By Fredric Lieberman
Lou Harrison, who celebrated his 80th birthday in 1997, has usually been mentioned as certainly one of America's most unique and influential composers. as well as his prolific musical output, Harrison is usually a talented painter, calligrapher, essayist, critic, poet, and instrument-builder. in the course of his lengthy and sundry occupation, he has explored dance, Asian tune, tuning platforms, and common languages, and has actively championed political reasons starting from pacifism to homosexual rights. This e-book, according to wide study and approximately seventy interviews, examines the guidelines that experience formed Harrison's artistic output, as noticeable in the course of the eyes of the composer and his affiliates. A seventy-minute compact disc integrated with the e-book illustrates in sound numerous features of the written textual content; so much items are recorded the following for the 1st time.
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Additional info for Lou Harrison
At a store on Market Street, Harrison and Cage found a bright green painted quijada (the jawbone of an ass whose loose teeth rattle when the jaw is shaken or struck). Canticle #3 (1942) includes a set of metal pipes in various lengths that sound melodically as one of several metallophones. Conquest and the Fifth Simfony feature a raucous thundersheet (for example, CD track 4, 2:17–2:30). Wooden crates struck with beaters make what Harrison called “box drums”; he specified them in works from 1942 until 1990, such as Canticle #3, the Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra, and the Fourth Symphony.
Colvig describes the instrument-building adventure on the CD, track 3. The subject Harrison chose for his opera was the relationship between the young Julius Caesar and Nicomedes, King of Bithynia. ”26 Harrison contrasted the West (Rome) with the East (Bithynia) both instrumentally and intonationally. Rome was represented by Old Two metallophones from the American gamelan built by Harrison and Colvig, known as Old Granddad. indd 30 3/10/06 1:29:34 PM Cut-off oxygen tanks that function as gongs.
Granddad and its Ptolemaic tuning, Bithynia by Asian instruments and a metallophone specially tuned in a characteristic mode. Young Caesar premiered at the California Institute of Technology on November 5, 1971, and excerpts were presented in advance and afterwards, prompting mixed reviews. Seventeen years later, Harrison rewrote the opera for standard orchestra and live singer-actors, but with only partial success. Audiences and critics were polarized, some finding the work revolutionary and convincing, others lambasting it in language as strong as Harrison himself had used in his most scathing New York reviews.