For many years, Paul Bowles' catalogue of ballet music has been little more than a tantalizing list of missing pieces. We thus take special pleasure in announcing that two Bowles dance works have recently come to light in piano score, found among the papers of the distinguished American dancer-choreographer Welland Lathrop. In the short 1940 ballet Johnny Appleseed, Bowles intermixes his own hymnodic vein with elements of Coplandesque Americana and evocations of American Indian ritual.
Even more provocative, perhaps, is a work from 1946 whose very existence was unexpected, Bowles' Apotheosis, subtitled "A Dance for Welland Lathrop." This experiment with chords in fourths begins with grandiose, even forbidding gestures, but a comic, rakish tune later evolves from the chord intervals. While Bowles again pulls a serious face in the last section, the piece ends with a dash of wit.
The Johnny Appleseed score probably needs dance to make its proper effect, but Apotheosis stands on its own as a fetching concert work.
Copyright © 2004, Benjamin Folkman
BENJAMIN FOLKMAN is well known as an annotator and lecturer on music. He is the president of The Tcherepnin Society and the author-editor of the book Alexander Tcherepnin: A Compendium. Folkman was a Gold Record winner for his work on the landmark electronic album Switched-On Bach. His Micropartita for piano was recorded by Paul Posnack for Crystal Records, and he has made an orchestration of Paul Bowles' Tamanar.
Paul Bowles, Composer by Irene Herrmann
To obtain copies of these and other scores of Paul Bowles' music, contact Irene Herrmann, the musical heir of the Estate of Paul Bowles: Herrmann@ucsc.edu.
More lost and found music sound clips: Prelude No. 5 and Orosí by Paul Bowles
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