David Tudor, John Cage, Yuji Takahashi, Kenji Kobayashi [ John Cage Shock Vol. 1 ] CD [EM1104CD]

David Tudor, John Cage, Yuji Takahashi, Kenji Kobayashi [ John Cage Shock Vol. 1 ] CD [EM1104CD]

Selling Price: US$18.00

Weight: 70g

Quantity:
+ All tracks are previously unissued
+ Joint production of Omega Point + EM Records
+ Tribute to the John Cage centenary and the 50th anniversary for his first Japan tour
+ Many scarce photos
+ Japanese - English liner notes including a commentary by Toshi Ichiyanagi
+ Cardboard/gatefold paper sleeve + obi + liner

In October 1962 John Cage and his great interpreter/co-visionary David Tudor visited Japan, performing seven concerts and exposing listeners to new musical worlds. This legendary "John Cage Shock", as it was dubbed by the critic Hidekazu Yoshida, is the source of this series of releases, three CDs and a "best hits" double LP compilation. Recorded primarily at the Sogetsu Art Center in Tokyo on October 24, 1962 (with two performances from October 17 at Mido-Kaikan in Osaka), all recordings in this series are previously unreleased. A major historical trove, unearthed.

The performances on this tour featured Cage and Tudor with some noteworthy Japanese musicians playing pieces by Cage and a number of other composers. Volume 1 begins with Toru Takemitsu's "Corona for Pianists" (1962), played by Tudor and Yuji Takahashi, an indeterminate piece scored using transparencies, a sign of Cage's influence on younger Japanese composers of the era. Following this is "Duo for Violinist and Pianist" (1961) by Christian Wolff, written specifically for David Tudor and violinist Kenji Kobayashi. The final piece, a near-twenty-minute realization of "Variations II" (1961), is a rare example of the rougher side of Cage, work that presaged much of the live electronic music and noise of the following decades, an aspect of his oeuvre which is woefully under-represented on CD. Cage and Tudor, using well-amplified contact microphones on a piano, deliver an electrifying performance, alternating distorted stretches of harsh 60s reality with bountiful silences.

Volume 2 lifts off with a fiery example of Tudor's piano virtuosity, his mastery of dynamics well evident in a performance of "Klavierstück X" (1961) by Karlheinz Stockhausen. The titular shock of this series is delivered even more forcefully with the next piece, Cage's "Aria and Solo for Piano with Fontana Mix" (1957-58/62), which was first performed the year before in Darmstadt by Tudor and Kobayashi, a combination of two of Cage's solo pieces. The performance here, from Osaka, has a slightly altered title and the composition becomes a seismic quartet with the addition of Toshi Ichiyanagi and Yoko Ono, with the four performers providing acutely-angled blasts of sound.

The final CD of the series features Cage's "0'00"" (1962), also referred to as "4'33" No.2", performed by the composer, with daily activities such as writing and drinking coffee amplified by contact microphones into sonic abstraction, following the score's directions: "with maximum amplification (no feedback), perform a disciplined action". Next is "Composition II for 2 Pianos" (1960/61) by Michael von Biel, lovely and sparse, performed by Tudor and Ichiyanagi. The disc closes with Ichiyanagi's "Piano Music #7" (1961), performed also by Tudor and Ichiyanagi, beds of silence disrupted by pianistic stabs, music box madness, traffic recordings, percussive thumps, tape manipulations and more.

The "John Cage Shock" series features truly historical recordings, all previously unreleased, of compositions by an amazing roster of international composers. The intensity of these performances by Cage, Tudor, Ichiyanagi, Kobayashi, Ono and Takahashi has remained hidden and unheard for half a century, but remains undiminished. These three CDs, as well as the special double LP (including a vinyl only bonus track), feature rare photos plus Japanese and English liner notes.

TRACKS:
1. Toru Takemitsu - Corona for Pianists コロナ (9:34)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + Yuji Takahashi (pf)

2. Christian Wolff - Duo For Pianist & Violinist (12:09)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + Kenji Kobayashi (vn)

3. John Cage - Variations II (19:16)
Performer: David Tudor (pf) + John Cage (pf)
David Tudor, John Cage, Yuji Takahashi, Kenji Kobayashi [ John Cage Shock Vol. 1 ] CD [EM1104CD]

Selling Price: US$18.00

Weight: 70g

Quantity: