Cage: The Seasons, etc.

Cage: The Seasons, etc.

4.5 2
by Margaret Leng Tan
     
 
If the first thing John Cage's name brings to mind is a pianist sitting silently at a keyboard for the length of his infamous "4'33"," the variety of gorgeous sounds to be heard here will come as quite a surprise. This disc presents an intriguing contrast of early and late Cage, combining the composer's final orchestral score, "Seventy-Four"

Overview

If the first thing John Cage's name brings to mind is a pianist sitting silently at a keyboard for the length of his infamous "4'33"," the variety of gorgeous sounds to be heard here will come as quite a surprise. This disc presents an intriguing contrast of early and late Cage, combining the composer's final orchestral score, "Seventy-Four" (1992) -- the title simply identifies the number of performers required -- with three works from around 1950, a turning point in his aesthetic outlook. "The Seasons" (1947), a ballet score choreographed by Merce Cunningham, is music of radiant harmonies and unexpected but graceful gestures, lovingly played by the American Composers Orchestra under Dennis Russell Davies. Here, and especially in the Concerto for Prepared Piano (1950-51), Cage moved toward a Zen-inspired system of composition governed in part by chance. The Concerto, performed here by Cage acolyte Margaret Leng Tan, offers a feast of unusual, percussive sounds created by inserting bolts, rubber, and other materials among the piano's strings. In Cage's Suite for Toy Piano (1948), Tan plays another instrument that she's championed, communicating a playful profundity through its bell-like tones. The limitations imposed by this child's instrument -- a tiny range, and little control over timbre or dynamics -- are paradoxically transformed into a full symphonic canvas in Lou Harrison's orchestration of the Suite. "Seventy-Four," which assigns notes to the musicians but allows them considerable freedom in how they are played (if at all), is given in two versions, but not drastically different ones. The sustained, hovering pitches of this music give a hint of how far Cage, a great sonic explorer, had traveled by the end of his career.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2000
Label:
Ecm Records
UPC:
0028946514023
catalogNumber:
465140

Tracks

  1. Seventy-Four, for orchestra
  2. The Seasons, Ballet in One Act, for orchestra
  3. Concerto for prepared piano & chamber orchestra
  4. Seventy-Four, for orchestra
  5. Suite for Toy Piano, for toy piano or piano
  6. Suite for Toy Piano (orch. by Lou Harrison)

Album Credits

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Cage: The Seasons, etc. 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
HarveyVT More than 1 year ago
I was really shocked when I herd this CD. Cage was in a mellow mood rather than his usual spikey stuff. At times it almost sounded like Aaron Copeland.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago