Partch at rehearsal for Delusion of the Fury
Partch was relatively "hands-on" when it came to rehearsals, offering comments and advice even though he never assumed the role of conductor. Throughout his life, he maintained an uncanny ability to play most any instrumental part he had written, and while he may have been more adept at this in his earlier years, even during his last productions his demonstrations served to instruct the players, at the very least, in the proper attitudinal approach. He had said: "At no time are the players of my instruments to be unaware that they are on stage, in the act. There can be no humdrum playing of notes, in the bored belief that because they are "good" musicians their performance is ipso facto "masterly." When a player fails to take full advantage of his role in a visual or acting sense, he is muffing his part -- in my terms -- as thoroughly as if he bungled every note in the score."
In many ways, the compositional apex of Partch’s life came with the completion of Delusion of the Fury, a ritual theater-piece that unifies musicians, dancers, and mimes into a corporeal performance. "I believe in a total integration of factors," he said, "not as separate and sealed specialties in the artificially divorced departments of universities, but of sound and sight, the visually dynamic and dramatic, all channeled into a single, wholly fused, and purposeful direction. All." Delusion also places more demands on the instrumentalists than any of his previous works, with much of the rhythmically intricate writing having roots in And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma. The ensemble put together for this performance contained a mixture of old and new players, some recruited from the Los Angeles studios by Emil Richards; shortly after the performance the piece was recorded for Columbia Records. Long out-of-print, it is now reissued as "Enclosure Six" from Innova Records.