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.

Golijov's La Pasión

For those who think that DG’s days of deluxe packaging are over, one only need check out one of today’s releases, Osvaldo Golijov’s La Pasión segun San Marcos to realize that, given the right project, the imprint is up for going all out. The box includes the debut 2xCD studio recording of a revised edition of the work alongside a handsomely filmed semi-staged version on DVD. (A trailer for the film is below).


Premiered in 2000 (a live recording was released by Haenssler), La Pasión is an ebulliently eclectic composition. Golijov blends a number of styles: Latin American, Afro-Cuban, and postmodern contemporary classical. Catholic iconography, liturgical dance, and Yoruba rituals all play a role in the work’s visual and aural melange.

Golijov Pasion