Partch Harrison Sandberg Reinhard | GEMS

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by Partch Harrison Sandberg Reinhard

Gems represents four rare works that simply are so iconoclastic, so original, and so peculiar in the works of the composers, that they fit best together. First microtonal Sandberg ever, and only non-Partch-himself performance of his best piece.
Genre: Classical: Modernist
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Canticle No. 3
14:58 album only
2. U.S. Highball
30:46 album only
3. Psalm No. 51, No. 2
14:17 album only
4. Qoheleth
8:03 album only


Album Notes
GEMS P-200213

1. Lou Harrison CANTICLE #3
John Seremula, ocarina
Barry Centanni, guitar
Kevin Norton, 6 iron pipes and 3 wood blocks
Michael O’Rourke, 5 brake drums (muted), 3 brake drums suspended, xylophone, maracas,
small elephant bell, 5 temple blocks
Mark Rendon, 6 water buffalo bells, wooden box, & 2 sista, medium elephant bell
Frank Cassara, snare drum, bass drum, 5 tom-toms, large elephant bell, 5 muted cowbells,
large tam-tam, 2 teponazli
Paul Price, conductor

2. Harry Partch U.S. HIGHBALL (quartet version)
Johnny Reinhard, intoned voice
Jon Catler, electric just intonation guitar
Skip La Plante, kithara
Joshua Pierce, electronic chromelodeon

3. Mordecai Sandberg PSALM #51, No. 2
Dorien Verheijden, soprano
Julieanne Klopotic, Maxim Mosten, Tom Chiu, Alisa Regeln, Amy Kimball, & Conrad Harris, violins
Anastasia Solberg, viola
Sean Katsuyama, cello
Mathew Fieldes, double bass
Jennifer Grim, flute
Michiyo Suzuki, Bb clarinet
Derek Floyd, oboe
Johnny Reinhard, bassoon
John Charles Thomas, trumpet
Greg Evans, horn
Julie Josephson, trombone
David Braynard, tuba
Joshua Pierce and Patrick Grant, electronic keyboards
Christine Bard, timpani
Paolo Bellomia, conductor

4. Johnny Reinhard QOHELETH
Meredith Borden and Carol Flamm, sopranos
Jennifer Grim, flute
Dan Barrett, cello
Christine Bard, percussion
Rebecca Pechefsky, harpsichord
Royce Dendler, lyrics
Johnny Reinhard, conductor

Lou Harrison’s CANTICLE #3 was written in San Francisco in 1941, is one of a series of canticles for percussion in the ecstatic manner…”It was written at a time I was most interested in Indian and Mexican music. It is composed out of a very few rhythmic and melodic germs, developed in larger sections, by continuity, overlaps, and the usual augmentation and diminution.” The revised version was first performed at the University of Illinois in 1952. Lou Harrison was born in Portland, Oregon in 1917, and passed away in 2004. He had studied with Henry Cowell, Howard Cooper, Arnold Schoenberg, and Virgil Thomson. An All Music Guide review explored the piece vividly: “The ocarina, a torpedo-shaped terra cotta flute, has a pure, primeval tone that, combined with percussion, gives this score a hauntingly primitive, ritualistic feel. The five percussionists haul out tam-tam, xylophone, snare drums, bass drums, wood blocks, temple blocks, tom-toms, and maracas, as well as such exotica as teponaztli, sistrums, brake drums (both muted and suspended), metal pipes, elephant bells, cowbells, and water-buffalo bells. Amid all this -- which Harrison exploits for timbral richness, not loudness -- the guitar struggles to make an impact of its own, remaining absent or in the background until taking a slightly more prominent role at the end. The work falls into three large sections. In the first, the ocarina plays a little pentatonic dance, then retreats for what amounts to an extended percussion cadenza arising from the rhythm of the ocarina tune. The ocarina returns for the second part, now playing a very slow melody of short, repeated phrases deeply indebted to Native American music. Percussion instruments give the melody a shimmering halo, but again the ocarina disappears during a fast-tempo, gradually expanding percussion crescendo distantly based on the rhythm and pitches of the opening tune. Just as this section climaxes in a series of widely spaced crashes, the ocarina and guitar take advantage of a moment of silence to bring back the pentatonic tune from the beginning, the quiet percussion accompaniment now more threatening than before. Yet instead of exploding in a final percussive outburst, the music very gradually slows and fades away, leaving nothing but a slowly throbbing bass drum.”

Paul Price was recognized in New York as the leading freelance percussionist. The ensemble was drawn from the Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble. Mr. Price suggested he bring his ensemble to the AFMM for a performance of Canticle #3 on

Harry Partch’s composition U.S. HIGHBALL was considered by its composer to be his most creative work. The piece grew out of Mr. Partch’s experiences during a period of financial depression, when he was a hobo riding freight trains to travel about the country during hard times. He was on one occasion by a Guggenheim grant. It was introduced as a duo for voice and guitar, although it is somewhat sketchy in this form. The second incarnation features the addition of a kithara, a Partch-designed instrument with 72 strings, built by its performer Skip La Plante, and chromelodeon, played here by Joshua Pierce on a specially-voiced Proteus synthesizer prepared by Henry Lowengard. The final, third version is only half the length of its precursor, but no longer retains the dynamic guitar. The recording was made in 1994, but with low vocals. Paul Geluso, through using a reverse-engineered Karaoke program, was able to improve the vocal tracks (as he did with the Sandberg composition that follows).

PSALM #51, No. 2 by Mordecai Sandberg (1897-1973) was completed while the composer was a New York resident in 1944. It was the first of many Psalms he composed for orchestra. (In subsequent years, Sandberg set the entire book of Psalms for orchestra, a collection titled “Symphonic Psalms”). Originally, Psalm #51 was scored for soprano and string quartet, hence the “No. 2” appendage. The score is broken down in the following way, although there are no breaks between sections: Introduction, Allegro, Andante and Elegy, Prayer Finale. Essentially, this Psalm makes a plea for purification of the heart, spiritual awakening, and a resolve for the future, concluding with a prayer for the restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem. Sandberg’s settings of Biblical text are based on the mood and spirit of the verses, and his musical interpretations are philosophical rather than literal, strongly influenced by the Kabbalah (Jewish mysticism). The performance utilized two full keyboard synthesizers, both required to play all the microtones in the work, designed by Patrick Grant.

Mordecai Sandberg was born in present day Moldavia and earned his lilihood as a medical doctor, all the while composing, performing, and organizing internationally music events. He moved to Jerusalem in what was then Palestine, only to move his family to New York City, and finally to Toronto, Canada. Dorien Verheijden of Arnhem in The Netherlands sings with the Dutch Radio Choir (Groot Omroepkoor), The Dutch Chamber Choir, and with Ensemble Solange which specializes in modern and unknown music.

Johnny Reinhard (b. 1956) composed QOHELETH to Royce Dendler’s interpretation of an Ecclesiastes period perspective. The piece was commissioned by harpsichord builder and early music entrepreneur Bobby Beucker, who asked several New York-based composers to create an original musical score (including among others Skip LaPlante, Elodie Lauten, and Meredith Borden). The one condition was that the instrumentation include harpsichord. The tuning is based on practicalities and suggestions using minimum change and is regularly polymicrotonal. Two sopranos sing the roles of Tux and Grunge according to Royce Dendler’s concept, who originally conceived the work as follows: “Qoheleth to be set semi-opulently, a design with red spheres, an opera box---opera looks at you! With surprise electronics jerks and wiggling opera glasses et al. Plus “!” money, a sculpted coin tossed to the audience and green paper with definitions for sesquipedalians.” Further examples follow:

[Clinamen-Lucretuiss’ swerve so change happens]

The verb “to be” does not exist in Hebrew (Ecclesiastes, the true writer was Q!)
Thus “Nothing (is) new under the sun.” becomes “nothing. New! Under the Sun!

Value has two meanings;
1. the dispersal of the idea of consolidation
2. consolidating the idea of dispersal

Via Shechinah God’s absence Binds Immanence.

Johnny Reinhard, composer, conductor, bassoonist, director and founder of the American Festival of Microtonal Music (AFMM), is a native New Yorker specializing in all manner of microtonal performance. Additionally, Reinhard performs on the recorder, and is a vocalist specializing in the works of American microtonal pioneer Harry Partch. He has given numerous full recitals including in New York, Seattle, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Montreal, Amsterdam, Sapporo, Moscow, and Kazan. Of particular interest is his finishing important works of composers in exemplary performance. These include his realization and subsequent premiere performance of Charles Ives’s “Universe Symphony” in 1996 in New York’s Lincoln Center, and the premiere in of Edgard Varèse’s “Graphs and Time” in 1987 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Reinhard’s transcription of Ivan Wyschnegradsky’s “Meditation sur deux themes” (1917) for bassoon and piano was recorded on “Between the Keys” for Newport Classic (now Sony), and has been re-recorded for Solyd Records (Russia), and again for the AFMM’s PITCH label. Among the world premieres he produced are Lou Harrison’s “Simfony in Free Style,” Terry Riley’s “In C in Just Intonation,” Percy Grainger’s “Free Music” for 4 Theremin, the original version of Harry Partch’s “Ulysses Departs From the Edge of the World” for trumpet, double bass and boobams, and Mordecai Sandberg’s orchestral “Psalm 51.” Johnny Reinhard’s original compositions feature polymicrotonality – either the active mixing of microtonal tunings in a single composition, or the invention of brand new pitch relationships (e.g., harmonic 17 tuning, quadratic prime just intonation, collapsed just intonation). Among his works are a symphony (“Middle-earth”), cello concerto (“Odysseus”), string quartet (“Cosmic Rays”), a large number of virtuoso solo pieces for different instruments in distinctive tunings, and numerous chamber works featuring unusual timbres and requiring different degrees of improvisation. Johnny Reinhard’s compositions can be heard on the “Raven” album, available from He recently completed a triptych for bass trombonist Dave Taylor. Reinhard has performed as a soloist throughout Europe and the United States, Japan, Canada, and Russia. He has played with such international virtuosi as kavalist Theodossii Spassov (Bulgaria), oboist Bram Kreeftmeijer (The Netherlands), saxophonist John Butcher (London), percussionist Rashied Ali (NYC), and Thereminist Lydia Kavina (Russia). In 2002 he was featured on bassoon to critical acclaim by Ornette Coleman for the Bell Atlantic Jazz Festival. Reinhard is professor of bassoon at New York University. Previously, he taught music composition and theory at C.W. Post, Long Island University, taught The Arithmetic of Listening at Bard College, and taught Western Art Music at Columbia University. He has guest lectured on tuning related subjects at Columbia University, New York University, Manhattan School of Music, Hunter College/CUNY, CalArts, San Jose State University, Indiana University, South Dakota State University, the Hamburg Hochschule in Germany, the Tchaikovsky Conservatory in Moscow, and York University in England. Reinhard introduced first performances of Harry Partch’s 43-tone just intonation works in Norway (International Bergen Festival), France (M.A.N.C.A.), Switzerland (RoteFabrik), Italy (Teatro la Fenice), Canada (Toronto, Winnipeg, and St. John’s), and England (London’s Barbican). In the early ‘90s he published PITCH for the International Microtonalist as a 4-issue set for musicians working independently. Since 2004, the AFMM launched 15 different PITCH CD titles, available at Johnny Reinhard hosts New York-based WKCR-FM radio’s popular four-hour Christmas Day “Microtonal Bach” segment in their annual 10-day Bach Festival. He is often a guest on John Schaefer’s New Sounds show on WNYC-FM, and has been featured in radio programs by radio interviewers Anatol Vieru (Bucharest), Laurie Schwartz (Berlin/RIAS & Sender Frei), PILOTA radio (Bergen), and John Schneider (KPFK Los Angeles).

Directed by Johnny Reinhard
All recordings “live” from AFMM concerts except Partch “U.S. Highball”
Mastered by Paul Geluso
Recording Engineer: Norman Greenspan
Cover Art by Orlanda Brugnola ALL RIGHTS RESERVED PITCH P-200210 WORLD

Support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Maldeb Foundation

Johnny Reinhard, Director, AFMM
318 East 70th Street, Suite #5-FW
New York, New York 10021 USA

Support from the New York State Council on the Arts and the Maldeb Foundation



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