Schoenberg called John Cage "not a composer, but an inventor of genius". Yet here is a set of exquisitely turned early miniatures, performed by two artists who recollect the powerful effect of Cage's visit to Russia in 1988. There are aphoristic settings of Gertrude Stein and EE Cummings sung by Natalia Pschenitschnikova, the concentrated Two Pieces for Piano played by Alexei Lubimov, who shines in the wonderful tintinnabulating sound of the prepared piano in Music for Marcel Duchamp. Paul Griffiths's booklet notes plainsong, Bali, folk music and popular song here; the disc shows Cage as a real composer.
Nicholas Kenyon is managing director of the Barbican Centre and was director of the BBC Proms from 1996 to 2007. He wrote the Faber Pocket Guide to Mozart