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John Cage: Music for Piano and Percussion / Ars Ludi, Simonacci

Album Summary

>Cage, John : Sixteen Dances, for flute, trumpet, 4 percussionists, violin, cello & piano
>Cage, John : Credo in US, for 4 percussionists
>Cage, John : First Construction (In Metal), for 6 percussionists
>Cage, John : Trio, for 3 percussionists
>Cage, John : Double Music, for 4 percussionists (collaboration with Lou Harrison)
>Cage, John : Third Construction, for 4 percussionists
>Cage, John : Fads and Fancies In the Academy, for piano & 4 percussionists
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Although John Cage was trained in the European tradition, he was quick to forge his own unique style, rejecting the Western concept of music as a dramatic development from A to B and instead viewing it as a state of mind, changing but not heading towards a goal. The development of this approach is particularly apparent in his works for percussion - the focus of this CD - where the instrumental family's hitherto traditional role of simply supporting the phrasing and architecture is rejected, its primal energy instead harnessed and showcased as a source for new sounds. 'I do not deal in purposes; I deal in sounds,' wrote Cage of Sixteen Dances, the first piece on the album. It's an apt description for pretty much his entire musical oeuvre. Sixteen Dances in fact form a pretty clear example of Cage's approach, whereby systematic sections of music underpin the work but are not necessarily played in the order given in the score. The execution of the performance is very much left to chance, therefore, although the work's clear structure, coupled with motivic variation and development throughout, ensure that there remains a dimension of deliberate intention - even if the music often sounds playful and without direction! Credo in Us is remarkable for the intrusion in 'artistic sound' of sounds from daily life - note the use of the radio and phonograph in order to cite works by Beethoven, Tchaikovsky or Shostakovich. Also featured is Third Construction, which also makes use of percussion instruments without pitch, thus stimulating the listener to focus on the sound, the rhythm in the sound and the new approach to form. Performing these engaging, fascinating pieces are Ars Ludi, a variable percussion ensemble that uses its international concert activity to raise awareness of the need for more contemporary percussion repertoire. All of the works make use of the piano, and the group is joined by fellow Italian Giancarlo Simonacci for the recording. Other information: Detailed notes on the music as well as artist/ensemble biographies. Recorded 30 April - 3 May 2013, Controfase Studios, Rome.

Sunday Times, 24th August 2014
Massively recorded, Cage's works present modernism as a kind of amusing fetish, not exactly music, but something falling into that category by default. His dramatisation of silence brought celebrity, and his typical medium is that which leads from noise into music (or back again): percussion.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013).



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Works Details

>Cage, John : Sixteen Dances, for flute, trumpet, 4 percussionists, violin, cello & piano
  • Performers: Irene Angelino (Flute); Marzio Audino (Percussion); Cecilia Martellucci (Percussion); Andrea Montori (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); David Simonacci (Violin); Giancarlo Simonacci (Piano); Marco Simonacci (Cello); Marco Toro (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: Gianluca Ruggeri
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 48 min. 7 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1951

>Cage, John : Credo in US, for 4 percussionists
  • Performers: Antonio Caggiano (Percussion); Gianluca Ruggeri (Percussion); Giancarlo Simonacci (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1942

>Cage, John : First Construction (In Metal), for 6 percussionists
  • Performers: Antonio Caggiano (Percussion); Andrea Di Giulio (Percussion); Fabiana Giangregorio (Percussion); Cecilia Martellucci (Percussion); Pietro Pompei (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); Aurelio Scudetti (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1939

>Cage, John : Trio, for 3 percussionists
  • Performers: Antonio Caggiano (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); Gianluca Ruggeri (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 51 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1936

>Cage, John : Double Music, for 4 percussionists (collaboration with Lou Harrison)
  • Performers: Antonio Caggiano (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); Gianluca Ruggeri (Percussion); Flavio Tanzi (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 7 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1941

>Cage, John : Third Construction, for 4 percussionists
  • Performers: Antonio Caggiano (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); Gianluca Ruggeri (Percussion); Flavio Tanzi (Percussion)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1941

>Cage, John : Fads and Fancies In the Academy, for piano & 4 percussionists
  • Performers: Alessandro Di Giulio (Percussion); Francesco Leone (Percussion); Rodolfo Rossi (Percussion); Gianluca Ruggeri (Percussion); Giancarlo Simonacci (Piano)
  • Ensemble: Ars Ludi
  • Notes: ControFase studios in Rome (04/30/2013-05/03/2013)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940