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John Cage - 44 Harmonies From Apartment House 1776 / Cheap Imitation  

2016-05-19 00:22:20|  分类: POP/Classical |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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2016年05月19日 - neurosis01 - Puzzle
Artist:    John Cage
Album:  44 Harmonies From Apartment House 1776 / Cheap Imitation
Genre:   Avant-garde, Contemporary
Format: CD
Label: Mode 2005
Quality:  FLAC
Recording Date: 1977

Irvine Arditti completes his complete traversal of Cage's works for solo violin with Cheap Imitation in this set.
In 1969, John Cage transcribed a two piano version of Erik Satie's 1918 music drama Socrate to accompany Merce Cunningham's choreography Second Hand. At the last minute, the French firm that held the copyright to Satie's score refused to allow the performance. With an ingenious rewriting, Cage retained the rhythmical architecture of the musical lines, but replaced each note with a new tonal value, creating a melodically original work with an identical rhythmic structure.
The 44 Harmonies are based on early American music, are, to quote Cage: "for the most part both quartets and solos, subtractions of different sorts from anthems and congregational music written by composers who were at least twenty years old at the time of the American Revolution" (specifically: Supply Belcher, William Billings, Jacob French, Andrew Law, and James Lyon). These Harmonies are derived from Cage's Apartment House 1776.
In 1998, Irvine Arditti, along with pianist Stephen Drury, were in the studio to continue recording Cage's complete works for violin and piano. On the schedule was Roger Zahab's realization of 13 of the Harmonies from Apartment House 1776. For various reasons, that recording was not made. However, Arditti became inspired.
Arditti wrote: "When I looked at the original score of Harmonies, I saw that the open harmonies of this almost medieval looking score lent itself perfectly to the homogenous sound of a string quartet." Arditti continued to arrange all 44 Harmonies for string quartet with the approval of Cage's publisher, C.F. Peters. The complete set receive their first recording here. CD INFO

For most of his career, American composer John Cage did not much care for the thirds and sixths that form the building blocks of the majority of Western music. Yet Cage stood for the very idea that all sounds were acceptable in music -- what did he have against good, old-fashioned traditional harmony? Arnold Schoenberg once warned Cage that if he didn't get a grip on harmony, he would always be "butting his head against the wall," a condition that, in 1934, Cage was happy to accept. However, by 1969 either the wall, or his head, was getting too a bit hard, as Cage realized he was going to a lot of trouble creating works that were enormously complex, impractical and had little lasting value. With Cheap Imitation (1969) for solo violin, Cage made a breakthrough, merely through "decomposing" parts of a work he'd long loved -- Erik Satie's cantata Socrate.

Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet's two-disc set Cage: 44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776; Cheap Imitation on Mode Records is an expertly played examination of this significant transitional period in Cage's development. Apartment House 1776 was a large "circus" created for the American Bicentennial, being Cage's vision of a 1776 apartment house with different rooms representing the various residents inside. The "44 Harmonies" occupied just one of these rooms, but as with the parts in Cage's Concert for piano and orchestra (1958), any single element in Apartment House 1776 can be singled out independently. Irvine Arditti has arranged the 44 Harmonies for string quartet, and in this medium it works extremely well. In music consisting of partly "decomposed" eighteenth century American hymn tunes, the quartet sounds like one large violin that is missing a string or two. The harmonies are pleasant, naked, and devoid of a conventional context; silences are frequent. This music is more potholes than road, and its lack of forward progression will prove maddening to some. Nevertheless, others will appreciate the work's ethereal emptiness, and it makes for a lovely background element to studying or reading.

Lasting a whopping 103:26, 44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776 takes up the whole first disc and most of the second, but the second disc is filled out with a fine solo performance of Cheap Imitation by Irvine Arditti in all its haunting, ghostly whiteness.AMG

Irvine Arditti, violin
Graeme Jennings, violin
Dov Scheindlin, viola
Rohan de Saram, cello

CD 1
1-25 - 44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776 (1976)
Arranged for String Quartet by Irvine Arditti (1999-2000)
Harmonies 1-XXV (70:28)

CD 2
1-19 - 44 Harmonies from Apartment House 1776 (1976)
continued
Harmonies XXVI-IXX (32:58)
20-22 - Cheap Imitation (1977) (31:52)
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