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John Cage

(born Los Angeles, 5 September 1912; died New York, 12 August 1992).

He left Pomona College early to travel in Europe (1930-31), then studied with Cowell in New York (1933-4) and Schoenberg in Los Angeles (1934): his first published compositions, in a rigorous atonal system of his own, date from this period. In 1937 he moved to Seattle to work as a dance accompanist, and there in 1938 he founded a percussion orchestra; his music now concerned with filling units of time with ostinatos (First Construction (in Metal), 1939). He also began to use electronic devices (variable-speed turntables in lmaginary Landscape no.1, 1939) and invented the 'prepared piano', placing diverse objects between the strings of a grand piano in order to create an effective percussion orchestra under the control of two hands. He moved to San Francisco in 1939, to Chicago in 1941 and back to New York in 1942, all the time writing music for dance companies (notably for Merce Cunningham), nearly always for prepared piano or percussion ensemble. There were also major concert works for the new instrument: A Book of Music (1944) and Three Dances (1945) for two prepared pianos, and the Sonatas and Interludes (1948) for one.

During this period Cage became interested in Eastern philosophies, especially in Zen, from which he gained a treasuring of non-intention. Working to remove creative choice from composition, he used coin tosses to determine events (Music of Changes for piano, 1951), wrote for 12 radios (Imaginary Landscape no.4, also 1951) and introduced other indeterminate techniques. His 4'33" (1952) has no sound added to that of the environment in which it is performed; the Concert for Piano and Orchestra (1958) is an encyclopedia of indeterminate notations. Yet other works show his growing interest in the theatre of musical performance (Water Music, 1952, for pianist with a variety of non-standard equipment) and in electronics (Imaginary Landscape no.5 for randomly mixed recordings, 1952; Cartridge Music for small sounds amplified in live performance, 1960), culminating in various large-scale events staged as jamborees of haphazardness (HPSCHD for harpsichords, tapes etc, 1969). The later output is various, including indeterminate works, others fully notated within a very limited range of material, and pieces for natural resources (plants, shells). Cage also appeared widely in Europe and the USA as a lecturer and performer, having an enormous influence on younger musicians and artists; he wrote several books.

Complete list of works

Cage was not too shy to peddle his art. Watch old tv programme.

Year / Artwork Title Importance Medium
1933 Three Songs for Vioce and Piano 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1935 Two Pieces 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Two Pieces Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1938 Metamorphosis 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Metamorphosis Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1938 Five Songs for Vioce and Piano 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1938 Bacchanale 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Bacchanale Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1939 Imaginary Landscape 1 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Imaginary Landscape 1 Comments:
For 2 variable-speed phono turntables, frequency recordings, muted piano and cymbal; To be performed as a recording or broadcast by 4 performers.

Musica Negativa, conductor Rainer Riehn.

1940 Bacchanale 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1942 Forever and Sunsmell 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Ars Ludi - Percussion

1942 The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Prepared Piano

1942 Credo in US 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Credo in US Comments:
This is Cage goes Hollywood. It is a collage with a phonograph record with classical music, in this case Dvorak's New World Symphony, percussion, piano, and an assortment of radio's and doorbells. This goes right back to Parade by Erik Satie.

Musica Negativa, conductor Rainer Riehn.

From the booklet: Conversations with John Cage: If you could for instance make another piece of music with a record, including a record and other sounds of the environment or other musical instruments, that I would find interesting.  And in fact one of my pieces has that, the Credo in US uses Dvorak. I could have used any other phonograph record or series of them, but that record itself now which includes a record, needs, in order to become lively, still more things. But unfortunately most people who collect records and use them, use them in quite another way. They use them as a kind of portable museum or a portable concert-hall. Unquote.

1942 In the Name of the Holocaust 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1942-1943 Four Dances 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano
Ars Ludi - Percussion

1943 Amores 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Amores Comments:
1. Solo for prepared piano
2. Trio -9 tomtoms, pod rattle
3. Trio - 7 woodblocks, not chinese
4. Solo for prepared piano

Reinbert de Leeuw - Piano
Persussionists

1943 She in Asleep 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano
Ars Ludi - Percussion

1943 Tossed as it is Untroubled 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1944 Four Walls 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Tossed as it is Untroubled Comments:
Dance Drama for Piano with Vocal Interlude

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1944 A valentine out of season 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - A valentine out of season Comments:
Reinbert de Leeuw - Piano
1944 Roots of an Unfocus 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Roots of an Unfocus Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1944 Prelude for Meditation 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Prelude for Meditation Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1944 The Perilous Night 4.00 stars  LP
John Cage - The Perilous Night Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1944 The Perilous Night (Six Parts) 4.00 stars CD
Leonard Bernstein - Prelude, Fugue and Riffs Comments:
Tzenka Dianova - Prepared Piano
Ca. 2009? The Perilous Night for unprepaired piano and electronics 4.00 stars CD
Leonard Bernstein - Prelude, Fugue and Riffs Comments:
Dianova plays Cage's 1944 piece for prepared piano, The Perilous Night, straightforwardly, but follows it with First DeConstruction (The Perilous Night) for unpreparing piano and electronics, which she created along with composer Charlotte Rose, to be performed immediately after the original. In it, the sounds made by removing the various items from the strings of the piano, returning it to its normal tuning, are electronically manipulated and played simultaneously with a live performance of the removal.
1945 Daughters of the Lonesome Isle 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Joshua Pierce - Prepared Piano
1946 Two Pieces 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Two Pieces Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1946 Ophelia 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1947 Music for Marcel Duchamp 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:
Reinbert de Leeuw - Piano
1947 Nocturne 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

David Simonacci - Violin
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1947 Music for Marchel Duchamp 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1947 The Seasons 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:
Ballet in One Act for Piano

Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1947 Nocturne for violin and piano 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Nocturne for violin and piano Comments:
Vera Beths - Violin
Reinbert de Leeuw - Piano
1947 The Seasons, Ballet in One Act 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1947 Nocturne for violin and piano 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

David Simonacci - Violin
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1948 In a Landscape 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1948 Suite for Toy Piano 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Suite for Toy Piano Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1948 Suite for Toy Piano 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1948 Sonatas and Interludes 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Sonatas and Interludes Comments:
Sonata i - XVI plus 4 interludes
John Tilbury - Prepared Piano
1948 Dream 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Dream Comments:
Jeanne Kirstein - Piano and Prepared Piano
1950 Six melodies for violin and keyboard 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Six melodies for violin and keyboard Comments:
Vera Beths - Violin
Reinbert de Leeuw - Piano
1950 A Flower 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1950 String Quartet (In four parts) 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - String Quartet (In four parts) Comments:
Parts:
1. Quietly flowing along
2. Slowly rocking
3. Nearly stationary
4. Quadibet

It is a kind of four seasons

LaSalle - Quartet
1950 String Quartet (In four parts) 4.00 stars 2CD
John Cage - String Quartet (In four parts) Comments:
Parts:
1. Quietly flowing along
2. Slowly rocking
3. Nearly stationary
4. Quadibet

It is a kind of four seasons

The Concord String Quartet
1951  Concerto for Prepared Piano & Orchestra (in 3 parts) 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Concerto for Prepared Piano & Orchestra [(n 3 parts) Comments:
John Cage:
"Until that time, my music had been based on the traditional idea that you had to say something. The charts gave me my first indication of the possibility of saying nothing".

The charts were graphical scores which suggested the player and the orchestra to produce sounds in a rhythmical structure(or not). Cage works on the concept that leaving the musical instrument at rest, also produces valuable music. This idea of silence had its pinnacle one year later with 4'.33''.

Yuji Takahashi - Piano
Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra cond. Lukas Foss
1951 Six Melodies 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

David Simonacci - Violin
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1953 Music for Piano #2 4.00 stars CD
Comments:
Margeret leng Tan - Piano, Prepared Piano, Toy Piano
1957-1958 Concert for Piano and Orchestra 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Concert for Piano and Orchestra Comments:
The Concert has no overall score, but all parts are written out in detail. A performance of the Concert may include all of the instruments, but may also be performed as a solo, duet, trio or any other combination of the given instruments, resulting in a change of title (e.g. solo for piano or Concert for piano, voice and 2 violins, in case it is combined with a Solo for Voice.)

Hermann Danuser - Piano
Musica Negativa, conductor Rainer Riehn.

1958 / 1960 Solo for Voice I / Solo for Voice II 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Solo for Voice I / Solo for Voice II Comments:
Simulataneously performed

Bell Imhoff - Voice I
Doris Sandrock - Voice II

1961 Variations II 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:
David Tudor - Piano
1965 Rozart Mix 4.00 stars LP
John Cage - Rozart Mix Comments:
For at least 4 performers with at least 12 taperecorders and at least 88 tape-loops.
Duration undecided. (about 2 hours during first performance)

Musica Negativa, conductor Rainer Riehn.

1969   Atlas Eclipticalis + Wintermusic controlled by Cartridge Music 3.50 stars LP
John Cage - Atlas Eclipticalis + Wintermusic controlled by Cartridge Music Comments:
Part of the  Avant Garde 1969 edition. Cassette with 6 records by Deutsche Grammophon.

Cage has stretched aleatoric to a high level of elasticity. That Atlas Eclipticalis has been based on star-maps does not mean that much. Because it is played simultaneously with Winter Music, which doesn't mean much either, because everything is controlled by Cartridge music, which doesn't have a fixed structure. So let's call it The Anthem of Permissive Society.
Live it is a happening. But on a recording? Even Cage does not think so.

Ensemble Musica Negativa cond. Rainer Riehn + many sound engineers.
1947-1969 Cheap Imitation 4.00 stars CD
John Cage - Atlas Eclipticalis + Wintermusic controlled by Cartridge Music Comments:

Based on Socrate by Erik Satie

John Cage - Piano

1984 Nowth upon Nacht 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

Lorna Windsor - Voice
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1991 Two4 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

David Simonacci - Violin
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

1992 Two6 4.00 stars 3CD
John Cage - Music for Marcel Duchamp Comments:

David Simonacci - Violin
Giancarlo Simonacci - Piano

Documentary Journeys in Sound (2012) 4.00 stars DVD-R
Comments:

Documentary produced by Accentus Music (Germany)

This documentary examines the life and career of American avant-garde composer John Cage, one of the more controversial figures in 20th century music. The filmmakers combine interviews with numerous contemporaries and archival footage of the man in private moments to paint a portrait of the performer.

Writer - Anne-Kathrin Peitz
Directors - Allan Miller, Paul Smaczny

Compilation Cursive II 4.00 stars DVD-R
Comments:

Selection of his works as accompaniment of the ballet

Five 3 (1991)
Sixty-Eight (1992)
Five (1988, 1st Version)
Five 4 (1991)
Ryoanji (1983)
Five, (1988, 2nd Version)
Seventy-Four for Orchestra (1992)

Choreographed by Lin Hwai-min, inspired by the aesthetics of Chinese calligraphy

Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan

Recorded from Mezzo TV