The Pool K III

Image of The Pool K III


The American author and composer Paul Bowles (1910-1999) wrote music that encompassed a broad variety of genres, including scores for theatre; opera; orchestration for ballet; chamber music; soundtracks for art films; and piano compositions. However, he also ventured into the realm of experimental sound recordings, particularly those of a style often referred to as musique concrète.

Bowles died in November, 1999, in Tangier, Morocco, where he had lived since 1947. Increasingly frail during the last few years of his life, he was unaware that Ramuntcho Matta and Emanuele Carcano had published, in 1998, an experimental piece of his music on Carcano’s Alga Marghen CD label without copyright and misattributed the work to the artist Brion Gysin.

However, the CD, entitled The Pool K III, was composed and performed by Paul Bowles during the late 1950s, and is his most significant and extended creation of musique concrète, a part of his musical oeuvre least-known to his listening audience. It is Paul Bowles' most unfathomable musical work, one not yielding to easy interpretation and unique to even his own wide-ranging catalog of compositions. It is a realm of sound that creates a dreamlike journey without a clear point of origin or destination—a sojourn to be experienced in its entirety, without stopping.

Jon Carlson’s notes set forth all the particulars, followed by additional notes from Irene Herrmann and Jeffrey Miller. This Cadmus Editions/Dom America CD of The Pool K III reproduces the Alga Marghen release and restores the work to the music estate of its rightful author, Paul Bowles.