Treatise by Cornelius Cardew

46/3/84/115 Treatise by Cornelius Cardew

Artwork by Brgs

Jaka Berger: prepared drums, electronics

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.
Luka Zagoričnik

46/3/84/115 recording session

“Brgs (see Vital Weekly 977 for four of his earlier releases) plays his kit with a variety
of objects and sticks, and uses some pedals and mixing board on the side. All of this
result in four strong pieces. The drum kit is something that stays recognizable through
these pieces, but Brgs shows a love for dynamics; sometimes it borders on the quiet side,
contemplative but occasionally Brgs also bursts out in an excellent free mode, banging
all of the kit, such as in ‘3’. Sometimes overtones are played to quite some extent,
which works very well with some of lines in the score. It makes that this quite a good
release of improvised music by a highly gifted player in the field.” Frans Dee Waard – Vital Weekly

“Na svoji novi plošči, ki je še ena v seriji konsistentno kapljajočih solo izdaj v zadnjih dveh letih, Jaka Berger počne nekaj, kar v teh logih ni pogosto, je pa dobrodošlo, pogumno in pomenljivo. Na plošči 46/3/84/115 se na lastno pest loteva izvedbe štirih strani glomazne kompozicije Treatise, ki jo je podpisal enfant terrible avantgarde 20. stoletja, tragično preminuli Cornelius Cardew. Tovrstna samoiniciativnost na področju t. i. sodobne kompozicije, še posebej kadar gre za spoprijem z velikimi deli zgodovinske avantgarde, tako hote ali nehote izstopa iz povprečne zatohle klime medlega zanimanja, nezavzetih izvedb ter prevelike odvisnosti od akademskega zaledja in cehovsko sankcionirane avre.” Marko Karlovčec – recenzija za Odzven

“Ob albumu 46/3/84/115, ki ga bomo čez nekaj trenutkov zavrteli v celoti, ima občinstvo tisti redek privilegij vzporednega spremljanja partiture in glasbenikove interpretacije le-te, kar recenzent poslušalkam in poslušalcem toplo priporoča. Na spletni strani lahko pod trenutno objavo najdete vizualne partiture za vse štiri Brgsove interpretacije. Seveda spremljanje ni nujno za uživanje v performansu, a brez dvoma okrepi izkušnjo; občinstvo namreč sooči s samim ogrodjem dela, ki ga posluša, in ga posledično prisili v lastno interpretacijo partitur ne glede na glasbeno izobrazbo ali izkušnje. Na ta način je dosežena ena od Cardewovih osnovnih idej oziroma ciljev, h katerim je stremel s Teratise – iztrgati elitizem iz tako imenovane sodobne glasbe in jo približati širšemu krogu ljudi ter vzpostaviti nov način dialoga med različnimi akterji v glasbenem postopku od skladatelja do poslušalstva.” Andraž Bizjan – recenzija za Radio Študent