Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music: Part 1

The First of Host Joel Sachs's Two-Part Special on the Life and Music of Henry Cowell

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

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In this, the first part of Henry Cowell: A Man Made of Music, host Joel Sachs presents a radio primer — based on the Juilliard professor's recent, epic biography of the same name — exploring the life and music of American maverick composer Henry Cowell. This show begins with a discussion of Cowell's ultramodern, experimental forays into composition for piano and how he became Charles Ives's first publisher.

Sachs also shares some of Cowell's burgeoning efforts at incorporating non-Western elements into his early ensemble writing, his life-changing 1929 trip to the Soviet Union, and his pioneering development of "elastic form" – a process by which modular phrases could be cut, pasted and extended at the discretion of a collaborator, in this case, choreographer Martha Graham.


What's This? (First Encore to Dynamic Motion) with Cheryl Seltzer, pianist

Deep Color with pianist Joel Sachs

The Banshee with pianist Cheryl Seltzer

Piece for Piano with Strings with pianist Cheryl Seltzer

Polyphonica with Continuum under conductor Joel Sachs 

The Irish Suite: II. The Leprechaun with pianist Cheryl Seltzer and Continuum under conductor Joel Sachs

Ostinato Pianissimo from a live recording with the Juilliard Percussion Ensemble with conductor Daniel Druckman

Tiger with pianist Joel Sachs

Sunset with baritone Raymond Murcell and pianist Cheryl Seltzer

Three Anti-Modernist Songs: "Who Wrote This Fiendish Rite of Spring?" with mezzo-soprano Ellen Lang and pianist Cheryl Seltzer

United Quartet with the Beaux Arts String Quartet

Hosted by:

Joel Sachs


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Comments [2]

dianne carla Hay

I love the music of Henry Cowell. The United States had such brilliant mid-century, modernist composers who are mostly unfamilar to most people in the U.S. who evince an interest in classical music.

In Great Britain, composers such as Cowell, Mennin, Cage, Wm. Schuman would be played often and everyone would be familiar with their work. Last week the BBC devoted something on the order 10-15 hours on the work of John Cage because of his centenary in September. BBC3 devoted 10 hours last year to the music Wm. Shuman. The work of these musicians is more likely to be played in Moscow or Prague than in the United States.

Sep. 26 2012 12:30 AM
ARthurfleiss from New jersey

Thanks for a great show

Sep. 25 2012 08:26 PM

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