This morning's musical selections center the work of composers outside the mainstream. These are artists to whom the so-called canon of Western Art Music owes reparations and recognition.
A native of Oakland, Harry Partch rejected the traditional Western tuning system of 12 equal 1/2 steps, developing an approach based instead on a 43-microtonal division of the octave. He designed and built his own instruments to realize his vision. For several years, Partch was a homeless drifter; his "Barstow"--named for a California desert town--quotes hitchhiker inscriptions the composer encountered on local highway walls.
For all his success as a pioneering figure in the development
of Ragtime, Scott Joplin died frustrated and disillusioned over his inability
to get his opera Treemonisha produced. It would take nearly 60 years
after the composer's death in 1917 for the first public performance of the
work. Duke Ellington, too, yearned to be recognized as more than a composer of
unforgettable jazz standards. His efforts at creating an opera based on the experience
of African Americans, eventually generated material he would use in his symphonic
poem "Black, Brown, and Beige." Ellington saw himself as a counterweight
to George Gershwin, but the racism of 20th-century America precluded him for
finding a comparable place in the classical canon.
Elsewhere, our own Creighton Cray joins us live from the CUUC Sanctuary for a performance of Michel Legrand's "Brian Song." Read on for programming details, and stay tuned for spoken introductions.
Gathering Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xFhtP-OrsWo&ab_channel=pelodelperro
Centering Music: Adam Kent, piano
"It Don't Mean a Thing"
Opening Music: Creighton Cray, piano
"Maple Leaf Rag"