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Changes Chances - Cage, Carter, Riley / Elena Casoli

Release Date: 03/13/2007 
Label:  Stradivarius   Catalog #: 33718   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  John CageElliott CarterTerry Riley
Performer:  Elena Càsoli
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Control versus intuition – and a guitarist with both in abundance

The technical precision and steely concentration needed to play Elliott Carter’s solo guitar piece Changes (1983) couldn’t be further removed from the inner creative drive required to realise John Cage’s Four6 (1992) for a multitracked “ensemble” of four guitars. Both require discipline, but derive from different zones of the brain. The question is one of “control” verses “intuition”, and here Italian guitarist Elena Càsoli demonstrates that she has both in abundance.

Mediating between are three somewhat muted mid-1990s pieces by Terry Riley. Arpeggios, always the arpeggios in the extended Ascención, but the briefer Barabas
Read more and Piedad hone the correlation between material and duration more effectively. Carter’s Changes – as Càsoli points out – feels like the cousin of his solo piano work Night Fantasies, and she enters its web of transforming pitch cells and shifting rhythms with balls of steel. Càsoli captures an inner momentum, and her tone is appropriately neutral and standoffish. The occasional sliver of warmth, however, does wonders for Carter’s chilly sound world.

One of Cage’s late “number pieces”, Four6 is open to myriad interpretations and Càsoli has obviously worked diligently to get Cage right. The 30-minute structure audibly branches out from the implications of the work’s material in an authentic Cagean expression of non-intention. The sounds Càsoli pulls from her guitars, involving treatments with miscellaneous implements like chopsticks, bottlenecks, screws and plectrums, are highly rarefied. The timbres generated perch themselves in an elusive hinterland between music and noise and feel specific to this piece, something Cage would have greatly appreciated.

-- Philip Clark, Gramophone [5/2007]
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Works on This Recording

Four 6 by John Cage
Performer:  Elena Càsoli (Guitars)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1992; USA 
Changes by Elliott Carter
Performer:  Elena Càsoli (Guitars)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; USA 
The Book of Abbeyozzud: Ascención by Terry Riley
Performer:  Elena Càsoli (Guitars)
Period: 20th Century 
The Book of Abbeyozzud: Barabas by Terry Riley
Performer:  Elena Càsoli (Guitars)
Period: 20th Century 
The Book of Abbeyozzud: Piedad by Terry Riley
Performer:  Elena Càsoli (Guitars)
Period: 20th Century 

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