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John Cage Edition Vol 26 - Orchestral Works Vol 3

Release Date: 10/22/2002 
Label:  Mode   Catalog #: 108   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Cage
Performer:  Mayumi Miyata
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 44 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Two of John Cage's compositions from 1991 are performed on Mode's third volume of his orchestral works: One9 (for solo sho) and 108, written for large orchestra. These pieces, both of which belong to Cage's "Number Pieces", are not played sequentially on this recording--rather, they are played in tandem. Related to the Chinese sheng, the sho is a Japanese mouth organ with bamboo pipes that has an ethereal, otherworldly sound. Here, it's played by the artist for whom Cage wrote his three sho pieces: Mayumi Miyata, who is recognized as one of the world's premier sho players and most ardent champions. Her playing has a real elegance and quiet authority, and her orchestral partners are no less
Read more sensitive. As so much is dependent on their individual choices (for dynamics, or for range of time to sound a note), their acumen and taste is a crucial performance element--and the WDR players are up to the task, effectively distilling the sounds of their instruments to their essential qualities. Playing high notes, the violins are steely brightness personified, the clarinets are warm and woody, and the overall sensation is one of translucence. (The clarity of the details emerging from Cage's landscape is attributable to Mode's engineers, who capture both the highest and lowest ends of the sound spectrum without any distortion.)

Heard together, the pieces intertwine and separate in fascinating patterns--two distinct pieces relating to each other in a sort of dialogue or even confrontation. But another way of hearing One9 and 108 is as something of a concerto for sho and orchestra, albeit with its own unique structure. For one thing, the first minute and a half of the performance is entirely void of instrumental sound--it's a far cry from the grand orchestral introductions of the Classical or Romantic concerto. Mode's engineering translates the ambience of the Cologne Philharmonie with great attention to even the smallest sound. We hear the rattling, squeaking, and scraping of chairs in the hall in the silent sections, a clear reminder that Cage's "silences" are never silent, nor are they meant to be. [2/21/2003]
--Anastasia Tsioulcas, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

One 9 by John Cage
Performer:  Mayumi Miyata (Sho)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/26/2000 
Venue:  Cologne Philharmony, Germany 
Length: 43 Minutes 30 Secs. 
108 by John Cage
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cologne West German Radio Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1991; USA 
Date of Recording: 10/26/2000 
Venue:  Cologne Philharmony, Germany 

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