The Lily in a Crystal (after Herrick)

Description: 

Gregory W. Brown's first work for electromagnetically prepared piano. All of the sounds are generated either by typical means, harmonics (reaching inside the piano), or by electromagnetically actuating the strings. There are no loudspeakers involved. Cage's influence is clearly evident, though these electromagnetic preparations differ from Cage's in that the added elements do not ever touch the strings directly.

About The Artist
Gregory W. Brown is an avid composer of acoustic and electro-acoustic music with performances throughout the United States and Europe. His studies were taken with 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner Lewis Spratlan, Stefan Young, Adrian Childs, and Leonard V. (“Chic”) Ball. His recent commissions for vocal ensemble New York Polyphony have been heard on American Public Media’s Performance Today, Minnesota Public Radio, Kansas Public Radio, and Danish National Radio; and his latest major work, the Missa Charles Darwin, was featured at a recent TEDx event in Woods Hole, MA, with the full premiere coming shortly thereafter as part of the Falmouth Forum. Recent commissions include works for New York Polyphony, Athens Guitar Trio, Manhattan Choral Ensemble, and the 2012 Five-College Choral Festival in Northampton, MA.

Artist Name: 
Gregory W. Brown
NYPL video?: 
No

Balinese Bacchanale

Description: 

An arrangement of the Cage prepared piano work. For combined Balinese gamelan instruments. Arranged by Andrew McGraw and I Madé Subandi. Two differently tuned gamelan are combined to synthesize a non-tempered chromatic scale.

About The Artist
Ceraken, led by the renowned composer I Madé Subandi, is a Balinese music ensemble dedicated to traditional, contemporary and experimental Balinese music. Conceived and produced by Giovanni Sciarrino in July 2012, the project entailed arranging nine Cage prepared piano works for hybrid sets of gamelan and prepared gamelan.

Artist Name: 
Ceraken
NYPL video?: 
No

NYPL Video: Margaret Leng Tan Prepares the Piano for "Bacchanale"

Description: 

Pianist Margaret Leng Tan explains how she prepares a piano, by inserting bolts and other objects into the strings, to play John Cage's "Bacchanale." Tan is a talented and visionary pianist whose work sidesteps perceived artificial boundaries within the usual concert experience, creating a new level of communication with listeners. Embracing aspects of theater, choreography, performance, and even props, Tan has brought to the avant-garde a measure of showmanship tempered with a disciplinary rigor inherited from her mentor, John Cage. Born in Singapore, Tan was the first woman to earn a doctorate from Juilliard. Her desire to explore the crosscurrents between Asian music and that of the West led her to John Cage, sparking an active collaboration that lasted from 1981 until his death in 1992.

Artist Name: 
Margaret Leng Tan
NYPL video?: 
Yes

Manuscript Excerpt: This Perilous Night

Cage composed this work while separating from his wife, Xenia.

NYPL catalog record

C.F Peters record

Date [year]: 
1944
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Cage Preparing a Piano

John Cage prepares a piano by inserting objects between its strings. This innovative technique altered the piano's sound to emulate a percussion ensemble.

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"Sonata No. 1," interpreted by Pavel Ruminov

Description: 

Instrumentation includes a prepared piano.

Artist Name: 
Pavel Ruminov

Manuscript Excerpt: In the Name of the Holocaust

This piece refers to the Second World War.

NYPL catalog record

C.F Peters record

Date [year]: 
1942
Image: 
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Inside a Prepared Piano

This photograph shows the inside of a piano after Cage had placed objects between its strings.

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Manuscript Excerpt: Credo in US

Cage's first work to use a radio or record player; he suggests playing records of Beethoven, Dvorak, Shostakovich, or Sibelius.

Date [year]: 
1942
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Manuscript Excerpt: Music for "Works of Calder"

Cage composed this music for a Herbert Matter film about the artist Alexander Calder. The soundtrack included the noise, recorded in Calder's studio, of mobiles colliding into one another.

NYPL catalog record

Date [year]: 
1950
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