johncage8CAGE: Sculptures Musicales; Twenty-Six with Twenty-Nine; Twenty-Six with Twenty-Eight & Twenty-Nine; Eighty. Christina Fong, violins, violas; Karen Krummel, cellos; Michael Crawford, basses; Glenn Freeman, percussion and bowed piano; Prague Winds; Chance Operations Collective of Kalamazoo. OgreOgress DVD 634479962141. 121 minutes.

The current disc is another in a remarkable series of first recordings of late works of John Cage on the OgreOgress label. For an introduction to the composer’s late style, see this review of an earlier disc in the series.

This disc is not going to win over anyone who is predisposed to disliking Cage’s music. The pieces (and their committed, perceptive realizations/performances) are uncompromising and direct expressions of the composer’s aesthetic. There’s a  hushed tension in these pieces, manifest in noisy, quiet sounds (as in Sculptures Musicales) or in the fugitive unisons and pregnant silences of Eighty.

The combination of repertoire, performances, and great 96kHz|24bit sound make this release indispensable for Cage students and admirers, and highly recommended for the adventurous listener.

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