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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The Banshee, HC (Cowell, Henry) – IMSLP/Petrucci Music Library: Free Public Domain Sheet Music

The liner notes to the Folkways Henry Cowell: 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. After his parents’ divorce inhe was raised by his mother, Clarissa Dixonauthor of the early feminist novel Janet and Her Dear Phebe.

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.

The piece does, in terms of structure, anticipate minimalist procedures, and an interpretation by Steffen Schleiermacher from is simultaneously metronomic and jazzy in a way that reveals its kinship with the work of Steve Reichin particular.

Cowell was eventually paroled in ; he relocated to the East Coast and the following year married Sidney Hawkins Robertson —, married name Sidney Robertson Cowella prominent folk-music scholar who had been instrumental in winning his freedom. It was on one of these tours that inhis friend Richard Buhlig introduced Cowell to young pianist Grete Sultan in Berlin.


He also had a life-long interest in world music which he shared with his wife, ethnomusicologist Sidney Robertson Cowell. See also Miller and Collinspp.

And, as Nancarrow observed, there were other consequences to Cowell’s imprisonment: Piano Music issued in His Ostinato Pianissimo placed him in the vanguard of those writing original scores for percussion ensemble. Conlon Nancarrowon meeting him for the first time inreported, “The impression I got was that he was a terrified person, with a banhee that ‘they’re going to get him. By the summer ofCowell was writing truly individualistic works, including the insistently repetitive Anger Dance originally Mad Cowel.

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In the late s and early to mid-’20s, Henry Cowell made a study of extended techniques and bansee available on the piano, and incorporated these in a series of short compositions. There is no other quite like it. For instrumentation details, see Percussion Ensemble Music — 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 Kevin Spacey, wearing a “Retired since ” hat, delivers pizza to paparazzi.

His contribution to the world of music was summed up by Virgil Thomsonwriting in the early s: Drinking Hanging Out In Love. Six Casual Developmentsfor clarinet and piano, sounds like something Jimmy Giuffre would compose thirty years later.

Cowell soon returned to California, where he had become involved with a theosophical community, Halcyonled by the Irish poet John Varianwho fueled Cowell’s interest in Irish folk culture and mythology.

Would we think this music is scary without being reminded of a wailing spirit who steals your soul when you die?


Henry Cowell – Wikipedia

Piano Compositions by Henry Cowell. Archived from the original on Chrome Firefox Safari Internet Explorer. Cowell as a young man.

Growing up on the West Coast, he had been exposed to a great deal of what is now known as ” world music “; along with Irish airs and dances, he encountered music from China, Japan, and Tahiti. We also hear some of the rare recordings which Sidney made in the Aran Islands in the s, and even rarer recordings made by Henry Cowell inincluding what is believed to be the earliest recording ever made of keening.

The Banshee, HC 405 (Cowell, Henry)

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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. Views Read Edit View history.

Facebook Twitter Tumblr Reddit. Cowell biographer Michael Hicks describes the work as one of Cowell’s “most prescient” and “proto-minimalist” p.

The Banshee, for piano strings, HC 405

Given that a many of the dates listed for Cowell’s piano pieces in the Folkways liner notes are incorrect see Hicks [], p. 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 was granted a pardon in This page was last edited on 2 Decemberat