Front page > News > The world’s most intriguing family of instruments to Viitasaari Time of Music

The world’s most intriguing family of instruments to Viitasaari Time of Music

One of the world’s leading contemporary music ensembles, Ensemble Musikfabrik, brings to Time of Music Festival its ambitious ”Pitch 43_tuning the cosmos” project with reconstructed Harry Partch –instruments.

Californian composer, theorist, visionary and instrument-builder Harry Partch (1901-1974) developed a highly complex tuning system that divides the octave into 43 pitches. To play his music, Partch built a large family of unique instruments, with such names as the Chromelodeon, the Quadrangularis Reversum, and the Zymo-Xyl: the originals are at the moment at University of Washington, Seattle. His criticism towards the tradition of western art music culminated into large-scale, integrated theater productions in which he expected each of the performers to sing, dance, speak, and play instruments. Ancient Greek theatre, American primitivism and Japanese Noh and kabuki heavily influenced his music theatre.

In 2012, Thomas Meixner built the entire collection of microtonal Partch-instruments for Ensemble Musikfabrik. It consists of more than 50 instruments: string, percussive, bell and keyboard instruments as well as smaller hand-held instruments, many that are sculptural in quality. Musikfabrik not only plays music by Harry Partch but has also commissioned new pieces for the instruments by contemporary composers. Partch’s corporeal music has been played by Musikfabrik in many of the leading festivals in Europe. The Guardian nominated their and Heiner Goebbels’ production of Partch’s Delusion of the Fury in Edinburgh Festival as the best classical music live event of year 2014 in the UK.

The instruments will be heard in Finland for the first time at Time of Music Festival. The festival programme presents Partch’s large scale piece “And on the Seventh Day Petals Fell in Petaluma” and works by Simon Steen-Anderseni (DK) and Helge Sten alias Deathprod (NO). Festival’s commission “Heritage” by Gaudeamus and Teosto prize winner Sampo Haapamäki (FI) will be premiered at the concert “Pitch 43_tuning the cosmos” 7th of July in Viitasaari Areena.

“This project is one of the most extraordinary contemporary music undertakings we have seen during the last decade. We are delighted to co-operate with Ensemble Musikfabrik to bring it to Finland together with other recently premiered Nordic repertory”, says the festival’s artistic director Johan Tallgren. “It is equally a pleasure that we, as the festival that invited John Cage to Finland for the first time, will be able to introduce one of the true originals of American music first time on a large scale here”.

The full programme of Time of Music Festival (5.-10.7.) will be published in May. The theme of the festival is “Heritage”, real and imaginary cultural traditions and influences in music. The guest composer is Mauricio Sotelo, whose music has been influenced by flamenco and Spanish singing traditions. The final concert of Einojuhani Rautavaara Chamber choir composition competition is heart on the 6th July at Viitasaari Church.