The Composer and His Audience

Friday 31 July 2009

I was just listening to an old radio broadcast commemorating the death of Harry Partch in 1974, and learned that he shared a particular trait with another eccentric composer, Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji. Sorabji lived in a castle in Dorset, with a sign on the gate reading:

Visitors Unwelcome.
Roman Catholic Nuns in Full Habit May Enter Without An Appointment.

Partch kept an equal yet opposite sign on his front door:

Occupant is a Heathen Chinee. Missionaries at this door will face the Dowager Empress and another Boxer Rebellion. Please do not disturb 11.00 am to 2.00 pm. Missionaries – never.