Even though Lou Harrison rhapsodized about the "dulcet tones" of the guitar, for much of his career he refused to write for it. The problem was that the guitar's straight, fixed frets resulted in the tuning system known as equal temperament, while Harrison preferred the crystalline purity of harmony found in the types of tuning known as just intonation. In the 1970s, Harrison learned of a guitar with removable fingerboards, allowing the player to simply swap out fingerboards refretted with different tunings.
Energized by this innovation, Harrison completed the first works for just-intoned guitar: the Serenade for Guitar and Optional Percussion in 1978.
He began the next work in the series, the Ditone Suite, but grew impatient trying to acquire the necessary fingerboards. Two and a half movements into the suite, he reluctantly turned away from his ambitious guitar project, adapting the Ditone Suite movements for his String Quartet Set.
In 1981, the guitarist John Schneider met with Harrison and played his first arrangements of his harp works for just intonation guitar. With Harrison's authorization and encouragement, Schneider began adapting some of Harrison's other works into suites.
This is the first complete recording of the reconstructed Suites and of the Ditone Set.
The first recording of In Honor of the Divine Mister Handel in the version for guitar and gamelan.
The recordings were made in Harrison's straw bale house in Joshua Tree, California, where the house's main hall was intended for musical performances.
Infinite Canon (2:27)
Usul - little homage to Sinan (3:03)
Suite No.1 (1978-92)
Music for Bill & Me (3:48)
Sonata in Am (3:07)
Tandy's Tango (3:19)
Sonata in Ishartum (1:31)
Suite for National Steel Guitar (1952/92)
Palace Music (2:59)
Threnody to the memory of Oliver Daniel (2:53)
Serenado por Gitaro (1:50)
Suite No.2 (1978-99)
Jahla in the form of a Ductia (1:49)
Adagio, arioso (3:41)
Sonata in Cm (2:26)
A Waltz for Evelyn Hinrichsen (2:08)
Beverly's Troubadour Piece (1:38)
Ditone Set (1978-2002)
Variations on Walter von der Vogelweide's 'Song of Palestine' (5:08)
first recording of reconstructed guitar version
Interview (1981) with Harrison and Schneider on the guitar (3:20)
In Honor of the Divine Mr. Handel (1991) (6:21)
HMC American Gamelan, Bill Alves, director
John Schneider, guitars with Just Strings: T.J. Troy, Gene Sterling and Erin Barnes, percussion
first recording of version for just-intonation guitar & just-intonation gamelan