Sunday, May 1, 2016

Walter Marchetti - 1977 – In Terram Utopicam

Walter Marchetti 
In Terram Utopicam

01 J'aimerai Jouer Avec Un Piano Qui Aurait Un Grosse Queue 22:120
02 Adversus (Homemade Electric Music) 11:55
03 Osmanthus Fragrans (Homemade Electric Music) 13:06

Art Direction – Gianni Sassi
Performer – Juan Hidalgo
Photography – Fernando Arreche Goitosolo, Giorgio Colombo
Distributed by Baby Records srl Milano.

Walter Marchetti is one of the most original and controversial authors in the world of contemporary musical creation. In his works he has always explored and focused on the fine line that links music to his own visual representation. He does this with an unmistakable realistic rigor, blending subtle provocation and paradox, without ever breaking from a refined poetic allusiveness. He is undoubtedly one of the protagonists of the Neo-avant-garde musical scene since the end of the 50’s and one of the first European composers to have accepted the iconoclastic challenge of John Cage’s Dekomponieren. He is a pioneer of action music and performance art, and in 1964 his historic collaboration with Juan Hidalgo in Madrid gave rise to the legendary ZAJ group. His works, as a whole, constitute one of the rare examples of conscious extension of aesthetic radicalism to musical poetics. With an installation especially conceived for the space in borgovico 33, Walter Marchetti will present his new book-score De musicorum infelicitate two years after the cycle of compositions bearing the same name (subtitled Dieci pezzi in forma di variazioni dolenti) released in a compact disc by the Alga Marghen label. This is not only the score of one of the greatest and without a dubt most significant works by Walter Marchetti, but a series of aphorisms and statements that continue page after page alongside the musical notation that allows us to see the author’s point of view on music, creativity and the contemporary situation in general. He brings to it a peculiar ethic vision tinged with a claim for radical humanism. The book does not allow for any lyrical relaxation although it is not without intense poetic moments. It is never “overshadowed” by or in the service of art, but tends to transmit an immediate image of music, playing on the ambiguity of annotated codes and their mirror-like relation with the intricate and intentionally “deformed” stratification of sounds in the homonymous musical piece it refers to. De musicorum infelicitate is produced by Emanuele Carcano under the auspices of the Alga Marghen label in Milan, and the bilingual Italian/English edition is edited by Gabriele Bonomo with the contribution of Henry Martin for the translation and coordinating editor Giorgia Nessi. The book in DIN A 4 format, is 200 pages long in a limited edition of 300 copies which will be distributed together with the reprint in two long playing records of the composition bearing the same tile previously released in compact disc (Alga Marghen, plana-M alga 15, book + 2 LP). In the installation at borgovico 33, the books will be placed on a series of music stands located in various points in the space allowing the viewer to turn the pages of the score while listening to the entire musical work De musicorum infelicitate (Dieci pezzi in forma di variazioni dolenti) according to a random time sequence. During the event, the author will execute a performance of his Musica da camera n. 215.

“When I was young, I wasn’t shrewd enough to close my ears in time.”
Walter Marchetti was born in 1931 and holds the Chair of Eventology at the Department of Advanced Arts at the University of Hoggar,Wasteland. After a number of years of research in the now distant 1950s on “Synthetic Artists of Freedom”–a movement which rejected the inexorability of entropy as the final destiny of everything–in 1965-66 he published in Madrid Arpocrate seduto sul loto, a real treatise on Eventology. He describes himself as follows: “I was condemned to go to work while still quite young, and I have worked at various times as grape picker, brick layer, saddle maker, wine merchant, metal cutter, lathe operator, frame welder for automobile and bicycle parts, skilled worker at an industrial glass factory, handyman, post office clerk, music and record salesman, music consultant, sound technician, translator, director of an art gallery, typesetter, entrepreneur, etc. It is important to stress that in music I am self-taught, in spite of a number of attempts to study music seriously, with all due rigor. Such efforts were always abandoned since they finally struck me as anything other than serious. In 1954-55, I made the acquaintance of Bruno Maderna, a great musician and a great friend, who gave me a hand and to whom I remain quite deeply attached even in spite of the differences that arose in 1958 as a result of John Cage’s “descent” on Europe, notwithstanding the fact that Maderna himself was the person who ushered me into that “cage”. Everything has been quite different ever since. Juan Hidalgo and I have been very close friends for more than forty years, and we have worked together on numberless projects, both musical and otherwise.” In the winter of 1960, Walter Marchetti spent a period of time in the New Hebrides. A few years later he moved to Spain, where he and Juan Hidalgo founded the ZAJ group in 1964. After lengthy travels to myriad places throughout the world, while constantly involved in various activities, both musical and not, he returned to Milan, Italy, where he now lives and works. His first record, La caccia, was published in 1974, followed by In terram utopicam in 1977, Per la sete dell’orecchio in 1984, Natura morta, Vandalia and a new version of Per la sete dell’orecchio in 1989, Suoni dentro Suoni in 1996, Antibarbarus in 1998, Nei mari del sud. Musica in secca in 1999, and De musicorum infelicitate in 2001. He has also authored the Italian translations of Daniel Charles’ conversations with John Cage (Per gli uccelli, Milan, 1977) and of Pierre Cabanne’s with Marcel Duchamp (Ingegnere del tempo perduto, Milan, 1979). For more than thirty years, his work has been presented at the most important of the world’s international music events, and he remarks that he has always viewed such occasions with mixed feelings of pleasure and shame. His work has been seen and heard in: Darmstadt, Cologne, Milan, Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Canaries), Barcelona, Madrid, Frankfurt, Paris, Lisbon, San Sebastian de los Reyes, Almorox, Algiers, Schauinsland, London, Aachen, Berlin, Clermont-Ferrand, Zaragoza, San Sebastian, Bilbao, Alcoy, Rouen, Düsseldorf, Kassel, Valencia, Tokyo, Osaka, Pamplona, Santos and São Paulo (Brazil), Cordoba (Argentina), Albany, Hanover (USA), Montreal, New York, Amherst, Urbana-Champaign, Buffalo, Minneapolis, Oakland, Berkeley, Colorado Springs, Middletown, Cambridge (USA), Venice, Munich, Bern, Geneva, Spoleto, Rome, Pavia, Algeciras, Cadiz, Florence, Pescara, Genoa, Wiesbaden, Marseilles, Eindhoven, Amalfi, Lyons, Bologna, Pratolino, etc. As far as everything else is concerned, his music is truly beautiful.

Walter Marchetti - 1974 - La Caccia (da Arpocrate Seduto sul Loto)

Walter Marchetti 
La Caccia (da Arpocrate Seduto sul Loto)

01. Parte Prima 21:10
02. Parte Seconda 21:25

    Distributed By – Dischi Ricordi S.p.A.
    Recorded At – Fono Roma, Milano
 Art Direction – sas
    Engineer – Ambrogio Ferrario, Piero Bravin
    Other [Director Of Series] – Gianni-Emilio Simonetti
    Photography – arc/do
    Technician [Technical Assistance] – Juan Hidalgo

Recorded at Fono-Roma, Milano.

Includes printed inner sleeve with score

Distributed by Dischi Ricordi, Milano.

For the first half of Marchetti's life, he was, in his words, "condemned" to work at various bread-and-butter jobs, which included: grape harvester, brick-layer, saddler, wine-seller, metal-shearer, turner, frame welder, and an ample "etc." besides. In music he is self-taught. His numerous attempts to carry out serious musical studies came to nothing, he says, due to feelings that the "establishment" is a complete farce.

Among the major events of his creative life, he cites his meeting with Bruno Maderna in 1955. It was through Maderna that he came to absorb the decisive influence of John Cage's concepts of emancipated sound and came to formulate his position which he calls Eventology.

In the early '60s he moved to Spain and founded the ZAJ group with his close friend and major collaborator Juan Hidalgo. Together they realized "an infinity of projects in and out of music." His works have close aesthetic ties with the activities of Fluxus. He incorporates a great deal of concrete sound-material into his compositions, such as recordings of traffic noise or the sound of stones dropped down wells, and is known in the world of visual arts for his installations and sculptural modifications of pianos, i.e. covering them with small lights, or encasing them in red brick. He has performed and exhibited in dozens of cities throughout the world.

God, this has to be the weirdest record in the Cramps label roster. Two sidelong pieces scored for bird whistles (and a few other, harder to identify, concrète sounds). Sparse, kind of empty, and extremely eerie (especially when what sounds like an angry goose enters in..). Not unlike Robert Ashley's Automatic Writing, this is music for late night listening - when you are too tired to really care for any such earthly concerns as "let's play something more, uh, conventional and driving"..
Why on Earth a besuited Walter Marchetti can be seen washing his feet in what looks like a chamberpot on the back cover is anyone's guess, but hey, it's the Cramps label, you know..

Robert Ashley - 1979 - Automatic Writing

Robert Ashley 
Automatic Writing

01. Automatic Writing
02. Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon
03. She Was A Visitor

Art Direction, Design – By Design
Composed By, Liner Notes – Robert Ashley
Design – Ken Cornet, Patrick Vitacco
Illustration [Silhouette] – William Farley
Mastered By [Digital Mastering] – Allan Tucker, Nicholas Prout
Factory pressed CDr edition on Lovely Music, Ltd. with the album title in green on the front cover.

Automatic Writing (1979):
Produced, recorded and mixed at The Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (Oakland, California), The American Cultural Center (Paris, France) and Mastertone Recording Studios (New York City). Mixing assistance at Mastertone Recording Studios.
A mix of the monologue and electronics was used in the video tape composition, Title Withdrawn (from Music with Roots in the Aether: video portraits of composers and their music) by Robert Ashley.

Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon (1968): 
Cynthia Liddell was recorded in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Singers and bells were recorded at Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University.
The text and recording of Cynthia Liddell's voice were excerpted from the opera, That Morning Thing and reorchestrated as Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon to become the opening number of The Wolfman Motorcity Revue, a theater work for amplified voices and tape.

She Was A Visitor (1967) is the epilogue to the opera That Morning Thing.

Automatic Writing was originally released on LP as VR 1002.
Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon was originally released on "Electric Sound", Mainstream (MS/5010).
She Was A Visitor was originally released on "Extended Voices", Odyssey (32 16 0156).

This CD is a welcome re-release of three new music landmarks, previously available only on separate labels. In Automatic Writing (1979), the composer speaks in a free association manner late at night in his lonely apartment, exploring spontaneous speech unfiltered by his normal language behavior ("My mind is censoring my own mind"). The recording level is turned up to maximum level so that he will not have to project his voice, and all the involuntary artifacts of speech, including sub-vocalized material, will be picked up. Transient sounds like the bass beat of music from an adjoining apartment are also incidentally recorded. Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon (1968) from the Wolfman Motor City Review is a sensual and captivating study of random vocal reactions (sung by the vocal trio of Mary Ashley, Mary Lucier, and Barbara Lloyd), guided by the rhythm of tuned water glasses, as a personal story (written by Cynthia Liddell) unfolds about the sense of touch, which, together with the sense of smell, is the most repressed sense in Western society. She Was A Visitor (1967), from the opera That Morning Thing, is performed here by the Brandeis University Chamber Chorus, conducted by Alvin Lucier. This piece describes musically how "rumor" is spread. One primary speaker repetitively chants the phrase "She was a visitor" as each group leader selects phonemes from that line. Each group sustains that individual sound and passes it around to other members of the same group. The amassed sound, a "surface" of normalized little disturbances, begins to resemble airplanes, cars, trains ... perhaps the subatomic world. In certain performances of the opera, the audience was also asked to participate. This is an elegantly simple and revelatory piece from this composer, whose work is often concerned with the relationship of society and language.

Robert Ashley - 1978 - Private Parts (The Record)

Robert Ashley 
Private Parts (The Record)

01. The Park 21:32
02. The Backyard 23:56

Robert Ashley: voice
"Blue" Gene Tyranny: keyboards
Kris: tablas

Recorded at The Recording Studio, Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College (Oakland, California), July, 1977.
Jacket comes in yellow and grey color variations
The tabla player credited as "Kris" is actually Krishna Bhatt (Source: Gann, Kyle: "Robert Ashley", University of Illinois Press, 2012 pg 55).

An odd little album with Ashley's strangely hypnotic monotone reciting a text above an accompaniment of tablas and keyboards. I never really got a clear sense of what the text was about, but I don't really think that's all that necessary in this case. The instrumental background is as hypnotic as Ashley's voice with an unceasing tabla and simple progressions played on keyboards, mostly on a Polymoog. The overall effect is a static mix of three fairly distinct timbres which don't really seem as if they should work together, but somehow do. I wasn't so sure at the start, but withing 3 or 4 minutes I'd been successfully sucked on in.
On each side of this record, the composer reads an abstract prose fiction over "settings for piano and orchestra by `Blue' Gene Tyranny," and that's it. The vocal style is a kind of hypnotic singsong; the quiet settings are dominated by piano, tabla, and what sounds like a string synthesizer. I like it more than Discreet Music, less than Another Green World, and about as much as A Rainbow in Curved Air. I suppose I prefer side one, "The Park," because I like the verbal content more, although in fact I perceive the reading as music, just like I'm supposed to, and have never managed to follow the words all the way through. A friend who's done yoga to this record--not an arty type, incidentally--is reminded of going to sleep as a child with adults talking in the next room. Then again, a rather more avant-garde friend who made me turn it off is reminded of the spoilsport who used to read the rosary for five minutes just before his favorite radio program

Robert Ashley - 1974 - In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven

Robert Ashley
In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven

01. In Sara, Mencken, Christ And Beethoven There Were Men And Women

Recorded at Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California.

Though this work is a collaboration with Paul DeMarinis, this original release did not give him equal credit, and this was not remedied until the album was reissued.

This uniquely original work for voice and electronics dates from 1972. A 128-stanza poem by the legendary John Barton Walgamot traces a hidden story of social progress and influence within the gradual repetition of a single grand phrase. For example, "In its very truly great manners of Ludwig Van Beethoven, very heroically the very cruelly ancestral death of Sara Powell Haardt had very ironically come amongst his very really grand men and women to Rafael Sabatini, George Ade, Margaret Storm Jameson, Ford Madox Hueffer, Jean-Jacques Bernard, Louis Bronfield, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche and Helen Brown Norden very titanically." In the other verses names are added and subtracted, and there occurs a subtlety organized variation of syntactical parts leading to further mysterious integration of meanings. The voice part is read with as few inflections and breaths as possible -- in the first realization prepared on tape, all pauses were removed, so that the voice has this eternal quality. (Gertrude Stein once mentioned that she aimed for this same quality while in the 1934-35 recording of her works, but had to settle for reading in long breaths). The voice activates electronic sounds that respond with inflected sounds; in the initial realization for records, electronic sounds designed by composer Paul DeMarinis were variously beautiful and humorous. The musical effect is that of an internal voice stimulating involuntary ideas and feelings. This piece, together with Ashley's "Automatic Writing" (1979), "The Wolfman" (1964), "Fancy Free, or It's There" (1970), "Purposeful Lady Slow Afternoon" (1968, from The Wolfman Motorcity Revue) and "She Was a Visitor" (1967, from the opera That Morning Thing) offer a profound musical exploration of the relation between the physical nature of the voice and social/language behaviors.

Miguel Angel Coria - 1976 - En Rouge et Noir

Miguel Angel Coria 
En Rouge et Noir

01. En Rouge Et Noir 19:50
02. Materiali
A 1:46
B 1:30
C 1:40
D 1:29
E 1:08
F 1:16
G 1:40
H 1:13
I 2:52
L 2:25
M 2:20
N 2:21

Recorded At – Regson Studio
Art Direction – Gianni Sassi
Engineer – Paolo Bocchi
Performer – Miguel Angel Coria

Recorded at Studio Regson, Milano
Gatefold sleeve, including printed inner sleeve.
Distributed by Baby Records srl Milano.

Miguel Ángel Coria was born in Madrid in 1937 and began his musical studies in 1952. His early mentors were Antonio Iges, Angel Arias, Pedro Lerma and most importantly Gerardo Gombau with whom he studied composition at the Madrid Royal Conservatory. Coria won the Conservatory's Fugue Prize in 1961. He also showed an early interest in electroacoustic music and in 1964 joined Luis de Pablo and Carmelo Alonso Bernaola in founding ALEA, Spain's first laboratory for electronic music. A grant from the Gaudeamus Foundation in 1965 allowed him to pursue further studies with Roman Haubenstock-Ramati and Iannis Xenakis. The following year, he received a grant from the Juan March Foundation to study with Gottfried Michael Koenig at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht, during which time he composed Collage (1967) and Joyce's Portrait (1968). His early work showed affinities to the music of Anton Webern, but became increasingly influenced by French Impressionist music. However, the Spanish composer and writer, Tomás Marco, has concluded that Coria's work ultimately "stands out as a completely personal statement", adding that "those who have tried to follow him have been unable to reproduce the most original aspects of his music on the same level."

1973 marked the beginning of Coria's postmodernist period, exemplified by works in homage of past composers, although typically without literal allusions to their music. These include: Ravel for President, composed in 1973 and dedicated to the pianist Pedro Espinosa, who premiered the work; Falla Revisited, premiered in the Teatro Real by the RTVE Symphony Orchestra in 1977; Ancora una volta, premiered in 1979 by the Orquesta Nacional de España; and J'ai perdu ma plume dans le jardin de Turina (I lost my pen in Turina's garden), composed for the centenary of Joaquín Turina in 1982. Coria's ballet music Seis sonatas para la Reina de España (Six sonatas for the Queen of Spain), based on six harpsichord sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, was premiered in 1985 at the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto in a production choreographed by Ángel Pericet for the Spanish National Ballet. At the age of 55, he ventured into opera with Belisa, set to a libretto by Antonio Gallego Gallego adapted from García Lorca's play Amor de Don Perlimplín con Belisa en su jardín. The work premiered on 15 May 1992 at the Teatro de la Zarzuela in Madrid.

Coria has not been a particularly prolific composer compared to some of his contemporaries, and his works tend to be small-scale—even his opera Belisa lasts only 30 minutes. His composing career proceeded in parallel with private teaching (one of his students was Miguel Roig-Francolí) and various administrative posts in the musical life of Spain. He was one of the founders of the Asociación de Compositores Españoles, an organization dedicated to promoting the music of contemporary Spanish composers, and has worked as a consultant to Spain's Ministry of Culture. He also served as the Administrative Director of the RTVE Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in the 1980s, and for many years was Technical Director of the Fundació de Música Ferrer Salat (Ferrer Salat Music Foundation).

Martin Davorin Jagodic - 1975 - Tempo Furioso (Tolles Wetter)

Martin Davorin Jagodic
Tempo Furioso (Tolles Wetter)

01. Tempo Furioso Lato A (B) 20:10
02. Tempo Furioso Lato B (A) 23:00

Registrazione (Recorded at) Studi Ricordi/Milano
Ed. Cramps Music srl Milano
Made in Italy/Distribut. Baby Records srl Milano
Gatefold sleeve including printed inner sleeve.

Martin Davorin-Jagodic is a Croatian contemporary music composer and educator born in Zagreb in 1935. His work includes theatre music, graphic scores, instructions for performances, multimedia installation art, radio art, electroacoustic music on tape as well as experimental film soundtracks.

Davorin-Jagodic studied music in Zagreb (Croatia) and Ljubljana (Slovenia), under Croatian composer Milko Kelemen, among others. He relocated to France in 1960 to study under Olivier Messiaen at Conservatoire de Paris and work at Pierre Schaeffer's Groupe de Recherches Musicales from 1967 to 1969. His career as an educator started in 1969 as assistant and then lecturer at the music department of Université de Vincennes Paris 8, later also teaching stage design and scenography at Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs from 1974 to 1988. In the 1990s, he taught musicology at Université de Saint-Denis, after the Université de Vincennes Paris 8 had relocated there in 1980.

Often relying on highly stylized, abstract graphic scores hardly offering any kind of musical clue in terms of instrumentation, actual notes to play or pitch, Davorin-Jagodic's work of the 1960s and 1970s encompasses Conceptual art and Fluxus performance art, for which the interpret is more like a collaborator or co-composer of the work. Graphic scores like Uberklavier, 1970 and Variations sur l'Opus 16, 1971, make sure that, if performed, they will sound like nothing the composer has anticipated, thus welcoming aleatoricism and freeing the interpret from the tyranny of a score, in the John Cage tradition.

An emblematic work of the 1970s is Body Music, 1971, in which a pianist plays in an adjacent room, remote from the audience, with electric sensors fixed on his body around chest, arms and mouth. The P.A. system on stage amplifies the pianist's movements, bodily sounds and breath but not the actual music played – as an option, a camera may reproduce the image of the pianist's movements.

In the 1970s, Davorin-Jagodic often performed in former Yugoslavia, including a personal exhibition at Galerija Studentskog Centra, Zagreb, Croatia, in 1971, a performance during the Muzicki Biennale Zagreb (Music Biennale Zagreb, directed by Milko Kelemen) in 1973, or his participation to the Aprilski Susret festival in Belgrade, Serbia, in 1972 and 1974.

In 1975, Davorin-Jagodic released a long-playing record in the avant-garde music series Nova Musicha of Italian label Cramps Records. Titled Tempo Furioso (Tolles Wetter) and produced by Walter Marchetti in Milan, the music is a collage of electronic and found sounds.

Davorin-Jagodic composed music for several experimental films, starting with Environment in 1969, a film by Belgian directors L. Peire et J. Mil, for which he recorded an electroacoustic soundtrack at the IPEM - Institute for Psychoacoustics and Electronic Music, in Ghent, Belgium. He also created music for According to... by French film director Yann Beauvais in 1981.

Since the 1990s, Davorin-Jagodic collaborates with former student, developer, electronic and installation artist Elisabeth Son on multimedia installations, like their installation during the Media-Scape Symposium in 1999 or the interactive, immersive sound installation Orchestre Virtuel in 2003

Drones? Check.

Free jazz-esque outbursts? Check.

Loud electronic overloads? Check.

Multilingual speech samples? Check.

An aleatoric approach to the same composition, resulting in two separate takes? Check.

No wonder this is on the NWW list. Parts of it could even be mistaken for Stapleton and company, who wouldn't debut until four years later. As with most of the Nova Musicha series, this is an absolute masterpiece of electronics-and-concrete composition, and truly unique (though Lumière For Synthesized & Concrète Sound and Luna cinese come close to what's going on here; the latter, notably, was released the same year on the same label!).

David Tudor - 1978 - Microphone

David Tudor 

01. Mix A 27:30
02. Mix B 27:30

Art Direction – Gianni Sassi
Composed By – David Tudor
Performer – David Tudor
Photography – Lowell Cross
Producer – Robert Sheff
Technician [Assistant] – John Bischoff
Microphone was composed in 1973.
Recorded May 1973 at Center for Contemporary Music, Mills College, Oakland, California.

American experimental music's foremost performer, pianist David Tudor remains as inextricably linked to many of the most groundbreaking pieces in the modern canon as their respective composers; long John Cage's most intimate associate, he also delivered virtuoso early performances of landmark works by Pierre Boulez, Earle Brown, Sylvano Bussotti, Morton Feldman, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and La Monte Young, many of them written expressly with Tudor in mind. He was born in Philadelphia on January 20, 1926, and throughout his teens played organ at the city's St. Mark's Church, later studying theory and composition under H. William Hawke and Stefan Wolpe. In New York on December 17, 1950, Tudor delivered the American premiere of Boulez's Deuxième Sonate pour Piano -- just the second performance of the piece anywhere, it immediately launched him to the vanguard of the experimental community.

Tudor's extended collaboration with Cage began during the early '50s, and in 1952 he premiered the composer's notorious 4'33"; Cage later stated that virtually all of his work from that point until around 1970 was written either directly for Tudor or for his consideration. Tudor was widely praised for his imaginative solutions to the often deliberate challenges of notation and performance presented by the pieces he tackled, and in time his genius began to influence directly the composers whose work he interpreted, becoming an essential component of their creative processes. Also serving as an instructor and pianist-in-residence at Black Mountain College in North Carolina and at the Internationale Ferienkurse fur Neue Musik in Darmstadt, Germany, during the late '50s he began experimenting with the electronic modification of sound sources, additionally teaming with Cage on his Project of Music for Magnetic Tape.

As the next decade approached, Tudor began initiating the move away from taped sources toward live electronic music; by the end of the 1960s he brought his career as a pianist to a close, with electronic performance and composition becoming his sole focus in the years to follow. Manufacturing and designing his own instruments and technological equipment, he mounted works closely tied to visual media including light systems, dance, television, theater, film, and four-color laser projections -- 1966's Bandoneon!, for example, employed lighting and audio circuitry, moving loudspeaker sculptures, and projected video images. In 1968, Tudor collaborated with Cage, Lowell Cross, Marcel Duchamp, and Gordon Mumma on Reunion; between 1969 and 1977, he also teamed with Cross and Carson Jeffries on a series of works for video and/or laser display.
While collaborating on the design of the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan, Tudor composed and performed several new works, among them an early version of the seminal Microphone. As his work in electronic music continued, he increasingly experimented with new components, circuitry, and interconnections, with the end results determining both compositional and performing strategies. Much of Tudor's major work of the period was commissioned by the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, with whom he'd been affiliated since their 1953 inception; these compositions included 1974's Toneburst, 1976's Forest Speech, 1978's Weatherings, 1981's Phonemes, 1987's Webwork, and 1990's Virtual Focus. After Cage's 1992 death, Tudor succeeded him as the Cunningham troupe's musical director; Tudor himself died at his home in Tomkins Cove, NY, on August 13, 1996.

A re-issue on CD of this classic. One of the great and wild "live electronic" pieces with sounds that Tudor once described as sounding to him like dinosaur howls echoing in pre-historic caves to timid, sweet calls of unidentifiable creatures.The original circuitry was designed by Tudor and Gordon Mumma.

Cornelius Cardew - 1974 - Four Principles On Ireland And Other Pieces

Cornelius Cardew
Four Principles On Ireland And Other Pieces

01. The Croppy Boy 2:47
02. Father Murphy 2:59
03. Four Principles On Ireland 5:52
04. Charge 3:19
05. Song And Dance 2:16
06. Sailing The Seas Depends On The Helmsman 1:33
07. Bethanien 4:02
08. Bring The Hand A New Life 4:12
09. The East Is Red 1:33
10. Red Flag Prelude 3:07
11. Soon (There Will Be A High Tide Of Revolution In Our Country) 2:07
12. Long Live Chairman Mao 1:58
13. Revolution Is The Main Trend In The World Today 3:18

Comes in gatefold cover with printed inner sleeve. Recorded in the Ricordi Studio, Milan.
First edition distributed by Dischi Ricordi, Milano. Second edition (same catalogue number) distributed by Baby Records srl Milano.

Cornelius Cardew had studied with Stockhausen, was a leading pianist of the modernist canon as well as a founding member of the seminal improvising ensemble AMM, and had composed two landmark avant-garde works, Treatise and The Great Learning. So when, in line with his revolutionary/populist political beliefs, he abruptly began to write pieces based on workers' songs and leftist anthems, it came as something of a shock to his admirers (an essay of his was even called "Stockhausen Serves Imperialism"!). Many were utterly baffled at this about-face, going so far as to say, as did Adrian Jack in a 1975 interview, "The music you have written recently sounds almost deliberately bad…." Viewed in retrospect, however, one can see this evolution in line with the ideas of other politically active composers, including Frederic Rzewski and Howard Skempton, and recognize his work as two facets of the same musical soul. This recording, with Cardew at the piano, is a lovely sampler of this late period (he was to die a victim of a hit-and-run accident in 1981). The songs are often experimented with, fleshed out, pared down, or otherwise elaborated on, but never lose sight of the melodies. Some are particularly poignant (The Croppy Boy), others exuberant in their revolutionary spirit (Charge or the irresistible The East Is Red). Listeners may argue which of Cardew's paths was ultimately the more rewarding one, but anyone interested in the career of this crucially important British composer cannot afford to simply ignore the direction he chose. Recommended.

We sometimes forget the importance of music that has engaged the problematics of politics.Even those devoted to changing the globe as the post-war avant-garde and its post-modern representations of it today find engaging in the political only useful if it remains safely within the four-corners of the aesthetic,or funds are provided in some form, especially with all the opportunism that exists in new music today. Politics is indeed useful only if some advancement of artistic career will result from engagement.
It's curious but if we speak of literature, or poetry or film, politics seems commonplace,it is never a source of problem,or a question, it is simply always there as a resevoir of consciousness, of struggle.Yet in the corridors of serious music to mention the political is equivalent to eradication of its preserved cloistered content. Musicians and composers, for the most part have been agents of reaction compelled to fall in line with strains of the liberal conservative canons for art. Beethoven, Mahler,Schoenberg,Boulez,Adams or Glass today misunderstand the political realm often diluting its substance and implications.Adam's various operas are excellent examples.

Cardew by contrast emerged from the post-war avant-garde, a student of Stockhausen who was the first to introduce this repertoire,Cage,Feldman as well into the bland conservatism of English culture.This disk represents all piano music he wrote in the early Seventies, when the Scratch Orchestra in London was questioning its own ability to reach people through music, through events in a relevant way.There is a tale where the Miners of England had approached the Scratch to provide music for an event. And Cardew said he hadn't a clue on how to proceed. Do we play John Cage, or Feldman?
He soon learned the language necessary for musical activism and had a wonderfully inventive sense for getting into the substance of a simple folk and revolutionary tunes, and frequently wrote miniature piano tone poems, as "Father Murphy". Priests throughout history as today were activist in the cause for Ireland's independence from the Queen. And here the pianist needs to silently depress tones while playing others to excite the favorable open resonances. The result is peaceful revealing the dignity that must have been part of the coutenance of the dear priest.

"Red Flag Prelude" is a take-off on "Oh Tanenbaum" with Left words interjected, yet Cardew enriched this X-Mas tune with alternate chordal progressions, woderfully disarming and skweing the original.

Likewise "The Croppy Boy",is hear gleaned from imagery of (revolutionists in Ireland fighting Napoleon's legions)Thet had closely cropped hair. Here Cardew utilizes a dirge form, rolling beautiful chords in the key of G Major, a 17 year old boy hanged for his resistance,much like the young Fallujah=ians fighting to have their own homeland.

Cardew also tapped into the rich culture of Mao's revolution in China,quite fashionable in the Seventies (Sartre,and Godard in Paris as well) where tunes, and songs function much like icons for action, as "I polish my rifle clean", "Sailing the Seas depends upon the Helmsman", (A Mao quotation). Cardew at the end of his life saw the excesses of Mao and was beginning to reform, yet he firmly remained committed to activism under the primary signs of Marxism despite the numerous problems. All the music is under the leaf "The Piano Album", a functional musical form for musicians to accompany fundraisers, of benefits for striking workers.

"Four Principals on Ireland" is a self-contained work, about 6 minutes for Ireland's independance. It is a genuine concert solo work with flights of virtuosity, yet Cardew's musical language is always threadbare and clean, un-Romantic much of the time. He loved directedness of gesture, nothing opaque or convoluted.

Cardew we hear here was also a consummate pianist,very precise playing yet not un-impassioned when necessary.

Cornelius Cardew - 1971 - The Great Learning

Cornelius Cardew 
The Great Learning

01. Paragraph 2 21:45
02. Paragraph 7 20:30

Composed By, Conductor, Liner Notes – Cornelius Cardew
Engineer – John Timperley
Musical Assistance [Musical Advisor] – John White
Orchestra – The Scratch Orchestra
Producer – Karl Faust
Producer [Assistant] – Richard V. Hill
This LP was also available as part of the six LP box set 'Avangarde Vol.4' on Deutsche Grammophon.
Recorded at Chappell Studios, London, on February 15/16 1971. Composed in 1969.

Though David Jackman is not mentioned anywhere on the sleeve, he was an active member of the Scratch Orchestra at this point and is probably one of the massed singers. Some of the other members mentioned in the liner notes are: John Tillbury, Gavin Bryars, Michael Parsons, Howard Skempton, Michael Chant, Christopher Hobbs, and Hugh Shrapnel - each of who recruited friends, family and students to swell the ranks.

This recording was also part of a reissue in 2000. Including extra track Paragraph 1 recorded at Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, on May 16, 1982. Composed in 1968.

Cornelius Cardew was the fundamental figure in the British avant-garde of the 1960s. Cardew grew up in Cornwall and at the age of 17 entered the Royal Academy of Music in London. Cardew developed an interest in electronic music, and in 1957 traveled to Germany to study in the Cologne-based electronic music studio of composer Gottfried Michael Koenig. Cardew then joined Karlheinz Stockhausen as his assistant. Cardew stayed with Stockhausen for three years, working on the latter's massive multi-orchestral work Carré.

Cardew returned to England in 1961, supporting himself by working as a graphic artist and organizing concerts. He undertook a number of challenging scores with an emphasis on graphic notation and verbal instructions, such as the verbal-vocal The Great Learning (1961) for untrained chorus and orchestra and Volo Solo for piano (1964). In 1966 he joined the improvisational electronic group AMM, probably the first ensemble of its kind in Europe. In 1967 he completed his magnum opus, Treatise, consisting of 193 pages of music in graphic notation. In 1968 Cardew, Michael Parsons, and Howard Skempton formed the Scratch Orchestra, which improvised music from verbal instructions and other minimalist prompts. Cardew published a book based on their experiments entitled Scratch Music in 1971 that has become a standard reference work for experimental musicians ever since. As composer, Skempton recalled, "Cornelius was a visionary and his humane, prophetic powers affected everyone around him."

Around 1970 Cardew became increasingly involved in leftist political thought inspired by the works of Mao Zedong. He came to regard his own work in the avant-garde as elitist and rejected it, publishing a book in 1974 entitled Stockhausen Serves Imperialism. Many of Cardew's colleagues thought he'd lost his mind, and regarded coolly the new works that Cardew composed, written in a post-Romantic, populist, and somewhat monotonous tonal idiom. In hindsight it is clear that in this phase of Cardew's work he was helping open the door to the "New Tonality," a style enthusiastically endorsed, though individually modified by the English composers who followed him -- Skempton, Parsons, Michael Nyman, Gavin Bryars, Brian Eno, Christopher Hobbs, and others. Cardew did not live to witness the success of this final contribution to English post-modernism; estranged from most of his colleagues and under scrutiny owing to his political convictions, Cardew was crossing a street in London when he was killed in a hit-and-run accident at age 45.

The Great Learning was one of British composer Cornelius Cardew's most important works, a series of seven "paragraphs" with text from the writings of Confucius and scored for generally large numbers of both trained and untrained performers. The original productions of this piece, in fact, served as the genesis of the legendary pro-amateur Scratch Orchestra. This 2000 release includes three of the paragraphs, two from the 1971 Deutsche Grammophon album that premiered the composition, as well as an additional section, "Paragraph 1," recorded in 1982. All three are fascinating musical experiences. "Paragraph 1" works its way from the mysterious, delicate clicking of handheld stones through harsh yet oddly meditative organ tones and penny whistles to the massed choral intonations of the Confucian script. It is eerie and otherworldly but casts its own unique sense of serenity over the listener. This spell is abruptly shattered by the percussive explosion that begins and carries through "Paragraph 2," an exercise in the inevitability and value of failure. The chorus is required to attempt to valiantly surmount the raging drums and to do so over a long period of time, an idea based on the Buddhist method of practicing chanting in front of a roaring waterfall; they will fail in making themselves clearly heard but something valuable may be learned in the process. Little by little, due to sheer physical exhaustion, the singers subside while the drums, gathering rhythmic cohesion, go on and on. The last piece, "Paragraph 7," for "any number of untrained voices," is a lush and complex vocal sea. From a rich and heady underlying drone, individual voices emerge and recede (is that Julie Tippett one hears?) like waves cresting and falling back. The mass of voices becomes palpable and breathing like a single, multi-throated organism. One can easily imagine, in lesser hands, a composition like this disintegrating into a new agey mush, but this one succeeds wildly as a deep and probing conception, realized fully and with passion. The performance of these pieces is credited simply to the Scratch Orchestra, an organization whose membership varied over the years, but it's likely that participants in these sessions included most of the members of AMM, Brian Eno, Gavin Bryars, and Michael Nyman, among many others. Very highly recommended.