John Cage 100 – review

Pierce/Kubera/Cage/Goldstein/Kaul/Gauwerky/Knoop/SEM Ensemble O/Kotik
(Wergo, five CDs)

Almost every event and CD marking this year's John Cage centenary seems to have brought some kind of discovery. For a composer with such an influence on music in the last 60 years, the breadth of Cage's output remains surprisingly little known. Wergo's tribute bundles together five discs issued over the last 35 years, and alongside a couple of familiar works – the Sonatas and Interludes for prepared piano, played rather inflexibly by Joshua Pierce; the Concert for piano and orchestra realised by Joseph Kubera and Petr Kotik's SEM Ensemble – there are pieces that surface much less often. Kotik and his group also come up with a wonderfully delicate account of Atlas Eclipticalis, for instance; other discs include two versions of the Etudes Boreales, miniatures from the Harmony series, and the solo-violin Eight Whiskus. And Cage himself makes an appearance alongside a number of his fellow composers in his radio play, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet.


Andrew Clements

The GuardianTramp

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