This three-CD set is part of a multi-media Partch project, on Innova Records. Most of each disc in the set is taken up with major stage works: King Oedipus, a setting from Yeats' translation of Sophocles, Revelation in the Courthouse Park (excerpts) which is based on The Bacchae of Euripides, and The Bewitched. These three, and a middle-length piece, Ulysses Departs from the Edge of the World, are all discussed on this site as individual performances.This review discusses the rest of the material on the album: two spoken introductions by Partch (to Oedipus and Bewitched); his setting of Shakespeare's Come Away, Death and of the 137th Psalm in By the Rivers of Babylon; Douglas Moore's setting of the same Shakespeare text; and a translation by Harry Partch and Ben Johnston, into Partch's just intonation system, of a minuet by Johann Krieger.Mostly, the recording quality is quite good. The exception is the Moore setting, which, sung affectingly by George Bishop, is on a scratchy acetate disc. Partch's own setting of the same text is performed, by baritone Vincent Bouchot and guitarist Didier Aschour, in a 1997 modern recording.
Bouchot, a performer interested in authentic Baroque performance, is familiar with theoretical questions about intonation, and therefore, is well equipped to understand the theoretical basis of Partch's music.The Krieger setting is wittily performed by Partch and Johnston, and was well recorded, by professional Paramount Studios recording engineer Harry Lindgret, in Gualala, California, in 1950. By the Rivers of Babylon is a Partch-approved recording, with Nina Cutler as the soloist, and three musicians conducted by John Garvey, recorded in Urbana, Illinois, in 1961. It is a good-sounding recording.All the performances are touching and delightful, as are the spoken introductions by Partch.