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Home » Classic in Field » JOHN CAGE: The Works for percussion

JOHN CAGE: The Works for percussion
This is one Cage CD you need to have. Covering works composed between 1939 and 1952 for percussion (un-pitched sounds, both conventional and – mostly - unconventional) and plunderphones: radios and turntables. These are revolutionary and extraordinary pieces, exceptionally well performed by the Percussion Group Cinncinati, and beautifully recorded. The works featured are Credo in Us (1942) a confection of quotes and juxtaposed genres written for percussion quartet – with radio, gramophone records and piano, stuffed with at-the-time-shocking generic quotations, and all five Imaginary Landscapes: No.1 (1939), for 2 variable speed turntables, frequency recordings, muted piano and cymbal; No.2 (1942), for percussion quintet, mostly sets of graduated tin cans, electric buzzer, conch shells, bass-drum, water gong, wastepaper basket, lion’s roar and a slinky - the long metal coil that descends staircases - amplified by a phonograph cartridge; No.3, for percussion sextet, augmenting No.2’s instrumentarium with muted gongs, an oscillator and an amplified marimbula (a kind of Caribbean Mbira). All of these works, Credo and Landscapes 1 – 3, predate Cage’s relinquishment of decision making to aleatoric processes and are intentionally and imaginatively composed – to their great benefit. Imaginary Landscape No.4 (1951) is for 12 radios and a complicated set of on/off and tuning instructions – here realised in 2 very different versions - and No.5 (1952) is for any 42 (LP) records (also presented in two versions, illustrating the consequences and possibilities of these open scores, the first for period jazz recordings and the second built up from recordings of Cage’s own music. The CD concludes with a second, very different, version of Credo. With useful notes in English, French and German, these are prescient and san pareil works that everybody should own. There are other versions of these compositions, but these you have to have. Extraordinary. L

Code: mode229
Price: £14.50