Stefan Szczelkun: Improvisation Rites: from John Cage’s Song Books to The Scratch Orchestra’s Nature Study Notes (2018)

18 January 2020, dusan

“Documentation of an inter-generational exploration of two seminal improvisation scores of the mid-20th century leading to four large ensemble performances.”

Includes photo and/or text contributions (not including quoted ‘rites’ or ‘songs’) from Ali Warner, Portia Winters, John Tilbury, Jane Alden, Ben Harper, Carolyn, Phil England, Michael Parsons, Bron Jones, Hugh Shrapnel, George Chambers, Penny Homer, Geraldine McEwan, Emmanuelle Waeckerle, Matt Scott, Robert Barry, Carol Finer, Martin Dixon, Deirdre McGale, Stathis Mamalakis, John Hails, Charles Hutchins, Petri Hurinainen, Richard Duckworth, Robbie Lockwood, Howard Slater, Alexandra Dami, and Achilleas Karagiannidis.

Publisher Routine Art Co, London, 2018
ISBN 9781870736961, 1870736966
167 pages

Reviews: Julian Cowley (The Wire, 2018), Michael Kemp (2018).


PDF (9 MB)
Internet Archive

John Cage: How To Get Started (2010)

26 December 2015, dusan

“John Cage’s first and only performance of How to Get Started on 31 Aug 1989 was conceived of almost as an afterthought–a performance substituting for another that had been previously planned. In his performance, delivered at a sound design conference in Nicasio, California, Cage talks about the difficulty of initiating the creative process, and about improvisation, a subject about which he had long been deeply ambivalent. He proposes a collaborative framework in which sound engineers capture and subsequently layer his extemporized monologue, which consisted of ten brief commentaries on topics then of interest. This amounted to an experiment having to do with thinking in public before a live audience.”

The publication also features commentaries by Laura Kuhn, Aaron Levy and Arthur J. Sabatini.

Publisher Slought Books, Philadelphia, and John Cage Trust, 2010
Open access
ISBN 0981540961, 9780981540962
19 pages



Igor Stravinsky: Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons (1942–) [English, Spanish]

13 October 2014, dusan

Cover of 1956 edition

This book collects Stravinsky’s lectures written together with Alexis Roland-Manuel and Pierre Souvtchinsky and presented at Harvard University in 1939-40. Providing a wide-ranging account of Stravinsky’s music theory it discusses such subjects as Wagnerism, the operas of Verdi, musical taste, musical snobbery, the influence of political ideas on Russian music under the Soviets, musical improvisation as opposed to musical construction, the nature of melody, and the function of the critic of music.

First published in French as Poétique musicale, 1942

English edition
Translated by Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl
With a Preface by Darius Milhaud
Publisher Harvard University Press, Cambridge/MA, 1947
OCLC 155726113
142 pages

Poetics of Music (English, trans. Arthur Knodel and Ingolf Dahl, 1947, 6 MB)
Poética musical (Spanish, trans. Eduardo Grau, 1952)