One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

JOHN CAGE (1912-1992)
  Christina Fong (violin)
world premiere recordings
CD available for post-free online mail-order or you may download individual tracks. For some labels you can download the entire CD with a single click and make HUGE savings. The price you see is the price you pay! The full booklet notes are available on-line.

NOTE • Click on the button and you can buy the disc or read the booklet details • You can also access each track which you may then sample or down load. • Further Information.

Now THIS is minimalist music. Forget Reich, Nyman and Adams as minimalists. Cage has them all beat. He even trounces his own Sonatas and Interludes recently glowingly recorded by Boris Berman on Naxos 8.559042. The Sonatas and Interludes represent one of King Ludwig's winter palaces (a cornucopia of extravagant excess) by the side of the music on this disc. The titles, which are correctly shown above, are minimal. The forces could hardly be less (a solo violin) although Cage's famous 4'33" is an approach to minimalism. The packaging is a single ultra-slim jewel case and there are no printed notes (they appear on the disc) although I was provided with a programme note and other background material for an event when these two works were played simultaneously with another Cage piece ONE11 - a film in which there are no people, only light.

During his last half-decade John Cage wrote about 45 works which carry a number in their title. These were often just a number with a further number in superscript looking rather like a number expressed to the power of another number. Not for Cage an autumnal or even wintry return to (or even discovery!) of lush romance.

The music comprises as much silence as it does musical notes. Both pieces (a three movement piece and a single movement piece) are a series of single long-held notes played with husky concentration by Christina Fong (a member of the Grand Rapids SO since 1988 and a dedicated advocate of new music - Decorative display has been expelled completely. Elaboration comes only in the slight cycling of the held notes and the very infrequent double-stopping of sustained notes. Those long-held notes have a clarion quality and listened to intently melt and resolve from the steady (non-vibrato) tone of a string instrument into a suggestion of Tibetan lamasery horns calling from dizzy heights to the evocation of Scandinavian lur cries from Nordic fjords. Percy Grainger would have loved this. Listening to this music is like hearing a single vocal strand from the complex of lines which make the great wheeling incantatory chant of Cornelius Cardew's The Great Learning (try Paragraph VII as performed by the Scratch Orchestra).

The works date from Cage's very last years and are little known. It is to Ms Fong's credit that she has leant her artistry to this enterprise. You must be prepared for this music. It is not richly detailed. It benefits from intense meditation. Not for everyone then but certainly for those who would like to open a casement on avant-garde simplicity. Such people could hardly make a better start with this disc.


Rob Barnett



CD Price: £ 11.75
Post free airmail world-wide- Download Price:
£ 9.98
Buy CD:
Download all tracks:

(minimum 30 secs)

One6 A (1990)

One6 B (1990)

One6 C (1990)

One10 (1992)

You require QuickTime to listed to samples.

Get a free QuickTime download here

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION • You can sample only 30 seconds (or 15% if that is longer) of a given track. Select from the View tracks list. Each sample will normally start from the beginning but you can drag the slider to any position before pressing play. • PLEASE NOTE: If you are behind a firewall and the sound is prematurely terminated you may need to register Ludwig as a trusted source with your firewall software. •You will need Quicktime to hear sound samples. Get a free Quicktime download here • If you cannot see the "Sample All Tracks" button you need to download Flash from here.

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.