Tilbury plays Cage (CD Review)

John Cage

Sonatas and Interludes

John Tilbury, piano

Decca CD

Part of a reissue program by Decca and DG, which will feature 50 recordings by 50 different artists of important works from the 20th century, this new edition of John Tilbury’s excellent 1975 recording of John Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes is also a welcome addition to the spate of Cage centenary releases. Known for his performances of New York School composers, Cardew, and his work as an improvisor, Tilbury is an ideal interpreter of this piece. His performance is an incisive one, embracing both gamelan-like percussive elements imbued by the preparations as well as the classically proportioned organization of the works’s proto-sonata structure (when composing the piece, Cage was thinking of Scarlatti’s sonatas rather than Beethoven’s).

The sound has held up well, imparting a warm LP era vibe without lacking in detail. The close-miked quality of the recording makes some of the effects created by Cage’s preparations all the more apparent. It’s like sitting next to Tilbury while he plays, rather than hearing a more muted effect further out in the hall.

If all of the reissues in this series return to us elusive treasures such as this recording, we are in for a trove indeed.

Making Preparations

Three Premieres in One Day!

Today is the busiest day yet for my compositions. At 8 PM EST, the Locrian Chamber Players premiere Gilgamesh Suite at Riverside Church in NYC. At 8 PM Pacific, Hubert Ho and Amelia Archer give the West Coast premiere of Bagatelle for Alto Flute in Saratoga, CA. Also this evening, WGDR is broadcasting “Gilgamesh Variation,” a short piece for prepared piano and electronics, on the 60X60 project’s marathon.

Program Note – Gilgamesh Suite

Gilgamesh Suite is a newly composed work based on selections from incidental music I contributed to the play Gilgamesh Variations, produced at Brooklyn’s Bushwick Starr Theatre in 2011. Written to commemorate the 2012 Cage centenary, its touchstone work is Sonatas and Interludes. Instead of creating a trope on Cageian compositional practices, I focused on incorporating the rich sound palette of the work’s prepared piano into the play’s eclectic and highly gestural aesthetic.

The suite, composed for Locrian Chamber Players, is scored for flute, prepared piano, harp, and string quartet. The sixth movement embeds Locrian Flourish, a work commissioned by the ensemble for flutist Diva Goodfriend-Koven, as an extended cadenza.
_________

8/24: Locrian Chamber Players Celebrates Cage Centennial

On Friday, August 24 at 8PM, Locrian Chamber Players celebrates the John Cage centennial with brand new works for prepared piano and ensemble by Christian Carey and James Bunch. The piano in these works is prepared to the specifications of Cage’s Sonatas and Interludes.

Program

  • Georg Friedrich Haas de terea fina
  • Caleb Burhans Contritus
  • Caleb Burhans Escape from New York
  • Christian Carey Gilgamesh Suite*
  • James Bunch Permanent Emotions*
  • David Macdonald New Ostinati*

* World Premiere

Riverside Church

10th Floor Performance Space,

91 Claremont Avenue,

New York, New York 10027

Directions - North of W. 120th Street – One block West of Broadway

Subway: 1 Train to 116th

Ph: 212-870-6700

(Church’s homepage)

free admission

Hauschka: “The Key” (Video)

Hauschka
Salon des Amateurs
Fat Cat CD

Hauschka’s latest recording, Salon des Amateurs, continues his path of prepared piano explorations. But it includes additional layers of instruments, with a host of collaborators that includes John Convertino and Joey Burns (Calexico), and occasional Sequenza 21 blogger (and world famous violinist) Hilary Hahn.

Likewise, much has been made of its allusions to electronica and even dance music (the album is named after a club in Hauschka’s hometown Düsseldorf). But rather than seeming out of place, this becomes yet another facet of the musical landscape of Salon des Amateurs; playfully integrated with imaginative wit.