In 1985, Philip Blackburn climbed the stairs to an attic in Iowa City and started trying to make sense of the boxes piled up there. They contained a composer's life's work: scrapbooks, tapes, photos, letters, scores, and film reels -- fragile treasures documenting the 20th century from a most unusual viewpoint, perhaps the world's most original musician: Harry Partch. The idea was to publish them and reveal Harry to the world on his own terms. Not as the crabby, homeless, self-taught microtonal musical weirdo and instrument maker, but as that most American of all artists, a truly independent thinker. With Enclosure 8, the work of bringing them to public attention reaches its apotheosis. The Enclosures series (named for the extras Partch wanted to add to his life-long letter to the world) started appearing in 1995 with a VHS video of four films made in collaboration with the Chicago-based film-maker Madeline Tourtelot. Four CDs, two years and one book later, Enclosure 4 appeared featuring his later films: Delusion of the Fury (his culminating ritual-theater work) and a San Diego Public TV documentary, also on VHS. Now the time has come for these to be issued on DVD, extensively restored, re-synched and digitally-remastered from the extant original prints. Until books and CDs become as obsolete as VHS, the Enclosures series is complete and, taken together with the Harry Partch Collection on New World Records, Partch's entire work is available for the first time. Innova's DVD, Enclosure 8, offers not only a chance to see higher quality versions of previously available material, but it also includes two performances made after Partch's death in 1974: a 1981 staged production of his hitchhiker piece, Barstow, directed by Danlee Mitchell, and a 2006 choreographed version of Castor & Pollux, performed by John Schneider's Ensemble Partch! using replicas of Partch's original set of instruments. Films include: Music Studio -- Harry Partch (1958): Partch takes the viewer on a tour of his Chicago home and plays his microtonal instruments. Includes his demonstration of how the soundtrack for Windsong was made. Windsong (1958): the ancient Greek legend of Daphne and Apollo, transported to Lake Michigan. U.S. Highball (1958; completed 1968): Partch and his ensemble perform a dramatized account of riding the rails during the Depression on a transcontinental hobo trip from California to Chicago. Rotate the Body in All Its Planes (1961): Harry's favorite: a ballet for gymnasts. The DVD is accompanied by a 12-page booklet featuring writings by Philip Blackburn, Danlee Mitchell, and Harry Partch."
Total running time: 126 mins. NTSC format, all regions.