Author Topic: John Cage (1912-92)  (Read 71415 times)

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Offline petrarch

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #640 on: March 22, 2020, 08:21:05 AM »
Can anyone help me find online or for purchase the "scores" for Cage's variations? I want to see the whole thing, all the details, not just a brief summary.

He's published by Edition Peters. They seem to have all Variations except for VII.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #641 on: March 22, 2020, 08:35:09 AM »
Just too expensive. I'm just surprised I can't find a university paper online which explains what they're about.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #642 on: March 24, 2020, 06:43:04 PM »
Reading Rob Haskins's Cage bio, I was surprised to find that the performers of Cage's Theatre Piece (1960) included well-known jazz trumpeter Frank Rehak. Following up, I found a couple of interesting resources.

1) Academic paper (co-authored by Philip Thomas) on performing Concert for Piano and Orchestra: https://www.musicandpractice.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Thomas-et-al-PDF.pdf - wide-ranging but touches on and quotes Rehak. For instance: I [FR] said to Cage, ‘The instructions say “Play any sections, or none.” Does that mean I can get paid for just showing up for three gigs and not even open up my horn case?’ And he said, ‘Why, yes, if that’s what you want to do.’ And I said, ‘John, you’re my man. I’ll play for you any time.'

2) Fascinating page on trombone performance issues in Cage: https://cageconcert.org/performing-the-concert/orchestra/solo-for-sliding-trombone/. Includes speculation that Frank Rehak was a musical link of sorts between Jack Teagarden and John Cage!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2020, 06:55:28 PM by T. D. »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #643 on: March 25, 2020, 09:46:53 AM »
     



There are a handful of works where Cage used chance operations (I ching) to change traditional melodies. Not surprisingly given Cage's interests in music, the result often eradicates functional harmony and introduces a greater role for silence. The works are

Apartment House 1776 and Thirteen harmonies
Hymns and Variations
Harmonies of Maine
Quartets I - VIII

Over the past few weeks I've been really enjoying this music, and the images above are just two of the recordings which have earned my particular affection. It should be said that the Arditti recording is an arrangement, I'm not sure whether the great man himself was involved.

Quartets I - VIII are for large ensemble, only four instruments play at a time. The only recording I've found is the one below, which is fine but I sense that much more could be made of the music. There are other recordings, and indeed the one on Hat Hut is for sale -- though I'm slightly reluctant to place an order at the moment because the end of the world is nigh. Has anyone explored performances of this music?



« Last Edit: March 25, 2020, 09:50:18 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline T. D.

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #644 on: March 25, 2020, 01:28:50 PM »
     



There are a handful of works where Cage used chance operations (I ching) to change traditional melodies. Not surprisingly given Cage's interests in music, the result often eradicates functional harmony and introduces a greater role for silence. The works are

Apartment House 1776 and Thirteen harmonies
Hymns and Variations
Harmonies of Maine
Quartets I - VIII

Over the past few weeks I've been really enjoying this music, and the images above are just two of the recordings which have earned my particular affection. It should be said that the Arditti recording is an arrangement, I'm not sure whether the great man himself was involved.

Quartets I - VIII are for large ensemble, only four instruments play at a time. The only recording I've found is the one below, which is fine but I sense that much more could be made of the music. There are other recordings, and indeed the one on Hat Hut is for sale -- though I'm slightly reluctant to place an order at the moment because the end of the world is nigh. Has anyone explored performances of this music?



It so happens that recently (last week? days run together in isolation) I pulled out the long oop Newport Classics CD (from the series with panels from Roy Liechtenstein's Frolic on the cover art) with Quartets I-VIII and Music for Seventeen.

I enjoy this performance of the Quartets, but am not likely to look for other recordings in the near future (coming off a purchase binge). I find the introduction of chance procedures interesting, making the Quartets more pleasurable to listen to than early works like e.g. String Quartet in Four Parts. But Number Pieces are my favorite Cage, so that preference is not surprising.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #645 on: March 25, 2020, 02:32:20 PM »
You don't happen to have this do you? It seems to have disappeared without trace



I have this and it's fabulous!



I feel very positive about the Apartment House music at the moment.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #646 on: March 25, 2020, 04:41:47 PM »
You don't happen to have this do you? It seems to have disappeared without trace



I have this and it's fabulous!



I feel very positive about the Apartment House music at the moment.

Regrettably I haven't heard (or seen offered) the first; it looks great.
Thanks for the feedback on Dream. Offhand I would have mistrusted the programming (mixture of early and later works). But used copies to USA are out of my price range.
I will try to listen to some Apartment House via youtube or what Internet sources I can find...
[Added] Just noticed ordered this number piece recording with Hussong that is not oop:
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 04:48:35 PM by T. D. »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #647 on: March 26, 2020, 05:18:45 AM »
I’ve not actually listened to the earlier pieces on Dream. PM me if you want an upload of it.  Hussong’s clearly a very fine musician, the Appartment House tracks on that CD are poetic.
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #648 on: March 31, 2020, 10:40:03 AM »
     

The Music of Changes is a piano piece which has four parts. It was composed using chance operations. The score is very exact -- the performer is more or less on rails. I have been listening to the second part, which is the longest.

The piece was created by David Tudor, who went on to record it. Subsequent recordings have been made by Herbert Henk, Tania Chen, Steffen Schleiermacher, Pi-hsien Chen and Joseph Kubera.

Of these, two are exceptional because they significantly slow down the tempos of Part II -- Schleiermacher and Chen. It's Schleiermacher who got my attention today. The extra duration makes the music more listenable, it makes it a more agreeable chaos because you can relish the isolated disconnected events as they arrive one after another. There is no structure here, though strangely there is a caesura of sorts. The music is like the night sky in the desert -- here a shooting star, there a twinkle . . . 

Pre Schleiermacher I had a certain respect for Tudor's authority and physicality in Music of Changes, but today I feel that Schleiermacher is at least as interesting in a different way. Sometime in the future I will listen to the rest of his recording, and I feel tempted to explore Chen too.

Oh, Schleiermacher benefits from excellent recorded sound.

 
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 11:12:07 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline T. D.

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #649 on: March 31, 2020, 01:39:28 PM »
     

The Music of Changes is a piano piece which has four parts. It was composed using chance operations. The score is very exact -- the performer is more or less on rails. I have been listening to the second part, which is the longest.

The piece was created by David Tudor, who went on to record it. Subsequent recordings have been made by Herbert Henk, Tania Chen, Steffen Schleiermacher, Pi-hsien Chen and Joseph Kubera.

Of these, two are exceptional because they significantly slow down the tempos of Part II -- Schleiermacher and Chen. It's Schleiermacher who got my attention today. The extra duration makes the music more listenable, it makes it a more agreeable chaos because you can relish the isolated disconnected events as they arrive one after another. There is no structure here, though strangely there is a caesura of sorts. The music is like the night sky in the desert -- here a shooting star, there a twinkle . . . 

Pre Schleiermacher I had a certain respect for Tudor's authority and physicality in Music of Changes, but today I feel that Schleiermacher is at least as interesting in a different way. Sometime in the future I will listen to the rest of his recording, and I feel tempted to explore Chen too.

Oh, Schleiermacher benefits from excellent recorded sound.

Did Pi-Hsien Chen record the whole thing? If so, I've got to hear it. [Corrected] Like an idiot, I assumed her Cage/Scarlatti recording had only selections! Tania Chen is unfamiliar to me.

Funny, years ago when Schleiermacher was recording frequently on hatART I had some aversion to his playing and in particular did not consider him much of a Cageian. I recently got a Feldman recording by him and will reassess. Music of Changes scared me off in those days (I recall hearing Grete Sultan's Etudes Australes and "not getting them"), but my approach to the piano music has evolved and I will try to have a listen.

Currently listening to Thirteen, comparing the Barton Workshop and Ensemble 13 recordings, which are quite different even after allowing for the lower output volume of the Ensemble 13 / cpo release. Barton Workshop version sounds like it has more of the flow of a "traditional" composition, but the Ensemble 13 versions have more of the fleeting, ambient nature that I'm used to with number pieces. Not sure which I prefer; can enjoy both. Weirdly, the cover art of the Barton Workshop (Megadisc) CD is wrong, giving the piece as Fourteen rather than Thirteen - see e.g. the Discogs page at https://www.discogs.com/John-CageBarton-Workshop-John-Cage-Anniversary-1912-2012-The-Number-Pieces/release/8854228
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 04:47:55 PM by T. D. »

Offline San Antone

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #650 on: March 31, 2020, 04:12:25 PM »
A 2019 series of recordings called "About Cage" from Da Vinci Publishing



John Cage: aboutCAGE Vol. 1: Complete Percussion Works Vol. 1
John Cage: aboutCAGE Vol. 2: Complete Percussion Works Vol. 2, Four4
John Cage: aboutCAGE Vol. 3: ONE10 & TWO6
John Cage: About Cage Vol. 4, Two5, Solo for tuba, Solo for Sliding Trombone with Fontana Mix

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #651 on: March 31, 2020, 07:20:44 PM »
Does anyone have any thoughts about why Cage chose such a complicated notatation for Music of Changes? A notation where the distances between notes has to be measured, the tails rather than the heads of notes designate pitch, where there may be unplayable things and other things which will disorientate and challenge the piano player.


Funny, years ago when Schleiermacher was recording frequently on hatART I had some aversion to his playing and in particular did not consider him much of a Cageian.


Yes, well he has ignored Cage’s tempo instructions, deliberately because he thinks it makes the music more listenable. I think Cage had in mind a listener more Zen than I am, so I’m quite glad to have a crutch to lean on!

The whole business of the ideal listener in Cage, Wolff, Cardew, Feldman, Tenney etc is really interesting, especially in music without any discernable structure.
« Last Edit: March 31, 2020, 07:39:06 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #652 on: April 01, 2020, 02:51:21 AM »
I just heard Cage's Credo in Us yesterday, after reading about it in Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, and it blew me away. What a piece!! Hard to believe it's almost eighty years old. Cage left behind so much music it's hard to know where to go next. But I have a few ideas: the Music of Changes with Pi-hsien Chen, which I would buy on the strength of the pianist knowing nothing of the music, plus the Another Timbre Two2 that I've been curious for about for a while now.

Are there any discs in the Mode Cage Edition series that are particularly worth checking out? I have two of them: the Piano Concertos and Europera 5, the latter being pure insanity, that I don't think I'm ready for yet.  :laugh:

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #653 on: April 01, 2020, 05:39:52 AM »
I just heard Cage's Credo in Us yesterday, after reading about it in Alex Ross's The Rest is Noise, and it blew me away. What a piece!! Hard to believe it's almost eighty years old. Cage left behind so much music it's hard to know where to go next. But I have a few ideas: the Music of Changes with Pi-hsien Chen, which I would buy on the strength of the pianist knowing nothing of the music, plus the Another Timbre Two2 that I've been curious for about for a while now.

Are there any discs in the Mode Cage Edition series that are particularly worth checking out? I have two of them: the Piano Concertos and Europera 5, the latter being pure insanity, that I don't think I'm ready for yet.  :laugh:

Credo in US was a dance piece written for Merce Cunningham's troop -- in a way it's rather similar to the sonatas and interludes.


It's true that Cage left a lot of things to explore, to get some orientation you can distinguish between four styles

1. Traditional works, where you can hear very clearly the debt to Henry Cowell and probably others -- e.g. Sonatas for prepared piano, Credo in US

2. Radical, where he starts to explore chance operations and relinquish control over sound  -- Music of Changes is an example, as is Imaginary Landscape 4

3 Ultra Radical, where the compositions are barely recognisable as music, things like Variations III (for one of any number of people performing any number of actions) or 4'33 No. 2: 0'00'' (For performer amplifying the sound of an auditorium to feedback level.)

4.  Retreat. After the 1960s Cage seemed to turn away from ultra-radical ideas. The scores become more conventional, there's an exploration of harmony and of traditional music. So we have the etudes (like Music for Changes), we have the Apartment House (which are based on traditional tunes), and indeed many number pieces.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2020, 05:42:26 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #654 on: April 01, 2020, 09:47:54 AM »
Can anyone help me find online or for purchase the "scores" for Cage's variations? I want to see the whole thing, all the details, not just a brief summary.

He's published by Edition Peters. They seem to have all Variations except for VII.

This provides a bit of illumination

https://ro.ecu.edu.au/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=https://www.google.com/&httpsredir=1&article=1164&context=ecuworks2012
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #655 on: April 01, 2020, 11:08:22 AM »
Credo in US was a dance piece written for Merce Cunningham's troop -- in a way it's rather similar to the sonatas and interludes.


It's true that Cage left a lot of things to explore, to get some orientation you can distinguish between four styles

1. Traditional works, where you can hear very clearly the debt to Henry Cowell and probably others -- e.g. Sonatas for prepared piano, Credo in US

2. Radical, where he starts to explore chance operations and relinquish control over sound  -- Music of Changes is an example, as is Imaginary Landscape 4

3 Ultra Radical, where the compositions are barely recognisable as music, things like Variations III (for one of any number of people performing any number of actions) or 4'33 No. 2: 0'00'' (For performer amplifying the sound of an auditorium to feedback level.)

4.  Retreat. After the 1960s Cage seemed to turn away from ultra-radical ideas. The scores become more conventional, there's an exploration of harmony and of traditional music. So we have the etudes (like Music for Changes), we have the Apartment House (which are based on traditional tunes), and indeed many number pieces.

Interesting. I haven't really explored the famous Sonatas & Interludes. And I don't think I've heard anything you'd classify as "radical or ultra radical". Presumably something like the Europeras would count as "Retreat"?

The percussion music is quite accessible it seems. Probably this is the way to win over the skeptics.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #656 on: April 01, 2020, 11:14:58 AM »
Interesting. I haven't really explored the famous Sonatas & Interludes. And I don't think I've heard anything you'd classify as "radical or ultra radical". Presumably something like the Europeras would count as "Retreat"?

The percussion music is quite accessible it seems. Probably this is the way to win over the skeptics.

try this radical "thing" (note I choose my words carefully) You'll love it.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/waNccggLNBg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/waNccggLNBg</a>
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #657 on: April 01, 2020, 11:38:00 AM »
try this radical "thing" (note I choose my words carefully) You'll love it.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/waNccggLNBg" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/waNccggLNBg</a>

I caught your post before you edited it so I listened to both recordings. Wow!!! This is the same piece?!  :laugh: I liked the Spaziomusica recording a lot better.

Yeah, this is a really interesting thing here. I'd love to look at the score. I wonder what separates music like this from so-called free improvisational music.

Curiously, given the score designation "for any number of players and any sound producing means", both of these recordings use the same ensemble, no? Flute, percussion, piano (a Feldman favorite). Has any large orchestra taken this on?

Anyway, you're right, this music is truly out there. While listening, I did a little bit of research into the Variations series. This tidbit about No.3 cracked me up:

Quote
The third in the series is intended "for one or any number of people performing any actions". It is the first entry in the series that does not make any references to music, musical instruments or sounds. The score consists of two sheets of transparent plastic, one blank, the other marked with 42 identical circles. Cage instructs the performers to cut the sheet with circles so that they end up with 42 small sheets, a full circle on each. These should then be dropped on a sheet of paper. Isolated circles are then removed, and the rest are interpreted according to complex rules explained in the score. The information derived includes the number of actions and the number of variables that characterize an action. Cage does not specify the performers' actions, but notes that these can include noticing or responding to "environmental changes". He also states that although some of the factors of a performance may be planned in advance, the performers should "leave room for unforeseen eventualities"; and that "any other activities are going on at the same time" as the work is performed. This last is not an instruction, but simply an observation.

 :laugh: I would love to catch a performance of this one. Some true Fluxus type stuff.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #658 on: April 01, 2020, 12:25:57 PM »
This is the same piece?!

Well, yes and no.
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Offline T. D.

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Re: John Cage (1912-92)
« Reply #659 on: April 01, 2020, 12:50:00 PM »
...
Curiously, given the score designation "for any number of players and any sound producing means", both of these recordings use the same ensemble, no? Flute, percussion, piano (a Feldman favorite). Has any large orchestra taken this on?

Anyway, you're right, this music is truly out there. While listening, I did a little bit of research into the Variations series. This tidbit about No.3 cracked me up:

 :laugh: I would love to catch a performance of this one. Some true Fluxus type stuff.

Variations II is only slightly less abstract than Variations III.
I read the description at http://www.rosewhitemusic.com/cage/texts/Var2.html and my head is still spinning...