Releases of the Month April 2022

Hermann Nitsch, Harrison Birtwistle and Klaus Schulze: the art and music world had to say goodbye to three artists in April 2022. They could hardly be more different. One a highly controversial artist up to the last minute, the other an iconoclastic composer of contemporary music and then a drummer who for several decades explored the possibilities of sound synthesis like no other. What unites the three of them is their singular understanding of what art in general and music in particular can make possible: to create perspectives on the past, present and future; to dream up new worlds and ideals of living that depart from the traditional ones.

However, their works also remind us that these efforts can never be completed. Lessons from the past are certainly crucial, but above all, visionary ideas and the will to radically break with tradition is even more important. You can find a lot of that in the following 15 releases—it could well have been 30, because many more exciting new music releases have landed in our inboxes in the meantime—and three books.

One of those books was released a while ago and is dedicated to Julius Eastman. The US-American composer pursued a no less revolutionary approach than the three artists mentioned at the beginning. But the study of his work has only really taken off in recent years—when he died in 1990, he did so in poverty and isolation. Why Eastman was not accepted by the contemporary music establishment in the seventies and eighties is painfully obvious. This should also be a lesson to us all: many a radical vision is not canonised, but ignored for a long time, for all the wrong reasons.