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Piotr Kurek: „Lectures“

img  Tobias

Piotr Kurek wrote the music and composed the structure of his work ‚Lectures‘ like a surrealistic novel. And most of the time a novel has a hero. In this case that hero is the late Cornelius Cardew. Being a scholar and gifted contributor to the world famous Karl-Heinz Stockhausen, with whom he collaborated for a good three years, Cardew also laid hands on the piece Carre as a composer under the supervision of the master himself.

Not merely satisfied with that he engaged in several musical adventures, frequently changing his compositional structures and developing into one of the most experienced free style adventurers, influencing a legion of experimental musicians in the process. One of his works, The Great Learning, must have been at least one of the major reasons why Piotr Kurek created this album. With the aid of Cardew's son Walter, who contributed some tapes of his father’s lectures, this musical experimental novel came to life.

While Cardew's voice, for most of the time, sounds as thought it were being emitted by a  partially defunct radio, it is intermixed with what seem to be live-instruments, which drift along in a free style that indeed doesn’t know any limits. Although sometimes harmonic sound parts appear, they are blown away like whirling autumn winds blow apart a bunch of fallen leaves. Driven into corners of wild ineptitude, they are pulled together as if drawn by a mighty magnet again and again, while in the background, the master lectures…

The complete absence of any notion of rhythm, despite the presence of percussive instruments, is another major feature of this album. Rudimentary elements of structure are exclusively provided by the instruments involved. Some electronically produced material can be detected but they seamlessly join force with those instruments. Wavelike sounds wash ashore of the endless musical groundswell that keeps coming and going… maybe one of the basic lessons we are about to learn.

On track 5, ‘Cardboard Cups’, we hear Cardew talk about the differences between jazz performances by the same artist on an album and in a live performance leading some listeners to be disappointed by the very different effects. This is also in some ways a turning point in Kurek's music. While still experimental, we now hear free jazz elements join in with their typical improvisational elements. Flowing into each other the two genres create a new and surely exiting one, spiced with evenly jazzy and experimentally mixed comments of the celebrated master Cardew.

Overall, this album is something like a musical monument errected in honour of one of the great pioneers of modern music. And I dare say that it could hardly have been built any better than what Piotr Kurek has done here - his music is a genuine testimony of what the masters lectures were all about.

By Fred M. Wheeler

Homepage: Piotr Kurek
Homepage: Crónica Records

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