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COWELL, HENRY - An Inscribed Copy of Cowell’s Seminal Work
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COWELL, HENRY - An Inscribed Copy of Cowell’s Seminal Work

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COWELL, HENRY. (1897-1965). American composer, pianist and writer on music. Signed book. (“Henry Cowell”). 144pp. 8vo. N.p., N.d. To Evelyn Merrill, the future wife of music publisher Walter Hinrichsen of C.F. Peters Corporation. Third printing of New Musical Resources, published in New York by Alfred A. Knopf in 1931. A pioneering performer, composer and musical theorist, Cowell used so-called tone clusters to produce dissonant works. His compositions are examinations of atonal and polytonal music and include such works as The Banshee, the first movement of his Irish Suite, performed on a so-called “string piano” with the performer playing the strings while an assistant depresses the damper pedal. “His treatise on music theory and composition – New Musical Resources, first published in 1930 – is a seminal work that influenced later music in the 20th century and continues to affect the work of composers today. Cowell’s theories from his treatise were incorporated into a new electronic musical instrument, the Rhythmicon, which represents one of the most innovative early electronic music instruments,” (“Henry Cowell and the Evolution of the Rhythmicon,” Perfect Sound Forever, Dixon).


During the 1940s, the Nazis confiscated the C.F. Peters Musikverlag and its Jewish owners were murdered. However, a surviving family member, Walter Hinrichsen founded the C.F. Peters Corporation in New York in 1948, a highly esteemed music publisher still in operation today. Our volume is inscribed on the free-front endpaper to Hinrichsen’s future wife. With a dust jacket which is browned, split and chipped at the edges. Cowell is rare in any form.



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