Stories » Sonata Dementia is an unpretentious, enjoyable introduction to the music and philosophy of Harry Partch / LIMELIGHT

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Sonata Dementia is an unpretentious, enjoyable introduction to the music and philosophy of Harry Partch / LIMELIGHT

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Harry Partch was a 20th-century musical vagabond. Struggling to find secure work during the Great Depression, he took to wandering the countryside where, in a notepad, he notated speech inflections of people met along the way. His renegade ideas are carried on by the ensemble known also as PARTCH, which specialises in his music and instruments. Here they present their third volume of Partch's quirky explorations, which includes Ulysses at the Edge of the World, a relatively conservative jazz number originally written for the West Coast trumpeter Chet Baker.

The recording takes its name from the 1950 three movement Sonata Dementia and offers a musical curiosity in the form of a 1904 Edison cylinder recording of a traditional Native American chant that Partch transcribed and used in Cloud Chamber Music, also on the album. Partch didn't take himself or his music too seriously, however, and this is an unpretentious, enjoyable introduction to his music and philosophy.

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