John Cage Remembered

by Luisa Guembes Buchanan

/
  • Immediate download of 61-track album in your choice of high-quality MP3, FLAC, or just about any other format you could possibly desire.

    The ideas and works of the American composer John Cage (September 5, 1912-August 12, 1992) revolutionized 20th-century music and changed the experience of performing music the world over. The works presented here underscore two aspects of Cage’s aesthetics and approach to music composition. (Includes a beautiful six page booklet featuring artwork by Fernando Guembes Morales as well as a detailed description of the pieces).

     

1.
01:47
2.
01:47
3.
01:47
4.
01:47
5.
01:47
6.
01:47
7.
01:47
8.
01:47
9.
01:47
10.
01:47
11.
01:47
12.
01:47
13.
01:47
14.
01:47
15.
01:47
16.
01:47
17.
01:47
18.
01:47
19.
01:47
20.
01:47
21.
01:47
22.
01:47
23.
01:47
24.
01:47
25.
01:47
26.
01:47
27.
01:47
28.
01:47
29.
01:47
30.
01:47
31.
01:47
32.
01:47
33.
01:47
34.
01:47
35.
01:47
36.
01:47
37.
01:47
38.
01:47
39.
01:42
40.
01:44
41.
01:48
42.
01:47
43.
01:47
44.
01:46
45.
01:47
46.
01:47
47.
01:47
48.
01:47
49.
01:47
50.
01:47
51.
01:47
52.
01:47
53.
01:47
54.
01:47
55.
01:47
56.
01:47
57.
01:47
58.
01:47
59.
01:47
60.
01:48
61.

about

“Vexations” by Erik Satie (tracks 1-60)

Erik Satie (1866-1925) composed “Vexations” in 1893. The work remained in obscurity until 1949, when John Cage discovered it and later (1963) organized its New York premier.

Satie intended this short piece for the piano to be played 840 times. The heading for the piece reads: “Pour se jouer 840 fois de suite ce motif, il sera bon de se préparer au préalable, et dans plus grand silence, par des immobilités sérieuses.” “In order to play this theme 840 times in succession, it is advisable to prepare oneself beforehand and in greater silence through severe immobilities.” (“Severe immobilities” is an expression coined by Satie.)

In his book “Silence,” a collection of his lectures and writings, Cage gives us some insight into his fascination with “Vexations.” “In Zen,” he writes, “they say: If something is boring after two minutes, try it for four. If still boring, then eight. Then sixteen. Then thirty-two. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all.”

When Cage began to use the “Book of Changes” in his compositions, that work provided a basic structure for his employment of the element of chance in his compositions. He defined this method as Chance Operations. Compiled in the 9th century B.C.E., during the ancient Zhou (Ch’ou) dynasty (c. 1122-256 B.C.E.), the “Book of Changes” is considered one of the classics of ancient Chinese philosophy. Later these writings became an influence on Confucian thinking, in keeping with the concept of overall interconnectedness, integrated as well with Buddhism and Daoism.

Sixty tracks of “Vexations” are recorded here (loosely employing the basic hexagram of the I-Chin “Book of Changes”) which, when played 14 times, will yield the required 840 performances. The tracks can also be played at random permitting the listener to create his or her own Chance Operations.

“Chess Pieces” by John Cage (track 61)

In 1944 Cage was invited to participate in an exhibit organized by Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst at the Julian Levy Gallery. All works submitted for the exhibit were to relate to the game of chess.

John Cage contributed a painting entitled “Chess Pieces.” The painting contained a music score which the foremost Cage pianist Margaret Leng later transcribed. She described this work as comprised of 22 systems which are complete musical units of 12 bars each. Ms. Leng subsequently performed the score at the Noguchi Museum in 2005.

“Chess Pieces” are in this performer’s opinion a summation of John Cage’s interests, that is to say, music, visual art and chess.

credits

released 05 September 2012

Produced by Luisa Guembes-Buchanan and John Weston
Recorded by John Weston
Recorded at Futura Productions, Roslindale, MA USA
Mastered by John Weston at Futura Productions
Drawings by Fernando Guembes Morales (1999)
Annotation: Luisa Guembes-Buchanan
Design and Layout: Karen Orsi

tags

license

all rights reserved

feeds

feeds for this album, this artist

contact / help

Contact Luisa Guembes Buchanan

Download help