Milan Knížák ‘Broken Music (details)’

Milan Knížák, Broken Music catalogue cover, 1989
'Broken Music (details)' flexi disc'Broken Music (details)', score

01 Broken Music (details) 4:40

Performed by the Arditti String Quartet:
Irvine Arditti: violin 1
David Alberman: violin 2
Levine Andrade: viola
Rohan de Saram: cello

7” flexi disc with the Broken Music exhibition catalogue, DAAD galerie, Berlin, 1989

In addition to breaking LPs since 1964-5, Milan Knížák (see previous post) have also been toying with the idea of musical notation. For instance, he glued some record’s pieces onto a blank music sheet to form a new composition (see here). Additionally, in his text ‘Destruovana Hudba’ (Destroyed Music), written late 1960s, Knížák describes his experiments with published scores collages:

Later, I began to work in the same way with scores. I erased some of the notes, signatures and other signs, whole bars (and in this way partly determined the rhythm, if the pauses were regular), added notes and signatures , changed the tempo, and so on. I also changed the order of the bars, played the compositions backwards, turned the lines upside down, put parts of different scores together, etc. (reprinted in Novy Raj, Selection of work 1952-1995, Galerie Manes, Museum of Applied Arts, Prague, 1996)

It’s the kind of experiment we have here, a collage of score parts from different origins played by the Arditti String Quartet. The handwriting on the score above mentions Antonín Dvořák and microtonal composer Alois Hába as sources, so this is possibly a mash up of the two. At the top of the page, the title ‘Smyčcový kvartet’ means String Quartet in Czech. Apparently created between 1968- and 1976, and retrieved from Knížák’s archives in 1988 (‘with some corrections 1988’, Knížák notes) for the Broken Music exhibition. Just to make things clear, the Broken Music exhibition was about artists’ records of all origins in general, and included some Knížák damaged LPs, article excerpts and the gorgeous cover above.


.   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .   .

Updated discography:
1973 ‘Broken Music’, LP, Musica Nova ed., Milano, Italy (need evidence)
1979 ‘Broken Music’, LP, ed. Multhipla Records (aka Cramps Records), Milan, Italy
1983 ‘Broken Music’, cassette and inserts, Edtion Hundertmark, Cologne, Germany
1986 ‘Ukázky z hudebních aktivit 1951-1986’ (Examples of my music activities 1951-1986), multiple, Ed. MK, Prague, CR
1989 ‘Broken Music – Details’, flexi disc, by the Arditti String Quartet, DAAD galerie, Berlin, Germany
1991 ‘Traditional suite’, 7”, Museo Mudima Foundation, Milano, Italy,
1991 ‘Obrad horící mysli’ (Burning mind ceremony), 2xLP, CD, Ed. Kondor, Revnice, CR
1991 ‘Bossanova suita’, CD, Ars Acustica, EBU Selection 1991 ORF, Wien, Austria
2002 ‘Navrhuju Krysy’ (I Propose Rats), CD, Anne Records, CR
2002 ‘Broken Music’, CD, Ampersand, USA (1979 Multhipla Records LP reissue)
2005 ‘Broken Music’, CD, Kissing Spell, UK (1979 Multhipla Records LP reissue)
2008 ‘Broken Tracks’, CD, Guerilla Records, CR

Appears on:
1996 ‘Graficke partitury a koncepty’ [Graphic Scores and Concepts], book+CD, Petr Kofron and Martin Smolka ed., Agon Orchestra (contains the 1973 conceptual music piece ‘nl’)

With Aktual group:
1965 ‘Aktual Kommunity’, samizdat LP, CR
198? ‘Attentat Na Kulturu’, 1971-2 live recordings, cassette, S.T.C.V. (aka Petr Cibulka), CR
2003 ‘Attentat Na Kulturu’, CD, Anne Records, CR (reissue of the above)
2005 ‘Deti bolševizmu’, CD, Guerilla Records, CR
2005 ‘Aktual’, CD, Kissing Spell, UK

3 Responses to “Milan Knížák ‘Broken Music (details)’”

  1. 1 Michael B August 19, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    Fascinating. Too short, but fascinating. Thanks!

  2. 2 continuo August 19, 2009 at 9:11 pm

    You’re welcome, Michael.

  3. 3 Acousmata August 30, 2009 at 4:58 am

    Wonderfully bizarre!

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