Three Intrusions


Program Note

1. The Rose (Ella Young)
2.The Crane (Tsurayuki, 9th c. Japan)
3. The Waterfall (Ella Young)

Three Intrusions use two instruments that were also built at U-W-Madison, the structure of the Diamond Marimba being a manifestation of Partch’s harmonic theories of Just Intonation. The falling petal from “The Rose” by Irish Bay Area poet Ella Young inspires the intoned vocal melody that also slowly descends in microtonal increments, a musical gesture that is cleverly recapitulated by the downward marimba arpeggios at the piece’s close. The mournful cries Tsurayuki’s “Crane” are elongated vocalises interwoven with sinewy sliding guitar counterpoint, accompanied by a gently rocking pure major triad, whose 5th subtly sharpens and resolves throughout, ending with a quiet question mark. In the final guitar/diamond piece, the clouds part and sunshine sparkles on the cascading “Waterfall” described by Ella Young’s evocative poem. The guitar’s strings are retuned to a ‘major’ Otonality, matching the six hexads of the diamond that idiomatically mimic falling water as it splashes (cymbal crash!) to the waiting pond below.

About Harry Partch

Partch was born in Oakland, California, on June 24, 1901, and spent much of his early years in the American Southwest, where he was exposed to music and sound from…