Corporeal Meadows: instilling ferment, online . . .
Updated: February 29, 2012
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Harry Partch -- iconoclastic American composer, musical theorist, philosophic instrument builder, raconteur, hobo, artist -- presents unique challenges and aesthetics. This site, centering on the life and works of Partch, is maintained by people who knew him, worked with him, and are familiar with what moved him. We are one set of viewpoints, presented in a tone that we hope Harry himself would have approved: sometimes irreverent, occasionally bordering on the academic, essentially uncompromising. His beliefs, concepts and attitudes are advocated here. We are loose, but we are serious.

And, just so you know, this is all produced under the auspices of the Harry Partch Foundation (Danlee Mitchell, Executive Director) -- which makes Corporeal Meadows the official Partch site.

Our focus is to share information about Partch, examine his creative output, help with a historical perspective, track current events, and make an attempt to extend Partch's spirit. Our design goal is to maximize access: text documents are available, graphics and sound materials live in a separate area, all with the intent to provide information not easily found elsewhere. We direct you to other Partch resources, keep you abreast of concerts, recordings and publications, and provide links to Partch-related sites.

Corporeal Meadows is Harry's spot online. Start here for spirit-magic . . .

From Your Host

Well, this hasn't happened often in the history of the world: bona fide Partch performances taking part on both American coasts. Yes, within the span of the next four weeks (as I write), both the original instruments and the newer versions will be used in bringing some of Harry's early to middle works to the concert stage.

Yes, I know: "a concert of music", something Harry was repelled by. At the moment, this is what we have. You'll find details below in the news section, but to hear Partch in San Diego, San Francisco, or New York, I think you should do it. Really.

* * * * *

Oh, and one last bit: the concert in San Diego takes place in the Music Department of San Diego State University, where the instruments were housed for quite a number of years in the 1970's and 80's. I use that term, because there seems to be a concerted effort to rewrite history, and make it appear that the instruments, the Partch Ensemble, and even the aesthetic gravitas of Partch himself were part and parcel of the department. You know, something to be celebrated and acknowledged.

Well, nothing could be further from the truth. During these years, the activities of the Partch group were something of a meddlesome problem, an unwanted distraction, from the more staid marching band and choral groups and whatnot. Save for a few open-eyed and big-eared faculty members, who realized what they had in their midst, most of us involved back then felt like the outcasts (which, actually, wasn't so bad), and never managed to get much if any support from the administration. Not only did the presence of the instruments and the ensemble not influence the populace of the department (in spite of the fact it was the only place in the world that they were), but in all that time only once was a class offered on theory and music of Harry Partch. The performers in the ensemble never once received credit for the many concerts and tours.

I'm just setting the record straight here. The building kept the rain off the instruments, and we brought a little cred and notoriety to the department. Not that they noticed or particularly cared back then, and to attempt to coat-tail, retroactively, on the work we did back then is more than a bit of an affront to my sensibilities.

There. I said it.

This is my name, you can write me here...


News in the Partch World as of February 29, 2012

Bi-Coastal (Live) Partch
Oddly enough, I can actually report on not one, not two, but three upcoming concerts/events featuring live performances of the music of Harry Partch.
First off, on Saturday, March 3, John Schneider will lead his ensemble in a full-evening concert of the early works of Partch, utilizing his own hand-crafted reproductions of Harry's original instruments. The concert, part of the 75th anniversary year of the San Diego State University Music Department, is at 8:00 pm. Information on the concert is here, and a pdf of the program is right here.

BTW, writer Justin Vellucci has a pretty nice article, entitled Corporeally Yours, on the event in a local publication called City Beat. (I hearby forgive him for not linking to the Meadows...) 

A days later, John takes his group up to San Francisco to take part in the San Francisco Symphony's American Mavericks festival, part of a mixed program on March 11 at 2:00. This program will include fewer pieces by the Partch group, and include performances by other composers and performers. You may find information about this one at the SFS site.

Finally, MTT takes his orchestra and festival stuff back to NYC and Zankel Hall (in the Carnegie complex), where Dean Drummond and Newband will join them. From what I can gather, Newband will only be performing Daphne of the Dunes, but it will be on Partch's original instruments, so there is that to recommend. For now, find information on the concert, which is at 8:30 on March 29, on the Carnegie site.

Updated on Corporeal Meadows as of February 29, 2012

Future Directions for Corporeal Meadows
I'm still thinking about what this site means in this day and age. When I initially put the Meadows online in 1996, there was little information about Harry available; of course, all that has changed by now. I muse occasionally about what would be of interest from the Partch Archives to put on the site, but most times draw a blank anymore. I'm still working on this so, tell me: what would you like to see for new content?

Spare time is at a premium, but I hope to have an updated Meadows before Spring is done.

Meadows Content (brief listings) Table of Contents (complete)
. . . . Texts, Articles, and other Writings
. . . . The Primary Collection (visual)
. . . . The Zymo-Stuff Wing (audio-visual)

PERSONAL COPYRIGHT STATEMENT : All text information, HTML code, and sound and graphics files contained within this web site are copyright by Jonathan M. Szanto, 1996 - 2003, for the Harry Partch Foundation, excepting (1) authors specifically credited herein, and (2) any public domain graphics or source code. This material may not be re-transmitted or altered in any form, by any means, including recording or by any storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the authors. You may reach us, the Harry Partch Foundation, at:  C'mon - be a sport!

This page was last updated on February 29, 2012