This is Volume 5 of MDG's ongoing series of the complete piano music of John Cage (1912-92). The grand irony for most composers is that they never live to see either their fame grow or their influence felt. This series--and this particular disc--highlights Cage's influence on much of postmodern American music (especially piano music), but especially the music of Morton Feldman. Feldman has his own distinct voice, but from Cage he got both his sense of suspended time and his knack for surprising (and unpredictable) tonalities. Of course, the student also can influence the teacher, as in Cage's 1989 composition called Two. Only Cage's predilection for thematic cogency and tonal fluidity prevents the piece from sounding like a disjointed Feldman work for two pianos. Exceptional here is A Book of Music, a 1944 composition for prepared piano that seems to anticipate some of Alan Hovhaness and much of Lou Harrison. It's unpredictable and never overstays its welcome.
Experience 1, of 1944, is a heartbreaking homage to Satie, played only on the white keys, itself strangely innovative. Music for Two (1984/87) has each note framed in specific phased structures with the actual piano strings bowed with fish line or wire to establish contrasting underlying textures. Pianists Josef Christof and Steffen Schleiermacher play with extraordinary care and exhibit a clear fondness for this music. Cage, however, isn't for everyone. Still, this series should become the high watermark for John Cage's piano music. -- From ClassicsToday.com