Music of Harry Partch, Volume 1
performed by John Schneider, Garry Eister, Richard Valitutto, and Paul West
Bridge records is no stranger to “The Music of [insert composer here]” releases and I am glad to see Harry Partch as one of those names being so inserted (alongside Carter, Crumb, Ruders, Lanksy, etc.). Bridge has put out a few discs with Partch’s music already, most featuring the talents of John Schneider, and this audiobook of Bitter Music is a great place to begin the official series. Schneider takes the main narration of Partch’s memoir (labelled as the “Subjective Voice” as opposed to Garry Eister’s “Objective Voice”) and again, due to his involvement in other Partch works on Bridge, brings a consistent sound to Partch’s voice. In addition to reading the journal, each musical idea and composition found in Bitter Music is performed with Schneider on adapted guitar or adapted viola, Richard Valitutto on piano, and Paul West on kithara. The 3 CD set is a compelling listen, full of the interesting stories you’d expect Partch to have during the 1930s and some of his earliest microtonal compositions and etudes. At the end of it, you get a great picture of the evolution of Partch’s language, philosophy, and style. Reading about Partch’s music is fascinating, hearing it is illuminating. This project brings the best of both worlds together. I look forward to their next release in this series.