Format: Compact Disc
Released Date: February 1, 2001
Style: Jazz Instrument
Number of Discs: 2
Label Name: Tomato
Like most of Harry Partch's long-form works, 1960's REVELATION IN THE COURTHOUSE PARK is rarely performed. This 1987 performance, recorded at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, was only the second full staging ever attempted. The issue is that alongside conventional instruments like piccolo, trumpets, tubas, double bass, guitar and percussion, Partch's score includes parts for handmade instruments of his own invention, tuned to his own microtonal scale, with fanciful names like the cloud chamber bowls and the spoils of war. These instruments are, obviously, rare, delicate, and unplayable by all but a handful of musicians. It's a shame the piece isn't better known, because the music on this two-disc set is one of Partch's most emotionally powerful and easily accessible works. The play features two parallel stories, told in alternating segments marked "Scene" and "Chorus," which together show a theater group performing a public interpretation of Euripides' THE BACCHAE. Alternating between the traditional Greek text and Partch's characteristic knack for idiomatic everyday speech, the spoken and choral parts are as compelling as Partch's otherworldly, often oddly beautiful music. The lavish packaging includes the full text of the play as well as photos.