Sunday, May 14, 2017


The sumptuously sunny Sunday springs a seminal centennial celebration, concerning a seriously superlative savant of soundshaping.
He'd have been 100 years old today, and although he's been gone almost 15 years his influence and the ideas and alchemic combinations of disparate musical elements he pioneered will never die.
This, because Lou Silver Harrison is arguably the father of World Music, and was among the first (if not the first) composers to fully integrate the sounds of faraway cultures into the Western landscape.
This idea seems as normal as rain today, but back when he started doing it in the 1930s, such combinations were unheard and unheard of.
Central to Lou Harrison's experiments was the music of Indonesia, and in particular the gamelan sounds native to Bali and to Java.
Over the course of seven decades and with the aid of his partner Bill Colvig -- yes, Lou Harrison was openly gay and was with the same guy for those same seven decades -- he invented a whole new framework of integration for those sounds and instruments into the firmament of Classical music.
I don't recall where or when I first became aware of his world and the astonishingly gorgeous results of his exploratory voyages, but I do know I have been in love with his music since I was a young adult. His guitar and harp music in particular has been an important part of my life since I can remember.
For today's tribute I have placed cloudward my crazy and comprehensive Lou Harrison with Strings compilation that I made years and years ago and which resides in my phone. This contains multiple, divergent versions of all his music for stringed instruments, made over the course of the 20th century.
Lou Harrison
Lou Harrison with Strings
guitar, harp & related music

01 Harp Suite - Serenade for Frank Wigglesworth
02 Harp Suite - Avalokiteshvara
03 Harp Suite - From Music for Bill and Me
04 Harp Suite - Jhala
05 Harp Suite - Sonata In Ishartum
06 Harp Suite - Beverly's Troubadour Piece
07 Harp Suite - A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen
08 Serenade - Round
09 Serenade - Air
10 Serenade - Infinite Canon
11 Serenade - Usul
12 Serenade - Sonata
13 Threnody
14 The Perilous Chapel - Prelude andante/Poco maestoso
15 The Perilous Chapel - Barbaro/Brilliante'Energico
16 The Perilous Chapel - Alleluia Poco adagio
17 Music for Violin with Various Instruments - Allegro Vigoroso
18 Music for Violin with Various Instruments - Largo
19 Music for Violin with Various Instruments - Allegro Moderato
20 Four Pieces for Harp - Serenade for Frank Wigglesworth
21 Four Pieces for Harp - Beverly's Troubadour Piece
22 Four Pieces for Harp - From Music for Bill and Me
23 Four Pieces for Harp - Avalokiteshavara
24 Plaint
25 Variations

01 Tandy's Tango
02 Suite No. 1 - Avalokiteshvara
03 Music for Bill and Me
04 Sonata In Ishartum
05 Plaint and Variations (Song of Palestine)
06 Variations
07 Serenado for Guitaro
08 Serenade for Guitar (with percussion) - Round
09 Air
10 Infinite Canon
11 Usul
12 Sonata
13 Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen
14 Scenes from Nek Chand - The Leaning Lady
15 Scenes from Nek Chand - The Rock Garden
16 Scenes from Nek Chand - The Sinuous Arcade with Swings In the Arches
17 Two Pieces for Psaltery - Psalter Sonata
18 Two Pieces for Psaltery - The Garden At One and a Quarter Moons
19 Hyi Mun
20 Improvisations In Greek Tunings I
21 Improvisations In Greek Tunings II
22 Suite No.2 - Jahla
23 Suite No.2 - Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen
24 Suite No.2 - Threnody
25 Suite No.2 - Sonata In Ishartum
26 Suite No.2 - Beverly's Troubadour Piece

Total time: 2:23:22
Wow, I almost wore the same hat as Lou and Bill today... gosh I am unoriginal and derivative. Most unlike the music and life of Lou Harrison, born this day in 1917 and forever inspiring the integration of seemingly unrelated musical material into cohesive and unforgettable new shapes and sounds.--J.
5.14.1917 - 2.2.2003