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Program Information
All Things Cage
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
Weekly Program
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
 Wave Farm/WGXC 90.7-FM  Contact Contributor
Dec. 1, 2023, midnight
"All Things Cage" is a weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world. If youd like to propose a guest or a topic for a future program, write directly to Laura at lkuhn@johncage.org.Laura Kuhn presents the first recording of John Cages Europera 5, preceded by her reading Recollections of the Premiere Performance by Yvar Mikhashoff. This recording of Europera 5 was produced by Brian Brandt and released on the Mode Records label as Mode 36 in 1995, with performers Yvar Mikhashoff, Martha Herr, Gary Burgess, Jan Williams, and Don Metz. Europera 5 is the last and most diminutive of Cages operas " preceded by Europeras 1 & 2 (1984-1987) and Europeras 3 & 4 (1991) " and was instigated by pianist Yvar Mikashoffs desire for a small, more practical and portable, and more easily performed work in the series, which had its premiere in Buffalo at the North American New Musical Festival on April 12, 1991.
"This week well listen to an excerpt from a gorgeous new CD from the Latvian Radio Choir, John Cage Choral Works, conducted by Sigvards Klava, released on the Ondine label, ODE 1402- 2. Im partial to Cages vocal works and this recording makes a splendid addition to the ever-growing catalog of Cages recorded works. As James Pritchett recounts in his liner notes, Cage was 67 years old before he tackled his first work for choral forces, and then composed only two " the first in 1979, Hymns and Variations, and the second and last in 1990, Four2 , both included in the CD presented here tonight.

Hymns and Variations is for 12 voices, a resetting of two four-part pieces by the early American composer William Billings, from his collection The New-England Psalm-Singer, composed in 1770. Cage took these two pieces, Old North and Heath, and applied a method of subtraction and extension to create his own Hymns and Variations, five variations for each hymn. Its surely recognizable as 18 th-century music, but as Cage put it, its suddenly brilliant in a new way, because each sound vibrates from itself, not from a theory.

It would be more than a decade before Cage would begin composing his number pieces, with titles simply denoting the number of performers involved; these works, which number over some 43, range from solos to pieces for orchestra. One example is the other work well hear this evening, Four6 from 1992, the superscript 6 denoting that this was his sixth number piece composed for four performers. Four6 is somewhat unusual in the series in that the choice of the specific sounds we hear in each of the individual parts is left to the four performers, all arranged in the flexible (time-bracket) architecture of time composed by Cage. With his number pieces, Cage extended Western notation in such a way that results in works that while fully notated works can never be performed exactly the same way twice. This is revolutionary stuff.

Tonights broadcast is heard with the gracious permission of Ondine. Enjoy!" - Laura Kuhn
The late Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman once described his "Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage" (Knopf, 2012) as the hardest book hed ever written. This was because, as he put it, pick up any rock and theres John Cage! Indeed, Cage was not only a world-renowned composer, numbering among his compositions the still notoriously tacet 433, but a ground-breaking poet, a philosopher, a chess master who studied with Marcel Duchamp, a macrobiotic chef, a devotee of Zen Buddhism, a prolific visual artist, and an avid and pioneering mycologist. He was also life partner to the celebrated American choreographer, Merce Cunningham, for nearly half a century, and thus well known in the world of modern dance. Episode 146. EVERGREEN

John Cage Choral Works (Ondine, 2022) Download Program Podcast
Weekly program featuring conversations between Laura Kuhn, Director of the John Cage Trust, and Cage experts and enthusiasts from around the world.
00:58:33 1 Dec. 1, 2023
Produced for Wave Farm in the Hudson Valley in New York.
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