New Bandcamp ‘EP’

The EMC has just released their new ‘single’ download, Hobbs with the Hartzell Hilton, a set of two archival recordings by the Hartzell Hilton Band, both of pieces by Christopher Hobbs: Gothic Swing, and Another Part of the Forest.

They are available on our Bandcamp site:

forest edit

Here are the notes:

Gothic Swing and Another Part of the Forest were written for the Hartzell Hilton Ensemble, an idiosyncratic group which played together in the late 1980s. Its members were Jane Aldred and Virginia Anderson (Eb clarinets), Karen Demmel and Michael Newman (violas), Simon Allen (vibes) and Christopher Hobbs (piano).

Gothic Swing, recorded here in the reverberant acoustic of Royal Holloway College, Egham on February 2 1989, is an exuberant, outward-looking piece. Another Part of the Forest (recorded at Lauderdale House, London on July 4 1988) is more introspective, and while the piano plays quite an ubiquitous role in the first piece, here it is silent for almost half of the work, with the vibes providing a gentle ostinato in the long slow middle section.

Also available: our free version of Christopher Hobbs’ Sudoku 104 (EMC-105), also on Bandcamp.


Back to Schooltime

We have a new release! Cornelius Cardew’s Schooltime Compositions, in pdf.


Cardew’s famous 1968 ‘opera book’ that immediately preceded The Great Learning. Schooltime Compositions contains notes, scores, visual elements — all involved with the exploration of ‘experiment’ in the methodological sense as well as the musical sense. This is a much slimmer volume than The Great Learning, but shares Cardew’s fascination with the sense of mutual and self-education. In this way, Schooltime Compositions precedes the group education aspect of the Scratch Orchestra, which was founded a year later. This work can be performed by reading and/or non-reading musicians. It is also just a joy to meander through. The piece includes a facsimile of the cover — a parody of those splotchy school composition books that every kid had in those days. It is marked with Cardew’s signature and a number, from the original limited edition. for information, see our catalogue:

Fare for the fans

We’ve been trawling through old recordings of late. Christopher Hobbs found us this from a recording of a concert at the British Music Information Centre, 4 April 1988. This may be the premiere of his piece, Fanfares (1987), for two E flat clarinets, played by Jane Aldred and myself. I remember these concerts as a heck of a lot of fun, the playing very challenging.

To hear these little pieces for little clarinets, go to the Experimental Music Catalogue Archival Recordings page, where you’ll find this and a host of other goodies:, where there is a short explanation. Or just have a little listen here. The Fanfares themselves are a joy to listen to — and to dance to — after all these years. And for those of you E flat clari-nuts, well, the score is available through the EMC. Just saying.

Doing the Hartzell Hilton

We’ve been looking through some archival recordings and thought you’d like to hear some Hartzell Hilton Band music. The Hartzell Hilton Band originated when Virginia Anderson and Jane Aldred agreed that there was far too little music for that fantastic little instrument, the Eb clarinet. And what made a fantastic ensemble was to add two violists, Michael Newman and Karen Demmel, a pianist, Christopher Hobbs, and a marimba/vibraphone player, Simon Allen. The Hartzell Hilton Band was named after a house in Redlands, California, owned by the composer Barney Childs. Childs hosted so many composers and performers at this house, on Hartzell Avenue, that he called it ‘the Hartzell Hilton’. Newman, Demmel, and Hobbs had stayed at the Hartzell Hilton; Anderson often lived there, so Newman gave the band its name.

The track that we’re sharing is from one of two classic Hartzell Hilton Band concerts: a concert at Lauderdale House, Hampstead, London, on 4 July 1988 (the other was in the Picture Gallery at Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham). The concert programme included two pieces by Hobbs, two by John White, one by Newman, one by Michael Parsons, one by Childs, an arrangement of Lol Coxhill tunes by Hobbs, and a piece by Hugh Shrapnel. The date of Fourth of July was accidental, but it was used in their advertising for the concert. We haven’t found that advertising in our files yet, but it stated that as it was American Independence Day, the Hartzell Hilton Band would play no American music…ah, yes, one, Barney Childs, but as an alumnus of Oxford, he was an honorary Brit. The programme ended, ‘Happy American Independence Day’.


Scratch Orchestra Improvisation Rites

Sunday night there will be a rather wonderful event at Cafe Oto. Various people — original Scratch Orchestra members, new folk, younger folk — have been working on that most fascinating genre of Scratch Orchestra music-making, the Improvisation Rite, using the early Scratch Orchestra document, Nature Study NotesNature Study Notes is a collection of Improvisation Rites, edited by Cornelius Cardew, that existed right at the start of the Scratch Orchestra. Improvisation Rites are not compositions, at least not according to the Draft Composition of the Scratch Orchestra. Instead, they are meant to supply conditions for improvisation: a setting, idea, installation, and so on. In fact, many of the 152 Nature Study Notes Rites are actually compositions (they tell you what to play), but the Scratch Orchestra genres have always been somewhat fluid. For more on Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra, there’s a rather good article on Cardew and the Scratch Orchestra in the unlikely setting of the Red Bull Music Academy website:

Stefan Szczelkun launched this concert of Scratch Orchestra improvisation along with a host of others, and from the early notes on rehearsals, it looks amazing. The information on the concert at Cafe Oto exists on their site: . It’s going to be a lovely programme, and the EMC (Chris Hobbs, Virginia Anderson) are going to be in the audience, cheering them on. For those on Facebook, the event notification is here: . And Carole Fyner will be interviewing performers on her Resonance Radio (London and the Internet) show, Sound Out, on Friday, 20 February, at 2 pm.

And should you want to follow along, the EMC has put up a download of the original EMC edition of Nature Study Notes on our Freebies page: . Your school field trip notebook was never this much fun!

Aspects of British Experimental Music on

Virginia Anderson’s PhD thesis, ‘Aspects of British Experimental Music as a Separate Art-Music Culture’ (Royal Holloway, University of London, 2004) is available online on the site for free download: . This academic study of various aspects of the British experimental and systems music group has not been freely available before. Containing early versions of several of her articles and chapters on Cardew’s Treatise, English systems, text notation and the Scratch Orchestra (some of which are free to download on the same page), this paper might be of interest to those students of British experimental music.

EMC upgrades move to Jems

The current summer updates to the Experimental Music Catalogue website have now moved to our associated peer-review journal, JemsThe editors have added a category called ‘Links to like-minded writings’, which will connect Jems to work that will amplify and contextualise the discourse on experimental and minimalist music. These writings are already in fixed format and will be available through open-access. The first link is James Pritchett’s perceptive study of Cage’s spirituality in the 1940s and 50s. There will be more to come.

EMC Upgrade/update

Sharp-eyed readers will see a lot of changes slowly appearing to the EMC website. First, there’s a slightly sleeker look. We think that it might be easier to find things with our new menu. We’re placing more pictures on the page, sound file samples of the CDs that we currently sell, and are just starting to put short samples from our scores, with a bit more information about each piece. You can see an example of this last improvement here, with a page for Chris Hobbs’ 24 Preludes for solo piano: . More — much more — to come. We hope to add many more freebies as we go, so keep in touch!