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Tag Archives: Cornelius Cardew

This looks like a hip one. Interestingly, it includes a Cornelius Cardew composition. He was a big part of my life and is central to my latest book ‘Improvisation Rites’ . I also learnt new people, like Heiner Goebbels, and I looked up Red Krayola, and listened to them for the first time. The question marks indicate that I don’t know the track because it is in Japanese (Japanese readers can see photos of pages below)

01 ? (2007)

02. Heiner Goebbels/ Alfred 23 Harth – ‘Berlin Q-Damn’ (1981)

Evokes, for me, the horror of Kristallnacht 9-10th November 1938

03 ? (1991)

04 Cornelius Cardew and Scratch Orchestra ‘The Great Learning Paragraph 2’ (1971)

05 Charlie Mingus ‘Orignal Faubus Fables’ (1960)

06 Frederic Rzewski – 36 variations on ‘The People United Will Never Be Defeated’. Variation 13 (1975)

I nearly heard this in Athens in 2017 … but lost my iphone in a taxi on the way there. Earlier I had been having a meal with Federic and other members of Documenta 14 in a wonderful cafe in which he was frank in his views. Interesting to hear a US communist!

07 ? (1971)

08 ? (1968)

09 ? (1973)

10 ? (1994)

11 ? (1971)

12 The Red Krayola with Art & Language – ‘Keep All Your Friends’ (1981) from Kangaroo? album

Art & Language are a leading English Conceptual Art group. The Red Krayola experimental US rock band, who remind me of the ethos of the Scratch Orchestra, were formed in 1966 by Mayo Thompson. In 1996 They/he provided the soundtrack for a short film Japan in Paris in L.A.

14 Archie Sheep – ‘Attica Blues’ (1972)

15 Happy End – ‘Turn Things Upside Down’ (1990)

Now here’s an interesting one. This is a Robert Wyatt song done by an English 20+ person left-field political band formed by Mat Fox in the area of London I was squatting in at the time (1983). Their name is taken from the title of a 1929 musical play co-written by Bertolt Brecht and Elisabeth Hauptmann, with music by Kurt Weill. They played over 150 benefit concerts for miners during 1984 strike. Their last concert was in 2000.

BUT it is also the name, I learn, of a highly influential Japanese band 1969 – 72. Even known as the Japanese Beatles. They are credited with bringing the use of Japanese back into Japanese pop songs (from 2000?). So ‘Happy End’ is quite evocative to Japanese people.

https://youtu.be/I5Uo2UXGNbI

Any Japanese readers who could translate items 01, 03, 07 – 11 please let me know!

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http://www.ele-king.net/books/006107/
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The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes’ performed at Chisenhale Dance Space on  Saturday 28th June 2014  7.30pm  64-84 Chisenhale Rd, London E3 5QZ  

Click to hear a recording of Nature Study Notes

Photos of the event by Martin Dixon are now  archived here:

‘The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes’ – performed by an ensemble of original Scratch Orchestra members and new performers including: Jane Alden, George Chambers, Linn D, Carole Finer, Sharon Gal, John Hails, Bryn Harris, Les Hutchins, Robbie Lockwood, Geraldine McEwan, Matt Scott, Hugh Shrapnel, Stefan Szczelkun, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, Ali Warner.

Nature Study Notes is a collection of 152 written instructions or ‘scores’ that was published as a booklet by Cornelius Cardew at the beginning of the Scratch Orchestra in 1969. The scores are called ‘rites’ and were used in many of the early Scratch Orchestra concerts. This is a music improvisation and visual performance event about one hour duration.

One review leads to another:

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I must say, in hindsight, that the improvisation rites have an overall uniqueness – almost a new art form with elements of theatre, music, visuals – but amounting to something else. They have great variety (reflecting the individual character & preoccupations of the author) but an overall character (if this makes sense!).Hugh Shrapnel, 24-12-2013   

We made a rough programme so that popular rites that people wanted to do at the same time or which specified a group performance, didn’t clash. Other rites to be played by individuals, duos or trios are not listed below.

Skeletal Progamme mark2

20.00 HMSIR 5 led by Hugh Shrapnel starts the concert. When this ends we do rite CCAR17 ‘accompaniment and solo’.

20.09 ABP 128 co-ordinated by Jane. ‘9 basic sounds’

20.16 CCSR 18 ‘elected soloist repeats an action’ Ali Warner leads

20.25 HSBR 34 ’six deep breaths’ (group version) led by Bryn. NB dispersed in time version led by Sharon.

20.27 CFIRNTFM 145 ‘flower piece’ co-ordinated by Carolyn.

20.29 DJ68 led by John Hails ’slow metamorphosis to a snarling mob’

20.36 CCRR 66 co-ordinated by Carolyn ‘radiant rite’

20.40 FRLMDP 47 conducted by George ‘musical notation’

20.48 CCAMMR 129 ‘Look upward, move backward’ ensemble version co-ordinated by Sharon

20.54 BHUSR 35 ‘sing our own song finale facing the audience in a line’ led by Stefan who will signal start.

c20.57 after completing your song return to the space and continue quiet or visual improvising.

21.00 quiet ending..

21.30 Take our leave.

There won’t be a programme as such at the venue so this gives some idea of what occurred for those that came and those that didn’t.

Here’s our review in The Wire by Phil England:

Wire review NSN

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