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Thread: Cornelius Cardew

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    Default Cornelius Cardew

    Here is Cornelius Cardew (1936-81), a British composer that is seldom mentioned on this forum. I do not particularily feel like posting about his biography - I feel that will detract from the purpose of this thread: his compositions. All you need to know is that he accomplished much more than many could in his 45-year life.

    I have been really liking Cardew's graphically-rendered Treatise recently. This is an excellent recording:
    https://www.amazon.com/Cornelius-Car...lius+Cardew%22

    Here is a 'small' section on YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMzIXxlwuCs

    Another poster child of Cardew's is The Great Learning, which calls for 64 (I think?) trained musicians and likewise 64 non-players. The title, of course, lends its name to Confucius' book.

    Cardew formed The Scratch Orchestra for the sole purpose of interpreting this piece. There is a recording of them playing three of the 7 "paragraphs" for purchase. This will forever be the number one recording of the work, but don't forget a recent effort to record the 5-hour journey:
    http://monotyperecords.com/product/c...reat-learning/

    The first paragraph (performed by The Scratch Orchestra) on YouTube:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2k1m1ITcljM

    Cardew's Revolution is the Main Trend in the World Today:
    http://www.ubu.com/sound/cardew_piano.html

    This above set of pieces are a late cycle (if one can call any of the composer's works 'late'). It takes place after Cardew's style shifted drastically in favor of folk-music to blend music with politics. Again, a very intruiging biography; check it out!

    Anyways, I am too tired right now to continue. Bottom line: this composer is one that should be in your CD collection.
    Last edited by Portamento; Apr-30-2017 at 01:36.

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    Senior Member Phil loves classical's Avatar
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    I listened to the Treatise and Great Learning, and found them a tough listen. BTW, I've come to realize from your recommendations Toch is not just an underrated minor composer, but I really think those works are as good as any by the great masters, I'm talking about his Symphony 3 and String Quartet 11. The fact he is so unknown is a real shame.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Thanks for all the information.

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    Does anyone have a copy of Cardew's paper called "Stockhausen Serves Imperialism" they could let me have?

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    Looks like you can save it and print it out here.

    http://www.ubu.com/historical/cardew...tockhausen.pdf

    I love the chapter title: "John Cage: Ghost or Monster?"
    Last edited by KenOC; Apr-30-2017 at 06:47.


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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Looks like you can save it and print it out here.

    http://www.ubu.com/historical/cardew...tockhausen.pdf

    I love the chapter title: "John Cage: Ghost or Monster?"
    .......

    Thanks Ken

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    I think it would be really interesting, now that we have a copy of Stockhausen Serves Imperialism at our disposal, to understand why Cardew's repudiated The Great Learning, and to try to see what he was trying to do in the later music, and indeed what Howard Skempton is trying to do today.

    I went to The Great Learning a few years ago in London, St Mary's on Islington Green, it made me remember the old Almeida festival!
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-30-2017 at 07:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I think it would be really interesting, now that we have a copy of Stockhausen Serves Imperialism at our disposal, to understand why Cardew's repudiated The Great Learning, and to try to see what he was trying to do in the later music, and indeed what Howard Skempton is trying to do today.
    Exactly. Something took place in his later life which made him experience something of a catharsis. Why would one go from experimentalism to folk-music? Usually one goes the other way around, no? I will have to read Stockhausen Serves Imperialism on my own time and get back to you later.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil loves classical View Post
    BTW, I've come to realize from your recommendations Toch is not just an underrated minor composer, but I really think those works are as good as any by the great masters, I'm talking about his Symphony 3 and String Quartet 11. The fact he is so unknown is a real shame.
    You better believe it! Toch will make a resurgence one day - I'll keep wating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    You better believe it! Toch will make a resurgence one day - I'll keep wating.
    Well, its for the benefit of the listeners not him, he could care less now, and its too late to make up for his decline in America. Hope he enjoyed that way of life to some extent.
    "Forgive me, Majesty. I'm a vulgar man. But I assure you, my music is not.“ Mozart

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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Exactly. Something took place in his later life which made him experience something of a catharsis. Why would one go from experimentalism to folk-music? Usually one goes the other way around, no? I will have to read Stockhausen Serves Imperialism on my own time and get back to you later.
    It's not folk music really, it's political songs written in a catchy way to appeal to the proletariat. He abandoned high modernism because it wasn't attracting ordinary working class people.

    The Great Learning is a very egalitarian piece, everyone can participate. But in fact the only people who participate are from the intelligentsia.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-30-2017 at 19:31.

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