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Cage: Sixteen Dances / Gil Rose, Boston Modern Orchestra Project

Notes & Reviews:

BMOP/sound's latest release, John Cage: Sixteen Dances, highlights one of the most influential American composers of the 20th Century. A long-time collaborator with dancer/choreographer Merce Cunningham, John Cage wrote a number of works that reflected their radical ideas regarding the relationship between dance and music. Sixteen Dances is one such work, developed through the use of chance operations, a compositional process involving methods such as coin tossing and the I Ching (Book of Changes).

"This work is from the 1950s and relates to Cage's Sonatas and Interludes in that it concerns the emotions of Indian aesthetics. It's also his last work before he committed himself seriously to the composition of music using chance operations...There has been no recording of this work for some time now (though I gather that a release with Ensemble Modern is still available used), and that alone justifies purchase. But the performance by Boston Modern Orchestra Project is superbly committed and the sound remarkably textured and nuanced. Of all Cage's earlier works, 16 Dances deserves more attention on recording and in performance." - American Record Guide

"Suffice to say, from a strictly musical standpoint, the narrow melodic contours, crisply articulated events, and repeated motifs provide an attractively shifting soundscape that often makes me think of Stravinsky, of all people. Perhaps that's due to Gil Rose's emphasis on abrupt contrasts and brisk momentum; he takes the music at a faster pace than either Paul Zukofsky or Ingo Metzmacher, and makes a good case for retrieving it from the vast and often misunderstood recesses of Cage's catalog." - Art Lange (Fanfare)

"Their deft and refined chamber-like interaction truly speaks via this recording's realistic concert-hall perspective. The interpretation differs from the more shapely impact that Paul Zukofsky's closely miked recording offers, and generally benefits from faster tempi. While Ingo Metzmacher and Ensemble Modern offer the best of both worlds, their RCA traversal remains in catalog limbo. Still, Rose and BMOP serve John Cage's undervalued brilliance as an orchestrator with the utmost care and conviction." - Jed Distler (Gramophone)


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