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John Cage - Five

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Published on Mar 13, 2012

Five, for any 5 voices or instruments (1988)

Voices:
Andrea Fullington
Allison Zelles
Alan Bennett
Paul Elliott
Shabda Owens

John Cage's "Five" was composed in 1988. It is one of his series of forty-three compositions created between 1987 and 1992 that form the so-called "number pieces" of which the first was "Two" for flute and piano composed in 1987. The titles indicate the number of performers required for the piece, and superscripts (eg. "Four 2") used when a number is used more than once. Thus "Five" is for five performers, and in this case, the instrumentation is open-ended and may consist of any combination of voices and/or instruments that can produce the indicated tones. Tones are given within time brackets which give the amount of time within which a sound event occurs and ends, but it is left up to the performer to choose, according to their internal sensibilities (sense of timing, "musicality", etc.), when that event will be played (although more interesting simultaneities are produced when the players do not attempt to react to what they hear but simply proceed on their own as an ensemble of soloists). A performance of this piece typically takes about 5 minutes. Long tones combine etherically in simple and complex intervals, suggesting to some listeners a great unspoken mystery. [allmusic.com]

Art by Nicolas Carone

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