Michelle Chattaway's "John Cage"
Bacchanale was John Cage's
first composition for "prepared piano". He had previously written
separate works for piano and for percussion; here he brought them
together. From John Cage: An
Autobiographical Statement: "I
needed percussion instruments for music for a dance that had an African
character by Syvilla Fort. But the theatre in which she was to dance
had...only a small grand piano...I finally realised I had to change the
piano. I did so by placing objects between the strings. The piano was
transformed into a percussion orchestra having the loudness, say, of a
harpsichord." Michelle prepared the piano for this performance
in accordance with Cage's written instructions; the "objects" include
loose screws, pieces of felt, etc.
Ophelia, written several years
after Bacchanale, is dedicated
to dancer Jean Erdman.
Reviewing this concert, the Victoria Times-Colonist said "Two pieces by John Cage -- Bacchanale for
prepared piano and Ophelia for unprepared (if that is the word) piano
-- were both played with considerable rhythmic vitality and élan
by Michelle Chattaway."
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12 minutes, 11.2 MB