Musica Elettronica Viva:
Spacecraft/Unified Patchwork Theory
Ultimately the sound of many persons oscillating in a harmonic relation with one another will acquire an unimaginable richness and fineness, which will completely transcend the individual musics
(Frederic Rzewski in "Plan for Spacecraft")
Recorded in 1967 & 1990
|1/||Spacecraft||Musica Elettronica Viva||41:16|
|2/||Unified Patchwork Theory||33:52|
Recorded  in 1967, Cologne (Germany) and  on November 18, 1990 at Rote Fabrik, Zurich (Switzerland).
Cover photography: Roberto Masotti.
Form for a music that has no form. We begin with a group of performers and an idea. The idea is two kinds of space: occupied, and created space. Each performer occupies a part of the space (which can be a theater, concert hall, radio station, or whatever). This space is corporeal, and has limits defined by those of his own body. His medium is the vibrating atmosphere. His object is, by means of concentrated energy, excitation of the air, to create a situation in which lines of force are set up between himself and other persons, whose alternating rhythms produce a sense of liberation in those whose ears they reach.
Each performer considers his own situation as a sort of labyrinth. Each begins by making music in the way in which he knows how, with his own rhythms, his own choice of materials, et cetera, setting up some kind of simple ensemble situation, without particular regard for the others. This primitive ensemble, however, is superficial, and has nothing to do with the fundamental unity which is the final goal of the improvisation. He begins by making music in an already familiar way. He does not transcend himself; he does not consider thot he is creating anything, or doing anything that he has not done already ot one time or another.
He sees himself as imprisoned in a labyrinth with many corridors. At the center of the labyrinth he imagines a sort of movie-screen with a loudspeaker. Images flash constantly across the screen, and sounds emanate unintemuptedly from the speaker
The images and sounds which are flashing at him are formulas, drawn from the reservoir of tradition: what he knows as "art"... The response to them is to move spontoneosly, executing already learned actions, empty gestures, mechanical repetitions of the past.
His mind is like a complicated organ with many keys. There is an "inspiration" key, a "composition" key, a "Stockhausen" and a "Cage" key: one for every myth... This is his virtuosity. But he has dane nothing to escape from the labyrinth. He is still reading images flashing across his individual mind. He has not transformed the space in any way.
The secret of the labyrinth is that the way out is not forwards or backwards, to the left or to the right, but up. To go up it is necessary to fly. The musicians must grow wings and enter into someone else's labyrinth.
Now two things can happen: either this event will take place immediately and miraculously, by magic, and music will result; or else, as is more likely, it will not happen... The audience, too, will be drawn into music, and eventually contribute to it, either by producing sound, or by remaining silent.
Frederic Rzewski, July 3, 1967 (CD liner notes, originally published in Source Magazine)