Album review: Pi-Hsien Chen, John Cage, Domenico Scarlatti: Changes (Hat[now]Art)


John Cage's Music Of Changes, created using the I Ching to determine pitches, durations and development, is one of the more exacting items in the 20th-century piano repertoire.

It can be just as hard to listen to as it is to perform, but here its four parts are interspersed amongst sonatas by Domenico Scarlatti, who, like Cage, was considered a maverick innovator in his day.

Despite the apparent stylistic incongruence resulting from the two-century gap between compositions, the combination seems to work: both composers' works play well in the bright, astringent tone favoured by Pi-Hsien Chen, and the Scarlatti sonatas act like palate-cleansers between courses of a rich feast.

Download: Sonata K226; Music Of Changes I; Sonata K24; Music Of Changes II