Posts Tagged “Los Angeles”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcHnL7aS64Y[/youtube]

We had just seen John Cage recite his mesostic/theater work, James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Erik Satie: An Alphabet. My composition teacher, a tenured faculty member who had won many awards including a Pulitzer Prize, told us, “Everyone should see John Cage once.”

And then, as if to underscore the idea that one only needed to see Cage once, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer added, “But of course, his ideas are much more important than his music.” At that time (the early 1980s), there weren’t many recordings of Cage’s music available, and I rarely encountered any performances of his music, so my professor’s utterance was a reasonable statement for many.

Three decades later, there are 279 recordings featuring one or more works by John Cage available on arkivmusic.com; my old teacher has under 30 listed. It isn’t just that Cage is the most-recorded member of the postwar avant-garde—he has more recordings than plenty of conservative composers. Here’s a list of the top 10 recorded composers born in the 20th century at arkivmusic.com

1. Shostakovich 1449
2. Britten 958
3. Bernstein 632
4. Barber 541
5. Rodrigo 461 (and 103 of those are the Concierto de Aranjuez)
6. Messiaen 431
7. Walton 413
8. Khachaturian 357 (138 of those are the Sabre Dance)
9. Cage 279
10. Arvo Part 239

Clearly, Cage’s compositions, as well as his ideas, are very important in the classical music industry. This year you’ll be hearing a lot of his music, as various cities and organizations celebrate the 100th anniversary of John Cage’s birth. The John Cage trust is a useful web site to learn about upcoming performances, but if you live in Southern California, you’ll want to consult this list I compiled for the LA Weekly of Cage events this year.

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in cFor all you Angelenos and outlying: word from Paul Bailey that this Thursday evening there’s a midnight performance of Terry Riley‘s In C, and you’re all invited to come on over and participate. Bailey’s eponymous ensemble will be joined by the Los Angeles New Music Ensemble and others — now, said others can include you! The place is Juanita’s (5930 York Blvd., Highland Park); there’s a 10:30pm load-in, 11:30pm rehearsal, and the midnight performance.

In C is shaping up to become this century’s new Messiah — except we don’t need no stinking Christmas to trot it out and have a go. So why not get into the spirit, and do your bit for communal music-making?  To give you a head start, Paul’s thoughtfully included a PDF of the score, so you can spend a little time beforehand brushing up on your chops.

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