Saturday, April 20, 2013

John Cage - In A Landscape

Performed by Stephen Drury and available on mp3 and compact disc.
I am at peace with the fact that the part at 4:41 reminds me of Seal - "Kiss From a Rose."


plague said...

Dude, that's friggin' gorgeous! (And no Seal memories triggered for me.) Thanks. (Memo to self: must listen to more Cage. I confess I've tended to dismiss him a little both for 4'33", and because he's overshadowed for me by his life-partner, Merce Cunningham who's definitely one of the top 2 or 3 choreographers of the 20th Cent.)

emmett said...

Thanks, Plague! Yeah, I know nothing about Cage, thought all his work was conceptual, no idea he did anything like this. Transcendent whole-tone Windham Hill moves from 1948, me likey.

So you're into choreography, eh? Interesting to think about "greatest choreographers of the century"... do people actually know what (say) Balanchine's work looked like?

P.S. Thx again for the '93 recommendations. Not forgotten, I will return to that project soon!

plague said...

The simple answer to your question is 'Yes': certainly at the level of a Balanchine, dances have been incredibly well-recorded and a lot of thought has been put into how to keep a company's repertory in circulation after the master dies. So, e.g., Blanchine's first ballet in the US was Seranade (a small masterwork). It's expensive to get the rights to perform it, but every small ballet group in the world probably attacks it at some point and they know exactly what they're shooting for. I've probably seen 5 or 6 versions of Serenade. The experience is always *pretty* good because the underlying choreography is so great. Of course the very best companies will do a better job with it, esp. the NYCB whose piece it is primarily and where there are students of Balanchine continuing traditions of training people up, etc., e.g.,

Anyhow, I was lucky enough to meet Merce C. once - truly a great man. In his late '80s he was still producing new dance works that were world-beating. Amazing. He died in 2009, the same year Pina Bausch died, and in my view modern dance hasn't quite recovered from their loss (I'd say Bausch was the #2 modern choreographer at the time after Cunningham). It feels like a much smaller medium than it was when there were these giants around still shooting off sparks. I don't think you could get agreement from now about who's the top person right now or even about who are the top 3 - rather there are about ten more-human-sized talents around who I think people would agree are current faves.

emmett said...

Wow, thanks Plague. I have zero connection to the world of dance; it's very interesting to hear from someone who does.

But I do love the Stravinsky ballets (the music).

This cage piece could almost be choreographed, n'est-ce pas?

plague said...
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plague said...

You're welcome Emmett. And, yeah, apparently In A Landscape was written for a dancer/choreograher, Louise Lippold, who taught with Cage at Black Mountain College in NC (which still has a v. strong arts and dance program), and I see, e.g., here it's recently been presented with some improv'd dance. (Well below the level of Balanchine, and pre-cheap videotaping, Lippold's choreography doesn't survive so far as I know.)