On July 21, 2019, Ben Johnston passed away. He is most well known for bis pioneering work with microtonality—especially just intonation. Unlike Harry Partch, whom he studied with in the 1950s, Johnston composed music for conventional instruments. One of his greatest achievements is his cycle of 10 string quartets, which have recently all been recorded by the Kepler Quartet. In memory of Johnston, the July 23 episode of XEN RADIO was completely dedicated to his music. It featured his sixth string quartet, selections from his song cycle, The Tavern, the Suite for Microtonal Piano, and his Trio for clarinet, violin, and cello.
Xen Radio: Special Edition No. 2 (July 23, 2019)
All works composed by Ben Johnston.
Trio for clarinet, violin, and cello (1982) — Performed by Music Amici
Suite for Microtonal Piano (1978) — Phillip Bush, piano
“Johnston on The Tavern“ — Conversation between Ben Johnston and John Schneider
The Tavern: Prelude & “Who Says Words with My Mouth” (1999) — John Schneider, guitar and vocals
String Quartet No. 6 (1980) — Kepler Quartet