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John Cage and Beyond----The Avant-Garde in the Second Half of the 20th Century

on Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:01 pm
Back in 1966 or '67, I was invited by the influential avant-garde musician John Tilbury to join a group of young musicians at my local school of music for weekly sessions discussing avant-garde music and, eventually,  performing works by avant-garde composers, including a piece by Cornelius Cardew called Autumn '60. I backed out after the first session. I'm not sure what it was I wanted in those days but it wasn't this...

Curiously, I'm now drawn to examining some of the stuff I rejected at the time. Cornelius Cardew is a fascinating figure (see his wikipage and the Guardian article linked below). This is part of The Great Learning, a massive work lasting nearly five hours in a recent recording on Bolt Records (see below). The Scratch Orchestra, which performs it here, was instigated for that very purpose:  

   

This article is specifically about what is being performed in the video: http://www.newmusicnewcollege.org/cardew.html

For more general information on Cardew's life and controversial death see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cornelius_Cardew

See also https://www.theguardian.com/music/tomserviceblog/2012/dec/17/cornelius-cardew-music-guide and
http://www.boltrecords.pl/4,extras/39,cornelius-cardew-the-great-learning,en.html

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Re: John Cage and Beyond----The Avant-Garde in the Second Half of the 20th Century

on Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:48 pm
The American composer Morton Feldman (1926--1987) claimed that unlike John Cage and others his only debt to the Orient was Chinese food! He visited the Netherlands once (sometime in the mid 1980s) at the time this work, Crippled Symmetry, was given its first performances on mainland Europe. In a talk he gave on Dutch radio he came across as a warm-hearted man with a great sense of humour. Sadly, he died a few years later.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morton_Feldman


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"Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones" (Alberto Semprini)
"I don't want to go out. I want to stay in. Get things done." (David Bowie)
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Re: John Cage and Beyond----The Avant-Garde in the Second Half of the 20th Century

on Sat Mar 24, 2018 11:10 am
I know the name Christian Wolff but not his music. Having rejected John Cage's music
as unsuitable for work-time listening, I found this contemplative work by Wolff that fits
the bill rather nicely (I see the name Cornelius Cardew crops up again on his wiki page):



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_Wolff_(composer)  

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"Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones" (Alberto Semprini)
"I don't want to go out. I want to stay in. Get things done." (David Bowie)
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Re: John Cage and Beyond----The Avant-Garde in the Second Half of the 20th Century

on Sun May 20, 2018 1:29 pm
I bought this same recording of John Cage's Variations IV (1963) back in the mid '60s and annoyed the shit out of my parents with it, nice fellow that I was...

Interestingly, "[t]he popular phonograph record of the premiere (issued by Everest Records) of this work is generally misunderstood as a sound collage of classical music, sound-effects, and ambient noises, etc. While this is what the work sounds like the concept behind the work has nothing to do with the recordings and sounds that were employed in the performance as such. What the work actually embodies is the positioning of sound sources within a given interior space. In that regard the recording completely misrepresents the basis of the work."

Oh well.



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Variations_(Cage)

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"Maybe I put too much faith in atmosphere." (J.P. Donleavy)
"Old ones, new ones, loved ones, neglected ones" (Alberto Semprini)
"I don't want to go out. I want to stay in. Get things done." (David Bowie)
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Re: John Cage and Beyond----The Avant-Garde in the Second Half of the 20th Century

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