Oh, to be 115!

 Harry Partch: June 24, 1901 - Sept. 3, 1974

Harry Partch: June 24, 1901 - Sept. 3, 1974

Today, we think of Harry Partch, born on this day in 1901. It is a shame that he died relatively young, but that chassis had many hard miles on it, and he left us with a remarkable and non-duplicatable legacy. It is impossible to know where he would have gone, artistically, in the next years, and would have been highly interesting to see how he reacted to his concepts of performing eventually finding a little traction.

I am aware that momentous changes are occurring in the world today. Harry would have been aghast at many of the events in recent months and the trends that are playing out. I don't know if his music gives positive comfort or hope to anyone, but it would be nice to think it does. For me, it is the fact that Harry kept up his fight, sticking to long-held principles all the way out, which serves as my inspiration. He will always be the Dreamer that remains.

In light of today, I will use that inspiration to work on new content for the site. Check back in a couple of days (or subscribe to the RSS feed, since I'll announce here, as well). I'm behind, but I'm not dead yet.

Upcoming Partch Concert, University of Washington, Seattle

 Some of the Partch instruments, now in residence at the University of Washington, Seattle

Some of the Partch instruments, now in residence at the University of Washington, Seattle

In just under a week, on April 26, you have the opportunity to hear the original instruments of Harry Partch in concert, under the direction of Dr. Charles Corey. Find more information and ticket link here, and there is a Facebook event page, as well.

In addition, the Seattle Times just published a nice feature on Corey and the instrument's current residency at the university. It's worth a read also for comments from Dr. Richard Karpen, chairman of the Music Department, who was integral in getting them to the campus (and the West coast, for that matter). UPDATE: We've just received notice of another good preview article, this one in the guise of a look at the Partch instruments, from radio station KING. Concert details as follow:

April 26, 2016
Meany Theater, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Music of Today: The Music of Harry Partch
7:30PM

This program will include BarstowSan FranciscoThe Letter, and Daphne of the Dunes, as well as selections from Eleven IntrusionsSeventeen Lyrics by Li Po, and And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma.

Don't miss an opportunity to experience this music, these performers, and these instruments live!

Jon Szanto

It's never too late for a fresh start.

 Harry Partch, an American original.

Harry Partch, an American original.

Welcome to our new home.

In the Fall of 1996 I created Corporeal Meadows. I had just become aware of the first instance of Partch's music being appropriated for instruments other than his own (the remarkably ill-advised Kronos Quartet arrangement of "Barstow"). Nearly ten years had passed since his instruments had left San Diego, I missed them, and needed to do something. What an appropriate time to offer basic information about Partch and his work: none of the various books and reissued recordings had yet been produced and published. Honestly? I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into, but having programmed in the past, I figured I'd roll up my sleeves and sling some html, joining the web somewhat early-on.

I never dreamed that site would last 20 years.

Now we sit, a full two decades beyond that, and much has changed. All the same, my prime motivation remains: to maintain a focus on the essential nature of Harry Partch, his creativity and work, and his profound legacy. I feel fortunate to look back over those years and see the documentation footprint: audio projects that present virtually everything Partch ever recorded, important biographical works, and a higher awareness of Partch through many available media. Incomparable contributions by people like Philip Blackburn and the late Bob Gilmore changed our understanding. But it can't rest there.

We are in a new world, one where alternate groupings of Partch-like instruments are growing. With each passing year, the performances ostensibly done in his name stray further from his own aesthetic. The problem is, without adequate exposure to what Harry himself intended, the public won't know any better. So we've got a two-part mission: first, to keep his instruments and their players, at the University of Washington under the capable leadership of Charles Corey, as visible as possible. We'll do everything we can to support those efforts. Secondly, to add to the resources on this site for illumination, education, and inspiration, so that - with hope - an audience will know whether they are getting the right serving of tapioca when they get a chance to experience a live performance.

It's been a bitch to port the old site, and I'll be leaving an archived version up elsewhere. I'm not going to bring all the content over, because I want fresh stuff, and some things aren't a good fit in the new version. I'm excited to utilize the opportunities that this new platform gives me, and I plan on serving up new sights and sounds. It's not all there yet, but somehow it seemed time to Get Going, and I want to rev this up.

I truly believe that Harry can, as he put it so well, "instill ferment". I think he can move people, and we'll do what we can to make that happen. Just remember: Accept no substitutes.

Jon Szanto