From the moment of its creation (from 1963 to 1967) Treatise, the musical composition by the late British composer Cornelius Cardew, has generated and represented a notch in the field of contemporary (classical) music; an incision from where all the intensity of its expression springs forth. While placed among the modernist and avantgardist sonic heritage of the post-war’s generation of composers, right in between the European branch of new music and the American branch of experimental music, it’s field of expression is much broader than the concepts of aleatory music, open form compositions and experimentation with notation (graphic notation, text scores, …).
With it Cardew has rigorously anchored himself into the tradition of contemporary philosophical thought (especially Wittgenstein’s Logical-Philosophical Treatise), the symbolism of notation itself and its graphic elements (therefore into the sphere of visual art), as well as into the plane beyond classical western musical idioms, into improvisation through the distinctive experience of the then emerging aesthetics of free improvised music, which he had encountered as a member of the historically relevant British ensemble AMM.
These 193 pages represent an intense treatise on the edges of improvisation, interpretation and realization, they embody a discussion amongst the work and its performers. The discussion is seemingly open in terms of performative and interpretative freedom, yet it simultaneously binds the performer through loyalty and responsibility to the treated matter; this responsibility is transferred into the process of decision-making about the approach to and the execution of the work. This is concurrently bondage and freedom; the freedom that was consequently upgraded by Cardew, as well as incorporated in his political activism. With its internal logic it creates a bond between the work and the performer, and this bond is the fundamental element of the work itself. This is why Treatise can transcend the institutionalized musical expressions of new music and installs itself firmly into other sonic expressions and currents, therefore retaining its relevance, boldness and enigma.
Here is where this four page performance 46/3/84/115 by percussionist Jaka Berger takes place. Berger has encountered Treatise for the first time in 2009 at a workshop by the faithful bearer of its heritage, the guitarist Keith Rowe. Treatise opened a debate on the level of creative expression and paved the way for the exploration of new sonic capabilities of the instrument, the performative abilities and approaches to Treatise. Six years later we are presented with a record that embodies the whole essence of the piece while it quietly swishes from the pages of Treatise, it embodies the whole historical heritage accumulated on the pages and in the resonance of past performances. It was actualized trough an extremely dedicated and focused process requiring a reductionist approach to percussion instruments, but opening their sonic and rhythmic potential achieved solely through prolonged and profound research.
Brgs: prepared drums, electronics
Recorded, mixed and mastered by Jure Gruden
Design by Brgs
Words by Luka Zagoričnik
Released at Zvočni prepihi in december 2015
released December 17, 2015
all rights reserved