Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Cage, Davies, Margaret Leng Tan|
John Cage - The Seasons / Leng Tan, Russell Davies, et al
This astonishing disc is possibly the best collection of John Cage's music now on the market. It covers the gamut of Cage's radicalism as well as his humor, and as such there is something for everyone (newbies included). O... more »
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This astonishing disc is possibly the best collection of John Cage's music now on the market. It covers the gamut of Cage's radicalism as well as his humor, and as such there is something for everyone (newbies included). Of particular delight here is Suite for Toy Piano (1948), which employs only the white keys in a single octave, and the beautifully orchestrated version that follows (done by Lou Harrison, a friend of Cage, in 1963). But three of Cage's absolute masterpieces--each totally different from the other--are also here: the eerie Seventy-Four (1992), the ballet score for The Seasons (1947) and the riveting Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1950-51). Everything you need to know about John Cage is right here. --Paul Cook
Julian Grant | London, Beijing, New York | 09/27/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"How times change! Cage seems to have gone from being regarded in some circles as anti-musical to being regarded as a classic. This CD concentrates, with one exception on music written in the late 40's, early 50's, just on the cusp of when he moved into his 'aesthetic of non-intention', or techniques of chance. He moved on from a beguiling sound world indeed: 'The Seasons' has real melodic appeal, try the Spring movement (track 3) - or relish the enigmatic and somewhat protean gestures of the Concerto for Prepared Piano, which seems to become more disembodied as it progresses. The Suite for Toy Piano is ingenious, and a great idea to follow it with contemporary Lou Harrison's orchestration of it, which makes it sound very beefy indeed: a delicious contrast. My personal jury is still out on the one late piece, dating from Cage's last year: Seventy-Four, 2 versions of which are recorded here. It is indeterminate, with parts allotted to just high and low instruments. It has a floating and ethereal quality, certainly, but I miss the more bracing and personal invention of the early pieces, which sound more revolutionary. Exemplary performances and vivid recording: a very stimulating anthology."
The Absolute Best of Cage!
Christopher Forbes | Brooklyn,, NY | 03/18/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I have been recently revisiting the work of John Cage, from the early experiments with timbre and rhythm, through his aleatoric period and beyond. While at one time I would have dismissed him as a poser...or a philosopher at best, now I am more and more convinced of his singular genius. This genius is beautifully represented on this amazing CD with Magaret Leng Tan and Denniss Russell Davis. Nearly every phrase in the composer's career is represented. The earliest music on the disc is the ballet score for The Seasons. This is an amazing work...it almost sounds like one of the Sonatas and Interludes orchestrated. Cage has moments of almost Stravinskian clarity, oriental filligree and yet the work is dominated most by beautifully proportioned juxtapositions of sound blocks. It is a haunting and mesmerizing work. As is the suite for Toy piano, presented both in it's original form and orchestrated by Lou Harrison. Cage manages to create a lush and elaborate rhythmic scheme out of very limited means. The Concerto show Cage moving into his next phase of work. The language is more abstract and dissonant...almost like Webern. In fact, this is a transition work into Cage's later aleatoric style. The third movement contains some of Cage's first forays into chance procedures. The result it intensely colorful, dramatic, and fascinating. The two other pieces on the disc are two realizations of 73, one of Cage's computer generated number pieces, which dominated the last few years of his life. 73 refers to the number of instrumentalists in the piece. There is not score to the work. Each instrumentalist is given a series of notated events and a time frame for the events. Timbre, effects, and timing are left up to the performer to some extent. 73 is particularly interesting in that there are only two series of events split between orchestra members...one series for higher instruments and one for lower instruments. The result is a work which slowly evolves from droning note to droning note...almost resembling the late work of Nono or Scelsi. Both versions of the piece are hypnotic. Margaret Leng Tan is a marvelous pianist, particularly in contemporary repertoire. And Russell Davies conducts with clarity and an ear for balance. If you've been afraid of Cage, this is the disc to get. The sound world is marvelous."
Magical Poem in Cage
amazonavi | KOBE, Hyogo. JAPAN | 06/15/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"John Cage worked in collaboration with Margaret Leng Tan (toy pf.) for several times. Tan is so good and successful at expressing Cage's magical world. "The Seasons" was originaly piano solo number and translated into orchestra version here. Like Vivaldi's (or Piazzolla's) 'Four Seasons', the color of the music differ from piece to piece. It really excited my imagination. "Concerto for Prepared Piano(1951)" and "Suite for Toy Piano (1948)" (Tan's second recording) are not avant-garde anymore, they can come into center in classical music scene. "Seventy-four" (which Cage wrote for American Composer Orchestra in 1992) is rather new piece and anyone who loves Part, Gorecki or Tavener will love this."