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CORNELIUS CARDEW: The Great Learning (4 CDs, slipcase)
All seven paragraphs on 4 CDs. Recorded in Poland as a series of workshops conducted by Nima Goushesh. 16pp book with commentary by Michal Libera and Michael Best recording I’ve heard and gives a good impression of this celebrated work written to be played by large group (here of 60) whose musical skill or expertise are irrelevant. The Great Learning is a process work, its core consisting of musical cells, instructions and occasional text. It’s a piece very much coming out of the the ferment of the late 60s ad early 70s falling, in Cardew’s oeuvre, between AMM and PLM. Activities, objects, drums, pipes, voices that clatter, drone, chant, howl and try to interact; a music (if it is a music, let’s say a social sonic activity) that reminds us of the unanswered questions raised in the ‘60s and thereafter pusillanimously and quietly dropped. But they continue to haunt, and Cardew’s work takes a clear position - A cul de sac, quite possibly, but properly radical. So that the issues become clear. Probably better participated in than listened to, but a valuable document none-the-less. Nicely packaged. As ever paragraph 7 is the hit.
Code: The Great Learning