Howdy ya’ll. John Cage time!

One of the most famous modern composers, Cage was a pioneer of experimental music in the 20th century. Cage’s music most often broke out of common conventions of how music and sound were interpreted.

 A new addition to the Music Library collection, “John Cage: Shock” is a largely experimental set of CDs that encompass around 120 minutes of Cage’s and friends’ performances. The compositions incorporate a range of diverse sounds and even differing qualities of sound that produce fascinating and unpredictable pieces.


Compact Disc 10244

Much of Cage’s music was created to bring into question exactly what constitutes music. Cage’s efforts to break out of the boundaries of traditional Western musical practices are apparent, for example, in Sonatas & interludes for prepared piano, here performed by John Tilbury.

ImageCompact Disc 4520

For those interested, preparing a piano a la Cage involves installing different materials, such as rubber and metal, on and between the strings and hammers in the piano. This creates a less-than-traditional percussion instrument that holds to fewer conventions of “western” pitch.

 Cage’s longtime partner Merce Cunningham, a pioneer of modern dance, was a significant commissioner of many Cage pieces. Cunningham’s conscious separation of dance choreography with musical rhythm fit in well with Cage’s own unconventional styles of composition. In our CD collection Music for Merce many Cage pieces are featured, as well as pieces by David Tudor, Takehisa Kosugi, Stuart Dempster, and many more…


ImageCompact Disc 5518

Finally, I want to warn listeners who are new to Cage: this artist is at heart an experimental composer, which means that most of his music will require a non-traditional approach when listening. Without the use of predictable chord progressions or rhythms, Cage produces beautifully volatile pieces.

…Proceed with an open mind…