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John CAGE (1912-1992)
Four4 (1991)
Glenn Freeman (percussion)
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Glenn Freeman is an active supporter and promoter of new music and has performed works by Nyman, Minoru Miki, Reich, Glass, Hovhaness and Lou Harrison. He is one of Cage's most loyal champions and with this disc we come to the third in OgreOgress productions' Cage series. OgreOgress Cage discs have emphasised that while all music is made up of sound and the silences in between (or vice versa) the later 'number titled' music brings this resoundingly into focus.

By the side of the Cage Piano Concerto, Four4 is a work of monastic abstinence in a single musical span (a single track as well). A single performer brings this, Cage's final work for percussion, to pristine life. This is its first available recording. The music is not about melody. It is about pattern, texture, rhythm and silence. The sounds shake, jangle, shimmer, ring, whistle (e.g. the sound of a dampened finger circling the rim of a wine glass**) and shudder in metallic and wooden tones. Lines are spare. There are never more than two lines running at any one time; often there is a single self-absorbed meditative mantra. Notes, rhythms and effects are deployed and held and sustained for long intervals. There is no violence but instead, in turn, anxiety and meditation stalk through these pages.

When complete the series will feature all of Cage's numbered pieces for strings and percussion. The two earlier releases have been reviewed here [Cage One6, Cage One10]  [Cage Three2, Twenty-Three, Six, Twenty-Six ].

Cage collectors will find this de rigueur. The curious will warm to it if they hunger for a less epicurean approach to aural art. A forthright recording. Somehow difficult to imagine that this music would have found its way to LP. The utter silence of a CD makes this the perfect carrier.

Rob Barnett


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