John Cage: Four3; One5; Two6

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Cage's last series of works was a total of 47 so-called "number pieces" written between 1987 and 1992. They are performed on this CD by Ami Flammer (violin and rainsticks), Martine Joste (piano and rainsticks), Dominique Alchourroun (piano and rainsticks), and Jean Michaut (rainsticks). The title Four3, describes four "interpenetrating" activities (silence, rainsticks, a high note without vibrato, two pianists playing random fragments from Cage's Extended Lullaby) and only incidentally four performers, similar to Robert Ashley's Trios (White on White) for various instruments (1963). This has a subtle and mysterious landscape effect. One5 for Piano Solo is a 21-minute piece, made from 21 isolated sound "tanks" for the left hand and 24 for the right hand which are freely chosen by the performer. The sustaining pedal is used to overlap these sounds. Dynamics are also left to the performer, as is duration to a certain extent. In Two6 for Violin and Piano, each performer has two "data banks" of materials with which to fill the time brackets that total 20 minutes. And silence is always an option. The violinist either plays at the verge of audibility, or plays a florid passage. The pianist may select from an ascending scale of sonorities, and may also play from the Extended Lullaby, the set of (quasi-)random variations that Cage composed on Erik Satie's Vexations. The parts are realized by the performers from these materials, as they are encouraged to maintain a sense of the "intangible" which these performances achieve beautifully.