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John Cage - The Seasons / Leng Tan, Russell Davies, Et Al


Release Date: 06/13/2000 
Label:  Ecm   Catalog #: 465140   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Cage
Performer:  Margaret Leng Tan
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 16 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Who would ever dream of arranging John Cage's tinkly little Suite for Toy Piano from 1948 for full symphony orchestra? Probably no one but Lou Harrison, whose virtuosic arrangement provides the most surprises on this already surprising album. Harrison not only perfectly renders the toy piano's unique timbre through combinations of plucked strings and mallet instruments, but he veers far from the toy sound while retaining the suite's spirit: he opens the second movement, for instance, with a majestic fanfare of brass and gongs. His orchestration is so adept that you forget the extremely limited pitch range of this inventive suite. Pianist Margaret Leng Tan provides a poetic rendition of the original.

We hear a dizzying range of
Read more Cage here, from the Stravinskian palette of The Seasons to 1992's Seventy-Four (in two versions) which sounds like it could be a Mahler slow movement slowed down to the extreme. Dennis Russell Davies matches Tan's pointillistic precision in Cage's Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra, and invests each performance with kaleidoscopic brilliance and full-blooded conviction. [8/26/2000]

--Sarah Cahill, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra by John Cage
Performer:  Margaret Leng Tan (Prepared Piano)
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1951; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 20 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2. The Seasons by John Cage
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 16 Minutes 35 Secs. 
3. Seventy-Four by John Cage
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 12 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: This selection was recorded twice on this CD. This entry refers to the
performance described as "Version II." 
4. Suite for Toy Piano by John Cage
Conductor:  Dennis Russell Davies
Orchestra/Ensemble:  American Composers Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
Date of Recording: 01/1997 
Venue:  Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase 
Length: 7 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Notes: Orchestrated: Lou Harrison 

Sound Samples

Seventy-Four, version I
The Seasons (Ballet In One Act) - (1947): Prelude 1, Winter
The Seasons (Ballet In One Act) - (1947): Prelude 2, Spring
The Seasons (Ballet In One Act) - (1947): Prelude 3, Summer
The Seasons (Ballet In One Act) - (1947): Prelude 4, Fall
Concerto For Prepared Piano And Chamber Orchestra - (1950/51): First Part
Concerto For Prepared Piano And Chamber Orchestra - (1950/51): Second Part
Concerto For Prepared Piano And Chamber Orchestra - (1950/51): Third Part
Seventy-Four, version II
Suite For Toy Piano - (1948): 1.
Suite For Toy Piano - (1948): 2.
Suite For Toy Piano - (1948): 3.
Suite For Toy Piano - (1948): 4.
Suite For Toy Piano - (1948): 5.
Suite For Toy Piano - (Orchestration): 1.
Suite For Toy Piano - (Orchestration): 2.
Suite For Toy Piano - (Orchestration): 3.
Suite For Toy Piano - (Orchestration): 4.
Suite For Toy Piano - (Orchestration): 5.

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