|One line synopsis||The life and work of controversial British composer, Cornelius Cardew (1936-1981), and his contribution to avant garde music and to political song-writing.|
Musicians in church (Union Chapel, Islington). "Sound has history, too. Industry and modern technology have added machine sounds and electronic sounds to the primeval sounds of thunderstorms, volcanic eruption, avalanche, and tidal wave…"
Score for The Great Learning. Tilbury describing The Great Learning. Excerpt from performance of The Great Learning in Union Chapel. Tilbury talking about The Great Learning as exemplifying the principles of collective music making. Eddy Prévost talking about looking for stones (required for a performance) in the Peak District. Tilbury talking about the response to the first performance of The Great Learning at the Cheltenham Music Festival. More from The Great Learning performance. Tilbury. Parts of Cardew’s score. Tilbury suggests that Cardew was bringing back a lost relationship between composer and performer.Prévost believes Cardew was influential in stimulating interest in contemporary musical ideas. Page from score for Mountains, a 1977 piece for bass clarinet. Ian Mitchell describes the work (score seen) which, though demanding of the performer, is not prescriptive as to elements such as tempo. Mitchell playing Mountains. Photographs of Cardew; commentary says that, in the 1970s, he repudiated his own music and the avant-garde generally, turning to political activism. Tilbury describes Cardew’s political ideas which included the fact that music must play a part in political struggle. Wolff on music as an integral part of social activity. Film of Cardew speaking at the Conference against Racism and Fascism. Sheila Kasabova talking about Cardew’s activism. VO continues over photographs of Cardew at political rallies, etc. Cardew speaking at Conference. Leading musical ensemble at same event.
Tilbury on how Cardew changed his life in order to become politically active. Photographs of Cardew. Wolff on the change in Cardew’s music when he turned to writing popular political songs. Photograph of Cardew in Berlin with his Bethanienlied (1974)played over. Wolff on Cardew’s move towards more "accessible" music. Photograph of Cardew, page from score, with such a piece played over. Wolff believes that Cardew attempted to recover the "popular" elements of this kind of music. Tilbury quotes Hans Eisner on music and socialism. Photograph of Cardew. Commentary says that he was killed by a hit-and-run driver in 1981. Tilbury talking about memorial concerts being held all over the world. Photograph of Cardew at the piano; piano piece heard over. Tilbury relates his last memory of Cardew, at a concert in Camden, North London. Photograph of Cardew.
|Running time||53 minutes|
We would like to thank all those people and organisations who have contributed to the making of this film, in particular –
|Film segment||Cornelius Cardew 1936-1981 - ACE162.2|
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|Web address (URL)||https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-cornelius-cardew-1936-1981-1986-online|