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The 25 Year Retrospective Concert of the Music of John Cage
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Album: The 25 Year Retrospective Concert of the Music of John Cage
# Song Title   Time
1)    Six Short Inventions, for alto flute, clarinet, trumpet, violin, 2 violas & cello
2)    First Construction (In Metal), for 6 percussionists
3)    Imaginary Landscape No. 1, for 2 variable speed turntables, frequency records, muted piano & cymbal
4)    Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs, for voice & closed piano, The
5)    She is Asleep, for voice, prepared piano & 4 percussion: a) Quartet
6)    She is Asleep, for voice, prepared piano & 4 percussion: b) Duo
7)    Music for Carillon no 1
8)    Williams Mix
9)    Concert for Piano and Orchestra
10)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 1
11)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 2
12)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 3
13)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 4
14)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Interlude no 1
15)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 5
16)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 6
17)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 7
18)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Sonata no 8
19)    Sonatas and Interludes for Prepared Piano: Interlude no 2
1)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata I
2)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata II.
3)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata III.
4)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata IV.
5)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: First Interlude
6)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata V.
7)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata VI.
8)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata VII.
9)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Sonata VIII.
10)    Sonatas and Interludes, for prepared piano: Second Interlude
1)    Music for Carillon No. 1, for solo carillon
2)    Williams Mix, for 8 channels of pre-recorded tape
3)    Concert, for piano & orchestra, for piano & 13 other instruments in any combination
 
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • This set is offered at a special price: 3 discs for the price of 2.
  • This three-disc set documents the concert held in the town hall of New York City on May 15, 1958, where 25 years' worth of John Cage's compositions were performed, the largest such event at that point in his career. Presented chronologically, the works increasingly tested the patience of the audience, eventually prompting audible protests. Following the "conventionally" modernist "Six Short Inventions for Seven Instruments," listeners hear the delightful "First Construction in Metal," a percussion-driven piece from 1939 that bridges Edgar Varese with the composer's fascination with Balinese gamelan music, which would achieve sublime form in his compositions for prepared piano several years hence. Though almost 20 years old at the time of the concert, the amazing "Imaginary Landscape No. 1," with its high-frequency recordings, struck and stroked cymbals, and piano, must have sorely tested even the most benevolently inclined audience in 1958, but those at town hall appear to have greeted it warmly, if somewhat tentatively. The second disc is given over to a performance by Maro Ajemian of ten of the sonatas and interludes for prepared piano. If these works have been given superior interpretations in the intervening years (especially by John Tilbury and Joshua Pierce), their loveliness is still quite apparent here. Disc three begins attractively enough, with David Tudor's reading of "Music for Carillon No. 1" sent rippling through the theater. But with Cage's groundbreaking "Williams Mix," things take a more raucous turn and the audience, baffled and perturbed, reacts angrily and noisily. Realized by Cage, Earle Brown, and Tudor on magnetic tape and eight loudspeakers, the piece, heard more than four decades on, sounds incredibly prescient (it could still easily pass as "avant-garde" at most performance spaces), but even then one could hear some affinities with the work of composers as popular as Carl Stalling. But the boos and catcalls are clearly heard amidst the applause. The final work on the program was "Concert for Piano and Orchestra," completed that very year, and here the audience declines to wait until its conclusion to vent its annoyance. About 18 minutes into the 26-minute piece, prolonged (and sarcastic) applause breaks out in an attempt to stifle the goings on. One can easily imagine that Cage, at least in retrospect, would appreciate this intrusion of the "real world." In any case, this set is a must-have for any fan of the composer, not only capturing a historic occasion in his career, but also affording some fine performances of a number of his key works. Highly recommended. ~ Brian Olewnick
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