Discussion:
John Cage's Number Pieces
(too old to reply)
Mandryka
2020-02-20 11:32:22 UTC
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I've decided to explore these works.

Suggestions for things which have captured your imagination or given you food for thought, either recordings or writings, much appreciated.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-20 18:30:51 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've decided to explore these works.
Wow, coincidentally I decided to do something similar just last
month. (I'd heard a smattering of them when they were new, but
hadn't really revisited Cage's music in concrete form in nearly 30
years....)

Perhaps you found the Wikipedia page specifically on the Number
Pieces? It appears to be quite good in terms of tabulating basic
information & brief descriptions -- albeit without meaningful
discography.

Interpretations obviously vary considerably, so there is a motley
set of recordings out there....

Personally, I'm not that into solos, so haven't prioritized the
"One" pieces. And I'm not much into piano either, but Cage wrote
a lot of piano music, so I've been suppressing that prejudice. (In
fact Two2 seems to be the most popular long Number Piece with
performers....) Cage also wrote a lot of percussion music, and
Four4 appears to be similarly popular, albeit rather sparse.

So there is the Mode Series.... Among these, "The Number Pieces
6" seems like a "don't miss." I also appreciate the recorder version
of "Three" on "The Number Pieces 5."

Ogre Ogress (around Christina Fong) has some good stuff too, although
a lot on weird formats. I like their take on "Four" for instance,
including the program around it....
Mandryka
2020-02-21 05:19:58 UTC
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Rob Haskins’s website has some interesting looking essays he wrote for Globe. I’ve just ordered his book on Cage. What would be great is if someone could find a way of letting me see his Ph.D thesis, which was on the number pieces.

https://robhaskins.net/2015/02/20/the-harmony-of-emptiness-john-cages-two2-mode-records-193-2008/

The ones I’ve been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and Thirteen.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-21 05:53:01 UTC
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The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and
Thirteen.
What recording do you like for Two6?

For Four4 & some other stuff (especially Four6), consider:

https://gerauschhersteller.bandcamp.com/
Mandryka
2020-02-21 08:12:48 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and
Thirteen.
What recording do you like for Two6?
https://gerauschhersteller.bandcamp.com/
For Two6, I like Ami Flammer and Martine Joste on Mode. I’ll listen to your suggestion for Four4 and Four6 later today if I can.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-21 19:14:07 UTC
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I'll listen to your suggestion for Four4 and Four6 later today if
I can.
Another notable interpretation of Four4 is that on Another Timbre
(another label, like Mode, with a lot of good stuff, but perhaps
even less known...).
Mandryka
2020-02-21 20:38:58 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
I'll listen to your suggestion for Four4 and Four6 later today if
I can.
Another notable interpretation of Four4 is that on Another Timbre
(another label, like Mode, with a lot of good stuff, but perhaps
even less known...).
Thanks, I shall download and report my responses if I have any worth reporing!

Another Timbre has a beautiful and contentious recording of Two2 with Mark Knoop and Philip Thomas. It may or may not be what Cage intended, but I thought it was a great thing to hear.

http://www.anothertimbre.com/cagetwo2.html

Mark Knoop, by the way, is a pianist to watch.

(Ah . . . but you don't like piano . . . solo piano . . . forgot . . .sorry . . . )
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-21 20:46:36 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Mark Knoop, by the way, is a pianist to watch.
He plays a mean Feldman too....

(I'll listen to piano if that's what's happening with someone's
otherwise interesting music, but it's not my first choice for
contemporary music. For me, its time has passed... although maybe
not yet in the 1980s!)
Mandryka
2020-02-22 17:52:28 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Mark Knoop, by the way, is a pianist to watch.
He plays a mean Feldman too....
(I'll listen to piano if that's what's happening with someone's
otherwise interesting music, but it's not my first choice for
contemporary music. For me, its time has passed... although maybe
not yet in the 1980s!)
Here are two pieces which prove conclusively that the piano's time has not passed.

Horațiu Rădulescu - Clepsydra



Andrea Neumann: inner piano

Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-22 20:12:23 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Andrea Neumann: inner piano
I do like what Neumann does with piano. A little more traditional
in that direction is Magda Mayas....

(What I call treating a piano like the antique contraption it is....)

A more thorough reworking:

https://ernestorodrigues.bandcamp.com/album/piano
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-22 21:44:02 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
I do like what Neumann does with piano.
Improvised quartet album with Neumann that I particularly like....

https://almaslakh.bandcamp.com/album/nashaz

(Wow, didn't know that label had come to Bandcamp!)
Post by Todd Michel McComb
A little more traditional in that direction is Magda Mayas....
Recent album with three different (on different tracks), virtuosic
"inside piano" styles (including Mayas) in trio with guitar & drum:

http://www.creativesourcesrec.com/catalog/catalog_624.html
And something else as "out there" but in a different direction:

https://pinkpalace.bandcamp.com/album/the-shuddering-cherub-for-solo-piano-with-vibrating-elements
Mandryka
2020-02-26 21:42:40 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Todd Michel McComb
I do like what Neumann does with piano.
Improvised quartet album with Neumann that I particularly like....
https://almaslakh.bandcamp.com/album/nashaz
(Wow, didn't know that label had come to Bandcamp!)
Post by Todd Michel McComb
A little more traditional in that direction is Magda Mayas....
Recent album with three different (on different tracks), virtuosic
http://www.creativesourcesrec.com/catalog/catalog_624.html
https://pinkpalace.bandcamp.com/album/the-shuddering-cherub-for-solo-piano-with-vibrating-elements
Nashaz is here on youtube, listening now, very goood!


Andrew Clarke
2020-04-03 00:59:43 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
(What I call treating a piano like the antique contraption it is....)
Ezra Pound would have agreed with you about the Pee-an-OH as he called it. Setting aside the man's politics, how do you feel about his writing?

EP much preferred the harpsichord which would not go down well with many on this group ...

Andrew Clarke
Canberra
Mandryka
2020-04-07 14:17:47 UTC
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I like this seventy four.



I'm quite tempted to get the CD

https://www.discogs.com/John-Cage-Klang-Der-Wandlungen/master/1562575
Todd Michel McComb
2020-04-07 19:21:30 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I like this seventy four.
http://youtu.be/uOapIs-VOHc
Oh, good find. This also reminds me of Scelsi, so a different vibe
from many of these pieces....

I'd gone through all the "small ensemble" stuff at this point, since
that's more my orientation, but hadn't heard all the number pieces
for larger groups. (I did enjoy the _108_ on Mode, though, more
than I expected, but haven't come back to it yet....)
Post by Mandryka
I'm quite tempted to get the CD
I decided to take the plunge on a download of the ECM recording,
pace convenience & cost.... (And I don't need to hear e.g. that
_Maine_ piece again....)
number_six
2020-02-22 01:03:26 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Another Timbre has a beautiful and contentious recording of Two2 with Mark Knoop and Philip Thomas.
I was thinking Two2 was discussed in another thread just within the last month or two but could not readily find it. Do you know if that was the same recording you're referring to here?
Mandryka
2020-02-22 18:03:04 UTC
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Post by number_six
Post by Mandryka
Another Timbre has a beautiful and contentious recording of Two2 with Mark Knoop and Philip Thomas.
I was thinking Two2 was discussed in another thread just within the last month or two but could not readily find it. Do you know if that was the same recording you're referring to here?
Maybe on another music forum.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-29 06:29:14 UTC
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Post by number_six
I was thinking Two2 was discussed in another thread just within
the last month or two but could not readily find it.
The only thing I noticed was that in the "Grosse Fuge" thread, you
suggested a clear hierarchy between Beethoven, Feldman, and Cage.
And that led to some further comments on Cage (but not including
specific pieces/recordings).

I was actually curious about your choice of _Triadic Memories_,
specifically, and the categorical comments on Cage more generally....
Mandryka
2020-02-29 10:33:37 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by number_six
I was thinking Two2 was discussed in another thread just within
the last month or two but could not readily find it.
The only thing I noticed was that in the "Grosse Fuge" thread, you
suggested a clear hierarchy between Beethoven, Feldman, and Cage.
And that led to some further comments on Cage (but not including
specific pieces/recordings).
I was actually curious about your choice of _Triadic Memories_,
specifically, and the categorical comments on Cage more generally....
I can’t remember what I said about Cage, Feldman and Beethoven, but I suspect I’d prefer not to be reminded!
number_six
2020-02-29 21:15:16 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by number_six
I was thinking Two2 was discussed in another thread just within
the last month or two but could not readily find it.
The only thing I noticed was that in the "Grosse Fuge" thread, you
suggested a clear hierarchy between Beethoven, Feldman, and Cage.
And that led to some further comments on Cage (but not including
specific pieces/recordings).
I was actually curious about your choice of _Triadic Memories_,
specifically, and the categorical comments on Cage more generally....
Yes, within the limited framework of those three composers, all of whom I value, I did express a clear order of preference.

For all the wonder and beauty of Cage, from the Constructions, Indeterminacy, works for prepared piano, and so on, I rate Feldman more highly.

Triadic Memories, so far, is my favorite Feldman. It has the unobtrusive serenity of Satie, and the time-altering quality of Reich's Music for 18 Musicians, while being presented in a wholly different style. Say it is equally hypnotic, but uses utterly different technique.

Yet Feldman, in my artificial construct of a < b < c, yields to Beethoven, and would readily be traded for him, should the hypothetical case somehow become real. Happily, that won't occur, and I'll go on enjoying all three for many years to come.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-29 21:23:46 UTC
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Post by number_six
Triadic Memories, so far, is my favorite Feldman.
Like Cage (& actually not unlike Beethoven), Feldman continued
developing his style so much in his last works... Triadic Memories
begins to hint of it.

I'd been preferring Feldman's late music to Cage's until more
recently. I've been finding some of the number pieces to be very
satisfying, though.
Mandryka
2020-03-01 10:33:52 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by number_six
Triadic Memories, so far, is my favorite Feldman.
Like Cage (& actually not unlike Beethoven), Feldman continued
developing his style so much in his last works... Triadic Memories
begins to hint of it.
I'd been preferring Feldman's late music to Cage's until more
recently. I've been finding some of the number pieces to be very
satisfying, though.
Do you have any thoughts about why those late Feldman peices are so long?

For what it's worth I have a lot of affection for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello. I know Feldman didn't want his music to be expressive, but I think it often is just that. In that last piece he seems to transcend the deeply pessamistic disillusioned glimpses of the void that you can hear in For Samuel Beckett and (better IMO) "On Time and the Instrumental Factor."

But . . . it's too bloody long!
Raymond Hall
2020-03-01 13:39:00 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
For what it's worth I have a lot of affection for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello. I know Feldman didn't want his music to be expressive, but I think it often is just that. In that last piece he seems to transcend the deeply pessamistic disillusioned glimpses of the void that you can hear in For Samuel Beckett and (better IMO) "On Time and the Instrumental Factor."
But . . . it's too bloody long!
I have recently been investigating Feldman, including his Rothko Chapel, but while pleasant enough to listen to, didn't seem to have enough to keep me interested. And his pieces are long.

What interested me more (and I was led to Feldman via Roger Woodward's book Beyond Black and White), was his encounters with Jean Barraque, and Barraque's sonata for piano. Woodward also recorded it btw. This led me to looking at a 3CD recorded set of the sonata (played by Litwin), a concerto, and some wonderful pieces for ensemble and voice (Barraque's complete oeuvre). The package is as given in this link below.

https://www.amazon.com.au/COMPLETE-CONCERTO-BARRAQUE-LITWIN-RUNDEL/dp/B000007N84/ref=sr_1_1?crid=9UC8X916SVLP&keywords=barraque&qid=1583069166&s=music&sprefix=Barra%2Caps%2C365&sr=1-1

From reviews, the Litwin performance of the sonata is apparently quite slow and a bit lifeless, but the ensemble and voice pieces, and the concerto, are apparently very good.

Any opinions on Barraque, and or this 3cd set? I am about to spring for it. Thx.

Ray Hall, Taree
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 18:19:58 UTC
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Post by Raymond Hall
Any opinions on Barraque, and or this 3cd set?
I did spend a bit of time with that set ~20 years ago. Barraque
has some good material, and certainly a lot of polish, but I guess
I mostly only listen to the Sonata -- and in the Henck version.

It's a very dark piece -- much more so than Feldman, IMO, pace
Howard's recent remarks.
Mandryka
2020-03-01 20:15:57 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Raymond Hall
Any opinions on Barraque, and or this 3cd set?
I did spend a bit of time with that set ~20 years ago. Barraque
has some good material, and certainly a lot of polish, but I guess
I mostly only listen to the Sonata -- and in the Henck version.
It's a very dark piece -- much more so than Feldman, IMO, pace
Howard's recent remarks.
I started to get more interested in Chant apres Chant and the concerto. I like the second part of the sonata, with those long silences.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 18:15:39 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Do you have any thoughts about why those late Feldman peices are so long?
Heh, well, that's a pretty open-ended question, I suppose.... What
you end up with, basically, is extended relations among a variety
of shifting musical figures, and Feldman found a scale that encompassed
that field of relations of relations. It ends up being pretty big,
but what it also means is that particular orientations aren't
(arbitrarily) selected (although the order is, to a degree).

The "carpet" analogy has long been pretty good: You could take a
swatch of a patterned rug, and get some sense of it, but it's the
whole tapestry that yields satisfaction....

You can hear Feldman build up the nitty gritty of the small figures
in his earlier works.
Post by Mandryka
For what it's worth I have a lot of affection for Piano, Violin,
Viola, Cello.
I agree that that piece -- as well as _For Samuel Beckett_ -- takes
off (again) on yet of a different stylistic development. I like
both, both following _For Christian Wolff_, which is the pinnacle
of the previous style (which is most accessible in _Piano and String
Quartet_).
Mandryka
2020-03-01 20:09:54 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Do you have any thoughts about why those late Feldman peices are so long?
Heh, well, that's a pretty open-ended question, I suppose.... What
you end up with, basically, is extended relations among a variety
of shifting musical figures, and Feldman found a scale that encompassed
that field of relations of relations. It ends up being pretty big,
but what it also means is that particular orientations aren't
(arbitrarily) selected (although the order is, to a degree).
That makes it sound as though there's quite a systematic exploration of those shifts, and the length is needed to encompass them all.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 20:19:16 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
That makes it sound as though there's quite a systematic exploration
of those shifts, and the length is needed to encompass them all.
Capricious, but also systematic, yes. Feldman is big on humor (some
of it a little dark, but humor nonetheless).

E.g. _Triadic Memories_, to pick an ealier piece as already noted,
assumes a specific harmonic context -- a familiar harmonic context.

The later pieces construct their own context, but along with their
more particular musical relations too (ultimately as the variation
of the sort of figures emerging from Feldman's previous short works,
the variation principle itself perhaps recalling Satie...).

This isn't serial music -- per Barraque, as mentioned, whose works
are absolutely massive (per the detailed articulation of Webern),
despite not being all that long -- which "assumes" its own context,
i.e. the equal participation of exactly 12 tones. Rather, as per
the previous paragraph, it erects & then develops a set of relations
within one piece.
Mandryka
2020-03-02 11:17:11 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
That makes it sound as though there's quite a systematic exploration
of those shifts, and the length is needed to encompass them all.
Capricious, but also systematic, yes. Feldman is big on humor (some
of it a little dark, but humor nonetheless).
E.g. _Triadic Memories_, to pick an ealier piece as already noted,
assumes a specific harmonic context -- a familiar harmonic context.
The later pieces construct their own context, but along with their
more particular musical relations too (ultimately as the variation
of the sort of figures emerging from Feldman's previous short works,
the variation principle itself perhaps recalling Satie...).
This isn't serial music -- per Barraque, as mentioned, whose works
are absolutely massive (per the detailed articulation of Webern),
despite not being all that long -- which "assumes" its own context,
i.e. the equal participation of exactly 12 tones. Rather, as per
the previous paragraph, it erects & then develops a set of relations
within one piece.
I'd like to delve a bit more deeply into this systematic aspect to the music, and indeed the idea of musical relations (first and higher order!)

If you can suggest something to read, it would be much appreciated.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-02 19:02:02 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
If you can suggest something to read, it would be much appreciated.
I was thinking I might rewrite my own Feldman discussion this year,
to reflect some more recent thoughts, but I don't have anything to
suggest elsewhere. Sorry.
Mandryka
2020-03-03 05:52:26 UTC
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I didn’t know that you had a Feldman section on your website until you mentioned that.

That website is a really valuable resource, thank you so much for creating it.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-03 21:12:25 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
That website is a really valuable resource, thank you so much for creating it.
Thank you. I tend to feel self-conscious since everything comes to
need an update, and my declining energy levels don't seem up to it
to the same degree....

Thank you also for prodding me on this Cage project.
Bozo
2020-03-03 23:36:49 UTC
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While not directly on point, you may be interested in :

Interesting programme by pianist Cedric Tiberghein,whose career I follow, last month at Wigmore Hall,London. All first hearings for me, except WoO 77,78,79. The Crumb and Cage “Landscape “ really nice.

Beethoven: 5 Variations on 'Rule Britannia' in D, WoO 79
Feldman: Last Pieces
Beethoven: 6 Variations on an Original Theme in G, WoO 77
Cage: 7 Haiku
Beethoven: 9 Variations on a March by Dressler in C minor, WoO 63 (Beethoven at age 12 )

INTERVAL: A recording of William Schumann’s orchestration of 17-year old Charles Ives’ “Variations on America “

Crumb: Processional
Beethoven: 12 Variations on 'Menuet à la Viganò' from Haibel’s “ Le nozze disturbate “ in C, WoO 68 ( LvB age 25 )
Cage: In a Landscape
Beethoven: 7 Variations on 'God save the King' in C, WoO 78

Encore: Bach,”Goldberg” Aria
Bozo
2020-03-07 14:23:54 UTC
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Sorry ,forgot the link : https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000fwf8
Post by Bozo
Interesting programme by pianist Cedric Tiberghein,whose career I follow, last month at Wigmore Hall,London. All first hearings for me, except WoO 77,78,79. The Crumb and Cage “Landscape “ really nice.
Beethoven: 5 Variations on 'Rule Britannia' in D, WoO 79
Feldman: Last Pieces
Beethoven: 6 Variations on an Original Theme in G, WoO 77
Cage: 7 Haiku
Beethoven: 9 Variations on a March by Dressler in C minor, WoO 63 (Beethoven at age 12 )
INTERVAL: A recording of William Schumann’s orchestration of 17-year old Charles Ives’ “Variations on America “
Crumb: Processional
Beethoven: 12 Variations on 'Menuet à la Viganò' from Haibel’s “ Le nozze disturbate “ in C, WoO 68 ( LvB age 25 )
Cage: In a Landscape
Beethoven: 7 Variations on 'God save the King' in C, WoO 78
Encore: Bach,”Goldberg” Aria
number_six
2020-03-08 18:02:59 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I'd like to delve a bit more deeply into this systematic aspect to the music, and indeed the idea of musical relations (first and higher order!)
If you can suggest something to read, it would be much appreciated.
Perhaps too general, but possibly of interest --
Michael Nyman - Experimental Music - Cage and Beyond
Alvin Lucier - Music 109 - Notes on Experimental music

Th Mode CDs tend to have good booklet notes.
Mandryka
2020-03-08 18:16:53 UTC
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Post by number_six
Post by Mandryka
I'd like to delve a bit more deeply into this systematic aspect to the music, and indeed the idea of musical relations (first and higher order!)
If you can suggest something to read, it would be much appreciated.
Perhaps too general, but possibly of interest --
Michael Nyman - Experimental Music - Cage and Beyond
Alvin Lucier - Music 109 - Notes on Experimental music
Th Mode CDs tend to have good booklet notes.
Nyman's book is very good indeed, unfortunately from memory, it stops quite early, well before the number pieces.

The Alvin Lucier book I didn't know about and I shall definitely investigate.
number_six
2020-03-08 20:23:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Mandryka
Post by number_six
Post by Mandryka
I'd like to delve a bit more deeply into this systematic aspect to the music, and indeed the idea of musical relations (first and higher order!)
If you can suggest something to read, it would be much appreciated.
Perhaps too general, but possibly of interest --
Michael Nyman - Experimental Music - Cage and Beyond
Alvin Lucier - Music 109 - Notes on Experimental music
Th Mode CDs tend to have good booklet notes.
Nyman's book is very good indeed, unfortunately from memory, it stops quite early, well before the number pieces.
The Alvin Lucier book I didn't know about and I shall definitely investigate.
Lucier has a good amount about Cage, but now that you make the point about Nyman, I realize Lucier may also be too early for the number pieces...well, I guess there's always wikipedia...
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-08 20:37:18 UTC
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Post by number_six
I guess there's always wikipedia...
The Wikipedia page is handy.... (It also kind of amuses me that
Cage doesn't appear in the title.)

There doesn't appear to be anything close to a systematic Cage
discography around, though. That kind of surprises me. Especially
with johncage.org....

BTW, I assume that Cage's "Six" is obligatory for you....
Mandryka
2020-03-08 21:21:45 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by number_six
I guess there's always wikipedia...
The Wikipedia page is handy.... (It also kind of amuses me that
Cage doesn't appear in the title.)
There doesn't appear to be anything close to a systematic Cage
discography around, though. That kind of surprises me. Especially
with johncage.org....
BTW, I assume that Cage's "Six" is obligatory for you....
I can think of someone who could do a very good job creating an online discography . . .
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-08 21:27:42 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I can think of someone who could do a very good job creating an
online discography . . .
Well, thanks, I appreciate the good word. But I also feel up to
my eyeballs in that kind of work at times, so I'd really like to
benefit from someone else doing it! (I'm also a sucker, so....)
number_six
2020-03-09 17:23:18 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
BTW, I assume that Cage's "Six" is obligatory for you....
The truly indispensable musical sixes for me would be from Bach's cello suites and Brandenburgs, and most of all LvB Sym 6.

But the nym I use here derives not from music, but from my fondness for the old Patrick McGoohan show The Prisoner.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-09 23:08:17 UTC
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Post by number_six
But the nym I use here derives not from music, but from my fondness
for the old Patrick McGoohan show The Prisoner.
Arguing (composer's) intent, eh...? ;-)

My remaining image of the show these days is mostly about the colors.
(The "conspiracy" stuff seems almost boring compared to actual
events.)

Possibly relevant (but not to TV) quote on Cage...

"... these four performances are in dialogue not only with each
other but with Notice itself, which has its roots in the underground/DIY
realm while also exploring contemporary/academic composition. The
accessibility, inventiveness, and challenge of compositions like
these make Cage a unique pivot point between these two worlds."

From https://noticerecordings.bandcamp.com/album/four-realizations-for-solo-percussion
Todd Michel McComb
2020-06-06 21:14:23 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
There doesn't appear to be anything close to a systematic Cage
discography around, though. That kind of surprises me.
So today I happened to stumble upon this....

https://web.archive.org/web/20121101090619/http://www.johncage.info/index1.html

(from 2012 via the Wayback Machine)
Todd Michel McComb
2020-08-28 20:39:52 UTC
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So I got some notes together, and put onto a page:

http://www.medieval.org/music/modern/cage.html

I'm not very far along in terms of writing a critical introduction,
but the amount of info there is actually more than the Tenney page
now by raw volume....

Raymond Hall
2020-03-08 21:31:41 UTC
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For an interesting read, maybe I could suggest 'Beyond Black and White' by Roger Woodward. The first part gives his introduction to music, his teachers, and the piano while in Sydney, and his utter adoration of Bach to the exclusion of almost anything else. However, as the book progresses, and he leaves tbe shores of Oz for Poland, he leads us into a web of meetings and strong observations of and with the likes of Xenakis, Stockhausen, Barraque, Feldman, Takemitsu and many others of the 1965-1977 period. He was very sympathetic with the radical solidarity movement in Poland, and through persuasion got to love the music of Chopin. He was a friend of Richter (who is discussed a lot) and his crowd, and many other notable musicians.

Far more than a book of a slightly oddball Oztralian pianist, it sheds light on the contemporary musicians and composers of the time. Woodward never received the welcome and offers he really desired back home in Oz. Shame really, but I found the book very enlightening.

Ray Hall, Taree
Bozo
2020-03-08 22:44:13 UTC
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Woodward never received the welcome and offers he really desired back home in Oz. Shame really, but I >found the book very enlightening.
Thanks for the insight and suggestion. The pianism of the late Geoffrey Tozer and now Piers Lane certainly speaks well for Oz.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-08 23:09:53 UTC
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Post by Bozo
The pianism of the late Geoffrey Tozer and now Piers Lane certainly
speaks well for Oz.
From my world, perhaps check out Anthony Pateras....
https://www.anthonypateras.com/

I mostly associate Woodward with Xenakis....
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 18:32:45 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Do you have any thoughts about why those late Feldman peices are so long?
Elsewhere I've compared Feldman to Schubert, just in the basic
enjoyment of sound & repetition... and a sort of joy amid darkness,
for that matter.

_For Samuel Beckett_ is his darkest late piece, though, as you more
or less note.
Mandryka
2020-03-01 20:14:53 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Do you have any thoughts about why those late Feldman peices are so long?
Elsewhere I've compared Feldman to Schubert, just in the basic
enjoyment of sound & repetition... and a sort of joy amid darkness,
for that matter.
_For Samuel Beckett_ is his darkest late piece, though, as you more
or less note.
Yes Schubert. But I have a more off the wall comparison -- Wagner.

The thing you have in Wagner is that out of a few simple short ideas, leitmotifs, you can develop opeas lasting 12 hours and more. And yes, in late Feldman, out of a handful of simple short ideas, you have a quartet lasting 6 hours.

Furthermore, maybe (I'm not sure about this) for late Feldman the mystical, the spiritual, was an important raison d'etre of his music. Same for the Wagner of Parsifal of course.

This idea occured to me after I heard this hour long interview with Boulez on Proust at the College de France (In French) Recommended if you can understand the language -- it's ostensably about Proust and music, but it wonders into other areas.

https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/antoine-compagnon/seminar-2013-04-02-17h30.htm
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 20:23:31 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I have a more off the wall comparison -- Wagner.
It's not a bad comparison, but the expansive means & forces adopted
by Wagner makes his music register rather differently for me....

And although you're right to note an appeal to mysticism in Feldman,
I'd characterize that mysticism as basically the exact opposite of
mythology per se, and *definitely* of grandiosity (length aside).
number_six
2020-03-02 18:34:11 UTC
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Inspired by this thread, I've sent for some items from the Mode series.
Mandryka
2020-03-01 10:37:36 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by number_six
Triadic Memories, so far, is my favorite Feldman.
Like Cage (& actually not unlike Beethoven), Feldman continued
developing his style so much in his last works... Triadic Memories
begins to hint of it.
I'd been preferring Feldman's late music to Cage's until more
recently. I've been finding some of the number pieces to be very
satisfying, though.
By the way, it may be that some of Feldman's pieces from the 1960s and 1970s anticipate the techniques of Cage's Number pieces. I'll need to look into it a bit more to get the details, but if I remember right there's similar sorts of indeterminacy, he uses similar time brackets in the score.

However, my impression (probably superficial) is that the Cage number pieces have received some exceptional interpretations on record, much less so for the "middle period", post-graphic score, Feldman pieces.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-01 18:23:27 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
However, my impression (probably superficial) is that the Cage
number pieces have received some exceptional interpretations on
record, much less so for the "middle period", post-graphic score,
Feldman pieces.
I do think that Feldman is underrated for his technical innovations
per se, especially around short figures (which he spent a lot of
time refining), but it still comes off as more "technical" to me
-- that is, until his later music. Cage's late music transcends
the technique he eventually built to create it. But yes, relies
on the interpreter more than Feldman, who really only requires
fidelity, at least for his late/main works.
Mandryka
2020-02-22 17:55:20 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and
Thirteen.
What recording do you like for Two6?
https://gerauschhersteller.bandcamp.com/
The Gerauschhersteller Four4 is really interesting, because it's helped me to see how the tension and release that you have in tonal music from harmonies, cadencies, comes in Cage from the silences, the anticipation, the tense expectation, of the next sound, while reflecting on the resonances of the previous one.

All good stuff. I look forward to hearing the one on Another Timbre.

Howard
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-22 20:16:11 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
The Gerauschhersteller Four4 is really interesting, because it's helped
me to see how the tension and release that you have in tonal music from
harmonies, cadencies, comes in Cage from the silences, the
anticipation, the tense expectation, of the next sound, while reflecting
on the resonances of the previous one.
Yes, Cage talks of "beating his head against the wall" of harmony,
and struggled to come up with an approach to harmony for much of
his career, but ended developing something personal and (ultimately)
quite affective.

Coming back to this music after a long period of thinking of Cage
more as a "conceptual" artist, I was really surprised how much I've
simply enjoyed hearing it.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-07 07:23:50 UTC
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The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and Thirteen.
I want to reiterate -- pace an implication on _The Number Pieces
6_ upthread -- that I also consider Thirteen to be an exceptional
piece.

Two2, as I think we've discussed to a degree, despite my prejudice
against piano... both the punchy Mode & more restrained (& probably
authentically so) Another Timbre renditions are great. And the
piece itself is somewhat different from other Number Pieces, a
little more rigid in terms of phrasing, to put it one way.... It's
long but maybe something some other readers might enjoy?

Two6 with the scrambling of Satie... I've never really liked Satie's
raw material that much. Cage does have some other interesting Satie
pieces though, and I recently (here) compared his variation technique
to Feldman's....

I also want to add a vote for "Eight" as a major number piece. I
only recently "found" the recording by "The Barton Workshop" and
it's great.

One thing Cage has over Feldman, in terms of my listener satisfaction,
is microtones.
Mandryka
2020-03-08 08:55:52 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and Thirteen.
I want to reiterate -- pace an implication on _The Number Pieces
6_ upthread -- that I also consider Thirteen to be an exceptional
piece.
Two2, as I think we've discussed to a degree, despite my prejudice
against piano... both the punchy Mode & more restrained (& probably
authentically so) Another Timbre renditions are great. And the
piece itself is somewhat different from other Number Pieces, a
little more rigid in terms of phrasing, to put it one way.... It's
long but maybe something some other readers might enjoy?
Two6 with the scrambling of Satie... I've never really liked Satie's
raw material that much. Cage does have some other interesting Satie
pieces though, and I recently (here) compared his variation technique
to Feldman's....
I also want to add a vote for "Eight" as a major number piece. I
only recently "found" the recording by "The Barton Workshop" and
it's great.
One thing Cage has over Feldman, in terms of my listener satisfaction,
is microtones.
Have you heard the ensemble version of Two6 from The Ives Ensemble? It’s very short. I’m not sure what’s going on, whether it has been wrongly attributed.

https://www.discogs.com/John-Cage-Ives-Ensemble-Two%E2%81%B4-Two%E2%81%B6-Five%C2%B2-Five%E2%81%B5-Seven-Seven%C2%B2/release/1091583
Mandryka
2020-03-08 09:34:28 UTC
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Oh and I forgot to say, one thing I’ve been enjoying is one7 by the percussionist Tom Kolor. This CD

https://www.amazon.com/American-Masterpieces-Solo-Percussion-Kolor/dp/B00OS0722M
Mandryka
2020-03-08 10:39:12 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Post by Todd Michel McComb
The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and Thirteen.
I want to reiterate -- pace an implication on _The Number Pieces
6_ upthread -- that I also consider Thirteen to be an exceptional
piece.
Two2, as I think we've discussed to a degree, despite my prejudice
against piano... both the punchy Mode & more restrained (& probably
authentically so) Another Timbre renditions are great. And the
piece itself is somewhat different from other Number Pieces, a
little more rigid in terms of phrasing, to put it one way.... It's
long but maybe something some other readers might enjoy?
Two6 with the scrambling of Satie... I've never really liked Satie's
raw material that much. Cage does have some other interesting Satie
pieces though, and I recently (here) compared his variation technique
to Feldman's....
I also want to add a vote for "Eight" as a major number piece. I
only recently "found" the recording by "The Barton Workshop" and
it's great.
One thing Cage has over Feldman, in terms of my listener satisfaction,
is microtones.
Have you heard the ensemble version of Two6 from The Ives Ensemble? It’s very short. I’m not sure what’s going on, whether it has been wrongly attributed.
https://www.discogs.com/John-Cage-Ives-Ensemble-Two%E2%81%B4-Two%E2%81%B6-Five%C2%B2-Five%E2%81%B5-Seven-Seven%C2%B2/release/1091583
Turned out to be a mistake on Qobuz, the original CD is fine.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-08 17:40:16 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Turned out to be a mistake on Qobuz, the original CD is fine.
Right, I mentioned elsewhere in the thread that I tried buying a
download of that double CD (Ives Ensemble, including Two6), and it
was mangled. (No resolution yet from Presto, BTW. They're taking
it up with the distributor....)
Mandryka
2020-03-08 18:15:18 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Turned out to be a mistake on Qobuz, the original CD is fine.
Right, I mentioned elsewhere in the thread that I tried buying a
download of that double CD (Ives Ensemble, including Two6), and it
was mangled. (No resolution yet from Presto, BTW. They're taking
it up with the distributor....)
Well if you don't get it sorted out I'll email it to you, I think you can send private messages on this system.

Now, my finger is twitching on the order button for this

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/3639132092/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?smid=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&psc=1
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-08 18:29:53 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
Now, my finger is twitching on the order button for this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/3639132092
Looks to be very much to the point....

In a rather different thread a while back, I'd discussed the situation
with downloads a bit. Besides some simple "mistakes" as per my
experience with the Ives Ensemble set, one thing that downloads
often lack is the liner notes. (Various explanations for this, and
ultimately I'd think this will be standardized....) It's particularly
obnoxious in something like early music, where performers often say
something rather explicit about their approach, especially when
these notes-less versions are proferred as review copies.... But
I digress.

The main thing I wanted to note is that I've almost been enjoying
surveying these old (compared to what I usually do) Cage recordings
without liner notes, just as "pure sound." I've also become
accustomed to such a thing elsewhere, as contemporary improvisation
albums most often appear without comment, so maybe that's part of
it....
Mandryka
2020-03-12 12:18:16 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
Post by Mandryka
Now, my finger is twitching on the order button for this
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/3639132092
Looks to be very much to the point....
It has arrived and it is clearly outstanding. It must be based on his doctorate, but it doesn't read like a Ph.D thesis!

One (major) gripe -- no index!
Mandryka
2020-03-12 12:15:32 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
The ones I've been exploring most recently are Two2, Two6 and Thirteen.
One thing Cage has over Feldman, in terms of my listener satisfaction,
is microtones.
I've been really enjoying the microtonal 10, on an Ives Ensemble CD.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-20 21:30:25 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've been really enjoying the microtonal 10, on an Ives Ensemble CD.
That album hadn't been doing as much for me as it might, but I
recently downloaded the Barton Ensemble version -- whose rendition
of Eight I'd recently praised -- and am definitely enjoying that
album, including their version of Fourteen (a piece also found on
the Ives Ensemble album). Their rendition of Seven is striking as
well, particularly as compared to others.

(These albums are on Megadisc, whatever that is. And I bought them
at Boomkat, which I hadn't really noticed before, but they seem to
do a solid job pace their idiosyncratic choice of repertory....
They don't have The Barton Ensemble's _The Fives_ album, though,
so I had to order a physical copy elsewhere, delivery pending.)

It seems that I've mostly been using the hiatus in travel & social
opportunities to continue this focus on Cage.... As noted, I hadn't
anticipated getting this hooked, but I'm continuing to spend a lot
of time on this music.... (And while I've had to purchase some of
these -- with many others being available to me at review portals
for nothing -- not going out to bars means I'm still ahead on budget.
Ha.)
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-20 21:34:49 UTC
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... recently downloaded the Barton Ensemble version --
Er, excuse me: The Barton Workshop
Mandryka
2020-03-21 18:17:33 UTC
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I've been listening to Four3, for rainsticks and piano and things. And in doing so I've discovered Steffen Schliemacher, who's recorded complete Cage piano music for MDG -- he's good I think. I've also been listening to Sabine Liebner's solo Four6.

And I've been exploring a One3 -- there's a forceful recording from the dedicatee Michael Bach, and a rather more gentle one from Julius Berger. Very Satie-esque.

Michael Bach could be an interesting character, he's made a completion of Cage's final composition One13, there's a recording on streaming platforms, but I haven't had the time to pay attention.

Let me also mention two unrelated things.

One is that I've started to read John Tilbury's biography of Cornelius Cardew and it is wonderful -- especially if you're interested in Wittgenstein.

And second, do you know that Cafe Oto has been live streaming gigs from its empty venue for the last few nights, with more coming:

https://www.cafeoto.co.uk

I'm very much looking forward to Anton Lukoszevieze on March 31 -- but I'd be interested to know if you spot anything which looks interesting.

You can buy the Cardew biography from Cafe Oto's collaborator Matchless Recordings

http://matchlessrecordings.com/book/cornelius-cardew-life-unfinished
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-21 18:40:48 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I've also been listening to Sabine Liebner's solo Four6.
Ah, coincidentally, I first did that yesterday.
Post by Mandryka
And I've been exploring a One3 -- there's a forceful recording
from the dedicatee Michael Bach, and a rather more gentle one from
Julius Berger.
One8, I assume? (I haven't heard One3. If it even works remotely.)
Post by Mandryka
Michael Bach could be an interesting character, he's made a
completion of Cage's final composition One13, there's a recording
on streaming platforms, but I haven't had the time to pay attention.
I've heard contemporary improvisers use his curved bows. I didn't
know they were his & I didn't know they were related to Cage --
until this year. So he's had some effect.
Post by Mandryka
One is that I've started to read John Tilbury's biography of
Cornelius Cardew and it is wonderful -- especially if you're
interested in Wittgenstein.
The other big set the Gerauschhersteller folks did is Cardew's
_Treatise_. There's a recent recording prompted by Ed Pettersen
with the LIO too. Haven't read the book, but some of the talk
around those performances....
Post by Mandryka
And second, do you know that Cafe Oto has been live streaming gigs
https://www.cafeoto.co.uk
I did know....

Well, John Edwards & Steve Noble are two of the greats of English
free improvisation, starting soon.

The set that catches my eye even more (because of more performers) is
the one leading with Roger Turner. He & Phil Minton are also legends,
while Davies & Ikeda are rather well-known too.
Post by Mandryka
Matchless Recordings
That's Eddie Prevost's label. Mentioned it recently for his
collaboration with Wolff....
Todd Michel McComb
2020-03-21 18:51:22 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
I'm very much looking forward to Anton Lukoszevieze on March 31 --
Oh, just noticed he uses the BACH-bogen too! That's Michael Bach's
bow design, as noted....
Mandryka
2020-04-01 17:24:07 UTC
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This one is interesting

https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-Cage-Variations-Ensemble-Spaziomusica/dp/B00B361GW6
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-26 03:40:29 UTC
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Post by Todd Michel McComb
So there is the Mode Series.... Among these, "The Number Pieces
6" seems like a "don't miss."
And today I tried downloading another album focusing on the "medium"
number pieces, that by the Ives Ensemble on Hat Art 6192, from
Presto.

However, the download is badly mangled. There was a hint in that the
timings of the pieces listed on their site was clearly incorrect, but
I went ahead & tried anyway....

I'm hoping they can correct it, but beware. (The album is long out
of print.)
Mandryka
2020-02-26 15:28:23 UTC
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Well, you certainly couldn't get two performances of Four4 more different than Gerauschhersteller and Another Timbre. It's a great pleasure to hear both of them, though I have a natural tendency to relish the austere Gerauschhersteller.

The other thing I've been enjoying is the Two and Music For Five on this interesting CD

https://www.discogs.com/John-Cage-Eberhard-Blum-Marianne-Schroeder-Robyn-Schulkowsky-Frances-Marie-Uitti-Nils-Vigeland-45-34/release/895683
Mandryka
2020-02-26 15:40:51 UTC
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The Another Timber Four4 (I forgot to say) seems to me to present it in the Terrian tradition of Xenakis and Merzbow. The Gerauschhersteller is more Martian, music from Mars.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-26 17:58:49 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
The Gerauschhersteller is more Martian, music from Mars.
Did you check out some of the truly weird pieces on that 5CD set?
"Rewilding Cage" they call it, after all.
Todd Michel McComb
2020-02-26 18:02:00 UTC
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Post by Mandryka
The other thing I've been enjoying is the Two and Music For Five on this interesting CD
Well I do like Frances-Marie Uitti....

The "Music for..." piece can be appealing too, found in a variety
of versions, and apparently something of a direct precursor to the
number pieces....

I like the "Two" on the Naxos flute recording. That's an enjoyable
album overall.
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