Roberto Fabbriciani (flutes) & Jonathan Faralli (percussion)
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This fascinating disc includes several first recordings in a broad survey of John Cage’s unpredictable muse, from the simple pleasures of a short score written in the 1950s for a synchronised swimming display, from which the album takes its title, to the more arcane delights of his musical compendium based on star-charts, Atlas Eclipticalis.
Though the music inevitably ranges from the most regular and predetermined score to an aesthetic of chance and serendipity, dependent on the will of the performer, Cage’s voice, whimsical and questioning, is everywhere present, asking what music is and how and why we listen to it. Much is owed in a Cage performance to the musicians, their skill and their sympathy; no different in that general sense from a Schubert performance, perhaps, but an extra degree of imaginative sympathy is required of musicians who must themselves make many important decisions about the very stuff of what they will perform, such as on Two: what instruments to use? Which notes, and how fast?
Roberto Fabbriciani is a seasoned musical collaborator of Cage’s, who worked with him and other outstanding figures of the post-war avant-garde for over three decades, performing, promoting and in many cases helping to refine their music. So he has prepared his own version of music from Atlas Eclipticalis, and he is joined here by a young percussionist who takes on the formidable demands of one of Cage’s most elaborate scores, 27’10.554’’ for percussion and tape.As the disc unfolds at its own unhurried pace we may hear a quietly determined and utterly original composer in works for a quixotic combination of instruments.
It is the latest in what is becoming a notable series of Cage recordings on Brilliant Classics, which is making a serious contribution to the composer’s growing discography, otherwise largely to be found on obscure and premium-priced labels.
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