Lou Harrison's Seven Pastorales

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Dear Ensemble Monterey Friends - One of the fondest memories I have from my 27 years with Ensemble Monterey is working with Lou Harrison. Lou was our very own "Composer. 1" (His license plate). He was one of America's foremost composers, and during his lifetime he was often called the "Dean" of living American composers. Lou was very definately his own person, not following any of the "major" compositional schools of the last century. He was much influenced by the beauty of Asian art and music. Most notably, he was a good and warm friend to every musician. He was the heart of the Santa Cruz Musical community. In 1949 he composed his Seven Pastorales. He had recently experienced a difficult period in his life and each of these miniatures is dedicated to someone he treasured. In 1998 we performed these wonderful pieces with Lou present. Lou spoke briefly about each one before we played it and about the person who inspired it. We recorded these and they are among my cherished musical gems.

(Aside: one of my best memories of Lou was this; One day Cheryl and I had stopped at Manuel's, the best Mexican restaurant in the world and the semi-official Cabrillo Music Dept. hang-out, for take-out. I slipped in to pay and take our take away our food. I saw Lou and his partner, Bill, sitting at a table in the distance, so I anonymously ordered them some delicious Mexican chocolate ice cream. I waited, cleverly concealed, until it came. When it did they squealed and carried on like school children. That was Lou!

There are 14 tracks in this download. They are very short. Listen to them in order and Lou will tell you about each of the 7 miniatures. If you didn't know Lou, this is an opportunity to meet a genuine friend and a genuine American original.