Friday, January 6, 2012

Remembering Cornelius Cardew 1936 -1981 - Revolutionary Composer and Revolutionary Communist

This video was first shown as part of a concert in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the birth of composer and political activist Cornelius Cardew, at Conway Hall, London on December 17th 2011. The concert consisted entirely of works by Cornelius, for piano and violin.

Cardew became a member of the Communist Party of England (Marxist-Leninist) in the 1970s, and in 1979 was a co-founder and member of the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist). His creative output from the demise of the Scratch Orchestra until his death reflected his political commitment. Cardew stated his attitude towards the avant-garde in Stockhausen Serves Imperialism:

Cardew's efforts to politicise culture in Britain were influenced by his relationship with Hardial Bains, the Canadian communist leader. Hardial Bains contributed the lyrics to Cardew's signature song from his later period, We Sing for the Future.

Cardew died on 13 December 1981, the victim of a hit-and-run car accident near his London home in Leyton. The driver was never found.

Musician John Tilbury, in his book Cornelius Cardew—A Life Unfinished suggests that the possibility that Cardew was killed because of his prominent Marxist-Leninist involvement "cannot be ruled out" 
Tilbury quotes a friend of Cardew's, John Maharg; "MI5 are quite ruthless; people don't realise it. And they kill pre-emptively".

Democracy and Class Struggle although Cornelius Cardew rejected Maoism and was drawn to Hoxhaism has the principal anti revisionist  force in the world- we still respect the man and his personal struggle.

The Cultural work of Cornelius Cardew is interesting and worthy of study but the political style of the movement he was part of left a lot to be desired and reflects the sectarian nature of Revolutionary Left Politics in Britain.

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