Walter Ruttmann, Weekend (MKCD010)

In 1912, Stravinsky wrote Le Sacre, in 1916, Charles Ives wrote his fourth symphony, in 1924, George Antheil wrote Ballet Mechanique, in 1948, Pierre Schaeffer wrote Étude aux chemins de fer, in 1958, Edgard Varèse wrote Poème électronique

And in nineteen thirty, Walter Ruttmann wrote Weekend. Although the term musique concrète was coined to describe Schaeffer’s Étude and the tape works by him and the dozens (and then hundreds) of others who would follow, it is no stretch really to take Weekend as the first concrète piece. Except perhaps for the quality of the recording, it certainly sounds as if it could have been written any time between 1948 and 1958.

If you want your collection of “firsts” to be complete, you’ll have to get this. Either in this recording, if you want your collection of Cinema pour l’oreille to be complete, or in the recently released Intermedium CD which also includes remixes by DJ Spooky, To rococo Rot, Mick Harris, John Oswald, Klaus Buhlert, and Ernst Horn. (See Forced Exposure for a description of this cd.) Or, if you’re slightly nuts, like me, you’ll have to have both.

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