A tribute to John Cage: The Keyboards
23 November 2012
A concert dedicated to the various keyboard instruments for which the great innovator composed.
“I have nothing to say and I am saying it” - John Cage
John Cage’s art draws its strength from the paradoxical statement above: On the one hand, the transcending of personal, subjective preferences and choices with a view to setting free the full acoustic spectrum of the world; on the other, the creation of a supremely rich and constantly evolving armoury of composition, writing and performance media to achieve this goal of ‘nothing’—a quest which has left its mark on all art (and not just music) since the mid-20th century.
The prepared piano was one of Cage’s innovations. In 1940, when there simply wasn’t room for a percussion group, he was forced to compose for a piano whose strings vibrated against a variety of objects. In Bacchanale and A Valentine out of Season, insulating rubber, screws, washers, bolts, strips of bamboo, bits of wood and coins were arranged so as to touch the strings. These two works, as well as the Suite for toy piano and his two works for piano, are intimately related to dance, as they were choreographed by his partner, the famous choreographer Merce Cunningham.
The remaining pieces were composed later and have a very different aesthetic. In Water Music, which can be named after the city and date of its performance, the piano is prepared using a radio, whistles, water containers, a deck of cards, a wooden rod and various other objects. HPSCHD (from ‘harpsichord’) is made up of seven solo parts for between one and seven harpsichords and between one and 52 computer-generated tapes. The composer Theodoros Lotis will be overseeing the performance on a computer.
A brief pre-concert presentation of the works by Nikos Laaris will be followed by an open discussion with the public.
(1967-69), for harpsichord and computer
A Valentine out of Season
(1944), for prepared piano
Suite for Toy Piano
(1948), for toy piano
(1948), for piano
(1952), for a pianist
(1983), for organ
(1940), for prepared piano
In a Landscape (1948), for piano
With the kind support
23 - 24 Nov 2012
A tribute to John Cage