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Published on Oct 2, 2011
Margaret Leng Tan, prepared piano
This DVD recording of Sonatas and Interludes was selected as a "Desert Island Choice" by Gramophone (Feb, 2007).
In 1944, John Cage was invited to participate in "The Imagery of Chess" exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York City. The artists included Calder, Noguchi, Motherwell, Breton, Duchamp, Ernst, Man Ray, Tanning and other leading surrealists.
Cage contributed a painting entitled "Chess Pieces". It was purchased at the show and went into a private collection. For decades it was deemed lost and was (almost) forgotten by Cage afficionados and scholars.
Re-assembling the original artworks for "The Imagery of Chess Revisited" show (2005-06) at the Isamu Noguchi Museum in New York led to the tracking down of the Cage painting.
Cage expert Margaret Leng Tan set about transcribing the music in the painting into a playable score which receives its premiere recording here.
Chess Pieces is from 1944, an emotional and creative year for Cage; besides echoes of Satie, Chess Pieces contains prophetic touches of minimalism and has features in common with his monumental piano piece, Four Walls, from the same year.
A renowned Cage interpreter, Ms. Tan worked closely with the composer from 1981 to 1992. Cage was particularly appreciative of her performances of his works for the prepared piano. This is Ms. Tan's long-awaited recording of Cage's prepared piano masterpiece, the Sonatas and Interludes of 1946-48.
Also included is the first recording of the only other musical score from "The Imagery of Chess" show, neo-classical composer Vittorio Rieti's Chess Serenade.
Also available as a surround sound DVD with full performance videos of Chess Pieces and Chess Serenade, plus 2 documentaries: Mr. Cage's Prepared Piano (Ms. Tan takes an in-depth look at the prepared piano).