The Tides of Manaunaun

From Academic Kids

In 1911-12 while barely in his teens, Henry Cowell wrote the short piano piece The Tides of Manaunaun. It was originally used in a pageant of Irish mythical poems by John Varian, who had introduced the young boy into Halcyon, a theosophical community in coastal California. Other Cowell pieces based on Irish legends include The Hero Sun and The Voice of Lir.

The work is the first and most widely played of the tone-cluster pieces. Here, the clusters are thunderous and then subside, conveying discord rather than dissonance. Other composers' use of tone-clusters include Béla Bartók's Piano Sonata.

Michael Tilson Thomas programmed the piece for a San Francisco Symphony concert honoring Charles Ives that included members of the Grateful Dead.

References:

  • Michael Hicks. Henry Cowell, Bohemian. University of Illinois. 2002.
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