the show and, as such, represents the feeling of what is inside far more accurately. This is not performed by the Gate 5 Ensemble so often credited on Partch's Gate 5 records, which sometimes consisted of just himself, overdubbed, playing all the instruments. For "The Bewitched" Partch trained two dozen musicians, dancers, and actors from the University of Illinois to realize his vision. There were never a tighter and more disciplined group of Partch musicians than these, and New World's transfer engineers derive from the ancient mono recording amazing clarity of sound that truly does justice to their efforts. Partch himself would have been pleased by the splendid conclusion to which New World's collection of his recordings has been drawn.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 4/26/2005
  • Label: New World Records
  • UPC: 093228062424
  • Catalog Number: 80624
  • Sales rank: 105,008

Album Credits

Performance Credits
John Garvey Primary Artist
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