Ernest Berk - Electronic Music For Two Ballets LP


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Label: Trunk

Extraordinary unreleased homemade electronics from the late 1960s made by a pioneering ballet dancer and musician. There are very few Ernest Berk recordings. As a pioneering ballet dancer, instructor and electronic music artist he was surprisingly prolific. He made music for all sorts of uses – he even made library music – and of course this very album of his music for two of his ballets. Towards the end of his life Ernest Berk gifted his entire collection of works, tapes, documents, and all to the Historical Archive Of The City Of Cologne. Tragically, in 2009, a large part of the archive collapsed (due to the construction of an underground railway) destroying 90% of everything. Berk's tapes have tragically never been recovered. They are assumed lost forever. So these two recordings – issued privately circa 1970 – remain precious, to say the least. There were no masters, this new pressing was simply transferred from the original copy held by his family. Trunk have done their best to restore the sound. The original notes have also been reproduced, and from what Trunk can gather, this album may well have been pressed and given away as promotion for the Dance Theatre Commune. The original album came with a small piece of paper with a geometrical squiggle stuck on the front.

Ernest Berk was born in Cologne, Germany and came to England just before the war. He started a dance company in London and wanted a sound especially suited to his experimental dance style. This he found in electronic music. Berk felt that electronic music was able to express the feelings of contemporary society in a more potent and communicative way than conventional forms of music. This is not to say he disregarded traditional forms of music, rather, he blended the best elements of both, creating a new and exciting sound. Over the years he gained an international reputation as a composer of electronic music. His works have been heard in Berlin, Cologne, Florence, Edinburgh, United States, to name a few.