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American Classics - Cage: Music For Prepared Piano Vol 2


Release Date: 03/20/2001 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559070   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 1 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


Boris Berman's second Naxos release devoted to John Cage's piano music presents a handsome cross-section of the composer's prolific output from the 1940s. For most of his prepared piano music, Cage gave meticulous instructions as to the manipulation of the piano's strings with rubber wedges, screws, bolts, and other implements. The ensuing sonorities transform the piano into a one-man percussion ensemble, with a heavy Gamelan accent. Yet no two pianos prepared in the same way ever sound alike. Each recorded version of a Cage prepared piano work differs in timbre. In Cage's 1944 Root of an Unfocus, for instance, Steffen Schleiermacher (on MDG) conveys a stark, interrogation-room-like aura through the
Read more deep resonance of his left-hand "drumbeats" and buzzing right-hand stabs. By contrast, Boris Berman's latest recording on Naxos suggests a smaller, muffled drum, and more rounded right-hand interjections.


Primitive's dancing rhythms stay on a steadier track in Berman's performance, yet Schleiermacher's softer-grained reading conveys less of a pitch range. Perhaps the most obvious differences are found in The Unavailable Memory Of, which employs only three pitches. Schleiermacher's preparations render the notes as B-flat, F, and D: a major triad. With Berman, we hear an E-flat rather than a D, as well as a slower basic tempo. And compare Schleiermacher's murky, mysterious sounds in A Room, to Berman's simpler, funkier palette. The point is that both Berman and Schleiermacher understand and play this music fantastically well. Of course, Berman has the advantage of Naxos' budget price and slightly better sound. Cage-a-holics, of course, should have the valuable Schleiermacher series and Margaret Leng Tan's eloquent, meticulous performances of selected works. Listeners new to Cage's prepared piano oeuvre, however, will be enchanted by the variety, humor, and beauty that typifies Berman's program. Solidly recommended. [12/28/2001]
--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
The Perilous Night for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 12 Minutes 31 Secs. 
2.
Daughters of the Lonesome Isle by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 9 Minutes 25 Secs. 
3.
Root of an Unfocus for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 4 Minutes 55 Secs. 
4.
Primitive for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 4 Minutes 22 Secs. 
5.
Mysterious Adventure for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1945; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 8 Minutes 11 Secs. 
6.
And the Earth Shall Bear Again for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1942; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
7.
The Unavailable Memory Of by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 4 Minutes 7 Secs. 
8.
Music for Marcel Duchamp by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 5 Minutes 2 Secs. 
9.
Totem Ancestor for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 2 Minutes 4 Secs. 
10.
A Room by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
11.
Prelude for Meditation for Prepared Piano by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 1 Minutes 4 Secs. 
12.
Tossed as it is Untroubled for Prepared Piano "Meditation" by John Cage
Performer:  Boris Berman (Prepared Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
Date of Recording: 12/1999 
Venue:  St. John Chrysostom Church, Canada 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 

Sound Samples

The Perilous Night: No. 1. -
The Perilous Night: No. 2. -
The Perilous Night: No. 3. -
The Perilous Night: No. 4. -
The Perilous Night: No. 5. -
The Perilous Night: No. 6. -
Tossed as it is Untroubled
Daughters of the Lonesome Isle
Root of an Unfocus
Primitive
Mysterious Adventure
And the Earth Shall Bear Again: And the Earth shall Bear Again
The Unavailable Memory of
Music for Marcel Duchamp
Totem Ancestor
A Room
Prelude for Meditation

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