Henry Dixon Cowell was an American composer, music theorist, pianist, teacher, publisher, . of his output—important works from this era include The Banshee ( ), requiring numerous playing methods such as pizzicato and longitudinal. Henry Cowell () was an American composer, teacher and pianist. He was a part of the avante-garde movement in music at the turn. Henry Cowell’s The Banshee an audience sits in the dark facing a grand piano on a brightly lit stage. The piano’s lid angles upward, the keyboard waits for.

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Major scores by Ives, including the Comedy from the Fourth Symphony, Fourth of July34 Songsand 19 Songswould receive their first publication in New Music ; in turn, Ives would provide financial support to a number of Cowell’s projects including, years later, New Music itself. Would we think this music is scary without being reminded of a wailing spirit who steals your soul when you die?

In he recorded searching, vivid performances of twenty of his seminal piano pieces for a Folkways album. Share on facebook twitter tumblr. The twenty-four measures of the Larghetto and the eight of the Trio are each modular; though Cowell offers some suggestions, any hypothetically may be included or not and played once or repeatedly, allowing the piece to stretch or contract at the performers’ will—the practical goal being to give a choreographer freedom to adjust the length and character of a dance piece without the usual constraints imposed by a prewritten musical composition.

Another novel method advanced by Cowell, in pieces such as Aeolian Harp ca. Kwabena Nketiaand Irwin Swack [32] were among his postwar students—and served as a consultant to Folkways Records for over a decade beginning in the early s, writing liner notes and editing such collections as Music of the World’s Peoples —61 he also hosted a radio program of the same name [33] and Primitive Music of the World Instrumental, Chamber and Vocal Music, Vol.

He also continued his experiments in aleatory music: The world’s first electronic rhythm machinewith a photoreceptor-based sound production system proposed by Cowell not a theremin -like system, as some sources incorrectly stateit could produce up to sixteen different rhythmic patterns simultaneously, complete with optional syncopation.


Note that this source includes a photograph of a man with a Rhythmicon; the man is not Cowell, as the image’s position in the article implies, but an associate, musical theorist Joseph Schillinger. Cowell would ultimately spend four years in San Quentin State Prison.

The Banshee & The Tiger : Henry Cowell by The Lyric Feature | Free Listening on SoundCloud

Discussion of this nomination can be found on the talk page. Add to this massive production his long and influential career as a pedagogue, and Henry Cowell’s achievement becomes impressive indeed. No other composer of our time has produced a body of works so radical and so normal, so penetrating and so comprehensive. Some have said that the result of this inside-the-piano technique is reminiscent of electronically generated sound.

The banshee or banshie is a female spirit who alerts a family to the impending death of one of banhee members by making a wailing sound underneath the windows of the family home. He also had a life-long interest in world music which he shared with his wife, ethnomusicologist Sidney Robertson Cowell.

Classicalavant-gardejazzworld fusion. The music, written an octave higher than it sounds, requires the player standing at the crook to stroke and pluck the interior strings in one of 12 specified ways using either the flat of the hand, the fingernails, or the flesh of the fingers. In other projects Wikimedia Commons. Born in rural Menlo Park, Californiato two bohemian writers—his father was an Irish immigrant and his mother, a former schoolteacher, had relocated from Iowa—Cowell demonstrated precocious musical talent and began playing the violin at the age of five.

Streams Videos All Posts. While receiving no formal musical education and little schooling of any kind beyond his mother’s home tutelagehe began to compose in his mid-teens.

Henry Cowell

His father, with whom he maintained contact, introduced him to the Irish music that would be a touchstone for Cowell throughout his career. Soon, however, the Rhythmicon would be virtually forgotten, remaining so until the s, when progressive pop music producer Joe Meek experimented with its rhythmic concept. Cowell and his circle were sometimes referred to as “ultra-modernists,” a label whose definition is flexible and origin unclear it has also been applied to a few composers outside the immediate circle, such as George Antheiland to some of its disciples, such as Nancarrow ; Virgil Thomson styled them the “rhythmic research fellows.


This page was last edited on 2 Decemberat AllMusic relies heavily on JavaScript. Focusing on the variety of innovative rhythmic and harmonic concepts he used in his compositions and others that were still entirely speculativeit would have a powerful effect on the American musical avant-garde for decades after.

Few pieces are really, genuinely, bone-chillingly scary, at least for our modern ears. They worked closely together—an aspect vital to Grete Sultan’s personal and artistic development. It requires the performer to use both forearms to play massive secundal chords and calls for keys to be held down without sounding to extend and intensify its dissonant cluster overtones.

The Banshee, for piano strings, HC… | Details | AllMusic

Today they are the Bible of the young and still, to the conservatives, “advanced. These compositions may cause severe nightmares.

Cowell biographer Michael Hicks describes the work as one of Cowell’s “most prescient” and “proto-minimalist” p. After initially denying the allegation, under questioning he admitted not only to it but to additional sex acts with the teenager and his male friends.

There the quote is datedbut no source is provided. Piano Compositions by Henry Cowell.

Post content or file description. InCowell had begun writing New Musical Resourceswhich would finally be published after extensive revision in He observes, however, that Cowell in his own recording of the piece reiterates certain phrases beyond the specified number.