Academic journal article Notes

John Cage

Academic journal article Notes

John Cage

Article excerpt

John Cage. Melodies & Harmonies. Annelie Gahl; Klaus Lang. Col Legno WWE 1CD 20292, 2010.

John Cage's Six Melodies, written for violin and unspecified keyboard instrument, date From 1950. The Thirteen Harmonies came about in 1985 when violinist Roger Zahab requested permission to arrange thirteen of the 44 "harmonies" originally written for Apartment House 1776 for violin and piano; Cage gave his permission and formally approved the arrangements. For this recording, violinist Annelie Gahl and pianist Klaus Lang chose to interweave the two sets of pieces, alternating Melodies with Harmonies. To make things even more unusual, Lang plays an electric Fender Rhodes piano rather than an acoustic one, and decided to impose pauses of irregular length between the sections; the length of each pause is proportionate to the durations of the track on either side of it. The musical material for the Harmonies comes from eighteenth- and nineteenth-century hymbooks: chorales by William Billings, Supply Belcher, James Lyon, and other composers of the period are fragmented and put back together in a meterless form, always consonant and sometimes even melodically recognizable, but floating in time rather than moving forward purposefully. …

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