Album review: John Cage, The Works for Piano 9: First Recordings (Mode)


This programme of Cage piano pieces brings together two works from the very early 1950s. "Haiku" comprises seven pieces, none longer than a minute, of appropriately enigmatic character, ranging across the entire spectrum from relative tonality to a complete atonality anticipating his "Music of Changes". The recently discovered solo piano version of the massive percussion sequence "Sixteen Dances" effectively combines its constituent parts in a manner comparable to Debussy's Preludes. It's intelligently performed by Jovita Zähl, who negotiates shifts such as that between the quixotic darting of "The Mad Dog" and the languid reflection of "Delicate Leaves", and applies the brief flourishes of "Fleeting Images" in a manner that allows the phrases to almost evaporate into thin air.

Download: Haiku; Fleeting Images; Jig for John; Medicine Man