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17 Lyrics of Li Po

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Album Review

Partch based this, one of his earliest extant works, on the texts of the 8th-century Chinese poet Li Po. Written between 1931 and 1933, The Seventeen Lyrics were composed for Intoning Voice and Partch's creation the Adapted Viola, a hybrid consisting of a cello neck grafted onto a viola's body, its open strings tuned one octave below a violin. Performing the work on this 1995 recording are tenor violinist Ted Mook and intoning voice Stephen Kalm.


Born: 24 June 1901 in Oakland, CA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Harry Partch grew up in Tombstone, AZ, and was taught by his family to play the clarinet, harmonica, reed organ, guitar. A self-taught composer, he rode the rails during the early Depression years. Partch was an original theorist on tuning systems, wrote the extraordinary book Genesis of a Music (1949), and an instrument designer and builder from 1938 onwards. His operas, in micro-tonal tunings played on his self-made instruments, were often designed for performers who would take multiple roles,...
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17 Lyrics of Li Po, Harry Partch
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