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Understanding Indeterminate Music through Performance: Cage's Solo for Piano

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 March 2013

Abstract

This article demonstrates how performance may further understanding of – and offer new perspectives on – indeterminate music, and in particular the ways in which performers realize the indeterminate aspects of the scores. Cage's Solo for Piano (1957–8), one of the most celebrated indeterminate scores, is used as the model for such an approach. The close involvement that performers have with the score and the music over what is often a prolonged period of time leads to a particular kind of understanding, different from that of non-performers, which, when articulated, can offer valuable insights. After a brief outline of the score, the article begins by discussing the performances of other pianists, notably David Tudor. It then examines in detail the author's own approach to making a realization, discussing the implications of such an approach from both practical and aesthetic perspectives.

Type
Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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References

Discography (in order of date of recording)

Tudor, 1958. Concert for Piano and Orchestra. David Tudor (piano). The 25-Year Retrospective Concert of the Music of John Cage. 3CD, Wergo WER6247-2, 1995.Google Scholar
Tudor, 1959. Solo for Piano. David Tudor (piano). Indeterminacy: New Aspect of Form in Instrumental and Electronic Music. 2 LP set, Folkways Records FT-3704, 1959; 2 CD set, Smithsonian Folkways SFW40804/5, 1992.Google Scholar
Danuser, 1971. Concert for Piano and Orchestra with Solo for Voice 1 and Solo for Voice 2. Hermann Danuser (piano), Bell Imhoff, Doris Sandrock (voices), Ensemble Musica Negativa, cond. Rainer Riehn. CD, EMI 2 344542 0, 2008.Google Scholar
Kubera, 1992. Concert for Piano and Orchestra. Joseph Kubera (piano), Orchestra of the SEM Ensemble, cond. Petr Kotík. CD, Wergo WER6216-2, 1992.Google Scholar
Schroeder, 1992. Concert for Piano and Orchestra. Marianne Schroeder (piano). The Barton Workshop Plays John Cage. CD, Etcetera KTC 3002, 1992.Google Scholar
Tudor, 1992. Concert for Piano and Orchestra. David Tudor (piano), Ensemble Modern, cond. Ingo Metzmacher. CD, Mode Records MODE57, 1997.Google Scholar
Schleiermacher, 2000. Solo for Piano. Steffen Schleiermacher (piano). John Cage: Complete Piano Music, vol. 4: Pieces 1950–1960. CD, Dabringhaus & Grimm MDG613 0787-2, 2000.Google Scholar
Ottaviucci, 2005. Concert for Piano and Orchestra. Fabrizio Ottaviucci (piano), Mike Svoboda (trombone), Manuel Zurria (flute), Aldo Campagnari (violin), Giorgio Casati (cello), Dario Calderone (double bass), Nextime Ensemble (percussion), cond. Stefano Scodanibbio. CD, Wergo WER6713-2, 2009.Google Scholar

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