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We Sing For The Future!

NA 116CD NA 116CD

Performed by Frederic Rzewski, piano. "Twenty years on, Cardew's music still provokes controversy. Even amongst his many admirers, his later 'political' music in particular creates unease and perhaps misgivings. The relation of the music to its 'programme' and to the lofty aims it purports to serve is problematic enough, so let us remind ourselves what Cardew himself wrote about this music in the seventies: 'I have discontinued composing music in an avant-garde idiom for a number of reasons: the exclusiveness of the avant-garde, its fragmentation, its indifference to the real situation in the world today, its individualistic outlook and not least its class character (the other characteristics are virtually products of this). "We Sing For The Future" is a composition based on a song. The song is for youth, who face bleak prospects in a world dominated by imperialism, and whose aspirations can only be realised through the victory of revolution and socialism. In the framework of a solo piano piece lasting about 12 minutes, something of this great struggle is conveyed. The music is not programmatic, but relies on the fact that music has meaning and can be understood quite straightforwardly as part of the fabric of what is going on in the world.' Rzewski's interpretations of these two works are wholly admirable, the performances compelling, and the two improvisations towards the conclusion of 'We Sing For The Future' -- an unexpected bonus -- are quite magnificent. He stretches the boundaries of style and musical language drawn up by Cardew without rupturing them, and, at the end of the improvisations, Cardew's music is ushered back, seamlessly and convincingly. In the second improvisation we are reminded of the great Bach/Liszt transcriptions; there can be no higher praise. Cardew would certainly have approved the inclusion of the improvisations and would have relished the verve and boldness of Rzewski's playing." -- John Tilbury