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Cage: Works For Two Keyboards Vol 2 / Xenia Pestova, Pascal Meyer

Cage
Release Date: 04/29/2014 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 559727   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Cage
Performer:  Xenia PestovaPascal Meyer
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

John Cage’s practicality transformed the piano into a full percussion orchestra and a workbench for sonic experiment. Three Dances is one of his most ambitious works for prepared piano, often involving spectacular virtuosity and exciting wildness of texture and color reminiscent of Balinese gamelan. Striking the balance which shows Cage’s mastery of form and sensitivity in instrumentation, Music for Two includes bowed piano techniques to create shifting tapestries of subtle expression, making for some of the most exquisite and moving chamber music of the late 20th century. This is the second of a three volume series, Volume 1 of which can be found on Naxos 8.559726. John Cage’s practicality transformed the piano into a full percussion orchestra and a workbench for sonic experiment. Three Dances is one of his most ambitious works for prepared piano, often involving spectacular virtuosity and exciting wildness of texture and color reminiscent of Balinese gamelan. Striking the balance which shows Cage’s mastery of form and sensitivity in instrumentation, Music for Two includes bowed piano techniques to create shifting tapestries of subtle expression, making for some of the most exquisite and moving chamber music of the late 20th century. This is the second of a three volume series, Volume 1 of which can be found on Naxos 8.559726. Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Music for Two by John Cage
Performer:  Xenia Pestova (Piano), Pascal Meyer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
2. Dances (3) for 2 Prepared Pianos by John Cage
Performer:  Xenia Pestova (Piano), Pascal Meyer (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 

Sound Samples

Music for Two
3 Dances: No. 1. -
3 Dances: No. 2. -
3 Dances: No. 3. -

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 A Mixed Bag May 14, 2014 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "John Cage's music can be difficult to listen to. And many times, that's the point. Cage wanted audiences to be aware of the unspoken assumptions about what music was and how it should be listened to -- or viewed. There's often a strong visual element in his work. Which, I think, is the problem I had with "Music for Two." It's part of his "Music for ___" series. Cage wrote a part for every instrument, and the composition/performance becomes whatever the combination of instruments are at the time. In this case, it's two prepared pianos. The problem for me is that there's just not a lot going on aurally. I suspect seeing the performances interact and the visual cues provided by them moving from one part of the piano to the other would give me a much richer experience. Musically, it sounds like about five minutes of material spread over a 29-minute track. By contrast, "Three Dances" more than justified the price of admission. This is Cage at his finest. The prepared pianos sound like sophisticated electronics or exotic percussion instruments, which make these 1945 works seem as if they could have been written yesterday. And Cage's complex rhythmic patterns keep things hopping. This isn't the metronomic regularity of minimalism. Rather, these dances crackle and explode unpredictably, yet all the while simmering with energy that can only sometimes be contained. Xenia Pestova and Pascal Meyer perform these works with amazing precision and obvious relish, even if they couldn't quite sell me on the "Music for Two." That track, I'd recommend only to Cage completists. "Three Dances," though, are for everyone. Those pieces (and the Pestova/Meyer Piano Duo's performance) rock." Report Abuse
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