in US was Cage’s first collaboration with
dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham. It was originally a dance drama
satirizing middle-class dysfunction and blind patriotism in the midst of World
War II. The use of random radio and record samples means that no two
performances are exactly the same.
Imaginary Landscape #1 is credited by
many as the first electric/acoustic hybrid piece ever written in America. It is
certainly the first piece written for turntables as instruments, predating
hip-hop by many decades. Our version of Imaginary
Landscape #1 uses updated technology—a quartet becomes a duo, with both
turntables and the suspended cymbal condensed to one player using Ableton Live.
Quartet for Percussion, from She is
Asleep, is one of the quietest works ever
written for percussion. It is orchestrated for 12 tom-toms played with
Inlets (Improvisation II) asks the performers to improvise
using gurgling sounds of water in conch shells. It also utilizes the sounds of
burning pinecones and a lone blown conch shell.
0’ 00” (4’ 32” No. 2) consists of a single instruction:
“In a situation provided with maximum amplification (no feedback), perform a
Duet for Cymbal is not a piece that Cage actually
wrote, but a variation on his piece Cartridge
Music that he suggested in the performance notes of the score. The
performers make parts by layering transparencies with dots and circles over
sheets with irregular shapes.
45’ for a Speaker is a text that appears in Silence, Cage’s seminal collection of
writings and pieces. It is precisely written to be performed in 45 minutes and
essentially constitutes a collage of earlier lectures.
is one of Cage’s most often performed works: a densely constructed,
astonishingly inventive piece of chamber music that calls on the performers to
choose tin cans, pod rattles, cowbells, and a number of other instruments. It
is symmetrically structured in 24 sections of 24 measures each, a solution to
the vexing problem of how to organize music without harmony, as well as the
inspiration behind our own 24 x 24 on
PERCUSSION AND FRIENDS
Needles came out of Sō Percussion’s
collaboration with Matmos. It was not a particularly exotic experiment for
Matmos, who have conjured music from almost every imaginable sound source. The
idea of using amplified cactus comes from Cage’s Child of Tree. As so often happens, improvisation and play yielded
a more structured piece.
Use friction use
gravity use pizzicato use pulse use pattern use tremolo use rolls use sustain
use silence use intuition with caution.
“Bottles” from Ghostbuster Cook: The
Origin of the Riddler is part of Dan Deacon’s piece for Sō
Percussion that was premiered at the first Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin
Concert Hall. Although Dan’s heavy beats and saturating noise don’t bear
aesthetic resemblance to most of Cage’s work, the amplified soda bottles that
lend this piece its name are heavily influenced by his legacy. Dan is also a
huge fan of the Cage-influenced “Fluxus” movement of experimental music and
art, gleefully involving the 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival audience in a
25-minute–long text piece, a variation on which—Take a Deep Breath—is
included in this program.
24 x 24 is an homage to
Cage’s Third Construction, which is
built in 24 sections of 24 measures each. We are inspired by Cage’s idea that a
piece made of time durations allows room for all kinds of noise. In this case, drones
are a central element.