John Cage: Sixteen Dances

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BMOP/sound 1012
September 2009
SACD, 42:12
  • Boston Modern Orchestra Project
  • Gil Rose, conductor

Buy Recording

CD price: $19.99

Track Listing

Disc 1
  •  Sixteen Dances (1951)
  • 1.No. 1 [Anger]

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  • 2.No. 2 [Interlude]
  • 3.No. 3 [Humor]
  • 4.No. 4 [Interlude]
  • 5.No. 5 [Sorrow]
  • 6.No. 6 [Interlude]
  • 7.No. 7 [The Heroic]

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  • 8.No. 8 [Interlude]
  • 9.No. 9 [The Odious]
  • 10.No. 10 [Interlude]
  • 11.No. 11 [The Wonderous]

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  • 12.No. 12 [Interlude]
  • 13.No. 13 [Fear]
  • 14.No. 14 [Interlude]
  • 15.No. 15 [The Erotic]
  • 16.No. 16 [Tranquility]

Reviews

Fanfare reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
March 1, 2010 — John Cage composed these short dances in 1951, to accompany choreography by Merce Cunningham. In fact, according to Cunningham, much of the movement and rhythmic impetus came first, to which Cage coordinated musical phrases drawn from a chart of 64 different sonorities.
Fanfare Full review
Sequenza21 reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
February 21, 2010 — Sixteen Dances comes at a transitional time in Cage's career. Completed in the beginning of 1951, it intimates the importance of chance in his works from then onwards, but still retains a fascination for serial procedures and precompositional planning: a remnant of his 1940s studies of Webern. The overall plan of the piece involves a constantly morphing 8×8 array, albeit one which Cage deployed freely and in a wide variety of permutations.
Sequenza21 Full review
American Record Guide reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
January 1, 2010 — This work is from the 1950's and relates to Cage's Sonatas and Interludes in that it concerns the emotions of Indian aesthetics. It's also his last work before he committed himself seriously to the composition of music using chance operations. But like the contemporaneous concerto for prepared piano, it was made by beginning with a chart with rows and columns containing cells of fixed sounds, which he assembled into continuity by making moves about the chart.
American Record Guide Full review
BMOP takes on Cage's masterpiece and comes out dancing
December 1, 2009 — John Cage's 1951 Sixteen Dances was constructed by using a table of 64 different sounds arranged into eight rows of eight columns. Only one of the sounds could appear at any point in the piece. The chart's contents gradually change as the piece progresses, as the sounds are grouped into musical phrases. Sometimes the music is as spiky and pointillistic as Webern, yet other times repeated melodic fragments bubble up to the surface, only to dissipate just as your inner ear assumes that rhythmic groove might transpire.
Gramophone Full review
Music Web International reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
December 1, 2009 — While we are now fairly used to the idea of the chance operations in his music, it all had to start somewhere for John Cage, and Sixteen Dances is seen as a turning point in his career. This was the last work Cage composed before he committed himself entirely to the use of chance operations. It also represents an intermediate step on the way towards Cage's deployment of techniques that work with predefined collections of sounds.
Music Web International Full review
ClassicalCDReview reviews John Cage: Sixteen Dances
November 1, 2009 — From the near-sublime to the ridiculous. BMOP has issued this performance by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project directed by Gil Rose of Sixteen Dances by John Cage. This dates from the early 1950s when Cage collaborated with the late Merce Cunningham on a "big new piece" with this title. According to CD notes, in this "music" Cage uses chance, a new approach to musical composition, utilizing charts on which he wrote rhythmic structures. Scoring is for flute, trumpet, four percussionists, piano, violin and cello.
ClassicalCDReview Full review
BMOP Releases One of John Cage's First Chance Works
October 1, 2009 — "My purpose is to eliminate purpose."
Classical Voice of New England Full review