Open Form Festival of Indeterminate Music
March 10th – 13th March 2007
Realisation of Cornelius Cardew’s ‘Treatise’ (page 47)
By Adam Asnan & J_Milo Taylor
London College of Communication
At the time of writing Treatise, Cardew was also exploring the possibilities outlined by free improvisation as typified by the group AMM who were in the process of moving towards ‘sound’ rather than ‘music’. This double articulation of Cardew’s practice, spontaneous improvisation embodied in real-time human interaction, coupled with a rejection of this in favor of notation has informed our approach to the work.
My vector into Treatise is situated in our practices as a sound artists, rather than improvising musicians, although we both improvise regularly as part of David Toop’s Laptop Orchestra. An early concept to transform the score into a map for ‘prepared’ guitar was quickly rejected but the concept of transformation was kept, and carried through to this current iteration of our response. While we were developing our work, it quickly became clear that Adam’s strategy was to be a highly formalized deconstruction of Cardew’s graphic score. It was less an interpretation, more of an extreme re-mapping of the possibilities imagined by the composer.
This in turn, prompted me towards a more direct intervention, into the work, my own practice and into reality. I re-imagined my role and decided to embark upon a process of de/re-constructing the score, and transforming it into a sculptural sound object; this object would be definitively derived from the score, limit my choices in performance, whilst facilitating these choices. Score as object, or score as instrument, a kind of physical embodiment of an originally abstract intention.
P-47 Misery Box: Sample 1
P-47 Misery Box: Sample 2
P-47 Misery Box: Sample 3
P-47 Misery Box: Sample 4
It is my feeling, that although respectful of Cardew’s intentions, we are also aware of our own situatedness, and the possibilities of articulating an alternative discourse removed from the rarefied ambience of the music academy. Our work, while a radical de/construction of the score, would, we hope, sit well with Cardew’s broader social and political aims.
The piece was presented in the Royal Academy of Music, Oslo in a workshop led by Christian Wolff.
This work of dedicated to the Cardew’s memory, with the hope he would have enjoyed our response and to Siri, Lena, Else and everyone who have been so welcoming to us during our time in Oslo. Takk.