John Tilbury – Cardew's Piano Music 1959-70

‘Piano Music 1959-70’ is a reissue of an album that enjoys cult status among Cardew aficionados. The standout piece remains Volo solo (1965), conceived originally for Tilbury as an attempt to coin a new type of virtuosity. Cardew expected it to be taken at a reckless tempo so that, as he wrote, ‘the piano should seem to be breaking apart’. But the material he gives the pianist – 60 inchoate fragments interlinked by pauses – trips impetus up, the structure left with a hiccuping splendour. The three February Pieces (195961) find Cardew filtering (exorcising?) Stockhausen and Boulez; Unintended Piano Music (1970) reengages with tonality as chords are stripped of their tonal function and mysteriously placed in time." - Gramaphone 


John Tilbury / piano

Cornelius Cardew / composition



1. February Piece 1959 - 3:51
2. February Piece 1960 - 6:15
3. February Piece 1961 - 4:65
4. Volo Solo  - 9:43
5. Unintended Piano Music - 5:41
6. Winter Potato No 1 - 3:58
7. Winter Potato No 2 - 8:54
8. Winter Potato No 3 - 2:00
9. Material - 9:59
10. Treatise (Excerpt) - 5:05


Recorded at the Royal College of Music, London, during the early months on 1996, by Mary Hughes. Front cover by Keith Rowe - featuring a detail from Octet '61 for Jasper Johns. 

Available as 320k MP3 or 16bit FLAC   

John Tilbury

John Tilbury is renowned for his peerless interpretation of the piano music of Morton Feldman, John Cage, Christian Wolff and Howard Skempton. In addition to the performances and seminal recordings that he has made of these composers’ works, he has been an eloquent advocate of their music in his writing and speaking about them. The same is true of the attention he has paid to the music and ideas of Cornelius Cardew, the subject of his authoritative biography published in 2008, and with whom he played in the legendary improvisation groups the Scratch Orchestra and AMM. In the last ten years John Tilbury has performed a range of plays and prose pieces by Samuel Beckett.

Video by Helen Petts

You may also like

18 Aug 2022 – 8PM

Rizan Said + Anadol (DJ)

£16 £14 Advance £8 MEMBERS