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Cage: Litany For The Whale
Cage: Song Books - Solo For Voice 52, "Aria #2"
Cage: The Wonderful Widow Of 18 Springs
Cage: Song Books - Solo For Voice 22
Cage: Experiences #2
Cage: Mesostics Re & Not Re Marcel Duchamp
Cage: Song Books - Solo For Voice 49
“A landmark for Cage”
“This is a landmark for Cage, Paul Hillier's group and everyone else. Hillier says he's been interested in Cage for years and here his own considerable advocacy has turned Cage into a troubadour of our global village. The Theatre of Voices' collection jumps right in at the deep end with Litany for theWhale (1980), a 25-minute monody with two uncannily similar voices (Alan Bennett and Paul Elliott) using only five notes in antiphonal phrases. Shut your eyes and this ritual could almost be Gregorian chant. The scope narrows to three notes in The WonderfulWidow, where the closed piano part is slightly subdued, and the same three recur in Thirty-six Mesostics, spoken by American minimalist Terry Riley and sung by Hillier. Cage's Aria (1958), for Cathy Berberian, has been associated with one voice but this realisation for seven voices and electronic sounds is thoroughly idiomatic. Experiences No 2, another monody to a poem by E E Cummings is beautifully sung, but the precisely notated pauses aren't always accurate. Aria No 2 is a fastidious mix of extended vocal techniques by Alan Bennett with weather sounds. Cage convinces us of the musical beauty of rainfall, water and thunder. Five is a vocal version of one of Cage's late number pieces. This type of sustained writing is ideal for voices and there are meditative qualities in all these performances. The closemicrophone breathing in Solo No 22 is, like everything else here, artistic and well engineered.”
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