Wednesday, May 28, 2008

John Cage/Ben Johnston - HPSCHD/String Quartet No.2 (LP, Nonesuch H71224, 1970?)

Following the earlier record by John Cage, here is a large mixed media work, dealing with Harpsichords. Seven pieces are played at the same time and then there is no less than 51 electronic sounds. Cage performed this piece together with Lejaren Hiller. A record to clean out the party. On the bs-ide a string quartet by Ben Johnston, of whom I never heard. For me the Cage side is it. I wish more of his music would have this heavy character.



Anonymous said...

thank you for posting this caged wild thing - i still have my original vinyl copy. unfortunately i lent it to someone who lost the computer output sheet [sigh]....

Steve said...

I do think you should check out more Ben Johnston! Cage, he's in no danger of being forgotten - but Ben Johnston is one of the most important (IN MY OPINION) living composers today. The Kepler Quartet is planning on releasing a complete cycle of his string quartets, and there's also a nice Avant Garde Project release dedicated to him. I always thought these two pieces made an odd pairing on record - and perhaps the absolute massive sound of HPSCHD does a bit of a disservice to Johnston's slight but, on an internal level, incredibly huge quartet #2. Please post more rare Johnston if you come across it.

Thanks so much, this is one of the best blogs out there.