Notes & Reviews:
John Cage (1912-1992) remains one of the most important composers in the landscape of modern music. As the critic Alex Ross wrote, “He may have surpassed Stravinsky as the most widely cited, the most famous and/or notorious, of twentieth-century composers. “ His influence on generations of musicians and artists was and is profound, ranging from Frank Zappa to Tan Dun. Yet many of his works remain little known, and the listener can still be surprised and delighted by new discoveries in his oeuvre. This CD presents compositions spanning over fifty years, from the early “Three Songs” (1933) to the late piano work “ASLSP” (1985), including such rarities as “ear for EAR” (1983) – in the first CD recording of the original version for two single, widely separated voices – and the extensive vocal dialogue “Litany for the Whale” in a landmark performance praised as “especially beautiful and meditative.” The Cage Ensemble Hamburg was founded in 1992 and celebrated Cages 80th birthday with the European Premiere of “Four6” (1992). Since then they have been frequent guests at music festivals in Germany and abroad, including German and European first performances of works by Cage, Tania León and Aaron Jay Kernis. Critics and audiences have greeted their “adventurous and impressive” programs with enthusiasm. Mark Bruce, the founder and artistic director of the ensemble, received special acclaim for his production of John Cages “Song Books” together with Joan La Barbara at the Hamburger Musikfest 2002.