Yesterday I took part in the epic Cornelius Cardew piece, The Great Learning at Bath International Music Festival. The piece is divided into 7 paragraphs, and all of them were being performed simultaneously at different venues in Bath between 2 and 5pm.
You can read a bit more about Cardew here.
We performed Paragraph 1, lead by Richard Barnard, featuring Jolyon Laycock on a significant organ solo, which he played very well with the aid of bricks and stones to hold down keys and pedal notes. Myself, Richard, Simon and Liam played stones, whistles and bottles following unconventional graphic notation. We even got the audience to chant one of the text sections. A most enjoyable afternoon, which refreshed my passion for working with open scores, devising how to approach graphic notation, and making music with other people I hadn’t played with before. We were all quite bowled over by Simon’s bottle blowing solo. I hadn’t realised how many different sounds could be possible from such a small unassuming bottle… a new talent discovered.
In between our repeats we dashed off to catch very brief glimpses of a few other paragraphs being performed nearby, one of the highlights being the theatrical Paragraph 5 performed by Syzygy and the Oxford Improvisers.