Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

£11 post-free anywhere
Normal service resumed


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas


Recordings of the Month


Beethoven String Quartets

Produzioni Armoniche

Seven Symphonic Poems

Shostakovich VC1 Baiba Skride
Tchaikovsky Symph 5 Nelsons

Vivaldi Violin Concertos



Beethoven Piano Concertos

Stradal Transcriptions

LOSY Note d’oro

Scarlatti Sonatas Vol 2

CD: AmazonUS


John CAGE (1912-1992)
Two3 (1991) [121:00]
Inlets (1977) [7:00]
Two4 (1991) [30:00]
Tamami Tono (shō)
Christina Fong (violins)
Glenn Freeman (conch shells)
rec. 2004, exact date and location not given.
OGREOGRESS 34479370557 [2:38:00]
Experience Classicsonline

The present disc is the tenth in a series from OgreOgress featuring previously unreleased works by well-known composers. This 158-minute 96kHz|24bit DVDAudio contains the world premiere recording of John Cage’s huge Two3 and Cage’s complete scores for shō and/or conch shells. The disc is packaged in a rather flimsy card foldout with one of those rubbery nipples to hold the disc, so portability or even storage without damage has to be a concern. The booklet notes are spread across the inside in a single grand typographical gesture which makes the text very hard to read indeed, especially for old folk like me who ruined their eyes in the age before computers; copying scores by hand.
Two3 has ten sections, none of which are shorter than 10 minutes each, some nearly 15. These are described as duets, but in fact the conch shells, filled with water and moved to produce odd gurgling noises, only appear very briefly towards the end of each movement. The great stretches of time are occupied by a solo shō, an instrument best described as a Japanese mouth organ with bamboo pipes. The sound of this instrument is strangely lonely and remote, and the player’s sparing use of notes and crescendo/decrescendo gives the music an Aeolian feeling – as if the instrument were hung in a tree, and allowed to respond to the wind in its own way. I found the sound rather penetrating – like a high reed harmonium or indeed a conventional western mouth organ, but heard through the irresponsibly loud headphone speakers of someone sitting next to you. It is a sound to which you can become accustomed, but it won’t cure your hangover.
This vast tract of highly abstract music really is the sonic equivalent of a Japanese ‘karesansui’ garden – the kind with the raked gravel and isolated stones. The only way to approach it is with at least a modicum of ‘zen’, since concentrated listening to such a piece for two whole hours can only otherwise result in lockjaw or some other negative physical side effects.
The conch shells in Two3 take on a more prominent role in the relatively embryonic earlier work Inlets. This is a work in which the role of both the composer and the musician is taken over by the random factors involved in allowing water to gurgle through conch shells. In this way, the concept takes on as much importance as the end result, but as always with Cage, the end result almost invariably ends up with some kind of bafflingly compelling element which draws your interest. The bubblings each have their own tone and pitch, and once your ear and mind relinquish all gastric or bath-time associations the piece takes on its own life and strangely fascinating character. The further random cracklings of what sounds like a fire later on in the background gives the association of water a different meaning – a piece of aural theatre which Ivor Cutler would no doubt have appreciated.
Two4 is for shō and violin and works with an interesting, organically overlapping compositional process. The shō part is in three movements lasting 10:00, 12:00 and 8:30 respectively, while the violin has four movements, one for each string, of 10:10, 4:40, 12:40 and 2:20. The music for the shō is reminiscent to that in Two3, but is given an extra dimension with the violin part, which lays down a series of suspended, single notes, out of which the shō’s often dissonant chords grow and fade.
Rob Haskins’ notes, once you’ve adjusted your eyes to reading them, provide some useful insights into this strange sound world. In summing up Cage’s ‘number pieces’, he succinctly places the remote stillness of the music in a nutshell: “There is no contrast, no epiphany, no drama, no point.” This may be true, but the ‘point’ could be part of his further response, which sees the music “gently enveloping me until I see and hear minute details of everyday life with a fresh, uncluttered clarity.” This might or might not have been Cage’s intention with the longest of these pieces, but I can only imagine that he would embrace such an effect as a positive function of the sounds and span of these works. For me, this music is kind of alternative to a work like Erik Satie’s Vexations, where the minimalism is freed of its mesmerising sense of tonal repetition, but the mind achieves a similar state of meditative saturation – if you let it. Through the medium of Audio DVD these pieces at the very least finds the space to exist outside a live performance. Having them in your collection may alter the length and value of your day considerably.
Dominy Clements


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review 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.