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Melodies & Harmonies

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Audio CD, July 13, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

"The piece 4'33", written by John Cage, is possibly the most famous and important piece in 20th century avant-garde ... in one short piece, Cage broke from the history of classical composition and proposed that the primary act of musical performance was not making music, but listening." -- PBS American Masters Klaus Lang, trained organist and internationally renowned composer, performs these pieces on a Fender Rhodes for the first time. Annelie Gahl, known as a versatile interpreter of both Old and New Music, plays the violin exactly as requested by Cage, without vibrato and with minimum weight on the bow. The musical material dates back to the 18th century--it is based on chorales, hymns, and congregational songs of the Protestant Church, all of them written by composers born as Americans and indirectly related to European musical traditions. Cage adapted and fragmented these pieces of utility music, positioning them in time as individual, singular objects.
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1
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2:32
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2
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2:29
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3
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1:27
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4
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1:41
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5
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1:55
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6
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0:46
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7
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2:18
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8
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4:05
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9
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13:08
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10
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1:05
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11
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2:33
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12
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0:44
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13
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1:35
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14
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2:19
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15
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1:15
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16
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6:37
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17
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3:39
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18
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4:38
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19
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 13, 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Col Legno
  • ASIN: B003GC57UC
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #104,400 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By Evan Lindorff-Ellery on February 2, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Written January 2011 :

The compositions presented, Six Melodies and Thirteen Harmonies (taken from Apartment House 1776), are some of my favourite Cage pieces, and their respective histories are fascinating. That's another story. I question, however, the choice of the Fender Rhodes as the "keyboard" accompaniment to Annelie Gahl's vibrato-less violin. Klaus Lang's playing is lovingly sparse and well-paced, but it at times displaces and isolates the violin's more homey, traditional sound. There are wonderful moments, however, which somehow work, such as during the nearly epic Harmony 5. I have conflicting feelings in the end. At times I feel that the monochromatic spherical shapes produced by the Rhodes allow the violin to freely wander throughout the remaining spaces, and yet sometimes the Rhodes is so pure and unforgiving that the amorphous resonance of the sounds produced by the violin's wooden chamber have no reasonable place to go. Lastly, I feel the sequencing of the tracks is all wrong. Scattering Six Melodies into disconnected parts makes their small movements seem less like miniature fascinations with melody and more like fragments of something far greater. The disc is lovingly presented, very well recorded by Christoph Amann, and I have the utmost respect for approaching these pieces in this way. However, my issues still hold precedence.
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