JOHN CAGE – Three / Twenty-Eight


OgreOgress keeps perpetrating the miracle of forcing this writer – not a John Cage fanatic by any means – to like gradually increasing portions of this composer’s output. It must be told that the artistic picks of the label when dealing with the American groundbreaker’s opus do well in smoothing the progress of my positive reception: in this instance, three quarters of the audio DVD are occupied by a remarkable version of “Twenty-Eight”, performed by Prague Winds with Christina Fong, Karen Krummel, Michael Crawford and Glenn Freeman. A piece that, in its static if pretty dissonant temperament, recalls eminent “mavericks of stillness”, resulting to the ears as a plausible amalgamation of Niblock, Conrad and the likes, spectacularly commanding attention in this large space through adjacent resonances and upper partial contrasts emblematic of this kind of offering. The impressive feature of this masterpiece lies in the mystery of such a powerful sonic mass deriving by the concurrence of notes whose dynamics range from p to pppp. The orchestral result – which in the conclusive section “Twenty-Eight with Twenty-Nine” is nothing but imposing – may cause varying degrees of headache to the ill-equipped listener and quivering excitement to the nerves of the cognoscenti, fixed tones that seem to float, harsh harmonic conflicts securing a weird sort of realization. On the opposite side, “Three” – scored for a series of variously pitched recorders, superimposed by Susanna Borsch – is more of an experiment than a proper composition, single notes and sparse batches appearing as veritable stabs to silence, not asking for recognition in terms of memory, only existing as almost self-regenerating phenomena. An interesting episode, yet nowhere near the magnitude of the program’s remainder.


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