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Postcage
Detailed track-list at end of review
Performers: Christina Fong, Paul Hersey, Glenn Freeman, Chance Operations Collective of Kalamazoo, Michael Kornacki, Karen Krummel, Gwendolyn Faasen, Keith Fredlund, Barbara McCargar
rec. no information provided.
OGREOGRESS 885767203839 [124:00]

Experience Classicsonline


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 disc.
 
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 McElhearn
Kirk writes about more than just music on his blog Kirkville.

Track-List
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 [10:00]
4. Dionysis Boukouvalas: Meditation (2010) for piano 14:29
5. Marc Chan: I Sail'd Out To Sea (2009) for 3 voices and instruments [11:00]
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 [12:05]
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] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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