Cornelius Cardew - Treatise

Cornelius Cardew - treatise (1963-67)

written in the years immediately preceding his involvement with AMM, this is a beautiful work, in terms of the immediate appeal of its interpreted form to the senses, and its spontaneous yet calculated process of generation out of, not nothing, but an otherwise imperceptible sound world. it is a field of particles free floating in a much larger field of particles.

from Diaries of composer:

What I composed in this piece - the image that hovered in front of my mind's eye - was a 'Musizierweise' (Mode of music-making). I invented a way of making music and limited it to such an extent that musicians without construction ideas of their own are in a position to adopt this musizierweise.

I compose systems. Sounds and potential sounds are around us all the time - they're all over. What you can do is to insert your logical construct into this seething mass - a system that enables some of it to become audible. That's why it's such an orgiastic experience to improvise - instead of composing a system to project into all this chaotic potential, you simply put yourself in there (you too are a system of sorts after all) and see what action that suicidal deed precipitates.

sample pages from the score:

a great animated explanation of the score (thanks to finder Grasp Release):

treatise workshop videos:

the definitive article by John Tilbury:

more information and links:




Anonymous said...

Thank you for spoiling our ears with this and so many other good sounds! A Very Happy 2007 to you!

zhao said...

I switched to new version of blogger and now that picture of me is up again instead of our 3 names. WTF? can't figure it out right now...

Anonymous said...

I am really happy to get the chance to hear this. Thanks so much for this and other great stuff on your blog. You're generous and discerning. Happy New Year!


ulfur said...

this stuff is amazing, thank you for contributing!

Richard Pinnell said...

This recording is the worst and most disrespectfully wayward recording of Treatise in existence.

zhao said...

wow. which ones are better?

Anonymous said...

What is Richard Pinnell talking about? Why make such a destructive statement without some more info - share your expertise, if indeed expertise is what you have!

5:4 said...

Richard's own profile confesses that he "writes mindless drivel about music"; his comment above is entirely consistent with that.

Anonymous said...

any chance to have a link for the music scores screenshots in highres?

Richard Pinnell said...

There are many recordings of Treatise in existence. This one is the worst, both musically and in relation to its adherence to the composer's intentions for how the score should be played.

It is not possible, if you follow the notes laid out in Cardew's Treatise Handbook to play the entire score in less than four hours. This recording tries to do this. It is unsympathetic to the intentions of the composer, and the recognised experts on Treatise have routinely dismissed it.

It also, quite frankly, sounds dreadful.

In 2009 My CD label will release a version of Treatise along with a book of writing on the score both by Keith Rowe, one of Cardew's closest friends and colleagues at the time Treatise was written.

Anonymous said...

"Remember that space does not correspond literally to time."
- Cornelius Cardew, Treatise Handbook, p.iv col 1pp.3

surely it does not matter how long it is?

Anonymous said...

richard pinnell hahaha aka dick penal. i can't believe your folks named you dick dick. that's too fucking funny

Squarewhite said...


the links to rapidshare doesn't work. It would be really nice to see the whole score. Can someone help on this?