Tuesday, January 03, 2006



Today I didn’t feel like making a complicated playlist, so I picked Two2 which just happens to be 46 minutes long.  Some days I like to hear a variety of different styles, some days I just want to hear something constant.  Today was a beautiful day outside, around 76 degrees with a nice breeze.  Even in Alabama, that’s odd for midwinter!

Hope everyone is having a good new year.  I have enjoyed buying music for myself as of late.  Specifically, I’ve discovered that one of the local stores has a giant display of discs from Naxos.  What I like about that label is the number of times I say “I didn’t know...” when I examine their discs.  For example, I bought a disc of alpenhorn music yesterday.  And I like the harp, and their harp collection was one of the extremely few collections that included only works actually written for the harp as opposed to a million transcriptions of other random stuff.  

I wrote to them and encouraged them to do more Cage recordings, especially of later works.  I really liked the 2nd prepared piano disc they released (I was less enthusiastic with the Sonatas and Interludes recording but that may because I am less enthusiastic about that work as a whole).  Anyway, it would be interesting to hear a version of some of the number pieces using an actual full contingent of performers instead of overdubbing and see if the result sounds any different, for better or worse.  

From 1989 comes an early number piece for two pianos.  Oddly, it lacks the usual time brackets and instead there are 36 lines of music played at any tempo, though the ordering for both parts is strict.  The first result I notice is that the resulting sound is a little fuller and seems a bit less focused on individual notes.  The sustain pedal keeps the sound going a long while, and there’s an interesting mix of chords and single notes played.  

I am guessing the chords were chosen by chance operations of some sort.  Unlike other sparse piano music, there’s not much silence here at all, even when there are no notes played, thanks to the sustained sound.  It’s much more like other number pieces than the early 50’s piano works in this regard.  I think it’s a good choice for a night time listen.  In fact, I think most of Cage’s number pieces would be ideally played in some kind of garden or other open natural space late in the evening.  

Heh, it’s getting a little harder to say new things, at least with regards to the piano music, which there is so much of!

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