CAGE, JOHN: Atlas Eclipticalis + Winter Music
Atlas, written in 1961, was Cage's first piece for full orchestra, written with the aid of star-maps and aleatorics. A microtonal exercise in extremes of loudness/softness, shortness and length and a succès de scandale at it's first performance (using much amplification), where it was sabotaged by a peevish orchestra. It then waited many years for a more sympathetic rendering, of which those here are exemplars.These versions are mostly delicate, floating freely, without direction or centre for their duration, but with constantly changing density and amplitude. CDs one and two are re-mastered from earlier LP release and embody two performances of Atlas by a chamber ensemble at the Cornish Institute in 1983, and two versions of Winter Music, for three pianos, conducted by Cage himself. The third CD offers a 1998 version for full orchestra, supervised by Cage and conducted by Melvin Strauss, heard here for the first time. Winter Music if performed by 20 pianos. Nicely packaged in a mini-box with the three individual CDs in board sleeves, a 35pp book in English, German and French and notes by Cage, Kocmieroski, Drury and Gillespie - as well as Cage's handwritten general directions for the piece.