This is a marvelous release, equally perfect in conception, execution, and engineering. The program locates the intellectual origins of the American avant-garde composers Morton Feldman and John Cage not in postwar European developments, but in the music of Erik Satie, who with each decade seems a more pioneering figure. Feldman and Cage here seem not modernists, but postmodernists. Front and center at the beginning is Feldman's masterpiece Rothko Chapel (1967), a chamber-ensemble-and-chorus evocation of the Houston, Texas, chapel adorned with paintings by, and partly designed by, the Abstract Expressionist painter Mark Rothko.
The mighty Cage return with their sixth album! Like the album cover, the music is a potent, powerful, sensory-overloading and all-encompassing encapsulation of everything that is great about heavy metal. Live for metal, die for Cage!!!
The concert dedicated to John Cage's music, performed in his presence and introduced by a brief conversation in public, was organized in the summer of 1992 (21 june) in Florence and obtained an exceptional success. It was really and truly an event because Cage had come to Florence on one previous occasion alone, about midway through the Fifties, on the occasion of a concert in the hall of Leonardo da Vinci Society which the young Luciano Berio took part in, and because the performers was the best ones for Cage's sounds.
A few weeks later (on 14 August), Cage died.from the magazine Sonora, partially included
This recording deals with works composed between 1944 and 1958, including several of Cage's lovely and masterful prepared piano pieces, which will come as a major surprise to those familiar only with his chance compositions. Joshua Pierce is the principal pianist (assisted by Dorothy Jonas on the Three Dances, written for two pianos) and attacks the pieces with a nice balance of delicacy and aggression, although compared to the earlier Angel recording of the abovementioned Three Dances, one sometimes wishes for a bit more ferocity. But it's the works themselves that shine here with their auras of Southeast Asia, especially Bali. The rhythms are rich and complex and, unexpectedly for Cage, there are hummable melodies here and there, as in the gorgeous Daughters of the Lonesome Isle, which, along with the equally beguiling Mysterious Adventure, here receives its first recording. Although other composers were investigating gamelan music at around the same time, it's easy to hear the influence these pieces had, especially rhythmically, on contemporaries like Lou Harrison and Harry Partch. Perhaps even more surprising is the (unprepared) piano song Dream, where Cage summons the spirit of Erik Satie in a beautiful, languid line that wanders a luxurious path through its seven minutes. The Three Dances that close out the disc are amazing romps through the prepared piano thicket, redolent of Balinese street fairs, bustling city life, and the love of rhythmic sound. If not quite as overwhelming as the Michael Tilson Thomas/Ralph Grierson versions from 1973, they are still an absolute joy to hear. This volume is a perfect entry point for the listener who may have previously been scared away from Cage. Nothing to fear here, only sublime music.