This disc proffers more than two hours of “post-Cageian”
music; that is, music composed after the death of John Cage.
Interestingly, much of it seems to have no link to Cage’s
style, but these are all “new music” works by a
wide variety of composers.
As with any such compilation, each listener will find works
they like and others they prefer skipping over. I found a number
to be simply annoying - one for what seemed to be household
appliances in particular - but many are moving and merit repeated
listens. Unfortunately, as I have written in the past, the DVD-A
format makes it harder to listen to selected tracks. It’s
impossible to rip the music to a computer, so you need to either
program the playback on a DVD drive, or manually skip over the
tracks you don’t care for. It’s worth noting that
this disc is also available by download in MP3 format.
So, given the eclectic nature of this disc, I’ve chosen
to discuss a handful of works that I found especially notable.
Maria de Alvear's Fuerzas is an attractive, occasionally
tonal work for solo violin, with a Bartókian sound. Seemingly
amorphous, this long work - more than 17 minutes - merits hearing
more than once. This is certainly one of the best works on the
Dionysis Boukouvalas's Meditation for piano is an odd
work, with much silence - a Cageian idea. Listening to this
work, one is constantly drawn outward to the sounds around the
listener, yet brought back to the music occasionally when notes
are played. This is not just piano played on the keys, but also
a variety of other noises are created with the piano. We also
get some humming, tapping and other sounds, such as speaking
(in Tibetan?). There is more silence than music in these 14
minutes. This is an intriguing piece, but ultimately one that
just fades away after listening; it has little structure.
Walter Horn's Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde
are perhaps the most Cageian works here. The piano parts of
these brief pieces recall Cage's early piano works. The overall
tone is interesting.
David Kotlowy's Under Stars is soft and subtle. It is
laid out for two violins and piano. Harold Budd's atmospheric
works are recalled especially in the sparse piano arpeggios
that ground the violins. The violins sound a bit harsh, perhaps
too present, but the music is very moving.
John Prokop's work for 1 or 7 pianists, in a version for 7 pianists,
is a cryptic piece that sounds like seven pianists each playing
a score from a Morton Feldman work, but all together. It's hard
to distinguish the different pianos, but the way they fit together
is very engaging. Listening to this work several times reveals
an intriguing yet subtle tonal progression.
The final work, David Toub's dharmachakramudra, is an
attractive Feldmanesque piece where the strings seem to breathe,
as the vibraphone punctuates their breaths. In only eight minutes,
and with just vibraphone, viola and cello, this work provides
a complex sound-world.
All in all, fans of new music will find this disc interesting.
As I said, it’s a bit of a grab bag, and many listeners
will prefer other works than I did.
Kirk writes about more than just music on his blog Kirkville.
1. Maria de Alvear: Fuerzas (1994) for violin [17:26]
2. Arved Ashby: For Morton Feldman (1992) for violin, piano
and glockenspiel [5:16]
3. David Beardsley: November Test Pattern, the ecstasy of electric
trees weeping in the twilight including recumbent bright insects
and relevant footnotes (2009) for just intonation sine tones
4. Dionysis Boukouvalas: Meditation (2010) for piano 14:29
5. Marc Chan: I Sail'd Out To Sea (2009) for 3 voices and instruments
6. J.R. Dooley: for violin and piano (2010) [3:45]
7. Jürg Frey: Viola, Klavier (1997) [5:33]
8. Walter Horn: Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde (1972/2010)
for piano, viola and vibraphone: I. [2:00]
9. Walter Horn: Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde (1972/2010)
for piano, viola and vibraphone: II. [0:54]
10. Walter Horn: Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde (1972/2010)
for piano, viola and vibraphone: III. [1:46 ]
11. Walter Horn: Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde (1972/2010)
for piano, viola and vibraphone: IV. [0:45]
12. Walter Horn: Five Decadal Studies for Dick and Clyde (1972/2010)
for piano, viola and vibraphone: V. [2:32]
13. David Kotlowy: Under Stars (2006) for 2 violins and piano
14. Sergio Luque: My Idea of Fun (2010) for clarinet, percussion
and viola [6:44]
15. Robert Moran, Philip Glass: Modern Love Waltz (1977/2010)
version for 8 keyboards minus piano [4:21]
16. John Prokop: for 1 or 7 pianists (1997) for 7 pianists [6:48
17. Sebastián Jatz Rawicz: 4 Recipes from Antimusical
Book of Recipes (2010) IV. Electronic Antimusic [2:29]
18. Sebastián Jatz Rawicz: 4 Recipes from Antimusical
Book of Recipes (2010) XIV. Antimusic of the Spheres [2:29]
19. Sebastián Jatz Rawicz: 4 Recipes from Antimusical
Book of Recipes (2010) XXI. Disco Antimusic [2:29]
20. Sebastián Jatz Rawicz: 4 Recipes from Antimusical
Book of Recipes (2010) XXIX. Merengue Antimusic [2:29]
21. David Toub: dharmachakramudra (2010) for vibraphone, viola
and cello [8:00]