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Sonatas & Interludes


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Audio CD, August 18, 1998
$16.50
$16.42 $10.02

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 18, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Bridge
  • ASIN: B000009QBY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #666,879 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Son No. 1
2. Son No. 2
3. Son No. 3
4. Son No. 4
5. Interlude No. 1
6. Son No. 5
7. Son No. 6
8. Son No. 7
9. Son No. 8
10. Interlude No. 2
11. Interlude No. 3
12. Son No. 9
13. Son No. 10
14. Son No. 11
15. Son No. 12
16. Interlude No. 4
17. Son No. 13
18. Son No. 14
19. Son No. 15
20. Son No. 16
See all 21 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

While John Cage never wrote anything you'd call Classical Top 40, his music up to 1950 is far more accessible than the random and chance-influenced pieces he created later on. These mysterious, wispy pieces sound as though they were written for a small ensemble of ghostly percussion instruments, although they are played by a single performer playing a piano with various gadgets attached to the strings. You need the clear sound of this recent digital recording to appreciate the music, and Karis keeps everything moving without overstressing the rhythms. --Leslie Gerber

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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See all 6 customer reviews
John Cage was a student of Arnold Schoenberg, & Schoenberg called Cage "an inventor...of genius."
"hirofantv"
To be fair, it may also have something to do with my dislike of the jangling sound of a gamelon in great doses or, in this case,of a piano prepared to sound like one.
David Small
The music is so simple yet so unique and interesting - like music/sound you always wanted to hear from some deep level within you.
groover

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Frank Rebro on February 1, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Some pieces of music seem to have found their definitive recordings. For example, I can't really conceive of a new recording of Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians" that could teach me anything about that masterpiece that I haven't already learned from the Nonesuch recording (though I'd love to be proved wrong). With John Cage the situation is very different. As chance is an intrinsic element of the majority of his music, each recording enriches your understanding of a given piece's abstract inner potential.

The "Sonatas and Interludes" are fully notated, down to how to prepare the piano. But that doesn't mean a definitive performance of these pieces exists. No two preparations of the piano will result in the same palette of timbres (not to mention the vast differences in sound between unprepared pianos in the first place). Therefore the emotional content of these pieces is not well-defined - whatever emotions you derive from a certain recording are a mix of John Cage's personal vision, the performer's feelings, and chaotic randomness. On this recording by Julie Steinberg, everything comes together beautifully.

I first heard these works as played by Herbert Henck on his recording for ECM Records. Previously I was a John Cage skeptic, but I hadn't heard much beyond 4'33" and some of his far-out vocal works. Well, Henck's recording immediately sold me that Cage knew all about writing real music. These pieces are little gems of incredibly individual and delicate emotions. There's a video interview of John Cage claiming that he's not interested in writing music that is trying to speak to the listener, tell a story, pretend to be in love, etc. That may be true of his late-career works, but I simply don't believe it when I hear the "Sonatas and Interludes".
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By I X Key on March 20, 2003
Format: Audio CD
John Cage's score for this is fantastic -- including rhythmically exciting music & very sparing, ethereal music; & even specific instructions on how to prepare the piano: where on which strings to put the bolts & things (but every time you prepare the piano you have to do it slightly differently). I like Aleck Karis's performance of the piece, but I've heard better performances, & unless you have other recordings & just want this one too, I'd expect that you could find other recordings of this piece that you'd prefer.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "hirofantv" on March 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
John Cage was a student of Arnold Schoenberg, & Schoenberg called Cage "an inventor...of genius." With the music of this cd, Cage could do any caliber of music he wanted & chose to focus it into whatever he wanted. That does take genius, & also great courage, to be so avant-garde. Also magnanimity. The music here, on a prepared piano -- various sizes & girths of rubber & screws, some with bolts, fixed in between the strings -- ranges from the intense, wildly rhythmic to the almost tearfully melodic, all in a way no mind but John Cage's, in all of human history, had braved until then, or even now. Prepare yourself; for this artistic & unique product of his fascination with the aesthetics of eastern religions while exploring the sonic possibilities of prepared piano, what you will need is concentration.... Through careful listening, the visceral flow of this music might convey the aescetic spirituality of John Cage's life when he composed Sonatas & Interludes.
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