One of the great misconceptions in classical music is the primacy of the score—those dots, lines, and staves printed on paper that purportedly inscribe a single path to sonic paradise.

In the 20th century, scores grew in complexity and commanding power. More dashes, lines, numbers, and squiggles adorned the notes; composers festooned the music with detailed directions, sometimes resorting to footnotes. The second movement of Berg's 1935 Violin Concerto has footnotes at measures 39, 80, 170, and elsewhere.

Demanding total control of the performer's body, Brian Ferneyhough peppered his Unity Capsule (1975–1976) for solo flute with precise, hortatory instructions. In one section, the flutist's playing stance should freeze for "15 seconds of absolute silence and lack of movement" and, after a flurry of notes in six rapid measures (a mere 20 beats) later, the player must "remove instrument from lip abruptly."

A few composers revolted against the traditional score and its ever-accumulating complexity. The spare lines and abundant blank space of Earle Brown's revolutionary December 1952 leaves everything—the notes, tempo, and even the instruments—up to the performer. The massive Treatise (1 of 193 pages is depicted above) of Cornelius Cardew (1936–1981) is the kabbalah of graphic scores, an enigmatic encyclopedia of shapes, traditional notation, and symbols. The resulting music cannot be predicted.

Cardew's longtime compadre, legendary experimental guitarist Keith Rowe, has been involved with Treatise since its inception in the early 1960s. For this performance of Treatise, he leads an ensemble of local experimental musicians including members of Climax Golden Twins and Aono Jikken as well as Stuart Dempster, who performed in the work's 1967 U.S. premiere. Don't miss it. recommended

Hear Treatise Mon Oct 15 (Fourth-floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N), 8 pm, $5–$15 sliding-scale donation.


Thurs 10/11


Fronted by saxophonists Jessica Lurie and Amy Denio, the Tiptons unleash frenetic riffs in funky meters derived from Balkan and Mediterranean music. Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, 547-6763, 5—7 pm, free with museum admission.


This micro-Mozart festival showcases the immortal Requiem, which features the silken-voiced soprano Harolyn Blackwell. Also on the docket: the overture to Die Zauberflöte and the Concerto for Clarinet with clarinetist Jon Manasse. Also Fri Oct 12 at 7 pm, Sat Oct 13 at 8 pm, and Sun Oct 14 at 2 pm. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $20—$110.

Fri 10/12


I'm still waiting for a successful union of classical music and hiphop; merely placing a Bach melody atop a beat just won't cut it. Surely, someone can translate hiphop's poetry, its ravishing inflections of the voice as well as exploit the space within a midtempo groove and meld it all into a polyphonic, symphony-sized form? Roumain's earlier work probed those directions, but here he presents his violin in tandem with prepared piano and projected video, ruminating on "feelings of loss, isolation, and optimism." Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave, 292-2787, 8 pm, $22—$38.


Once nicknamed "Little Dex," this friend and disciple of Dexter Gordon still sounds robust and lyrical. Caliman and his tenor saxophone cast a spell at a gig last December that still holds me. Tula's, 2214 Second Ave, 443-4221, 8:30 pm—12:30 am, $12.

Sat 10/13


A vestige of a bygone age when pianists composed and improvised, Eisenbrey plays piano pieces by Gavin Borchert, Benjamin Boretz, and Lockrem Johnson, along with several of his own compositions. University Temple United Methodist Church, 1415 NE 43rd St, 632-5163, 2 pm, $10 suggested donation.


One of the few pianists in town who can triumph with the vertiginous piano music of Franz Liszt, Cummings sallies through pieces from the Harmonies Poétiques et Religieuses (the "Miserere" and "Andante Lagrimoso"), the Transcendental Etudes ("Mazeppa"), and his underrated late works ("Czardas Macabre," Weigenleid). Sherman-Clay Piano & Organ, 1624 Fourth Ave, 622-7580, 5:30 pm, $9/$15.


Forgotten too soon after their mid-1990s heyday, ...kagel... were one of the few local ensembles that fused acoustic instruments with electronic sound so ferociously that it was hard to tell who was doing what. The seldom-seen bassist Mark Collins, a crucial member of ...kagel..., joins Apostrophe's hour-long fusion of poetry, dance, and sound. Collins collaborates with poet Alicia Cohen and dancer Amelia Reeber. Gallery 1412, 1412 18th Ave, 322-1533, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding-scale donation.

Weds 10/17


The star cellist spearheads an evening of music for solo instruments. Double bassist Joe Kaufman essays "Failing: A Difficult Piece for Solo String Bass" by one of the great yet overlooked minimalists, Tom Johnson; percussionist Alexander Lipowski tackles Vinko Globokar's Corpus; Roman plays a solo cello piece by Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera, and more. Town Hall, 1119 Eighth Ave, 800-838-3006, 7:30 pm, $15—$20.