The four works on this newly remastered CD are eloquent testimony to Harry Partch’s aesthetic of corporeality. The music he composed for The Dreamer That Remains, for Rotate the Body in All Its Planes, for Windsong, and for Water! Water!, was intended as only one component in the total artistic experience. In these works music joins with drama, with film, with dance, even with gymnastics, as integral parts of the composer’s vision.
New World's The Harry Partch Collection, Vol. 3, as was the CRI disc on which it is based, contains the odds and ends in Harry Partch's recorded canon, pieces that do not really fit into a comfortably cohesive contextual relationship with the rest of his work cycles. Of the four works included, Rotate the Body in All Its Planes is the most unusual and precious. Scored for soprano, gymnasts, the University of Illinois marching band, and a clutch of Partch instruments, it celebrates the spirit of gymnastic athleticism, but also sounds a bit like a wild collegiate party. The Dreamer That Remains is Partch's bitterest musical statement this side of Bitter Music and brings full circle many of Partch's key themes; loneliness, leisure, indigence, and the inevitability of death. Windsong is the 1958 audio track of Madeleine Tourtelot's film that Partch re-recorded in 1968 for CBS Records as Daphne of the Dunes. It is easy to see why Partch wanted to revisit Windsong; the original tape, recorded by Partch himself playing all parts and edited to fit the film, is choppy and not well recorded in spots. Nonetheless, it's a prime example of Partch as virtuoso performer on his own instruments, something Partch no longer felt he was in 1968. Water! Water! is sort of like Partch's answer to Spike Jones' movie Fireman, Save My Child!, complete with silly one-liners, slapstick routines, and musical non-sequiturs. Partch regarded Water! Water! as a failure, and yet it is one of his most appealing and amusing creations, a rare instance where Partch directly quotes or parrots ideas drawn from popular music.
The New World booklet runs to 20 pages as opposed to CRI's 16, and the sound is far better and louder on New World than on CRI, an aspect that is crucial in the case of Windsong. Wisely, Water! Water! is here divided into 12 separate tracks. As with the other volumes, The Harry Partch Collection, Vol. 3, is still very much worth seeking out, even if one bought the earlier CRI CDs.. AllMusicGuide