Harry Partch

The American Music Theater Festival Production of Harry Partch's Revelation in the Courthouse Park

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During Harry Partch's lifetime, only one production of his play Revelation in the Courthouse Park took place. That was at the University of Illinois in 1960. Not until 1987 -- 11 years after Partch's death -- was another production held. Recorded in the Great Hall at Philadelphia's University of the Arts on October 12, 1987, that posthumous production was recorded for broadcast on public radio and can be heard on this double CD. The Philadelphia production was a creative triumph, and it's amazing that all of the pieces fell into place so well. Partch's outlook on music and theater was very abstract and left of center -- depending on who you talk to, Partch was either a genius or was too eccentric for his own good. Partch (born Oakland, CA, Jun. 24, 1901, died La Jolla, CA, 1976) created his own instruments, and the musicians who took part in this production had to learn to play them. To say that this production of Revelation (which could be described as an unorthodox and quirky American adaptation of ancient Greek theater) took a lot of hard work and preparation on the part of the Philadelphia actors and musicians would be a major understatement. It must have been insanely challenging! But it was a challenge that the participants were obviously capable of meeting head on, and this fine recording bears that out.

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