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Lou Harrison (1917-2003)

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A Bridge of Dreams

A Bridge of Dreams


Lullabies (5)


As I Crossed A Bridge Of Dreams

Edwards, Ross:

Sacred Kingfisher Psalms

Harrison, L:

Mass for Saint Cecilia’s Day

Sola, Liu:

The Seafarer

Paul Hillier (recitation)

Dacapo present scintillating vocal music from the Pacific Rim featuring composers and poets from China, Japan, California, New Zealand, Australia and one ancient Anglo-Saxon Seafarer.

This is unusual and lovely music sung by the Grammy Award winning vocal ensemble, Ars Nova Copenhagen, under their conductor Paul Hillier, and with early harp virtuoso Andrew Lawrence-King.

These are composers who have consciously looked beyond Western aesthetic traditions to create a musical language with a variety of different reference points. Some have found their sources close at hand in the aboriginal cultures of the land where they live, while others have looked towards the religions and music of Asia. The results are still concert music—not musical exotica—but the direction from which their ideas have arrived gives their music a sense of openness and receptivity.

“Anne Boyd's As I crossed a bridge of dreams (1975) gives its title to the CD and, with its rapt sostenuto, steals the show. Almost endlessly sustained, immaculately imagined, and - like everything else here - admirably performed.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2012

“This is an intriguing disc of barely known and often very beautiful music by composers from Australisia, the United States and China. It would be hard, I think, to imagine music more transparent than that of Lou Harrison's Mass for Saint Cecilia's Day...The music's transparency and long-breathed quality give every opportunity for the voices of Ars Nova to shine in a very particular way, really as chamber soloists.” International Record Review, February 2012

Super Audio CD


Hybrid Multi-channel

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Dacapo - 6220597


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America Again

America Again


Over the Rainbow

Beach, A:

From Blackbird Hills, Op. 83

Berlin, I:

Blue skies


For Stephen Sondheim

Bloch, E:

At Sea


Deep River


Sentimental Melody




I loves you Porgy (from Porgy and Bess)

Gould, M:

American Caprice

Hanson, H:

Slumber Song

Harris, Roy:

Li'l boy named David

Harrison, L:

New York Waltzes


Gladiolus Rag


Sueno Recurrente

Price, F:

Fantasie Negre






Nocturne (from Lonesome Roads)

Lara Downes (piano)

"This music is a tribute to the generations of Americans who dream the impossible: black and white, men and women, immigrants and pioneers. It tells the story of their journeys, their loves and longings, their hardships and their hopes. American music is made of everything we are, coming from so many different people and places, expressing so many different dreams.

I hope this music carries you wherever you chase your dreams – across the sea, over the river, down lonesome roads, even over the rainbow. You can hear in this very American music, born of very American dreams, a promise: that if we keep dreaming, maybe, someday, even our wildest dream will come true." (Lara Downes)

“Spirit-lifting music, essayed with great feeling and a touching sense of purpose; the DSD download sets new standards for piano recordings.” MusicWeb International, 22nd November 2016

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Dorian Sono Luminus - DSL92207


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Childhood Memories

Childhood Memories

Music for Younger Pianists

Beach, A:

Children’s Carnival, Op. 25


Altered Steps to Altered States

Harrison, L:

Little Suite for Piano

Mayer, W:

Subway in the Sunshine and Other Memories


Modal Suite


Three Toccatinas


A Quiet Afternoon


Little Piece

Waltz for Brenda




Sketches in Color



Weber, B:

Lyric Piece

Sahan Arzruni (piano)

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New World - NW80590


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Earle Brown - A Life In Music Volume 1

Earle Brown - A Life In Music Volume 1


Double Music

John Cage & Lou Harrison

Live Electronic Music Improvised




Cowell, H:

Ostinato Pianissimo

Harrison, L:

Canticle No. 1


Transición II


Ritmica VI

Ritmica V

Russell, W:

Three Dance Movements

Three Cuban Pieces


Zyklus / Refrain

Christoph Caskel (percussion), David Tudor (piano), Aloys Kontarsky (piano, wood blocks) & Bernhard Kontarsky (celeste, antique cymbals)

The Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, Musica elettronica viva & AMM, John Cage & Paul Price

3CDs for price of 2

“Wergo is planning to release the 18 LPs in six instalments, and the first volume gives a good sense of the variety of what Brown recorded. The first disc, Concert Percussion for Orchestra, concentrates on the American experimentalists of the 1930s and 40s, with pieces by Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell and John Cage. The second disc is in many ways the most interesting of the three, with two classic works by Stockhausen from 1959, the solo-percussion Zyklus and the trio Refrain in what must have been their debut recordings. The remaining disc contains what it calls "live electronic music improvised", and doesn't really bear repeated listening. However, the fact that one of the pieces, recorded in Rome, includes composers Alvin Curran and Frederic Rzewski among the musicians, while the other features a London group led by Cornelius Cardew, does give them some documentary significance.” The Guardian, 4th September 2009 ***

GGramophone Magazine

Re-issue of the Month - March 2010

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Wergo Earle Brown's Contemporary Sound Series - WER69282

(CD - 3 discs)

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Fiddle Sticks

Fiddle Sticks


Vermilion Rhapsody

Harrison, L:

Concerto for the Violin with Percussion Orchestra

Jones, Stuart:



Mopti Street


Fragments from a Gradual Process



Madeleine Mitchell (violin)


On first hearing Lou Harrison's violin concerto, Madeleine Mitchell was entranced by the colourful array of percussion and its juxaposition with the violin's innate lyricism. Indeed, this description could fit almost all the works featured on this lively, multi-rhythmic disc. Both strings and percussion blend in a unique mix of styles from early Andalucian music to a Stravinsky inspired piece, Fragments from a Gradual Process. Complex rhythms from the Ensemble Bash who use rhythms of West African drumming as the core of their playing, combined with Madeleine's interweaving lines often catch the listener in a moment of surprise.

Whilst it is a November release, it's worth noting that Madeleine Mitchell and ensemblebash will be at The Red Violin festival in Cardiff from 1st to 8th October and performing this repertoire.

“…the high level of Harrison's unfaltering invention would be superhuman if it weren't so understated. Madeleine Mitchell lets Harrison's material speak for itself, taking a noticeably objective view, and it's a winning strategy.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2008

“…enthusiastic performances with immaculate sonics: brilliant stuff.” BBC Music Magazine, January 2008 *****

“Fiddlesticks is a collaboration between two of Britain's most liveliest musical forces. One is the indefatigably adventurous violinist Madeleine Mitchell...the sticks belong to the Ensemble Bash, the supremely talented 4-man percussion evening of gloriously ear-tickling sounds…” The Times

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Signum - SIGCD111


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Just Guitars

Just Guitars

Microtonal Guitar Music

Harrison, L:

Scenes from Nek Chand, Tandy's Tango, Cinna, Palace Music, Plaint & Variations on 'Song of Palestine', Serenado por Gitaro


Letter from Hobo Pablo, December, 1942, Three Intrusions


Harp of New Albion

Schneider, John:


Scholz, C:

Rhythmicon I

John Schneider (guitars & vocals), Rebekah Raff (kithara) and Gene Sterling (diamond marimba)

This recording features the premiere recordings of works by the late Lou Harrison and the legendary Harry Partch. John Schneider, guitarist and Los Angeles radio personality performs on a wide variety of guitars using such instruments as Partch’s microtonal Adapated Guitars, Martin, Gibson and Fender guitars, a National Resophonic Guitar, and other instruments that feature tuneable fretboards for various types of Just Intonation. Lou Harrison (1917-2003) wrote his last guitar piece for National Steel guitar, custom fretted in Just Intonation. The Scenes from Nek Chand uses a six-note mode and is based on the sculpure and architecture of Nek Chand in northern India. Harry Partch worked on the adapatation of guitars in the 1930s, using one for his Barstow: 8 Hitchhikers’ Inscriptions (1941) (available on BRIDGE 9041). The opening of Partch’s long lost song cycle, December 1942, begins with a setting of the jester’s song "Come Away Death" from Shakespearre’s Twelfth Night. Three Intrusions (1949) are the first compositions to use Partch’s newly invented Diamond Marimba and the Adapted Guitar 2. Both of these works feature Schneider singing and intoning the vocal parts, as well as performing on copies of Partch’s Adapted Guitars.

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Bridge - BRIDGE9132


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Lou Harrison - Chamber and Gamelan Works

Lou Harrison - Chamber and Gamelan Works

Harrison, L:

Concerto in Slendro (1961)

Main Bersama-Sama (1978)

Threnody for Carlos Chavez (1979)

Serenade for Betty Freeman and Franco Assetto (1978)

String Quartet Set (1978–9)

Suite for Percussion (1942)

Daniel Kobialka (violin), Machiko Kobialka (tack piano I), James Barbagallo (tack piano II), Patricia Jennerjohn (celesta), Don Marconi (percussion), Jerome Neff (percussion), Scott L. Hartman (French horn), Susan Bates (violin) & Lou Harrison (suling player)

Gamelan Sekar Kembar, Kronos Quartet & The Manhattan Percussion Ensemble, Robert Hughes & Paul Price

Lou Harrison (1917–2003) believed fervently in music’s power to create cultural bridges. To this end he applied his prodigious skills and creative energies to creating syncretic works that link diverse musical languages. Faulted at times for his eclecticism, Harrison responded with a vibrant defense of hybridity, cultivating a musical multiculturalism long before that term—or even the concept—held the currency it now enjoys.

Harrison’s major contributions to twentieth-century American music lie in three main areas: (1) the development of the percussion ensemble as a viable performance medium; (2) the linkage of Asian and Western musical styles; and (3) the exploration of just intonation tuning systems. All three are represented in the works on this disc.

The influences manifest in the works on this disc remained with Harrison for the rest of his career. He ultimately composed over three dozen gamelan pieces and the estampie became one of his favorite forms (he used it in a dozen works, ranging from solo keyboard to full orchestra). Nor did his advocacy of just intonation systems diminish: he called for pure intervals in works in all genres. But the most distinctive characteristic of Harrison’s music lies in its inherent plurality. He was drawn to community, both in performance groups such as the gamelan and the percussion ensemble, and in the compositions themselves, which unite elements from various times and places. Harrison’s originality lay in the way he creatively combined these elements to produce novel syntheses. His fervent advocacy of hybridity led to a type of transethnic music that truly foreshadowed the post-modern celebration of diversity.

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New World - NW80643


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Lou Harrison - In Retrospect

Lou Harrison - In Retrospect

Harrison, L:

First Concerto for flute and percussion

Despite its early origin, First Concerto for Flute and Percussion (1939) has remained one of Harrison’s most frequently performed and recorded works.

Solstice (1950) Parts I & II

The ballet Solstice (1950) is written for octet: three treble instruments (flute, oboe, trumpet), three bass instruments (two cellos and string bass), and two keyboards (celesta and tack-piano). Harrison found that by combining the tack-piano with the celesta he could create a sound that resembled that of an Indonesian gamelan, which he first encountered in 1939. The complex rhythms and exuberant melodies of gamelan became a major source of inspiration. The gamelanish sounds in Solstice can be heard most prominently in the fourth movement (“Earth’s Invitation”), when the solo flute line is accompanied by celesta, tack-piano, and pitched percussion created by the bass player, who strikes the strings of his instrument with drum sticks below the bridge.

Strict Songs (1955, rev. 1992)

The text for Strict Songs (1955, revised 1992), modeled on Navajo ritual song, is of Harrison’s own invention. Harrison’s interest in gamelan had led him to explore the possibilities of pentatonic modes. Each of the four movements of Strict Songs is based on a different pentatonic mode. All intervals are tuned to exact mathematical proportions, rather than to the impure compromise-intervals of present-day equal-temperament. The fixed-pitch instruments in the ensemble (piano and harp) are retuned to produce non-beating intervals; the strings and trombones match these pitches by ear. The effect of the retuning is a rich palette of intervals, far more varied in size than those in equal temperament (where all intervals of a particular type are the same).

Ariadne (1987)

Ariadne (1987) draws inspiration from the music of India. Harrison’s music combines Indian and Western influences. The opening movement, “Ariadne Abandoned,” functions like an alap—an introductory piece that introduces the mode and spirit of the work. In the second movement, “The Triumph of Ariadne and Dionysos,” Harrison employs a compositional principle related to the Indian tala, a complex repeating rhythmic pattern.

Leroy Kromm (Baritone), Leta Miller (Flute), Yvonne Powers (Oboe), Adam Gordon (Trumpet), Nohema Fernández (Celesta), Emily Wong George (Tack Piano), Stephen Tramontozzi (String Bass), Peter Shelton, Lee Duckles (Cellos) & William Winant and Heather Sloan (Percussion)

University of California, Santa Cruz Chamber Singers and Chamber Orchestra, Nicole Paiement & Dennis Russell Davies

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New World - NW80666


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Lou Harrison: Piano Concerto

Lou Harrison: Piano Concerto

Harrison, L:

Piano Concerto

Suite for Violin, Piano and Small Orchestra

Keith Jarrett (piano), Lucy Stoltzman (violin)

New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra, Naoto Otomo

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New World - NW80366


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Lou Harrison - Por Gitaro

Lou Harrison - Por Gitaro

Suites for Tuned Guitars

Harrison, L:

Ditone Set

Serenade for Guitar

Suite No. 1

Suite No. 2

Suite for National Steel Guitar

In Honor of the Divine Mister Handel

bonus track

John Schneider (guitars) with Just Strings:T.J.Troy, Gene Sterling and Erin Barnes (percussion)

Though Lou Harrison rhapsodised about the 'dulcet tones'of the guitar, for much of his career he refused to write for it. The problem was that the guitar's straight, fixed frets resulted in the tuning system known as equal temperament, while Harrison preferred the crystalline purity of harmony found in the types of tuning known as just intonation. In the 1970s, Harrison learned of a guitar with removable fingerboards, allowing the player to simply swap out fingerboards refretted with different tunings. Energised by this innovation, Harrison completed the first works for just-intoned guitar: the Serenade for Guitar and Optional Percussion in 1978. In 1981, the guitarist John Schneider met Harrison and played his first arrangements of his harp works for just intonation guitar.With Harrison's authorisation and encouragement, Schneider began adapting some of Harrison's other works into suites.

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Mode - mode195


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