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JOHN CAGE Klang Der Wandlungen
EDITION RZ November 1st, 2017

JOHN CAGE — Klang Der Wandlungen (Nov. 1st, 2017)

      JOHN CAGE — Klang Der Wandlungen (Nov. 1st, 2017)   JOHN CAGE — Klang Der Wandlungen (Nov. 1st, 2017)•Ξ•     3CD box set. Includes 32~page booklet of archival photos, plus liner notes by Jakob Ullmann (german and english)
•Ξ•     John Milton Cage Jr. (September 5, 1912 ~ August 12, 1992) was an American composer and music theorist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non~standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post~war avant~garde. Critics have lauded him as one of the most influential composers of the 20th century. He was also instrumental in the development of modern dance, mostly through his association with choreographer Merce Cunningham, who was also Cage’s romantic partner for most of their lives.
Genre: MODERN CLASSICAL / AMBIENT
Release date: 01 November 2017
Record Label: EDITION RZ
Duration:     192:33
Tracks:
1. Seventy~Four     12:16
2. 103     51:00
3. 103     39:39
4. Postcard From Heaven     21:16
5. In a Landscape      9:17
6. Some Of “The Harmony Of Maine”      59:05
Description:
•Ξ•     Utterly spellbinding survey of John Cage’s late works, mostly focussing on orchestral pieces performed and recorded circa his 1990 visit to East Berlin, and including a stunning rendition of “Some of The Harmony of Maine” [1978] performed by the wondeful Jakob Ullmann, who coincidentally wrote the box’s lucubrate liner notes. If you’ve ever been intrigued by Cage but can’t see a way into his crenelated catalogue, we strongly recommend checking this set for some of the late, great thinker and composer’s most accessible and gratifying work. 3CD box set. Includes 32~page booklet of archival photos, plus liner notes by Jakob Ullmann (german and english).
•Ξ•     The three discs of Klang Der Wandlungen or “Sound of Changes” feature five full pieces written between 1948 and 1992, just before the composer’s death at 80 years of age. By this point in the early ‘90s, Cage was already long established among 20th century avant garde heavyweights, having studied under Arnold Schoenberg — the inventor of serialism — and an extensive background in writing for modern dance with his longterm partner Merce Cunningham, as well as pioneering the prepared piano and penning the seminal 4’ 33”, perhaps one of the most important works of the 20th century.
•Ξ•     Following an interest in eastern philosophy and anarchy from the late ‘40s, his work became defined by aleatoric music, or chance~based composition from then on, which came to define the sphere of Amercian avant~garde in opposition to the ‘new music’ coming from Darmstadt in the ‘50s, or European traditions and their focus on technicality or artisanship. These Cageian ideas had seeped into East Germany before reunification, and, in 1990, Cage was invited to East Berlin in the newly reunified German state at the behest of the IGNM (International Society for Contemporary Music).
•Ξ•     The recordings in Klang Der Wandlungen were part of the programme or related to this visit, and, with historical context, came to show how his ideas had, over the preceding decades, become absorbed into European practice. We can hear striking similarities with the tension of Giacinto Scelsi in the remarkable opener Seventy~Four, and with Luigi Nono’s use of intangible quietness in 103, whilst the breathtaking Postcards From Heaven — here performed on harp by Gabriel Emde — is comparable with the feather~touch minimalism of Morton Feldman. Really, not what you may expect if you’ve only heard Cage’s famous, atonal early pieces such as Cartridge Music [1960], a prototypical piece for adapted vinyl turntables, for example.
•Ξ•     Another of Cage’s famous, early Imaginary Landscape compositions, makes up one of this set’s two biggest highlights. Gabriel Emde performs harp on a utterly gorgeous rendition of In A Landscape [1948], a Satie~esque piece for dance presented here for the first time, whilst Jakob Ullmann’s organ performance of Some of The Harmony of Maine, renders the pioneer of Quiet Music at his loudest, performing Cage’s work in bold, striking gasps shattered by passages of near~silence.
•Ξ•     Jakob Ullmann’s liner notes offer a lot more to sink your teeth into, alongside the music, which as always, is up to Edition RZ’s uncompromisingly high standards. Together with the delectable packaging, it makes up a perfect entry point to one of the most fascinating wormholes ever opened by art or music. Website: http://johncage.org/
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JOHN CAGE Klang Der Wandlungen
EDITION RZ November 1st, 2017

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