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Cornelius Cardew was born in 1936 in Winchcombe/Gloucestershire. From 1953 to 57 he studied piano and 'cello with Percy Waller and composition with Howard Ferguson at the Royal Academy of Music in London and won a scholarship to study electronic music with Gottfried Michael König in Cologne for a year before becoming Karlheinz Stockhausen's assistant (1958-60), collaborating with him on Carré. In 1958 he was correpetitor for the European première of John Cage’s Piano Concerto. Returning to England in 1961 he worked as a graphic designer and played and organised concerts. In 1964 he continued studying composition, now with Goffredo Petrassi in Rome. 1966/67 he worked at the Center of Creative and Performing Arts of the State University Buffalo/New York, 1967 he became professor at the Royal Academy of Music London. In 1969 Cardew, Howard Skempton and Michael Parson founded the Scratch Orchestra – a body of professional and amateur musicians, composers, artists and performers singular in hiostory. From 1965 to 1971 he performed with the improvisation ensemble AMM. 1973 was spent in West Berlin on an artists grant from the City where he was active in a campaign for a children clinic. On returning to London he became part of Peoples Liberation Music group with Laurie Scott Baker, John Marcangelo, Vicky Silva, Hugh Shrapnel, Keith Rowe and others, which was developing music to serve the people's movement participating musically in many of the current issues of the day.
In 1981 he was killed by a hit and run driver in London.


Cornelius Cardew & The Scratch Orchestra: The Great Learning




The Great Learning, Paragraph 1
Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, May 16, 1982, Cornelius Cardew Memorial Concert

The Great Learning, Paragraph 2 & Paragraph 7
Chappell Studios, London, February 15/16, 1971
The Scratch Orchestra, conducted by Cornelius Cardew

This CD was published in 2000 as organ of Corti 21
total duration: 64:23

item no.: DD1112
retail price: € 16,90

A re-issue of Deutsche Grammophon's recording of Paragraphs 2 & 7 of The Great Learning performed by Cornelius Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra, this CD is produced by Gary Todd of the Cortical Foundation. It also features a recording of Paragraph 1 from the 1982 QEH Memorial Concert which was first published in 1985 on the two LP set of Impetus Records - IMP28204.




Cornelius Cardew: Piano Music

1. The Croppy Boy; 2. Father Murphy; 3. Four Principles on Ireland; 4. Charge; 5. Bethanien Song; 6. Red Flag Prelude; 7. Soon; 8. Revolution is the Main Trend; 9. Thälmann Variations; 10. Boolavogue (für 2 Klaviere); 11. Sing for the Future (piano variations)



performed by: 1.-9. Cornelius Cardew; 10. John Tilbury und Andrew Ball; 11. Andrew Bottrill

CD published in 1991 on Music Now
total duration: 79:21

item no.: MNCD011
retail price: € 15,90

...if the word 'romantic' should be rescued from the whimsical sentimentalists, it is so that we could then apply it, properly, to Cornelius Cardew: a real fountain of breathtakingly adventurous music. Immense skill and moral discipline, yes, but at the heart of the matter is simply the actual beauty of these hauntingly evocative soundscapes.
Robert Wyatt

...recaptures some of the extraordinary effect of his live performances.
Mark Pappenheim, Independent



Cornelius Cardew: Consciously

1. Consciously (Cardew); 2. Spirit of Cable Street (Baker); 3. We People (Burgie/Jackson); 4. Solidarity Song (Brecht/Eisler); 5. Bold Fenian Men (trad.); 6. Join in the Fight (trad.); 7. Take up the Fight (Baker); 8. Himno de Riego (Machedo/Esplá); 9. We're Not Afraid (Dermot); 10. Golden Mountain in Beijing (trad.); 11. The Blackleg Miner (trad.); 12. Mr Media Man (Baker/Tilbury); 13. Fight the Cuts (Thompson); 14. The Lords of Labour (Thompson); 15. Cripplin' Blows (DeGale); 16. The Workers's Song (Thompson); 17. The Hammer of the Working Class (trad.); 18; People of St Pauls, Bristol (DeGale); 19. In Imperialist Wars (Thompson); 20. Song for the British Working Class (Baker/Thompson); 21. The Workers of Ontario (Cardew/CCWC); 22. Montreal Textile Worker (Shrapnel/CCWC); 23. The Dream of the Generations (Devenport/CCWC); 24. There you will find my Bones (Thompson/CCWC); 25. Song of the CYUB (Cardew/Devenport); 26. Founding of the Party (Cardew); 27. Sing For The Future (Cardew/Bains)




performers: Cornelius Cardew / People's Liberation Music / Fight Back Band / Progressive Cultural Association u.a.

CD published on Music Now
total duration: 78:56

item no.: MNCD009
retail price: € 16,90


2006 would have been Cornelius Cardew’s 70th year and as a unique and courageous figure in British music, he is central to this collection. It includes rare, unreleased recordings of some of his compositions and many performances, together with those of people with whom he worked closely. This is a tribute to the collective Cardew was part of – these are their songs, partisan, polemical and profoundly beautiful. This wide range of music written between 1972-1980 naturally reflects the times in various ways. Many are as relevant today as then. A companion CD to ‘We Only Want the Earth’. These are love songs of a different kind, love of progressive humanity and the struggle for a new society of friendship and unity for working people of the world, essentially class love.
Laurie Scott Baker, Music Now



Cornelius Cardew- PLM tapes & songs: We Only Want The Earth

1. El Pueblo Unido Jamas Sera Vencido (Ortega ) ; 2. Will of The People (Baker); 3. Hail Ireland's Glorious Martyrs (Marcangelo); 4. Peat Bog Soldiers (trad., KZ Papenburg); 5. Men Behind The Wire McGuigan); 6. Give Ireland Back to the Irish (McCartney); 7. Revolution is the Main Trend (Cardew); 8. Nothing to Lose but our Chains (Cardew); 9. School Days (Baker/Tilbury); 10. Watkinsons' Thirteens (trad.); 11. Smash the Social Contract (Cardew); 12. Law of History (Cardew); 13. Thälmann Song (Arma); 14. Freiheit (trad., Spanienkrieg); 15. United Front Song (Brecht/Eisler); 16. De Madregada (Ferura); 17. Four Principles on Ireland (Cardew); 18; British Imperialism Get Out of Ireland (Baker); 19. We Only Want The Earth (Connolly/Davies)


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performers: Cornelius Cardew / People's Liberation Music

CD published in 2001 on Music Now
total duration: 66:26

item no.: MNCD004
retail price: € 16,90

The tracks come from a rare collection of live recordings and studio sessions made between 1973-78. Plans to issue them on vinyl LP in the 70s never came to fruition (although small numbers of cassettes circulated). The original songs and arrangements are of the 70s and so reflect that time. Some people find it difficult to accept that revolutionary words can be set to beautiful melodies! Nearly 30 years later these unique tracks stand as a record of activity & many of the issues raised in the songs remain relevant today. Six tracks are Cardew compositions, others feature him singing or playing & all are testimony to his collective outlook & the broad canvas of his work on the 20th anniversary of his death.

Peoples' Liberation Music
PLM was formed in 1973 by a group of musicians who wanted to use their talents to support the struggles of the working class and people. It came directly out of developments within the Scratch Orchestra in the early 70s and performed at rallies, socials, universities, etc. did tours of Wales, England, Ireland, concerts in Europe, was active in anti-fascist struggles, the working class and trade union movement, playing on workers demonstrations and becoming very well known in these circles. It took up the question of Ireland, organising concerts and other activities. Broadsheets, posters, song books, recordings etc. were all produced. PLM has been described as a folk rock art music band that performed political songs and other pieces from many genre whilst also defining its own forms.
The CD - We Only Want the Earth - is some of that work, warts and all, material from Unity Theatre anti-fascist music theatre events put on with Recreation Ground Theatre Company. Three of the tracks come from Cardew memorial concerts in the mid 80s.
Laurie Scott Baker, Music Now


Gracility – The Music of Laurie Scott Baker

CD 1: Gracility – Derek Bailey (guitar), Keith Rowe (guitar), Gavin Bryars (bass guitar), Laurie Scott Baker (double bass), London 1969
Pibroch 1926 – Evan Parker (soprano saxophone), London 1975

CD 2: Bass Chants & Cues – Jamie Muir (droms, vocals), John Tilbury (Lowery organ), Laurie Scott Baker (bass guitar, VCS3 synthesizer), London 1972
Circle Piece – The Scratch Orchestra, London 1970


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2 CDs, published in 2009 on Music Now
total duration: 144:26

item no.: MNCD012
retail price: € 21,90

Early compositions by Laurie Scott Baker, companion of Cornelius Cardew’s from Scratch Orchestra to People’s Liberation Music. Baker, who later became known in Britain for his film music and recently released the CD ‘Liquid Metal Dreaming’, in this early period created most versatile concepts for experimental music. Performed by legendary personalities of British music history, from Evan Parker to later King Crimson drummer Jamie Muir, Baker’s music can now be rediscovered and proves undiminished vitality and viridity!



by oaksmus