Cornelius Cardew – Treatise by Jaka Berger
SHOW RECORDING 28.05.23
Treatise in solo
Slovenian percussionist Jaka Berger (1980) has been working with the late Cornelius Cardew’s (1936-1981) seminal graphic score since 2009. “Treatise” is often labelled as a creative excercise for smaller or larger groups of instrumentalists, yet throughout his published works “46 / 3 / 84 /115” from 2015, and “Breakfast With Cardew” from 2021, Berger has been dealing with one of the largest-scale piece of graphic notations ever put on paper, alone.
Challenging the self-invention
Written between 1963 and 1967, and published by Edition Peters in 1967, Cardew added no guidance for how “Treatise” was to be interpreted or performed. No definition was ascribed to the 67 different symbols (geometric and abstract shapes) that Cardew uses over the undetermined duration of the massive 193-page score, most of which are not connected whatsoever to conventional music notation. “Treatise” is an abstarct diagram of concepts that challenge the boundaries of what it really means to control sound, to define time and space, and to decipher symbols around us.
As the composition allows absolute interpretive freedom, there are no right or wrong ways of performing it; it is entirely open to reading. With this present realization, Berger goes back to basics and uses his primary instrument – the drum kit – in its most stripped-down form: no extensions, no additional sound sources, only pure stick hits, brush strokes and bow draws on the surface of his instrument. Another remarkable landmark on the journey of “Berger plays Cardew”. (László Juhász, August 2022)