A label that managed to work wonders with the John Cage library, the CP2 firm here accomplishes the difficult task of getting the Canadian Broadcasting Company to loosen its normally tight grip on live recording productions. While sounding a touch haphazard here and there, a quality that might not be a negative when it comes to Cage, the largish New Music Concerts ensemble of Toronto divided up into small groupings for interpretations of Cage compositions from the early '50s. It sounds like it was a superb concert and it makes for one of the better performances of Cage works from the early days of his compositions for dance and experiments with indeterminacy or "chance" composition. The "Sixteen Dances," as played here, are mostly short pieces of a minute or so, although the final three sections are twice as expansive. The changing sound palette and at times stubbornly motionless nature of the composing itself makes for a great combination, as are the acoustics and the live recording job done by the radio network. There is some fine playing from members of the Nexus Percussion Ensemble as well as instrumentalists such as violinist Otto Armin and trumpeter James Spragg. The proceedings are conducted by Paul Zukofsky, who as a violinist collaborated with Cage on a series of solo violin etudes.
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AllMusic Review by Eugene Chadbourne