Harry Partch: Bitter Music

Lecture Performance with David Moss

  • ©  Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    (c) Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Bitter Music is the diary of Harry Partch’s travels as a tramp and day laborer long thought lost. A seven-moth trip during the middle of the 1930s took him along the American West coast, from homeless shelters in California to the reading room of the British Museum, from sewage pipes to having tea with the Irish poet W. B. Yeats. For Partch, this was a formative period that is exemplary for the economic deprivations that would accompany him throughout his life. Bitter Music is also an impressive document of the American Great Depression. Partch describes, in a way that is both hilarious and heartrending, the experiences and difficulties of a long search for his own, new music beyond the world of institutions and Western models. Here he formulates his initial ideas on his self-conception as a composer, on the relationship between music and society, and on the construction of his unique set of instruments. In the meantime, he notates the speech melodies of the people that he meets along the way. »Well, let’s have a drink first.«

Accompanying the staging of his last great opera, Delusion of the Fury, this chronicle offers unusual insights into the beginnings of the uncompromising artist. The American percussionist and vocal virtuoso David Moss—who was already a guest at Maschinenhaus last year with his trio Denseland—will present parts of this musical text in a lecture performance.

With —


— 3. September 2013
In English
— 20 / 30 €
Reduced prices start at 10,00 €
  • Tue 3Sep
    Harry Partch: Bitter Music on 3. September 2013 at 8.00 PM
A Ruhrtriennale production