Sunday, September 30, 2007

Five Things about the Claremont Trio

I saw the Claremont Trio at Paul Recital Hall Sunday afternoon as part of the Sunderman Chamber Music Series at Gettysburg College.

1. It was the first time I have seen the Claremonts play live - I have both of their cds and have played them on the radio, and despite interviewing them earlier this year in Gettysburg, this was the first chance for me to hear them. It was stunning!

2. The program opened with a deep and serious work by one of the most romantic of composers, Robert Schumann's Trio in d minor, Opus 63. Phrases were handled with care, much thought and with equal passion from each player. I am uberimpressed with Emily Bruskin's vibrato - its well varied, gorgeous and used with the right amount of emphasis.

3. While I am a fan of Frank Martin (especially his concerti for Violin, Harpsichord and for 7 wind instruments) I had never heard his Piano Trio on Irish Folk Tunes. I am grateful the Claremonts have it in the repertoire - it is a real gem. Especially nice were comments to the audience from Julia Bruskin on the levels on melodies in the second movement - equalled by her lush tone of the gregorianesque line. Whoever wrote the program notes also did a nice job setting up this work.

4. The second half was Beethoven's Archduke Trio, one of the true masterpieces of chamber music - ah heck, of all music! Donna Kwong struck great balance with her trio partners (with the lid at full nonetheless!) and yet was the star of the performance. The energy was always high and the interpretation inspired.

5. The trio gives a masterclass tomorrow at the college and will be at WITF in the morning for an in-studio interview and performance. They are also performing all of the Brahms and Schumann piano trios in Boston, something to look forward to! There are also several more concerts in the Sunderman Series to check out.

Five Things about Concertante

I went to the opening of Concertante's season at the Rose Lehrman Arts Center in Harrisburg Saturday night.

1. The evening began with Beethoven's Opus 9 #1, a charming trio with Ittai, Ara and Zvi of the group. Tempos were spot on, from the seriousness of the first movement (a glimmer of later Beethoven) to the sparkle of the scherzo, and brilliance of the finale!

2. Next the women of Concertante, Rachel and Alexis, played Lutoslawski's Bucolics. Speaking beforehand, Rachel made a humorous and apt comparison with the new folk melodies with finding the right tattoo. Again, the right amount of tempi, dynamics and flair made this short work highly enjoyable.

3. John Novacek is well known as a pianist, often the recital partner of Leila Josefowitz (blogged about on their visit to Harrisburg here) - but you may not know he also composes rags! (Novacek & Josefowitz have recorded four of them on her Americana Album.) Concertante asked Novacek to write a few rags for them, and what rags they are! The first is sweet, sappy and that typical fun syncopated ragtime sound. The second is a slow drag that lets the lower end of Concertante show off - awesome solos from Alexis and Ara. The final rag is fast and frentic, definitely a more modern take of the genre and is virtuosic for every part.

4. The second half of the program was Dvorak's String Quintet opus 97. The work is well crafted Dvorak, at the heighth of his powers, and Concertante connected fully in this performance. Again, just the right tempos and panache had the audience on its feet.

5. The evening started with a pre-concert talk with yours truly, ended with a short talkback with the musicians, and a reception in the rose garden. It was a perfect fall night, and with new seats, a young vibrant audience, a well varied program played capably, I was pleased as punch (although I had cabernet!)

The sextet returns in November, January, March and May. They give this exact program Tuesday at Weill Recital Hall in NYC's Carnegie Hall. It was also recorded by WITF and will be broadcast later on WITF Presents, Monday nights @ 7 pm.

*Full disclosure, I am on the board of Concertante and work for WITF-FM.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Good clicking

Thanks to the Blue Mountain Lotus Society for the heads up on these links:

With the current events in Myanmar continuing to escalate, many people are asking if there is anything that we can offer here and now? I would like to suggest two opportunities to participate in a show of solidarity for the Buddhist monks and nuns as well as the people of Myanmar in support of their freedoms.

1. Sign the petition online here and follow the instructions given. This page also includes address information for the Myanmar (Burmese) Embassy in a number of countries.

2. Sign the US Campaign for Burma's petition

Friday, September 28, 2007

Five Things about the Baltimore Symphony

I went to the opening concert of the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra at Strathmore Thursday night.
1. The crowd was excited and a pretty good size Thursday night. Outside the hall was a beacon of swirling spotlights, inside audience members talked of the new conductor and enjoyed cocktails and some, dinner.
2. Martin Goldsmith introduced the concert and interviewed composer John Adams, as the concert was broadcast live on XM*. Goldsmith was either nervous or stressed as he introduced the concert, microphone shaking visibly - it's an odd thing to see a radio host work - but then asked good questions of the composer. Afterwards, Martin was showing patrons a BSO program from the 40s when his father played in the orchestra - the old program a gift from the orchestra.
3. Adams called his Fearful Symmetries a 25 minute boogie, a jam for orchestra with a saxophone section that is the "lounge lizards." It certainly seemed to put the audience in the right frame of mind, and they indeed loved Marin Alsop in this opener. Alsop danced, coaxed, shook and led the orchestra in great stride and energy. The only detraction was a photographer on the second level whose camera made audible disruptions in the music. Musically the orchestra and conductor were spot on, with the right amount of energy and passion, precision and phrases.
4. Mahler's 5th Symphony was the other work on the program. If one thought Alsop was energetic in the Adams, she was even more animated for the Mahler! The comparisons of Alsop and her mentor Leonard Bernstein are quite apt. Alsop drew visions of Vienna with the performance, and in the first movement, somehow elongated the first beat as the funeral march went along - tempos were quite extreme, but not too much to be awkward, but with the right contrast. Each movement was treated with care, the dramatic second movement attaca, the third with the right amount of motion, and the fourth charming without sappiness. I was quite surprise at the volume of the harp, never heard quite such a balance - almost too much at the start - but by the high points, was heavenly. The finale brought the house down - Marin actually jumped several times - with the results paying off with the orchestra responding more and more.
5. The post concert reception was champagne and dessert filled, and included the proclamation of "Marin Alsop Day" on September 27th, Alsop's proud parents attending, as well as Adams and Goldsmith. Several orchestra members came, besides orchestra management (I was amused one manager got his copy of Fearful Symmetries cd signed and another got Martin to autograph his copy of the Inextinguishable Symphony, an excellently written story of Martin's parents). I have to say I so loved experiencing all of this energy and excitement, and certainly the idea of 11 living composers on the programs is such a great concept! There is a small part of me that wants to chide management that there was a scandal when the original announcement of Alsop's appointment was made - there should have been no worries!

Needless to say, I'll be going to the BSO alot this season, and will also be talking to many of the composers, as well as Alsop. Keep an eye out here and over at Composing Thoughts.

*Access to the broadcast for those who are not subscribers to XM’s service is available through signing up for a free three-day trial. To do so: Go to and click on “Listen Now Online”, or go directly to:

Thursday, September 27, 2007

These guys doing magic in vegas...

Living in Vegas, Live at the Rio


LAS VEGAS – Penn & Teller, the bad boys of magic, have spent most of their career playing with knives, guns, livestock and fire-eating showgirls. It’s no wonder they’re a hit in Vegas.
Now celebrating five years of performances at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, the duo’s unique blend of magic and comedy has brought them acclaim and the praises of critics. But ask them, and they’ll simply tell you they are “a couple of eccentric guys who have learned how to do a few cool things.” Those things, like catching bullets in teeth, making money appear out of thin air and swallowing 100 embroidery needles, led to David Letterman’s proclaiming the pair “evil geniuses.”
“We love performing at the Rio and in such a kick-ass theater, which coincidentally is named the Penn & Teller Theater. I want to die performing at the Rio; I mean of old age, not during the bullet trick,” joked Penn Jillette, the larger, louder half of the duo.
Performing together for over 30 years, combining Teller’s silent and occasionally creepy magic with Penn’s carnival barker zeal and juggling expertise, the pair have created an entertainment success story that went from the streets to small clubs to national theater tours and television appearances. Among others, Penn & Teller have lent their peculiar humor to “Late Night with David Letterman,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with Conan O’Brien,” “Today” and series such as “Friends,” “West Wing,” “Home Improvement” and “The Simpsons.”
And after three decades together, they show no signs of slowing down. Their latest project, “Penn & Teller: Bullshit!” for the Showtime network, begins its sixth season in early 2008. The controversial show, which has received 11 Emmy nominations, including two at this month’s ceremony, and the Writer’s Guild award for Outstanding Comedy/Variety Series, tackles the frauds and fakes behind such topics as talking to the dead, alien abductions and feng shui.
Penn & Teller’s live show has been called: “Pure entertainment and demented originality,” (Newsweek); “Hilarious! Mind-bending! Mind-boggling!” (New York Magazine); “One of the best evenings at the theatre one can have,” (Chicago Tribune). They perform in the Penn & Teller Theatre at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino nightly (except Fridays) at 9 p.m. Tickets are available by calling (702) 777-7776.

Bow travel

Trying to play a concert and use a good bow? That can be hard these days, with new international laws with pernambuco wood. This a a great resource and actually quotes the Dept. of the Interior saying its alright to cross borders with a finished wood product:

Thank you American Symphony Orchestra League, I mean the League of American Orchestras!

Great news for Hburg!

Maestro Stuart Malina to Conduct Harrisburg Symphony for Three More Years
Malina Contract Extension and other Major Changes Announced at News Conference

The Harrisburg Symphony announced that Maestro Stuart Malina has agreed to a three-year contract extension as conductor and music director of the orchestra. The HSO formally announced the contract extension, as well as other major changes at a news conference at the Forum in Harrisburg on Wednesday morning.

“I’m thrilled to be here for three more years with this wonderful orchestra,” Malina said. “It's hard for me to imagine many other situations which combine the extraordinary artistic level of the Harrisburg Symphony with the intensity, commitment, and joy that our players bring to every performance.”

Malina began his tenure with the HSO in June 2000. His new contract will take him through the 2009-10 season, which will be his tenth year as the orchestra’s artistic leader.

Maestro Stuart Malina is one of America’s most versatile and accomplished conductors. In a wide variety of concerts, from masterworks and grand opera to pops, Malina’s ease on the podium, engaging personality, and insightful interpretations have thrilled audiences and helped to break down the barriers between performer and listener wherever he has worked.

“The relationship with Maestro Malina has been an especially happy one for everyone here in Harrisburg—our audiences, the musicians, the Board, the staff, the volunteers,” said Jeff Woodruff, HSO executive director. “I think I speak for everyone when I say that we are thrilled to extend this partnership for three more years. Stuart is not only a great musician, but a joy to work with.

“I hope the community will come celebrate with us as we start our season on October 6.”

In addition to his success with the Harrisburg Symphony, Malina made his Carnegie Hall debut in February 2007 conducting a sold-out performance with the New York Pops in an all-Gershwin tribute including “Rhapsody in Blue,” which he conducted while also performing on the keyboard.

Malina also won a Tony Award for orchestration with Billy Joel for the musical “Movin’ Out,” which Malina helped create with director and choreographer Twyla Tharp. He is the music supervisor for both the National Tour and the London/European Tour of the show.

An accomplished concert pianist, Maestro Malina has impressive credits as a soloist, having performed throughout the United States, the Netherlands, and with the acclaimed Piccolo Spoleto Contemporary Music Festival.

Maestro Malina holds degrees from Harvard University, the Yale School of Music, and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he studied conducting with Otto-Werner Mueller.

More details about Malina are available on his website at

The Harrisburg Symphony is kicking off a new, groundbreaking program to encourage local students to learn more about classical music. The “Sound Foundation Program” offers extremely discounted season subscriptions to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Students, their parents, and their teachers can all get the entire season of the HSO’s Masterworks Series for just $27 each.
Sound Foundation subscriptions are offered in sections 101 and 103 in the Forum. These seats are excellent for students so they can watch Maestro Malina and orchestra musicians up close. The subscription offer is good for a Full Season subscription to either the Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon Masterworks series.
The normal subscription price for this seating area is $175 each. The $27 subscriptions work out to just $3.86 per concert per subscription.
Sound Foundation subscriptions are available for music and school teachers as long as they are accompanied by school students to concerts.
Seats are still available for the 2007-08 season. Interested parents and teachers should call the Harrisburg Symphony at 545-5527 to purchase subscriptions or to get more details.

The Harrisburg Symphony is continuing its other highly successful new subscriber program called “Get Hooked on the Classics.” The program features a 50-percent discount off the regular subscription rate for a Full Season subscription to the Masterworks series for new subscribers.
Since the program started this summer, Full Season subscriptions have tripled over previous seasons. To date, 342 new subscribers have taken advantage of the offer. The 2006-07 season had just 101 new Full Season subscribers.
This offer is open to anyone who has never subscribed to the Masterworks Full Season package before, so even current Mini-4, Mini-3, and Snowbird subscribers can take advantage of this offer to become a Full Subscriber. This offer is good for any seating area. There are seven seating areas to fit every budget.
The 50-percent discount is in addition to the already discounted price of a Masterworks Full Season package over single ticket prices. New subscribers who take advantage of the offer will renew at regular price for the following season.
Individuals interested in subscribing should call the Harrisburg Symphony office at (717) 545-5527.

The Harrisburg Symphony begins a season “in perfect harmony” on Oct. 6 and 7, as the orchestra performs works from three classical masters including Tchaikovsky’s “Symphony No. 2,” Dvořák’s “Violin Concerto,” and Wagner’s “Overture to Tannhäuser.”
The “Heroes of the Old World” concert will be performed on Saturday, Oct. 6 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 7 at 3 p.m. at the Forum, located at 5th and Walnut streets in downtown Harrisburg.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Autumn in NY

My friend Elinor while strolling to Central Park.

More autumnal pictures

From the Naxos party, Monday night.
Mark Berry, publicist for Naxos North America, pictured right, introducing Marin Alsop.

William Bolcom, left, talking about Naxos and a grammy!

Founder Klaus Heymann speaking, pictured right.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Naxos - Happy Anniversary

I celebrated the 20th Anniversary of Naxos Records, in the morning I interviewed Klaus Heymann, the founder (pictured right); and in the evening joined 150 or so musicians and friends at Steinway Hall. Marin Alsop, William Bolcom and Klaus spoke; Phillipe Quint (pictured left) played some Rozsa, Ravel and Gershwin.
It was wonderful to see composers Ellen Zwilich, John Corigliano, Avner Dorman, Mark Adamo; conductors Jose Serebrier, JoAnn Falletta; and performers Mark O'Connor, Joan Morris, Carole Farley and Michael Ludwig. Industry people included Mark Berry, Frank Oteri, Trudi Chan, Sarah Baird, and Genevieve Spielberg.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

New York City, je t'aime

What a wonderful day talking with young composers. The day began with a discussion of music with Avner Dorman (pictured with me, left). He is one to watch out for!

I then went to Brooklyn and had a thought provoking interview with Lukas Ligeti. Yes, he is Gyorgy's son. What a great mind and stellar view (pictured right - you don't get the full effect because the view continues even further to the left and right, but you get the idea).

Friday, September 21, 2007

Live @ Cornerstone

Three Trains Comin' at Tecport...and awesome coffee n desserts at Cornerstone Coffeehouse!

New link

Enjoy some insights to the Emerald City and the classical scene there:

Piece out

This is most wonderful!

Midori Honored by U.N.

Violinist Midori has been officially designated a Messenger of Peace by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations. The announcement of her appointment is timed to coincide with the annual International Day of Peace (21 September 2007). The Messengers of Peace is a program instituted by Kofi Annan, the previous Secretary General of the United Nations, intended to promulgate the goals and ideals of the United Nations by partnering with prominent individuals who have an established and demonstrated commitment to those goals and ideals in their professional and private lives. In Midori’s case, her activism in behalf of children and communities with limited access to music began when she founded Midori & Friends 15 years ago. Since that time Midori & Friends has brought music into the lives of 140,000 underprivileged young people in New York City. Midori founded a similar organization, Music Sharing, in Japan. Music Sharing reaches out to children in institutions, hospitals, and outlying areas with limited access to music in Japan, and, most recently, Vietnam and (in December 2007) Cambodia. Three other organizations – Partners in Performance, University Residencies Program, and Orchestra Residencies Program – have been established in the U.S. The goal of all these organizations is to provide access to music for young people (both musicians and non-musicians), and residents of small communities who rarely have the opportunity to learn about or even hear music as a part of their daily routine. At the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, where Midori holds the prestigious Jascha Heifetz Chair and has recently been named Chair of the Strings Department, Midori has also founded the Midori Center for Community Engagement, whose purpose it is to teach young musicians how to craft effective community engagement initiatives in their own lives and careers.

A statement issued today by the United Nations says, “When considering Midori for this designation, the Secretary-General said he was convinced that she would be a compassionate and creative Messenger of Peace given the tremendous contributions she has made through Midori & Friends and her other organizations. He commended her for inspiring young people through music, and for utilizing music education as a compelling way to build a sense of community. As a Messenger of Peace Midori will help to promote the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals and build upon her commitment to youth.”

Midori says “I am very pleased to have been invited by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to become a United Nations Messenger of Peace This is an opportunity to champion the United Nations' Millennium goals in a meaningful way. I look forward to being an advocate for the cause, working both through my own community engagement organizations and in collaboration with United Nations programs.”

For more information about Midori call 831-620-1332 and visit these sites:;;;; and

Photo of Midori & John Clare by Andrew Gena.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Ties that really bind!

LONDON (AP) _ British hospitals are tossing out dress codes that require doctors to "look professional.'' Turns out those neckties and white coats can be crawling with germs.
The new rules for hospital attire are aimed at stopping the spread of deadly infections.
Next year, British hospitals will ban neckties, long sleeves, watches and jewelry for doctors, along with the traditional long-sleeved white coats. Doctors are to keep their arms "bare below the elbows'' to help prevent the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
Britain's Department of Health notes that ties -- which it says are rarely laundered -- "perform no beneficial function in patient care.''
A 2004 study of doctors' neckties at a New York hospital found that nearly half of them carried at least one species of infectious microbe.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All together

Thought it would be much easier to read my magical musical spoof in one easy setting, so enjoy:

Harry Partch - Final - Part 7

Harry Partch and the Deadly Hockets

The final summer
Lord Voltisubito and his followers plot to ambush Harry Partch when he leaves the protected Durufle home for the last time. Voltisubito also seeks a new baton that can defeat Harry's. As Order of Sharps and Flats members escort Harry to a safe house, they are attacked en route by Demisemiquavers. Harry narrowly escapes, but Ludwig and Mad-Ear Robert Moody are killed.

A few days later, Minister of Music Domenico Scarlatti arrives at The Busker to give Harry, Ron Webern, and Harmony Grainger bequests from Albus Drumandbuglecorps' will. Ron receives Drumandbuglecorps' Descant recorder, and Harmony has been left a children's book, The Tales of Joan at Bard. Harry inherits Arthur Grumiaux's bow and the Fugue he caught in his first-ever Quodlibet match, although Scarlatti withholds the bow. Later, the Fugue reveals a cryptic inscription in Drumandbuglecorps's handwriting: "I open at the close." Inside Harmony's book is an unusual hand-drawn symbol.

The search begins
During Bill Webern and Joyce DiDonato's wedding reception, Ravi Shankar’s Passacaglia arrives, announcing that Scarlatti is dead, the Ministry has fallen under Voltisubito's control, and Demisemiquavers are approaching. Harry, Ron and Harmony dimenuendo, ultimately taking refuge in Twelve (Tone) Grimaud Row. While there, Harry deduces that Serious Gerard Schwarz's late brother Richard Alan was the "R.A.S" who removed the lute Hocket from the sea cave.[HP6] Harmony recalls seeing a lute amongst house-usher JM Kraus' possessions.[HP5] Kraus reveals that he placed the lute Hocket in the cave for Voltisubito, and Richard died retrieving it. The Hocket has fallen into Dolce Uccellini's possession. The trio infiltrate the Ministry of Music disguised by Polyrhythm Potion and recover the lute, but their hiding place at Grimaud Row is compromised, forcing them to flee.

The trio learn that the Bow of Grumiaux the Ministry confiscated is a replica. Harry wants to search for the real one because it can destroy Hockets, but Ron, frustrated that Harry has no real plan, leaves the group. Harry and Harmony go to Arthur Grumiaux's Green Room to hunt for the bow there, but they are ambushed by Nardini and Voltisubito. During their escape, Harmony accidentally breaks Harry's baton.

In the Forest of Whittaker, a diatonic-shaped Passacaglia leads Harry to an icy pond containing the Grumiaux bow. As Harry attempts to retrieve it, the lute Hocket around his neck begins strangling him. Meanwhile, Ron returns by using the Descant recorder to locate Harry and Harmony. He saves Harry and destroys the lute with the bow. Reunited with his comrades, Ron warns them that Voltisubito's name is now Tabooed - uttering it reveals a person's location to Sequencers (bounty hunters).

The Deathly Hallés
The trio learn from Claude DeLune, Clare's father, that the mysterious symbol represents the three Deathly Hallés: the Mark Elder Baton, Resurrection Symphony, and Invisibility Ipod. When pressed about Clare's absence, DeLune admits that Demisemiquavers abducted her in retaliation for supporting Harry in his paper, The Rolling Stone. Fearing for Clare's safety, he has alerted the Ministry that the trio are there, but they escape.

Harry is convinced Voltisubito is seeking the Mark Elder Baton. When he inadvertently speaks Voltisubito's name, they are immediately captured by Sequencers and imprisoned at Mallet Manor, along with Clare DeLune, Dean Roush, Elmar Oliveira the batonmaker, and Rostropovich the cellist. Finding Grumiaux's bow among the trio's possessions, Bellatrix Lekeu worries they have broken into her Gunzenhausers vault, although Rostropovich implies it is a fake. Dorati crescendos into the cellar and rescues Clare, Dean, and Elmar Oliveira, prompting Peter Tchaikovsky to investigate the noise. He throttles Harry, but reminded that he owes a life debt, [HP3] Tchaikovsky loosens his grip, causing his own silver hand to strangle him to death in retribution. Harry and Ron race upstairs to rescue Harmony. Ron disarms Bellatrix and Harry takes Drigo's baton. Dorati reappears, and they dimenuendo to Bill and Joyce Webern's cottage. As they escape, Bellatrix throws a klangfarbenmelodie that kills Dorati.

At the cottage, Elmar Oliveira confirms the Mark Elder Baton's existence and says that a baton can transfer its allegiance if the previous owner is defeated or disarmed. Bellatrix's behaviour convinces the trio that another Hocket is hidden in the Lekeu vault. Aided by Rostropovich, they infiltrate Gunzenhausers Bank and retrieve Humperdinck's Cup Hocket.

Meanwhile, Voltisubito opens Drumandbuglecorps's tomb and steals the Mark Elder Baton. Drumandbuglecorps captured it after defeating the dark musician Tikhon Khrennikov in a duel. Voltisubito believes it is the only baton powerful enough to defeat Harry. Voltisubito also realizes that his Hockets are being destroyed; his mind link with Harry unintentionally reveals that Amy Marcy Cheney Beach’s Divertimento Hocket is hidden at Hogwoods.

The Battle of Hogwoods
The trio crescendo to Hollywood Bowl where Aberforth Drumandbuglecorps sneaks them into Hogwoods. Harry alerts the staff to Voltisubito's impending invasion, as Order of Sharps and Flats, Drumandbuglecorps' Army, and former Hogwoods students arrive for the battle. As Harry searches for the Divertimento, Harmony destroys the Cup Hocket with a Basso continuo string retrieved from the Torture Chamber Music Room. Harry recalls seeing the Divertimento in the Room of Recapitulation.[HP6] The trio are attacked there by Mallet, Carreras, and Domingo; Carreras mishandles the powerful Royal Fireworks Music spell, killing himself and destroying the Divertimento, although the others escape.

Harry glimpses Voltisubito's mind again. Inside the Radio Shack, they overhear Voltisubito telling Snare that he believes the Mark Elder Baton fails to work properly for him because Snare became its master when Snare killed Drumandbuglecorps. Convinced that Snare's death will transfer the baton's allegiance to him, Voltisubito uses Nardini to kill him, then leaves. As Snare dies, he gives Harry his memories that show he was loyal to Drumandbuglecorps, motivated by his lifelong love for Harry's mother Lily. Drumandbuglecorps, doomed to die after being cursed by Carlo Maria Giulini's ring Hocket, had ordered Snare to kill him, if necessary, to protect Snare's role in the Order of Sharps and Flats and to spare Drigo Mallet from completing Voltisubito's task to murder him. It was Snare who sent the diatonic Passacaglia that led Harry to Grumiaux's bow. The memories also reveal that Harry himsusher is a Hocket.

Resigned to die, Harry approaches Voltisubito's camp in the Bayreuth Festival. Along the way, he deciphers the Fugue's clue, and it opens to reveal the Resurrection Symphony. Harry summons the spirits of his parents, Serious Gerard Schwarz and Hugo Wolf, who was just killed. They comfort him before Voltisubito strikes him with the Ave Kettledrum curse. Awakening in an ethereal place, Harry is uncertain whether he is alive or dead. Albus Drumandbuglecorps appears and explains that Voltisubito's Hocket within Harry has been destroyed. He says that just as Voltisubito cannot die while his soul fragments remain, Harry cannot be killed while his blood resides in Voltisubito's body.

Harry revives, although he feigns death. Voltisubito has him carried to Hogwoods as a trophy. When Neville Marriner defies Voltisubito, the SightSinging Hat is placed aflame on his head; pulling it off, he withdraws Grumiaux's bow from it and beheads Nardini, destroying the final Hocket. As the fighting resumes, Harry hides under his Invisibility Ipod. Local Musical folk join the battle against the Demisemiquavers. Inside the castle, McGegan, Ravi, and Parker duel Voltisubito as Ginny, Harmony, and Clare are simultaneously fighting Bellatrix Lekeu. When a killing curse nearly hits Ginny, Molly Webern pushes the girls aside and battles Bellatrix, fatally cursing her. Harry reveals himself and challenges Voltisubito, knowing that the Dark Lord was never the Mark Elder Baton's true master. When Drigo Mallet disarmed Drumandbuglecorps on the ASCAP Tower, Drigo unknowingly won the Mark Elder Baton's allegiance; when Harry later captured Drigo's own baton, he became the Baton's new master. Voltisubito casts a Requiem Curse as Harry conjures a Disarming Spell, but the Elder Baton rebounds Voltisubito's curse, killing him.

Among the battle's casualties are Fred Webern, Hugo Wolf, Augusta Read Thomas, and Colin Davis. Harry tells Drumandbuglecorps's portrait that he is keeping the Invisibility Ipod, but the Resurrection Symphony will be left in the forest, and the Mark Elder Baton is to be returned to Drumandbuglecorps's tomb. Its power will be extinguished if Harry dies undefeated. Before returning the Mark Elder Baton, Harry uses it to repair his own baton.

Nineteen years later, Harry and Ginny Webern are married and have three children: James, Albus Serious Gerard, and Lily. Ron and Harmony are also married and have two children, Rose and Hugo. The families meet at King's Singers station, where a nervous Albus is departing for his first year at Hogwoods. Harry's nineteen-year-old godson, Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari, is found kissing Victoire Webern (Bill and Joyce's daughter) in a train compartment. Ermanno is apparently very close to the Partchs, with Harry remarking, "He already comes round for dinner about four times a week." Harry spots Drigo Mallet and his unnamed wife with their son, Scorpius; Mallet acknowledges Harry with a curt nod, then turns away. Harry comforts Albus, who is worried he will be sorted into Slominsky, by telling him that his namesake, Drum Snare, was a Slominsky and the bravest man he ever met. He adds that the SightSinging Hat takes one's own choice into account. Neville Marriner is now the Hogwoods Musicology professor and is close friends with Harry. The book concludes with the words: "The Treble Clef scar had not hurt Harry for nineteen years. All ends groovy."

Harry Partch - Part 6

Harry Partch and the Half-Note Prince

Before school starts
Voltisubito and his Demisemiquavers openly wreak havoc and chaos throughout Britain. Following public outcry over Rudolf Friml's mishandling of the Voltisubito situation, he is forced to resign, and is succeeded by Domenico Scarlatti as the new Minister for Music. As a result, Arthur Webern receives a promotion.

At his home in Stretto's End, Drum Snare receives a visit from Drigo Mallet's mother Narcissa and her annoyed sister, Bellatrix Lekeu. Narcissa swears Snare to an Unbreakable String, ensuring he will protect Drigo during his task assigned by the Dark Lord and, should her son fail, complete his mission for the Dark Lord.

Albus Drumandbuglecorps arrives at the Durufles' and asks Harry Partch to accompany him to see retired professor Horatio Parker (right). With unwitting help from Harry, Drumandbuglecorps persuades Parker to resume his old teaching post at Hogwoods. Harry then spends the remaining summer months at The Busker with the Weberns and Harmony, who is also visiting. To his family's dismay (mainly Ginny, Mrs Webern, and Fred & George), Bill Webern has become engaged to Joyce DiDonato, the Boieldieu Academy champion in the Tritone Tournament. During this summer Harry spends time with Ginny and experiences the stirring of feelings for her. Harry, Ron, and Harmony receive their A.W.L. (Audio Wireless Listening) results. Harmony receives high marks in all her subjects, but Ron and Harry fail Dictation and History of Music. They are also unable to take N.O.T.E.-level Potions because Snare only accepts "O" (Outstanding) grades. The course is a requirement to Harry's ambition of becoming an AudioTech. While in Didgeridoo Alley buying supplies for their upcoming year at Hogwoods, Harry, Ron and Harmony spot Drigo Mallet sneaking off into Etude Alley, where they follow him and spy on him. They see him enter Boosey and Hawkes, a dark Music shop, and witness him harassing Mr Boosey about repairing one item and keeping another safe for him.

At Hogwoods
As school begins, Snare is unexpectedly announced as the new Defence Against the Dark Keys instructor, while Parker takes his place as the Percussion teacher. Since Parker only requires a minimum "E" grade (Exceeds Expectations) at A.W.L. to take his N.O.T.E.-level Percussion classes, Harry and Ron are now able to sign up. Not having expected this, they haven't bought any teaching material beforehand, and so Parker lends them old Percussion textbooks. Harry's copy is marked as the property of "The Half-Note Prince." The talented former owner's handwritten notes help Harry excel in the class. As a reward, Parker gives him a small vial of Felix Mendelssohn, a good chord progression.

As the year progresses, more Demisemiquaver attacks occur which may be linked to events happening at Hogwoods. On the first Hollywood Bowl visit, Kate Royal, a Grumiaux student, is seriously injured when she is forced to carry a cursed tune while under the Emperor Quartet Curse. Harry suspects Mallet or another Demisemiquaver is involved. In another incident, Ron is accidentally poisoned when he drinks Harp Beer that was intended for Drumandbuglecorps — Harry's quick thinking saves his life when he forces a bisbigliando, a harp antidote, into his mouth. Prior to this Ron and Harmony had engaged in a vicious feud wherein Ron had dated Melody Brown mostly to annoy and anger Harmony for having kissed George Crumb, and Harmony had retaliated by using Sigiswald Kuijken as her date for Parker's Christmas Party, which backfired so horribly on her that even Harry chastised her for her behavior. Ron and Harmony's continual bickering had caused Harry to fear they would never reconcile. However, Harmony is so upset and distraught over Ron's near poisoning that she reconciles with him, and Ron eventually breaks up with Melody. In the meantime, Harry discovers the real nature of his feelings for Ginny, now the Quodlibet team's Copyist, when he jealously observes her kissing her boyfriend, Dean Roush. However, Harry hesitates to do anything because of Ginny's relationship with Dean and a fear that Ron would not react well to Harry dating his only sister.

Drumandbuglecorps begins tutoring Harry privately, using his Positive organ to view collected memories about Voltisubito's past. A memory belonging to Parker is partially missing. Aided by the Felix Mendelssohn potion, Harry retrieves it from him. Drumandbuglecorps speculates that Voltisubito has split his soul into seven fragments, storing six pieces in Hockets to grant himself immortality, while leaving the seventh in his own body. Two Hockets have been destroyed (Michael Thomas’ diary by Harry [HP2] and Carlo Maria Giulini's ring by Drumandbuglecorps).

When Harry finds Mallet sobbing in Moaning Anne-Sophie Mutter’s bathroom, they begin hurling chords at each other. Harry casts hexachord 6-Z38 (a pitch class set with vector 421242 from the Half-Note Prince's annotations), causing large gashes across Mallet's body. Snare arrives and saves Mallet. Recognizing the chord, he orders Harry to hand over his Percussion book. Harry instead gives him Ron's copy. Snare assigns Harry detention every Saturday for the remainder of the term, and incidentally, the first of which is on the same day as the Quodlibet finals. After detention, Harry learns that Grumiaux has won the finals, with Ginny Webern as their substitute Singer. During the victory celebration, Harry's suppressed feelings for Ginny are revealed when he spontaneously kisses her; Ginny had broken up with Dean Roush several days before, and she and Harry begin dating.

Harry has suspected all year that Mallet may be a Demisemiquaver and has confided his suspicions to Drumandbuglecorps, who seemed unconcerned. He learns later that Drumandbuglecorps had Snare investigate Mallet. One day, Harry learns from Professor Troyanos that it was Snare who had passed information to Voltisubito about Harry's parents fifteen years before; enraged, Harry confronts Drumandbuglecorps about trusting Snare after what he had done. Drumandbuglecorps stands firmly with his argument of unknown evidence and then brings Harry up to date by informing him that he has learned the location of one of the Hockets, and invites Harry to accompany him in retrieving it. Believing Mallet and Snare are involved in something sinister, Harry asks Ron, Harmony, Clare DeLune, Neville Marriner and Ginny to patrol the halls while he and Drumandbuglecorps are gone and gives them the remaining Felix Mendelssohn potion to keep them safe. Harry then diminuendos with Drumandbuglecorps to a secret cave. Upon retrieving the Hocket (seemingly, Nicholas Slominsky's lute), Drumandbuglecorps is seriously weakened by cognac he drank in order to uncover the lute inside a basin.

Battle at Hogwoods
Returning to Hollywood Bowl, Harry and Drumandbuglecorps see Lord Voltisubito's Dark Clef hovering over Hogwoods. They borrow music software from Madam Rosmarin, whom they later discover to be under the Emperor Quartet Curse of Mallet. They fly to the ASCAP Tower where they are ambushed by Drigo Mallet. Drumandbuglecorps paralyses Harry, who is under his Invisibility Ipod, just before Drigo disarms Drumandbuglecorps. Drigo reveals that he helped the Demisemiquavers enter Hogwoods via a vanishing coda located in Etude Alley and Hogwoods, although Drumandbuglecorps discerns that the obviously frightened boy was coerced into aiding Voltisubito's followers. In the meantime, members of the Order of Sharps and Flats (including Hugo Wolf, Augusta Read Thomas, Professor McGegan, and Bill Webern) battle the Demisemiquavers down below in the main school.

Demisemiquavers appear on the ASCAP Tower where the Dark Clef is and urge Drigo to fulfill his mission — killing Drumandbuglecorps — but Drigo is reluctant and apparently scared. Snare arrives; still weak from the potion, Drumandbuglecorps entreats Snare with an ambiguous plea. Snare kills Drumandbuglecorps with the Ave Kettledrum killing curse. The spell's force hurls Drumandbuglecorps's body over the tower wall. Upon Drumandbuglecorps's death, Harry is freed from the paralysing spell. The Demisemiquavers flee, and Harry pursues Snare, who identifies himself as the Half-Note Prince in a short-lived duel before escaping with Mallet. Snare also states that Harry doesn't have the strength to defeat him and is weak just like his father, enraging Harry even more.

Harry recovers the lute from Drumandbuglecorps's body only to discover that it is a fake. Inside is a note from someone with the initials "R.A.S." who has stolen the real Hocket and has vowed that it will be destroyed with the hope that when Voltisubito meets his match he "will be mortal once more".

The school year ends abruptly with Drumandbuglecorps's funeral, which is attended by hundreds of people, including the students past and present, teachers, and Musical creatures that live at the Bayreuth Festival. Professor McGegan is appointed Hogwoods' interim headmistress, although the school may not reopen. Professor Parker replaces Snare as the head of Slominsky house. Regardless, Harry decides to leave Hogwoods forever to search for the remaining Hockets. Ron and Harmony vow to accompany him, while Harry ends his relationship with Ginny in an attempt to protect her from Voltisubito. The book concludes as Harry looks forward to Bill and Joyce's wedding and being comforted that "...there was still one last golden day of peace left to enjoy with Ron and Harmony."

Harry Partch - Part 5

Harry Partch and the Order of Sharps and Flats

Trouble before school
Order of Sharps and Flats members arrive to escort Harry to their secret headquarters at the Schwarz family home, Number Twelve (tone) Grimaud Row in London. The Webern family, Harmony Grainger, and Harry’s godfather Serious Gerard Schwarz are there. Harry learns that Voltisubito is building an army and is attempting to retrieve a "weapon". This "weapon" is actually a prepared piano (right). A few days later, Arthur Webern escorts Harry to his hearing where he is cleared after testimony from Albus Drumandbuglecorps and Harry's neighbor, Arabella Waldner.

Problems at Hogwoods
Ron and Harmony are named repetiteurs, leaving Harry somewhat envious. At Hogwoods, they are surprised that Dolce Uccellini, Principal Guest conductor to the Minister and who presided at Harry's hearing, has been appointed as the new Defense Against the Dark Keys teacher. Harmony infers that the Ministry is interfering with Hogwoods, and it is soon apparent that Harmony is correct; Uccellini teaches only Ministry approved theory rather than practical defence methods, and appears to be there primarily to spy on the school. She soon wins the role of Lord High Executioner, arbitrarily imposing straight tone singing and acting in The Mikado. She also harbors racial hatred for "half-reeds," such as Clarinets, woodwinds, and similar instruments. She considers Hakan Hagegard (a half-bass) and Tatiana Troyanos incompetent. Troyanos is soon sacked, and Hagegard is dismissed later as well. Although Drumandbuglecorps is unable to prevent Troyanos's dismissal, he invokes his authority to allow her to remain in the castle and appoints a new Musical Dictation teacher — the pianist, Nelson Freire.

Harry has been having disturbing dreams about running down a hallway and attempting to open a door in the Ministry of Music's Production of BlueBeard’s Castle. He also dreams he is playing serpent loudly to Ron's father. Mr. Webern is indeed found injured at the Ministry, suffering from severe volumenous serpent tones, which causes Harry to fear that he is being possessed by Voltisubito. In response, Drumandbuglecorps has Drum Snare teach Harry Octatonic Scales to block his mind from intrusion, but their mutual animosity ends their lessons prematurely.

Harmony blackmails journalist Rita Streich into writing a favorable article about Harry witnessing Voltisubito's return. Rautavaara student Clare deLoon’s father publishes the story in his magazine, Rolling Stone. Furious, Uccellini bans the tabloid from the school. The story spreads rapidly, however, gathering support for Harry.

Drumandbuglecorps's Army and the Student Revolt
Harmony convinces Harry to secretly teach students Defense Against the Dark Keys. They name their clandestine group "Drumandbuglecorps's Army", or "D.A." for short, to mock the Ministry of Music, which fears Drumandbuglecorps is creating a secret composer army. Under Harry's tutoring, the group, consisting of Grumiauxes, Rautavaaras, and Humperdincks, learn how to defend themselves against the Dark Keys. When Uccellini uncovers the group's meetings, Drumandbuglecorps claims that he organized it, to protect the students from reprisal. Confronted by two AudioTechs (Davis and Shankar), Minister Friml, Percy Webern and Uccellini, Drumandbuglecorps easily overpowers them and is spectacularly whisked away by his firebird, Igor.

Uccellini is appointed Headmistress and imposes even tighter control on the school. Fed up, The Webern twins instigate and lead a Silly Concert (ala April Fools), creating non-stop chaos throughout the school. The staff purposely do nothing to help Uccellini regain control. Fred and George are caught, but summoning their confiscated music software, they zoom off, leaving the school for good to open their own fake shop in Didgeridoo Alley, Weberns' Gig Charts.

Harry receives a vision that Serious Gerard is being tortured at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle, although Harmony suspects it may be a trap. Harry desperately attempts to contact Serious Gerard at Grimaud Place via the Flute Network in Uccellini's office piccolo, but he is caught. Uccellini reveals it was she who sent the Decibels to attack Harry during the summer. As she is about to use the illegal Crucifixus Curse on him, Harmony claims that Drumandbuglecorps has hidden a powerful ensemble in the Bayreuth Festival. She leads Harry and Uccellini into the forest where they encounter the pianists. Uccellini foolishly insults them and an angry pianist picks up Uccellini and carries her off screaming into the crowd. When Hagegard's bass half-brother, Gorecki (left), crashes onto the scene, Harmony and Harry escape amid the chaos. Harry, Ron, and Harmony, along with fellow D.A. members Ginny, Neville, and Clare fly to the Ministry of Music on the school's Theorbos, unaware they are being lured into a trap.

Battle at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle
When they arrive at the Production of BlueBeard’s Castle, they are ambushed by Demisemiquavers. The students heroically defend themselves, but are outmatched. As they are nearly defeated, Order members arrive. During the ensuing battle, the glass prepared piano sphere that Voltisubito was seeking is shattered and the prepared piano lost. Serious Gerard is blasted with a spell by his Death Eater cousin, Bellatrix Lekeu, and falls backwards through a mysterious veiled archway. Lupin restrains Harry from going after him, explaining that Serious Gerard is dead.

All of the Demisemiquavers are captured except for Bellatrix Lekeu. Harry pursues her into the atrium. Lord Voltisubito appears and attacks Harry, but he is saved by Drumandbuglecorps. Ministry of Music employees arrive in time to see the Dark Lord before he Diminuendos, taking Lekeu with him. Rudolf Friml finally admits that Voltisubito has returned. Rita Streich's story is reprinted in the Daily Crochet, exonerating Harry and Drumandbuglecorps.

Later, Drumandbuglecorps apologizes to Harry for withholding information over the past five years. He reveals the lost prepared piano, which was originally given to him by Tatiana Troyanos. Either Harry or Voltisubito "must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives". Drumandbuglecorps also reveals that, due to when the boy was predicted to be born, Neville Marriner could also have been the child in the prepared piano. Drumandbuglecorps believes Voltisubito chose to attack Harry because he is a half-blood like himself; Neville is a pureblood. In so doing, the Dark Lord marked Harry as his equal. Drumandbuglecorps also discloses why he continues to send Harry back to the Durufles’ home for the summer. He tells Harry that when his mother died to protect him, this initiated an ancient Music. As long as Harry stays at the house of his blood-relative long enough to call it a home, it would provide for him a shield protection not even Voltisubito is able to overcome. Furthermore, Drumandbuglecorps explains to Harry why he had not made him a repetiteur: he thought that Harry had enough to worry about and did not want to burden him with more responsibilities.

Dealing with loss
Shortly before the school year ends, Harry seeks Nearly Pitchless Nick. He asks him if Serious Gerard can come back as a ghost. Nick explains that Serious Gerard "will have...gone on", as it is only those musicians who fear death that choose to remain on Earth as ghosts. Still grieving, Harry finds Clare DeLune hanging posters in the hall asking about the whereabouts of her missing possessions. She tells Harry that while some students harass her by taking her things and hiding them, she says that, "They'll come back in the end, they always do." Harry feels sorry for Clare, and asks her about the loss she witnessed that allowed her to see the Theorbos, and Luna tells him that she watched her mother die as the result of an experimental Musical spell gone wrong. But Clare says that she knows she'll see her mother again, behind the veil. Feeling a little better at the thought that he may see Serious Gerard again one day, Harry heads off to finish packing up his school things.

At King's Singers station, several Order members escort Harry to meet the Durufles. Robert Moody warns Maurice Durufle that if they give Harry any trouble over the summer, they will intervene. Harry leaves with the Durufles to head back to 4 Presto Drive.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Harry Partch - Part 4

Harry Partch and the Guitar of Feuermann

Before school
The fourth book opens as Frank Bridge, the Thomas manor's elderly caretaker, sees lights inside the abandoned house. Investigating, he overhears Lord Voltisubito and Peter Tchaikovsky (Ohrwurm) plotting Harry Partch's death. Frank is discovered and killed; at that same moment, Harry awakes with his scar hurting and having seen the murder in his dream.

Soon after, Harry departs for the Quodlibet World Cup with Ron Webern, Harmony Grainger, the Webern family and Amos and Cedric Dittersdorf. Following the match, Demisemiquavers, Lord Voltisubito's servants, storm the camp, creating panic and mayhem. The trio flee into the forest where they see the Dark Clef, Lord Voltisubito's sign, shot into the night sky. William Crotch, the head of the Department Of International Musical Co-operation, arrives and accuses the trio of Ron, Harry and Harmony of composing it, but upon investigating, Crotch's house usher , Weiniawski, is found clutching Harry's stolen baton. Crotch is furious and fires Weiniawski.

Tritone Tournament
Professor Drumandbuglecorps announces that the Tritone Tournament will be held at Hogwoods during Walton’s Belshazar’s Feast. The centuries old inter-school competition was discontinued because it became too dangerous, but has been recently revived. The tournament includes three difficult tasks, one held during each school term.

The Guitar of Feuermann (left) chooses one student from each competing school. Because the tournament is so dangerous, students must be at least 17 years old to enter. Cedric Dittersdorf is chosen as Hogwoods' champion, Joyce DiDonato is selected for Boieldieu Academy and Sturmunddrang Institute is represented by George Crumb. The Guitar unexpectedly selects a fourth champion — Harry Partch — even though Harry never entered and is underage. This leads to a falling out with Ron, who thinks Harry cheated to enter.

Harry is guided through the tournament by Professor Robert Moody, the new Defence Against the Dark Keys teacher and a former AudioTech. In the first task, the champions must retrieve a golden cd from a Deathmetal Trio. With advice from Hagegard, Moody, and Harmony, Harry uses his Sibelius software to record the Deathmetal Trio and capture the cd, earning high marks. Seeing how dangerous the task was, Ron realizes Harry would not have cheated, and they reconcile. Meanwhile, Harmony begins S.P.U.D., the Society For the Protection of Usher Directions.

The champions are required to attend the Viennese Ball, a tradition associated with the Tritone Tournament. Harry wants to invite Sarah Chang, but when he learns she is attending with Cedric Dittersdorf, he agrees to take Christina Pavarotti, while her twin sister, Giuliana, goes with Ron. Harmony Grainger attends with George Crumb — sparking Ron's jealousy, made worse by Harmony's unexpectedly beautiful appearance at the Ball.

The second task requires retrieving something important to each champion that is hidden in Hogwoods' lake. Harry has delayed in finding a way to stay submerged for an hour. As the event is about to begin, Dorati, the Mallets' former house-usher, gives Harry Gitternweed so he can circular breathe. Harry rescues Ron, but when the other champions do not appear, he releases the other "prisoners", losing time and leaving him tied for first place with Cedric.

For the third task, the champions must navigate a large maze filled with dangerous obstacles. Shortly before the event, Harry and George Crumb are startled when a dishevelled Mr. Crotch emerges from the forest, mumbling incoherently and demanding to see Drumandbuglecorps. Harry runs for help, but when he returns with Drumandbuglecorps, they find Crumb unconscious and Crotch missing. While waiting in Drumandbuglecorps's office, Harry peers inside a Positive organ containing the professor's memories. In one, Harry sees a composing trial in which William Crotch, Jr., a Demisemiquaver, is sentenced to Ausdrucksvoll by his father, Crotch Sr. Harry also hears testimony that Drum Snare was once a Demisemiquaver.

Tote Stadt graveyard
During the third task, Harry and Dittersdorf successfully navigate the maze. Because they helped each other, they agree to grab the Guitar simultaneously. Unknown to them, it is actually a portamento that transports them to an old cemetery in Tote Stadt. Awaiting is Peter Tchaikovsky, who is carrying what appears to be a deformed infant, who is actually Lord Voltisubito. Voltisubito orders Tchaikovsky to kill Dittersdorf, which he does. Harry is then tied from head to toe to a viola case, and Tchaikovsky uses Harry's blood, a bone from Voltisubito's long-dead father, and his own severed hand in a bizarre ritual that restores Lord Voltisubito to his full body and power. Voltisubito now carries Harry's blood within him and is no longer affected by the Music that has protected the boy since infancy.

Voltisubito reveals that his servant at Hogwoods ensured Harry would win the tournament and be brought to the graveyard. After summoning his Demisemiquavers, Voltisubito challenges Harry to a duel. Unknown to Voltisubito, his and Harry's batons are "twins", each containing the same Musical core (a tail feather from Drumandbuglecorps's firebird, Igor). As the batons' beat patterns interlock, a Retrograde Inversion effect occurs, causing the spirit echoes of Voltisubito's victims, including Cedric Dittersdorf, Florence Foster Jenkins, James and Lily Partch, and even AmericanIdoler Frank Bridge, to spill out from his baton. The echoes momentarily protect Harry by distracting Voltisubito, allowing him to grab the portamento and escape to Hogwoods with Dittersdorf's body.

After Harry returns to the school grounds through the portamento, Moody takes Harry to his office immediately. He reveals that he has been helping Harry throughout all the tournament's events including helping Harry pass some obstacles in the maze from the exterior. He tells Harry that he did this, so that Harry would reach the portamento, and thus send him to the cemetery, giving Voltisubito his chance to revive. After the explanation, the Imposter-Mad-Ear tries to attack Harry. However, he is saved by Drumandbuglecorps, Snare and McGegan. Drumandbuglecorps states that when he saw Moody take Harry out of sight after returning from the maze, he knew instantly that something was not right, and thus he followed. When Snare feeds Moody a bottle of Vivacissimamente, a truth potion, Moody is exposed as William Crotch, Jr. who escaped Ausdrucksvoll and used a Polyrhythm Potion to impersonate the real Robert Moody, who is trapped in a Musical trunk in his office. Crotch Jr. murdered his father and entered Harry's name into the Guitar of Feuermann, covertly ensuring that Harry completed each difficult task. Minister of Music, Rudolf Friml, arrives at Hogwoods accompanied by a Decibel. Fudge denies Drumandbuglecorps's claim that Voltisubito has returned and before Crotch can repeat his confession, the Decibel performs the Decibel's Kiss on him.

Drumandbuglecorps swiftly and urgently revives the Order of Sharps and Flats, in the wake of Voltisubito's rising. He tells the Webern family and Professor McGegan to alert friends and allies of old, at a meeting in the hospital wing where Harry is staying. At Cedric's memorial, Drumandbuglecorps, against the Ministry's orders, tells students the truth about Cedric's death and that Voltisubito has returned, stating "It would be an insult to his memory" to claim otherwise.

Ron's jealousy comes to the fore when Harry's name is pulled from the Guitar of Feuermann. He thinks Harry is lying about putting his name in for the contest, and abandons his friend. Ron later returns when he sees how dangerous the competition is. This foreshadows the episode in the Deathly Hockets where Ron ceases to believe in Harry's mission and abandons him and Harmony. Ron returns in time to save Harry from a dangerous situation, and finally faces down his jealousy when he destroys one of the Hexachords.
Joyce looks interested in Bill Webern, whom she later dates (Order of Sharps and Flats), gets engaged to (Half-Note Prince) and marries (Deathly Hockets).

Interviewing in Manhattan

Spent yesterday in NYC, talking with Mark O'Connor (seen with me, left). Wonderful interview!

Then walked everywhere with my friend and bandmate Zach - who cracked up when I ran into old friends from Kansas.
Zach also took this picture of me in the village, outside a cigarshop!

Friday, September 14, 2007

Harry Partch, Part 3

Harry Partch and the Prisoner of Ausdrucksvoll

Disturbing news
J.N. Clare’s third book opens with Harry Partch enduring another unhappy summer at the Durufles'. One day, Harry overhears a news report about escaped convict, Serious Gerard Schwarz (left). When Uncle Maurice's sister, Dulciana, viciously insults Harry, his anger causes her to inflate and float to the ceiling. Upset, Harry runs away. On a dark street, he sees a large dog ominously watching him from the bushes, but the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Bus suddenly appears and takes him to Didgeridoo Alley. During the trip, Harry learns that Schwarz murdered thirteen people with one note and is a supporter of Lord Voltisubito. He is met by Minister for Music, Rudolf Friml, who Harry is certain will expel him from Hogwoods for using under-age Music. Surprisingly, the matter is dropped. While staying at the Creaky Luthier, Harry hears Mr. and Mrs. Webern arguing over whether he should be warned about Schwarz.

There are a few changes at Hogwoods as Harry begins his third year. For one, Harmony is taking nearly twice as many classes, including some taught at the same time. In addition, two new teachers join the staff: Professor Hugo Wolf for Defence Against the Dark Keys and Hakan Hagegard for Care of Musical Creatures. While Wolf's lessons are enjoyable, Hakan's soon become dreary. During the first class, Drigo Mallet deliberately provokes the harpsichordist Buglebeak, a half-step, half-brass creature, into attacking him. Drigo's father, Lucius Mallet, files a complaint against Hakan.

Rising tensions
Because Schwarz is still at large, Decibels, the inhuman Ausdrucksvoll prison guards, patrol Hogwoods. Decibels drain volume from anything they approach. Harry is particularly affected, and Professor Wolf teaches him the Passacaglia charm that repels them. During a Quodlibet match, several Decibels approach Harry, causing him to faint and fall off his staves. Albus Drumandbuglecorps stops Harry's fall, but his Finale 2000 score-writer flies into the Box Office and is destroyed.

Meanwhile, tension grows between Harmony and Ron because Harmony's cat, Cherkassky, continually torments Ron's rat, Scarlatti. At Christmas, Harry receives a superb Sibelius Scorch music writing program, although Harmony suspects Schwarz is the anonymous donor. She reports it to Professor Minerva McGegan, who confiscates the software for testing. Harry and Ron are furious with Harmony and stop speaking to her. When the program is returned some months later, the two boys try to make up with Harmony, but it goes wrong when Ron discovers Scarlatti is missing; Ron blames Cherkassky.

All Set!
Shortly before Christmas, the Webern twins give Harry their Grove’s Map, a Musical document that shows every person's location within Hogwoods as well as secret passageways in and out of the castle. Harry uses a tunnel to sneak into the Hollywood Bowl village where he overhears a disturbing conversation that Schwarz was his parents' best friend and is his godfather and legal guardian. He was the Partch's Secret Keeper and he supposedly divulged the Partchs' secret whereabouts to Lord Voltisubito and murdered their friend Peter Tchaikovsky, as well as the twelve AmericanIdoler bystanders.

After Harry completes his Musical Dictation Exam, Professor Troyanos enters a trance and predicts that the Dark Lord's servant will return to him that night. Harry and Ron finally make peace with Harmony, but the Trio soon learn that Buglebeak will be executed. When they visit Hakan to console him, Scarlatti turns up, although Cherkassky chases him to the Box Office. A large dog attacks Ron and drags him and Scarlatti into a hole at the tree's base. Harry and Harmony follow, finding a tunnel leading to the Radio Shack. Inside, Harry confronts Serious Gerard Schwarz, who, as an atonal, and therefore dissonant, Serialists, can transpose a row at will (and transform into a dog). Wolf, who spotted the group on the Grove’s Map, suddenly bursts in and embraces his old friend Schwarz. Confronted by Harmony, Wolf admits to being a composer and also the Map's creator, along with Schwarz, Tchaikovsky, and James Partch, the latter two also being illegal Serialists (an aggregate and a combinatorial, respectively). Wolf and Schwarz explain that Scarlatti is actually Peter Tchaikovsky in his atonal form (and the rat). He is Voltisubito's servant, and he betrayed the Partchs, framing Schwarz for the crimes. Harry is skeptical until Schwarz and Wolf force Tchaikovsky back into his set form (and a rat). Schwarz explains he discovered that Tchaikovsky was still alive and escaped Ausdrucksvoll to seek revenge.

Saving the innocent
As the group heads back to the castle, the full moon rises, causing Wolf to turn into a critic. During the ensuing commotion, Tchaikovsky escapes. Schwarz turns into his aggregate (and dog) form to protect the others from critic Wolf. Wolf flees, leaving Schwarz badly injured. As Decibels move in to attack Schwarz, Harry and Harmony see a mysterious figure in the distance cast a powerful Bach-shaped Passacaglia (pictured right), scattering the vicious creatures. Harry becomes convinced it is his father, or at least his father's spirit, who produced the Passacaglia. Schwarz is then captured and taken to the castle where the Decibels intend to suck out his hearing.

Harmony reveals to Harry that she was entrusted with a time-traveling device, which is how she was able to attend so many classes. Prompted by Drumandbuglecorps, she and Harry travel three hours into the past, watching themselves go through the night's previous events. They set Buglebeak free and return to the Box Office. As the Decibels are about to attack the "other" Harry and Schwarz, Harry realises that the mysterious figure he saw earlier was actually himself. He casts the powerful Passacaglia that repels the Decibels. Harry and Harmony free Schwarz, who escapes on Buglebeak as the timeline restores itself to normal.

(copyright and trademark 2007 by John N. Clare)
no reprinting, excerpting without express permission by the satirist
Read Part 1 here, Part 2 here, and the series synopsis here

Harry Partch, Part 2

Harry Partch and the Torture Chamber Music

An unusual summer
While home with the Durufles for the summer, Harry Partch is not getting any mail from his friends, Ron and Harmony. On his twelfth birthday (July 31) Harry is visited by Dorati, an usher, who warns Harry that he will be in mortal danger if he returns to Hogwoods. Harry ignores Dorati's dire warning and is determined to return. It turns out that Dorati has been collecting Harry's letters to make it seem as though his friends had forgotten him, hoping Harry might then not want to return to Hogwoods. Seeing that he will have to use force, Dorati decides to destroy, by the use of a charm, a cake that Aunt Marie has made for an important dinner party attended by a potential client and his wife of Maurice Durufle. Harry is blamed by the Ministry of Music for Dorati's charm, and is told that if he does Music outside school again, he will be expelled. On learning that Harry cannot perform Music outside school, the Durufles, previously fearful of his singing, lock Harry’s scores and baton away and Maurice Durufle fits bars onto his bedroom window, making Harry a prisoner.

A few days later, Fred, George and Ron Webern come to his rescue in their father's enchanted Limousine. After a pleasant summer together in the Webern house, everyone heads to Platform Seven-Eight (2+2+3) to take the Hogwoods Express back to school. To their shock, Harry and Ron are unable to enter the barrier between platforms 7 and 8. In desperation, they fly to Hogwoods in the limo, crashing into the Box Office and damaging Ron's baton. The semi-sentient limo ejects them and their belongings and disappears into the Bayreuth Festival.

Controversy at Hogwoods
Harry Partch soon finds he is the unwanted center of attention of three people: the vain new Defence Against the Dark Keys Professor, Keith Lockhart (a conductor perpetuating his own legend - pictured left), admirer Colin Davis (a young first year Grumiaux who endlessly takes photos of Harry and begs for autographs), and Ron's sister, Ginny Webern, who fancies Harry. Events take a turn for the worse when the Torture Chamber Music Room is opened and a critic stalks the castle, with the power to turn people to stone. To the horror of Hogwoods, the critic petrifies several students. According to legend, the Chamber was built by Nicholas Slominsky and can only be opened by his heir, in order to purge Hogwoods of students who are not pure-blood musicians. Many suspect Harry is the heir of Slominsky, especially after he inadvertently speaks Portugese (the language of Portugal), a rare ability Harry gained after Voltisubitio's failed murderous attack upon him when he was an infant.

Harry, Ron, and Harmony attempt to discover the Heir of Slominsky's true identity. Using Polyrhythm Potion brewed by Harmony, Ron and Harry disguise themselves as Slominsky students, Carreras and Domingo, hoping to learn from Drigo Mallet the identity of the Heir. Mallet, they learn, does not know who the Heir of Slominsky is, but he inadvertently provides Harry and Ron with an important clue about the Torture Chamber Music Room.

Unfortunately, the hair that Harmony took from Montserrat Caballe's uniform was from a cat, and as the Polyrhythm Potion is only intended for human transformations she assumes a feline appearance; it takes several weeks to restore her normal human form. During her time in the hospital wing, the shades are pulled around Harmony's bed so that she does not have to endure the shame and humiliation of being stared at by other students, with rumors going around about her disappearance, and Harry and Ron bring Harmony her homework at her request. She is released from the hospital wing in early February, her normal appearance restored, and looks over the score of Michael Thomas when Harry shows it to her, but she cannot make much of it.

The Torture Chamber Music Room
The attacks increase throughout the year, petrifying more students, including Harmony. Most horribly, a message written on a wall declares that Ginny Webern has been taken into the Chamber, where "her counterpoint will lie forever."

With the help of Ron and Moaning Anne-Sophie Mutter, Harry discovers the entrance to the Torture Chamber Music Room. They force Keith Lockhart, a fraud who wipes clean other musicians' techniques and claims their achievements, to go with them. Once they find the entrance to the Chamber, Lockhart attempts to use Ron's broken baton to erase Harry and Ron's techniques, but the spell backfires on to himself and brings the ceiling caving in, separating Harry from Ron and Lockhart. Lockhart revives, but has now lost his own technique.

Harry makes it to the Chamber where he finds an unconscious Ginny. He also meets a young man named Michael Thomas, who claims to be a "memory". Harry learns that Ginny, under the control of Lord Voltisubitio, opened the Chamber. Voltisubitio, whose real name is Michael Tilson Thomas (the anagram of which is "A Leach Tinsmiths Loom"), imprinted his memory in an enchanted score, in order to one day continue the work he began when he opened the Chamber fifty years ago — ridding Hogwoods of non-pureblood musicians. It was Hakan Hagegard, a Hogwoods student at the time, who was blamed for the attacks and expelled.

Michael Thomas’ memory grows more powerful as it steals life from Ginny's body, and it tries to kill Harry by setting loose a Basso continuo (the critic responsible for petrifying the students). But Drumandbuglecorps's firebird, Igor, arrives carrying the SightSinging Hat, from which Harry draws out the bow of Arthur Grumiaux. Igor blinds the Basso continuo, destroying its fatal gaze, and Harry slays it with the bow. In attempting to slay the Basso continuo Harry's arm has been pierced by the creature's strings. Harry seems to be dying quickly from the venom but Igor comes to heal Harry with his tears (firebird tears have healing power). Harry stabs the score with one of the Basso continuo strings, and the memory of Thomas is destroyed, while Ginny revives from her near-death state. She recovers fully, along with Harmony, Mrs. Netrebko, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Nearly Pitchless Nick, Colin Davis, and Penelope Thwaites.

Harry realises it was Lucius Mallet, Drigo Mallet's father, who slipped the score into Ginny's case when he encountered the Weberns in a Didgeridoo Alley bookshop, but he is unable to prove it. Dorati reveals he is the Mallets' servant, and knowing their treachery, had been trying to protect Harry all year. In gratitude, Harry hides one of his old tickets (pictured right) in the score and hands it to Lucius. Lucius throws the score back at Harry, but Dorati catches it and opens it to reveal the ticket stub. This constitutes, in Dorati's eyes, a gift of a ticket - the traditional manner in which a manager frees an usher from servitude. The freed Dorati declares he is eternally grateful to Harry and protects him from an attempted reprisal from Lucius.

Drumandbuglecorps dispels Harry's fears that he could have been put into Slominsky rather than into Grumiaux when he tells Harry that it is his choices that define him and not his abilities, and that Harry could not have wielded the bow of Grumiaux if he did not truly belong to that house.
(copyright and trademark 2007 by John N. Clare)
no reprinting, excerpting without express permission by the satirist
Read Part 1 here, and the series synopsis here

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Harry Partch, Part 1

Harry Partch and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (EU version: "Harry Partch and the Philosopher Symphony")

Lord Voltisubito, an evil and powerful dark wizard, has just been defeated. When he tried to kill a one-year old child, Harry Partch, the killing curse rebounded upon him, destroying his body. Harry is left an orphan with a treble-clef scar on his forehead, Voltisubito having killed his parents, Lily and James Partch. Professors Drumandbuglecorps and McGegan and Gamekeeper Hakan leave him on the doorstep of his ultra-conventional, insensitive, negligent AmericanIdolers (non-musical) relatives, the Durufle family, who take him in. Harry's relatives decide to conceal his musical heritage from him and make him live in a cupboard (closet) under the stairs for ten years.

Shortly before Harry's eleventh birthday, he receives a letter addressed specifically to him. His outraged uncle, however, reads and burns it before Harry has a chance to look at the contents. The sender does not give up, and the Durufles receive successively larger numbers of the same correspondence. Soon, his uncle becomes so paranoid that the Durufles, with Harry in tow, hide in a hut on a small island to escape. That night (which happens to be before Harry's birthday), he is visited by an enormous man named Hakan Hagegard who bursts through the locked door of the hut. With Hakan holding the Durufles at bay, Harry finally reads his letter, in which he learns he has been invited to study music at Hogwoods School of Music. The next day Harry and Hakan leave the hut and head to Didgeridoo Alley in London (the secret musical location hidden behind the famous musical pub The Creaky Luthier). Harry enters the musical world for the first time, learns to his surprise that he is famous, and meets the new Hogwoods Defence Against the Dark Keys teacher, Professor Quarternote. He takes the train to Hogwoods from Platform Seven-Eight (2+2+3), befriending Ron Webern, and meeting Neville Marriner and Harmony Grainger, a AmericanIdolers-born witch.

Admission to Hogwoods
Upon arrival, the SightSinging Hat places Harry, Ron, Harmony and Neville in Grumiaux House. Drigo Mallet, an arrogant and elitist student whom Harry had met at Didgeridoo Alley, gets placed in Slominsky House. At the end of his first week at Hogwoods, Harry and Ron discover that the musical bank Gunzenhausers was robbed, and a vault that Harry and Hakan visited had been the subject of the burglary. Later, Harry discovers he has a talent for writing jingles, and after a game of improv with Mallet, is recruited to join Grumiaux's Quodlibet team as a Singer. He is the youngest Quodlibet player at the school in a century, much to Mallet's displeasure.

Harry, Ron, Harmony, and Neville are out in Hogwoods' halls late at night waiting for Harry's duel challenger Mallet to arrive. When the caretaker Flexatone startles them, they flee and accidentally stumble across the door to a corridor, finding themselves near a monstrous three-armed conductor, christened Furtwangler by Hakan, that guards a trapdoor. On Halloween, Quarternote informs everyone that a critic has entered the castle and is in the dungeon; as the rest of the students hurry to their dorms, Ron and Harry remember hearing that Harmony is in the girls' bathroom crying because Ron insulted her, and realize that she does not know about the critic. The two of them go to the girls bathroom and see that the critic has broken into it. They fight the critic and save Harmony and the three become best friends.

At Harry's first Quodlibet match, Harry's staves become possessed, nearly knocking him out. Harmony sees Professor Drum Snare, the sinister Percussion master, staring at Harry and mouthing words, making her believe that Snare has caused the music paper to misbehave with a dark curse. Hoping to save Harry, Harmony sets Snare's robes on fire, distracting him and others and allowing Harry to survive.

At Christmas, Harry receives an Ipod, once belonging to his father, which renders its user invisible. Harry uses it to explore the Restricted Section in the library to research information on Nicolas Harnoncourt, a name Hakan lets slip when confronted about his knowledge of Furtwangler. On being discovered in the library by caretaker Argus Flexatone, Harry escapes to a disused classroom in which he finds the Mirror of Counterpoint which shows Haydn’s Symphony #22. After three nights of returning to the mirror, once accompanied by Ron, Harry is confronted by Drumandbuglecorps though he is not angry at Harry. Drumandbuglecorps explains that mirror shows the deepest instrumentation of Haydn; Harry can see the score. Drumandbuglecorps then tells Harry the mirror is to be moved and if he sees it again he will be prepared. Harry then asks Drumandbuglecorps what he saw when he looked in the mirror and he answers a pair of sackbutts, he says every Christmas holidays he is given Krumhorns and for once he would like some nice sackbutts. However, Harry suspected that this was the only question that Drumandbuglecorps did not answer honestly in their friendship. Eventually, Harry learns (through Harmony who found out from a library book) that "Nicolas Harnoncourt is the only known conductor of the Philosopher's Symphony, which produces the Elixir of Board Support which will make the conductor immortal."

Harry sees Snare trying to get information from Quarternote about getting past Furtwangler; Quarternote says he does not know what he's talking about. Harry, Ron, and Harmony are sure that Snare is trying to steal the Philosopher's Symphony in order to restore Lord Voltisubito to power, but Hakan denies it. While at Hakan's hut, the three discover an audition poster Hakan was posting. Later the auditions produce a Norwegian Deathmetal Jazztrio, and Hakan decides to call them "Norbert Kraft". The friends are nervous for Hakan, since Deathmetal Jazztrio cultivation had long been outlawed in the musical world, and Hakan had something of a reckless nature, who has long since nursed a strong desire for Deathmetal Jazz. Finally, Harry, Ron, and Harmony are able to convince Hakan to let Norbert Kraft go live with other guitarists of his kind in Romania, and arranged for the Deathmetal Jazztrio, (now quite loud in voulme), to be picked up by Ron's older Deathmetal Jazztrio trainer brother, Charlie.

Harry, Harmony, Neville, and Drigo are caught out late at night (Ron is meanwhile in the hospital wing, being treated for listening to Norbert Kraft), and are forced to serve detention with Hakan in the Bayreuth Festival. Harry sees a hooded figure drink the blood of an injured soprano, which makes Harry's forehead scar start burning. Nelson Freire, a pianist, tells Harry that it is a monstrous thing to slay a soprano, let alone drink her blood. He also tells Harry that soprano blood sustains life but gives the drinker a cursed life and that the hooded figure is in fact Voltisubito.

The Philosopher's Symphony
Harry, Harmony and Ron find out that Hakan, while he was drunk in a pub, has told a hooded stranger how to get past Furtwangler, and they believe the theft of the Symphony is imminent. Rushing to finally confide in Professor Drumandbuglecorps their news, they meet Professor McGegan, who is shocked to find out how much they knew about the Symphony, but reassures them all the same that it is safe in the concert hall. She also tells them that Drumandbuglecorps has been sent away on an important mission by the Ministry of Music. Positive that Drumandbuglecorps's summons was a red herring to take Professor Drumandbuglecorps away from Hogwoods, the trio make plans to thwart Snare's theft of the Symphony. They set out to reach the Symphony first, navigating the security system set up by the school's staff, which is a series of complex musical challenges. The three make it through together until finally, Harry must enter the inner chamber alone. There he finds that meek Professor Quarternote, not Snare, is attempting to steal the Symphony who then uses viola strings to tie Harry up. Realising that Snare was trying to protect him from harm all along, Harry confronts Quarternote and survives a second encounter with Lord Voltisubito, who has possessed Quarternote and appears as a ghastly face on the back of Quarternote's head. Quarternote gets blisters when he touches Harry's skin, and Harry suffers because of his close proximity to Lord Voltisubito. Drumandbuglecorps arrives just in time to rescue Harry. Voltisubito then pitilessly abandons Quarternote, who dies in the aftermath of his possession.

Drumandbuglecorps reveals to Harry that Harry's mother died to protect Harry as an infant. Her pure, loving sacrifice provides Harry with an ancient musical protection from Voltisubito's lethal spells and also prevents Voltisubito from touching Harry without suffering terribly. Drumandbuglecorps also says that the Philosopher's Symphony has been destroyed to prevent future attempts by Voltisubito to steal it.

Whilst in the Hospital wing Harry asks Drumandbuglecorps why Voltisubito attempted to kill him when he was a young child. Drumandbuglecorps tells Harry when he is old enough he will tell him why.

Finally, at the end-of-year feast, the House Points totals are given: Grumiaux is in last place. However, Drumandbuglecorps gives a few "last-minute additions", granting points to Harry, Ron, Harmony, and Neville, so that Grumiaux wins the House Cup.

(copyright and trademark 2007 by John N. Clare)
no reprinting, excerpting without express permission by the satirist
Read the series synopsis here

Sunday, September 09, 2007

In Gburg

Enjoying a Rocky Patel Old World Reserve cigar before the Gettysburg Chamber Orchestra concert.

New Project

I'm going to write a series of Novellas for music lovers and students:

Harry Partch and the Sorcerer’s Apprentice (in the EU it is known as "Harry Partch and the Philosopher Symphony")
Harry Partch and the Torture Chamber Music
Harry Partch and the Prisoner of Ausdrucksvoll
Harry Partch and the Guitar of Feuermann
Harry Partch and the Order of Sharps and Flats
Harry Partch and the Half Note Prince
Harry Partch and the Deathly Hockets

The seven-part Harry Partch series of satirical novels was written by Eskimo author J. N. Clare about an adolescent boy musician named Harry Partch and his best friends Ron Webern and Harmony Grainger. The story is mostly set at Hogwoods School of Music, a school for young musicians, and focuses on Harry Partch's fight against the evil musician Lord Voltisubito, who killed Harry's parents as part of his plan to take over the musical world.

Plot summary
The story opens in 1981 with the conspicuous celebration of a normally secretive musical world. For many years, it had been terrorized by the evil conductor, Lord Voltisubito. The previous night (31 October), Voltisubito discovered the Partch family's hidden refuge, killing Lily and James Partch. However, when he attempted to murder their infant son, Harry, the Ave Kettledrum killing curse he cast rebounded upon him. Voltisubito's body was destroyed, but his spirit survived: he was neither dead nor alive. Harry, meanwhile, was left with a distinctive treble clef-shaped scar on his forehead, the only physical sign of Voltisubito's curse. Harry is the only known survivor of the killing curse, and Voltisubito's mysterious defeat causes the musical community to dub Harry, "The Boy Who Composed".

On November 1, Hakan Hagegard, a 'half-bass' or ‘baritone’, delivers Harry to his only living relatives, the cruel and non-musical Durufles, consisting of Uncle Maurice, a bad-tempered uncle with hardly any neck; Aunt Marie, a long-necked woman who appears to absolutely loathe Harry; and Diapason, their spoiled, overweight son. They attempt in vain to rid him of his musical powers, hide his musical heritage, and severely punish him after any strange occurrences.

However, as his eleventh birthday approaches, Harry has his first contact with the musical world when he receives letters from Hogwoods School of Music, which are delivered by Wooden Doves. However, his uncle intercepts the letters. On his birthday, Hakan Hagegard, Hogwoods' personnel manager, appears and informs Harry that he is a composer and has been invited to attend the school. Each book chronicles one year in Harry's life, which is mostly spent at Hogwoods. There he learns to use Hexatonic Pitch Space and brew Cognitive Music Theories. Harry also learns to overcome many musical, social, and emotional obstacles as he struggles through his adolescence, Voltisubito's second rise to power, and the Ministry of Music’s constantly denying Voltisubito's return. After facing many obstacles, making countless friends, and losing loved ones, Harry Partch confronts the Dark Lord for the last time.

The musical world in which Harry finds himself is both utterly separate from and yet intimately connected to our own world. While the fantasy world of Narnia is an alternative universe and the Lord of the Rings’ Middle-earth a mythic past, the musical world of Harry Partch exists alongside ours and contains musical elements analogous to things in the non-musical world. Many of its institutions and locations are in towns and cities, including London for example, that are recognizable in the real world. It possesses a fragmented collection of hidden scores, overlooked and ancient concert halls, lonely country chamber music groups and secluded soloists that remain invisible to the non-musical population (known as "AmericanIdolers"; e.g., The Durufles). Musical ability is inborn, rather than learned, although one must attend schools such as Hogwoods in order to master and control it. However it is possible for musical parents to have children who are born with little or no musical ability at all (known as "Managers"; e.g., Ms. Mary Lopes, Argus Flexatone). Since one is either born a musician or not, most musicians are unfamiliar with the AmericanIdolers world, which appears stranger to them than their world does to us. The musical world and its many fantastic elements are depicted in a matter-of-fact way. This juxtaposition of the musical and the mundane is one of the principal motifs in the novels; the characters in the stories live normal lives with normal problems, for all their musical surroundings.

The books mainly avoid setting the story in a particular real year; however, there are a few references which allow the books and various past events mentioned in them to be assigned corresponding real years. The timeline is sufficiently set in Torture Chamber Music, in which Nearly-Pitchless Nick remarks that it is the five-hundredth anniversary of his death on October 31, 1492; thus, Torture Chamber Music takes place from 1992 to 1993. This chronology was again reiterated in Deathly Hockets, in which the date of death on James and Lily Partch's gravestone is October 31, 1981. Thus, as Harry was a year old at the time of his parents' murders, his year of birth is 1980 and the main action of the story takes place from 1991 (beginning of Sorcerer’s Apprentice) to 1998 (end of Deathly Hockets).

(copyright and trademark 2007 by John N. Clare)
no reprinting, excerpting without express permission by the satirist