Various Artists

John Cage #4

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This document of a live concert on November 10, 2000, in Hiroshima, Japan, features pianist Kumi Wakao and French double bass virtuoso Joëlle Léandre in a program beginning with the "Concert for Piano and Orchestra" (without the orchestra!) performed simultaneously with the "Solo for Piano" and the "Solo for Bass" (itself adapted from the orchestral parts of the "Concert," so perhaps you could say the orchestra's there after all). It's a spare, at times frosty experience, and one of the oddest realizations of the piece available on disc, with occasional splatters of inside piano, chirping, clanging toys, and Léandre's rumbling bass interspersed with shuffles and coughs from the auditorium. The multidirectional, multilingual benign anarchy continues on the second track, on which Léandre performs "Aria" (originally written for Cathy Berberian) simultaneously with the tape work "Fontana Mix," dating from the same year (1958). It's the perfect vehicle for Léandre's mildly hysterical vocal talents. A certain austerity is regained with the 1987 piano solo "One," but a discreet sense of humor is still evident in the closing "Five," a kind of country cousin to John White's "Drinking and Hooting Machine" on which the performers blow gently across the necks of glass bottles. An enigmatic and varied menu well worth seeking out for John Cage enthusiasts.

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