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 the everything. Berk’s tapes have tragically never been recovered. They are assumed lost forever.
So these two recording – 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. We have done our best to restore the sound. I have also reproduced the original notes, and from what I 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. We have constructed something a little more complex to give a hint of Berk’s life and important work.
Sleevenotes for the original press:
Ernest Berk was born in Cologne, Germany and cams 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 feels that electronic music is 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 disregards traditional forms of music, rather, he blends the best elements of both, creating a new and exciting sound.
Over the years he has 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. He has scored a number of films, plays and ballets.
Ernest and his wife, Ailsa, opened a new studio at 52 Dorset St, W1, in April, 1970 where they give tuition in modern dance, electronic music and percussion. They also teach at the Guildhall School Of Music And Drama and at ILEA Institute (Stanhope). The studio is headquarters of the Dance Theatre Commune which the Berks created in order to combine their work in dance and music with those already working in similar spheres.