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  Исполнитель(и) :
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  Наименование CD :
   Works For Piano & Prepared Piano. Vol. I



Год издания : 1988/1986

Компания звукозаписи : Wergo

Время звучания : 49:08

Код CD : Wergo 60151-50

  Комментарий (рецензия) :

CD, стоящие на полке рядом : Classics (Modern Classics)      

Recorded during 1977 & 1982

The Paul Price Percussion Ensemble

Vol II, Vol III, Vol IV, Works For Percussion

========= from the cover ==========

In 1942, the world was at war. Shostakovich had just written his Seventh Symphony, a musical picture, if you believe his purported memoirs, of Stalin s prewar terror; Bartok lived on a meager salary, paid not to compose, but to study folk music at Columbia University.

Schoenberg taught theory and composition to beginners at the University of California; Webern lived quietly near Vienna, supporting himself by making piano reductions of operettas, and finding time when he could for what would turn out to be his last work, the Second Cantata.

John Cage, meanwhile, was 30, and moved to New York with 25 cents in his pocket. He stayed first with Max Ernst, the painter, and then with the dancer Jean Erdman: then as now, it was artists and dancers - and not musicians - who liked his work. The musical world confused him. When a critic derided a piece for prepared piano called The Perilous Night, he was dismayed, as Calvin Tomkins notes in The Bride and the Bachelors. I had poured a good deal of emotion into the piece, Cage said, and obviously I wasn't communicating this at all. Or else, I thought, if I were communicating, then all artists must be speaking a different language, and thus speaking only for themselves. The whole musical situation struck me more and more as a Tower of Babel.

Shostakovich wrote large-scale symphonies, much in the mold of the 19th century (though not enough so for Stalin). Bartok s music was more dissonant, but still, in its quirky way, melodic and tonal (his Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned in 1942, and was a smash success two years later at its premiere). Schoenberg, at that time musics most famous radical, wrote his Piano Concerto in 1942: its atonal, of course, but surprisingly old-fashioned in its instrumental writing and its form. Webem's stark, almost fragmented work, which hardly anyone knew, was more radical even than Schoenberg s-but still it was written for traditional instruments and structured in ways that looked new, but in fact were modeled on the forms of the classics. Cage's work, by comparison, was very strange. His was a small voice in the midst of the Babel he described, a persistent voice, but not at all demanding, aggressive, or even insistent. What, for example, would Shostakovich, Barton, Schoenberg, or Webern have thought of A Room, which Cage wrote in 1943? "Minimalism/ we might say, hearing the piece now. But in 1942, minimalism didn't even exist as a concept: the tiny work is far more radical than it seems. Over and over, we hear the same few notes, grouped into the same few patterns. Lying behind them is a complex rhythmic scheme, which is not what we hear as each pattern repeats: instead, the scheme is the principle that determines how many times each pattern is heard. Because the patterns are subtly constructed, we can't always tell what group of notes is repeating (unless, of course, we know the rhythmic scheme in advance and keep careful count, which would spoil the simple pleasure we get from hearing the piece simply as music). Cage's rhythmic schemes pervade the music he wrote in the '40s, but as a rule can't themselves be heard. In that way they're like Schoenberg s twelve-tone rows, and link Cage to the modernist mainstream that he never thought he was part of. (On this recording, Joshua Pierce intriguingly links A Room even to the traditional concert repertoire, by adding expressive inflections of volume and tempo to music which in Cage's score is marked only to be played very, very softly.)

A Room was originally intended as the third section of She is Asleep, an unfinished work; its parts share a similar rhythmic structure, and when they're programmed together may be played in any order.. According to Cage's notes for an earlier recording (made live at the famous 1958 retrospective of his work) the singer in the Duet for voice and prepared piano is encouraged to employ unconventional methods of voice production. Jay Clayton takes his hint, and treats the piece, irresistibly, as an opportunity for scat singing. The exaggerated vibrato we hear is called for in the score. The Quartet fur 12 torn toms, meanwhile, is a much less outgoing work. Each player has three drums, which are struck - with a different sound, of course-sometimes at their center and sometimes at their edge. Each player, in other words, can play six "notes": when you see them placed in ascending or descending order in Cage's score you'd think the percussionists were playing scales. The complex rhythms, the deep tone of the torn toms, and (in a good performance, at least) the prevailing quiet - the musics marked loud at only two places in the score; elsewhere its either p, pp, or ppp - combine to create an effect that's engagingly dim.

The second version of A Room is for prepared piano: the pianist plays the same notes, but this time with bolts, bits of rubber, pieces of weather stripping, and a penny stuck between specified strings. The rhythms and gestures are the same, but the change in the sound turns what was originally a self-effacing work into something much more assertive. In a Landscape, finally, is a contrast to everything else so far: it's almost romantically expressive (very appropriately, it can be played either on the piano or the harp). Unusually for Cage, it recalls an earlier composer: Cage's favorite, Erik Satie.

There are two rambunctious, almost jazzy works for prepared piano, And the Earth Shall Bear Again and Totem Ancestor, written in 1942 and 1943 for dances by Valerie Bettis and Merce Cunningham.

Their titles - contrast She is Asleep - evoke their massive sound and unexpected vigor. Everything else is quiet. Rhythmic schemes are still present, but now they measure silence as well as sound. There's no break on this record before or after the Two Pastorales, in fact, so that their opening and closing rests will be heard at their true length. These works are more or less in the style of Cage's major work of 1951, the Music of Changes. Notes - alternating with silences, sometimes long ones - are arrayed on staff lines divided into measures but otherwise without indications of rhythm. Their visual location determines where in each measure they're to be played. The tempo, meanwhile, is indicated by large numbers above the staff, which frequently change. The rhythmic structure of each piece lies in these changing tempi, rather than in any grouping of the notes we actually hear. Accelerandos and retards within these established tempi are, Cage says, to be associated with the structure, rather than with the sounds that happen in it, which means that the performer feels the music slow down and speed up, but listeners can't hear it - a weirdly conceptual notion of musical flow found also in Webern's Piano Variations, where the performer is told to speed up during a rest, and then pause, guaranteeing (thanks to the pause) that the change of tempo can't be heard.

The Seven Haiku are hard to hear as anything but a fragmentary single piece, since there are silences within sections as well as between them. Each section is dedicated to one of Cage's friends or associates. For M. C. and D. T is another tribute, this time to two friends (Merce Cunningham and David Tudor, I'd assume), which may be played, the score says, in any tempo or with changing tempi. Waiting, dedicated, like In a Landscape, to Louise Lippold, is a wonderfully fragmentary expression of the feeling implied by its title. Note that it begins with a 98 second rest, and for that reason doesn't occupy a separate band on the record. Those 98 seconds of silence are as much part of the music as an additional 18 seconds of silence at the end.

The Two Pastorales would seem almost Wagnerian by comparison if they too weren't silent for so much of their length. In a sense they combine the two tendencies demonstrated on this record: in them Cage used the compositional techniques of Music of Changes, but this time for prepared piano. There's also a breathy, ceramic Aztec whistle (probably a kind of ocarina) and a "New Year's Eve whistle" (the kind that shoots out a tongue of paper when you blow it) in the second Pastorale, which in fact begins-there'd be no way to tell otherwise-when the whistles start. We should listen to the Two Pastorales as we'd listen to the rustling of leaves in an otherwise silent forest. What we hear is lovely-but we shouldn't expect it to mean anything, or even to cohere. And we should listen to the silence with the same attention that we give to the sounds. Joshua Pierces recordings include Martinu's Concerto for Two Pianos and Orchestra, Britten's Scottish Ballad and Introduction and Rondo alla Burlesca, Rachmaninoff's Symphonic Dances and Russian Rhapsody, and Josef Alexander's Three Diversions for Timpani and Piano - all nominated for Grammy awards - in addition to other works by Cage, the Chopin Ballades, and Concertos by Mozart and Mendelssohn. Jay Clayton is known both for her new music performances with Steve Reich and Kirk Nurock, and as a jazz singer who's worked with Muhal Richard Abrams and with her own quintet. The members of the Paul Price Percussion Ensemble are Steve Kastuck, Michael Holchrum, Jeff Kraus, and Paul Price, who has taught at the Manhattan School of Music and conducted its percussion ensemble on a State Department-sponsored tour of Europe and the Near East.

-Gregory Sandow


  Соисполнители :

Jay Clayton (Vocals)
Joshua Pierce (Piano)


№ п/п

Наименование трека

Текст

Длительность

Комментарий
   1 A Room, For Piano         0:01:59 1943
   2 She Is Asleep Duet, For Voice & Prepared Piano         0:07:21 1943
   3 She Is Asleep Quartet, For Twelve Tom-toms         0:05:39  
   4 A Room, For Prepared Piano         0:01:55 1943
   5 In A Landscape, For Piano         0:07:16 1948
   6 Seven Haiku, For Piano         0:02:01 1952
   7 Totem Ancestor, For Piano         0:01:57 1943
   8 #1         0:05:53 1951
   9 #2         0:07:14  
   10 And The Earth Shall Bear Again, For Prepared Piano         0:03:16 1942
   11 Waiting, For Piano         0:03:40 1952
   12 For M.C. And D.T., For Piano         0:00:57  

      Обозначения:

 T   'щелкнуть' - переход к тексту композиции.

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