Top 100 Composers: Henry Cowell

Henry Cowell's another composer that I was originally going to pass over. This was largely because I don't like his later work that much. It's also because the recording that I have of him playing his own early piano pieces, the pieces for tone clusters & string piano that made him (in)famous, is too crude for me. Then again, that album was recorded later in his life when he wasn't as good of a pianist as he, reputedly, had been when he 1st performed & composed those pieces. Then then again again, I don't really like the recording that I have of Charles Ives singing & playing piano but Ives is by far one of my favorite composers.

There were many reasons that caused me to reconsider. For one thing, while I don't like his later work that much I don't completely dislike it either, there's something about it that sticks with me. Even though it seems 'conservative' it's really something entirely different. I've been reading Joel Sachs's excellent biography of Cowell, "Henry Cowell, A Man Made of Music", & Sachs states there, as he also did in liner notes for his MHS record of Cowell's work, that Cowell's later work is a continuation of where early US composers might've gone if there were an uninterrupted lineage from the late 18th & early 19th century into the 20th century. I think that's interesting & I can hear it that way & I think that's what keeps me interested even when some parts seem a bit too programatically dramatic or whatnot.

Otherwise, I include in my Top 100 Composers list John Cage & Lou Harrison & both of them were extremely formed by Cowell's teachings. Cowell's use of percussion is extremely important, Cowell's role as a World Music expert is extremely important, Cowell's role as a World Music DIPLOMAT is astounding. Reading Sachs's biography has greatly broadened my appreciation of Cowell & my review of Sachs's book will eventually appear on this webpage.

In the meantime, as I searched through my collection of Cowell recordings, I was astounded by how many I have. Thanks to my having kept a list of my records since I was 13 years old (for 51 years now) I could find one piece here, another there. I've included the record covers & one CD cover to show people how this work has appeared. Scholars of Cowell's music might enjoy seeing covers of recordings they may not have even known about. Alas, I don't have any of the New Music Quarterly Recordings, so these images are from a later generation. Still, I think they're valuable. The last image is of the book that Henry & Sidney Cowell wrote about Charles Ives.

This is NOT a 'go-to' source for information about Henry Cowell. It's not intended to be. There are, of course, other websites that're vastly more informative. This is simply my personal homage to a composer whose work I've enjoyed & respected. It's NOT a source for absolutely clear & correct information. The dates, for various reasons relating to Cowell's claims versus scholarly investigations, are not necessarily accurate. I tend to favor Cowell's dating over corrected ones. ALSO, you'll note 4 titles in italics: "Piano Piece" - 1924 & "Piece for Piano" (Paris, 1924) may be the same piece under different names. I haven't gone to my recordings to listen to them to decide. Same goes for "Trio: Four combinations of Three Instruments" - 1924 & "Four Combinations for Piano, Violin, and Cello" - 1924 - November 27, 2017 note from tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

 

"Tides of Manaunen" - 1911/1912 - 2:25

"Advertisement" - 1914 - 1:05

"Anyinomy" - 1914 - 3:00

"Amiable Conversation" - 1914 - :47

"Dynamic Motion" - 1914 - 3:07

"What's This?" - ca. 1915 - :53

"Quartet Romantic" - 1915-1917 - 17:06

"Anger Dance" - 1917 - 1:48

"Fabric" - 1917 - 1:19

"The Voice of Lir" - 1918 - 3:00

"Quartet Euphometric" - 1916-1919 - 1:54

"Exultation" - 1919 - 1:45

"Episode" - (if this is "No. 1 in Bb Minor" it's from 1920) - 1:15

"Vestiges" - 1920

"The Voice of Lir" - 1920 - 3:25

"The Sword of Oblivion" - 1920-1922 - 2:59

"Trumpet of Angus Og" - 1922 - 1:27

"The Hero Sun" - 1922 - 2:53

"Six Ings Plus One" - 1922 - 9:00

"The Aeolian Harp" - 1923 - 1:32

"Piano Piece" - 1924 - 3:59

"Piece for Piano" (Paris, 1924)

"Trio: Four combinations of Three Instruments" - 1924 - 9:14

"Four Combinations for Piano, Violin, and Cello" - 1924 - 7:24

"The Harp of Life" - 1925 - 4:14

"The Banshee" - 1925 - 2:20

A movie of Franz Kamin performing "The Banshee" is on my onesownthoughts YouTube channel here: https://youtu.be/26k9Sb5Tda0

"Jig" - 1925 - 2:07

"The Snows of Fujiyama" - 1925 - 2:16

"Seven Paragraphs" - 1925 - 6:51

"The Sleep Music of the Dagna" - 1926 - 6:32

"Atlantis" - 1926

"Lilt of the Reel" - 1928 - 1:54

"Tiger" - 1928 - 3:20

"The Fairy Bells" - 1928 - 3:00

"Fairy Answer" - 1929 - 2:47

"Euphoria" - ca. 1929

"Sinister Resonance" - 1930 - 2:01

"Synchrony" - 1930 - 12:00

"Heroic Dance" - 1931

"Dance of Sport" - 1931

"Ostinato Pianissimo" - 1934 - 2:58

"Suite for Small Orcheestra" - 1934

"Reel No. 2" - 1934

"Suite for Woodwind Quintet" - 1934

"Two Songs (Poems of Catherine Reigger)" - 1936

"Sunset"

"Rest"

"Three Ostinati with Chorales" for Clarinet & Piano or Oboe & Piano - 1937 - 12:42

"Sound Form No. 1" - 1937

"Vocalise" - between 1936 & 1941 - 6:44

"Toccanta" - 1938 - 10:59

"Pulse" - 1939 - 4:00

"Three Ritournelles from "Marriage at the Eiffel Tower"" - 1939

"Ancient Desert Drone" - August 17, 1940

"Elegie" - ca. 1941

"Fanfare for Latin Allies" - 1942 - 1:39

"Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 3" - May, 1944 - 7:01

"Symphony no. 4 (Short Symphony)" - 1946

"Tall Tale" - 1947 - 4:12

"Saturday Night at the Firehouse" - 1948 - 5:03

"Grinnell Fanfare" - 1948 - 3:01

"Symphony no. 5" - August, 1948

"Luther's Carol for his Son" - 1948 - 2:31

"Four Declamations with Return" - 1949 - 3:25

"Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 9" - 1950 - 5:48

"Two Part Invention in Three Parts" - 1950 - 1:11

"Invention" - 1950 - 1:10

"Set of Five" - 1952 - 17:30

"Symphony No. 7" - 1952 - 25:58

"...if He please" - 1954 - 11:45

"Symphony No. 11, "Seven Rituals of Music"" - 1954 - 21:38

"Sway Dance" - 1956 - 2:19

"Variations for Orchestra" - 1956 - 21:00

"Cleistogamy" - 1941-1963 - 14:00

"Ongaku for Orchestra" - 1957 - 14:06

"Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 12" - 1957 - 2:25 + 1:53 = 4:18

"Rondo" - 1958 - 4:36

"Hymn and Fuguing Tune No. 13" - 1960 - 3:14 + 2:24 = 5:42 (with pause)

"Set of Four" - 1960 - 16:11

"Triple Rondo" for Flute and Harp - 1961

"Thesis (Symphony No. 15)" - 1961 - 20:28

"Symphony No. 16, "Icelandic"" - 1962 - 24:59

"Gravely and Vigorously (In Memory JFK)" - 1963 - 10:10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE

idioideo at verizon dot net

 

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Anti-Neoism page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Audiography page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Bibliography page

to my "Blaster" Al Ackerman index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Books page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE BYOC page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Censored or Rejected page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Collaborations page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE (d) compositions page

to Amir-ul Kafirs' Facebook page

to the "FLICKER" home-page for the alternative cinematic experience

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's GoodReads profile

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Haircuts page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Home Tapers page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE index page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Instagram Poetry page

to a listing of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's manifestations on the Internet Archive

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewee index

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE as Interviewer index

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE'S Linked-In profile

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Mail Art page

for A Mere Outline for One Aspect of a Book on Mystery Catalysts, Guerrilla Playfare, booed usic, Mad Scientist Didactions, Acts of As-Beenism, So-Called Whatevers, Psychopathfinding, Uncerts, Air Dressing, Practicing Promotextuality, Imp Activism, etc..

to the mm index

to see an underdeveloped site re the N.A.A.M.C.P. (National Association for the Advancement of Multi-Colored Peoples)

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Neoism page

to the DEFINITIVE Neoism/Anti-Neoism website

to the Philosopher's Union website

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE movie-making "Press: Criticism, Interviews, Reviews" home-page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Score Movies

to SMILEs

to find out more about why the S.P.C.S.M.E.F. (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Sea Monkeys by Experimental Filmmakers) is so important

to the "tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE - Sprocket Scientist" home-page

to the tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE Top 100s page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Top 100 Composers index

to Psychic Weed's Twitter page

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Vimeo index

to Vine movies relevant to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE made by Ryan Broughman

to tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's presence in the Visual Music Village

for info on tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's tape/CD publishing label: WIdémoUTH

to a very small selection of tENTATIVELY, a cONVENIENCE's Writing

to the onesownthoughts YouTube channel