This very special CD is more the record of an historical interchange and the transmission of a Zeitgeist than just a concert. This live performance at Mills College on September 16, 1996, is a Memorial Tribute to pianist/composer David Tudor who had recently passed; a celebration of the influence of John Cage's music and thoughts on the composer/performers; and a marking of several generations of people who had been associated with the Tape Music Center and the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College. The CD opens with Cage's famous "silent piece," 4:33, in which we hear the ambient surroundings of the concert hall which can be opened onto an ampitheater in the back, and onto gardens on the sides. Julie Steinberg is seated silently at the piano performing some unseen (to the CD listener) action that delineates the three movements of the silence I. tacet, II. tacet, III. tacet. During a performance of Cage's Variations II, by the live computer-music band The Hub and David Gamper's EIS (The Expanded Instrument System environment), legendary composer Ramon Sender Barayon appears as Zero the Clown playing Mairzy Doats on an accordion which is processed electronically. This segues seamlessly into Traffic Prayers and Amnesi by Wendy Jeanne Burch, accompanied by Joe Catalano on the electric rebab with ensemble. A reception in the entrance hall appears as an interlude, with sounds reflected and echoed from side hallways. The instruments begin again with David Gamper's Deep Hockets, a lovely Terry Riley-like phase piece which segues into a fabulous forty-five-minute improvisation with everyone, called The Last Chances. This CD delivers the meditative spirit inherent in American new music, the richness that comes from trusting fellow musicians to spontaneously create from the deepness of their understanding.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by "Blue" Gene Tyranny