Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More on AMM

      I thought that I would include a little more material on AMM.  Here is a video on Keith Rowe from the group, as well as a couple links to polemical and theoretical positions taken by pianist and composer Cornelius Cardew.  New AMM pianist John Tilbury has finally printed his long expected biography on the composer.  I haven't been able to read the biography, primarily because it's really expensive, but I suspect that it will be worth reading about Cardew's journey from working with Stockhausen in Darmstadt to his involvement in collective improvisational practices, and finally into Maoist politics.  (The compositions from this period are quite boring.  Prevost accurately describes them as 'public school music.')  At the end of his life, he was in a small, pro-Albania Marxist grouplet.  In addition, Cardew's experimented with new collective formations of music making, the Scratch Orchestra was the most notable of those, but he produced a number of different formations, often working with amateur musicians.

I thought it made sense to include something from Rowe.  My paper primarily works from the communal position taken by Prevost in his to recent books, but Rowe is an interesting artist in his own right, both artistically and intellectually.

Ubuweb has some very interesting material on Cardew.  Here is an earlier essay on the ethics of improvisation.  I probably would have quoted from it quite extensively if it had been readily available when I wrote the essay.   Perhaps, I will write more on it in the future, but it's clearly an effort to think through the process of working within the collective confines of AMM.  Unfortunately, the website has had to remove the material from the more polemical, Stockhausen Serves Imperialism, but in many ways, that essay is far less interesting than the earlier writing, losing a sense of both experimentation, as well as intellectual openness.  In addition, the site has a number of recordings from Cardew, as well as an interesting BBC documentary produced in 1981, after the composers death at 45.  He was killed in hit and run driving accident.

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