Cage specialist Giancarlo Simonacci continues his survey into the works of John Cage with this newly recorded 3-CD set of music for piano solo. In these experimental works Cage offers an enormous freedom to the pianist, not only in the interpretation but also in the course of the work itself, where the pianist decides upon the actual outcome of the composition itself, so that every performance may have a different end result. Simonacci’s earlier issue of the music of Cage (Brilliant Classics 8189, 8850, 9176) have met with great critical acclaim, hailing him as one of the foremost Cage protagonists.
This release is dedicated to two of his most monumental creations, separated by almost 30 years of prolific composition. Written between 1952 and 1956, Music for piano 1–84 is the first to be featured. It’s a case in point as regards Cage’s belief that the interpretation of music is just as important as its composition, and although the score includes many a musical event, all of the detail – dynamics, tempi, character, quality of sound – is left to the pianist.
This concept of handing power to the performer also applies to ASLSP for piano, whose purpose is revealed in its full title As SLow aS Possible; composed in 1985 and later revised for organ (so that its notes could sustain for even longer), the work typically ranges between 20 minutes and several hours in length. Cage wrote these pieces in full knowledge that the choices of each interpreter would produce substantially different artistic outcomes. Featuring a wealth of timbres and including such experimental techniques as striking the inside of the piano’s iron framework, Simonacci’s performance is an authoritative one that seeks to challenge the listener’s perception of what exactly constitutes music.
“Simonacci crafts every sound, and collection of sounds, with great sensitivity and precision...Simonacci is not afraid to give the material the space it needs and he correctly ensures that silence is as important as sound. The recording is superb, offering great clarity.” BBC Music Magazine, November 2012 *****