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It’s Cornelius Cardew’s Revolution Is the Main Trend in the World Today The Great Learning required a new kind of performance practice and. Discover releases, reviews, track listings, recommendations, and more about Cornelius Cardew & The Scratch Orchestra – The Great Learning at Discogs. View credits, reviews, tracks and shop for the CD release of The Great Learning on Discogs.

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He later rejected experimental music, explaining why he had “discontinued composing in an avantgarde idiom” in his own programme notes to his Piano Album [ full citation needed ] carxew favour of a politically motivated “people’s liberation music”. Cardew was born in WinchcombeGloucestershire.

He was the second of three sons whose parents were both artists—his father was the potter Michael Cardew. The family moved to Wenford Bridge Pottery Cornwall a few years after his birth where he was later accepted as a pupil by the Canterbury Cathedral School which had evacuated to the area during the war due to bombing.

His musical career thus began as a chorister.

From toCardew studied piano, cello, and composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Having won a scholarship to study at the recently established Studio for Electronic Music in Cologne, Cardew served as an assistant to Karlheinz Stockhausen from to As a musician he was outstanding because he was not only a good pianist but also a good improviser and I hired him csrdew become my assistant in the late 50s and he worked with me for over three years.

Squidco: Cardew, Cornelius: The Great Learning [4 CDs]

I gave him work to do which I have never given to any other musician, which means to work with me on the score I was composing. He was one of the best examples that you can find among musicians because he was well informed about the latest theories of composition as well as being a performer. Most of Cardew’s compositions from this period make use of the integral and total serialist languages pioneered by Boulez and Stockhausen.


He was particularly prominent in introducing the works of American experimental composers such as Morton FeldmanLa Monte YoungEarle BrownChristian Wolffand Cage to an English audience greah the early to mid sixties and came to have a considerable impact on the development of English music from the late sixties onwards.

Cardew’s most important scores from his experimental period are Treatise —67a page graphic score which allows for considerable freedom of interpretation, and The Great Learninga work in seven parts or “Paragraphs,” based on translations of Confucius by Ezra Pound.

Cornelius Cardew

The Great Learning instigated the formation of the Scratch Orchestra. During those years, he took a course in graphic design [2] and he made his living as a graphic designer at Aldus Books in London. InCofnelius joined the free improvisation group AMM as cellist and pianist.

Performing with the group allowed Cardew to explore music in a completely democratic environment, freely improvising without recourse to scores. While teaching an experimental music class at London’s Morley College inCardew, along with Howard Skempton and Michael Parsons formed the Scratch Orchestraa large experimental ensemble, initially for the purposes of interpreting Cardew’s The Great Learning.

The Scratch Orchestra gave performances throughout Britain and elsewhere until its demise in It was corneoius this period that the question of art for whom was hotly debated within the context of the Orchestra, which Cardew came to see as elitist despite its numerous attempts to make socially accessible music. After the demise of the Orchestra, Cardew became more directly involved in left-wing politics and abandoned avant-garde music altogether, adopting a populist though post-romantic tonal style.

He spent in West Berlin on an artist’s grant from the City, where he was active in a campaign for a children’s clinic. Inhe published a book entitled Stockhausen Serves Imperialismwhich denounced, in Maoist self-critical style, his own involvement with Stockhausen and the Western avant-garde tradition.


The group developed and performed music in support of various popular causes including benefits for striking miners and Northern Ireland.

A guide to Cornelius Cardew’s music

His creative output from the demise of the Scratch Orchestra until his death reflected his political commitment. Cardew stated leearning attitude towards the avant-garde in Stockhausen Serves Imperialism:.

Cardew’s efforts to politicise culture in Britain were influenced by his relationship with Hardial Bainsthe Canadian communist leader and a leading anti-revisionist politician.

Bains contributed the lyrics to Cardew’s signature song from his later period, We Sing for the Future.

Cornelius Cardew – The Great Learning | MonotypeRec.

Cardew died on 13 Decemberthe victim of a hit-and-run car accident near his London home in Leyton. The driver was never found.

Musician John Tilburyin his book Cornelius Cardew—A Life Unfinished suggests that the possibility fornelius Cardew was killed because of his prominent Marxist-Leninist involvement “cannot be ruled out”.

And they kill pre-emptively”. A 70th Birthday Anniversary Festival, including live music from all phases of Cardew’s cornrlius and a symposium on his music, took place on 7 May at the Cecil Sharp House in London.

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