Herbert Henck - John Cage: Early Piano Music (2005)

Reason for Listening:
To better familiarize myself with John Cage's work.

I was introduced to music by the composer John Cage in graduate school. I would occasionally listen to a Pandora station with John Cage as an artist seed. In any case, I recently brought the name up in conversation and I had realized that I never really listened to just John Cage (i.e., an album of his). As such, I decided to look for and listen to one of his albums. I don't recall how, but I ended up listening to this one.

Released 20050606.
21 songs. 69:12. John Cage: Early Piano Music (2005)

[20210307 Edit]
First listen.
Track 1 is quiet. ("The Seasons: 1. Prelude I")
Track 2 more powerful. ("The Seasons: 2. Winter")
Hmm... ("The Seasons: 3. Prelude II").
I've spent so much time listening to pop and thinking about chords that this music is very refreshing. I'm not off put at all. I would consider making a piece inspired by it. If anything my music is already full of dissonance which I enjoy. Actually, now that I think of it, I've seen examples of dissonance in songs which would break what is taught in basic music theory (chords and notes of a key). I guess that's an example of the difference between school and art. School has guidelines and rules. Art does not. ("The Seasons: 4. Spring")
Track 6 calms down ("The Seasons 6. Summer").
Huh. What produced some of these sounds, the high notes? ("The Seasons: 7. Prelude IV").
Continues on the theme of high notes, more rhythmic ("The Seasons: 8. Fall").
Track 8 ends "Boom Boom." I expected a third boom which never came.
If I use my intuition, then "Metamorphosis: II" feels faster than "I."
"Metamorphosis: III" initially takes a gloomy turn with many bass notes.
"Metamorphosis: III" is a long track and really has many themes. (I moved it from a "0" to a "1")
In contrast, "Metamorphosis: IV" goes by quickly. Almost unnoticed.
As I'm listening to "In A Landscape," I noticed on the back cover (Amazon product page) that the pieces are simply listed as "The Seasons," "Metamorphosis," "In A Landscape," "Ophelia," "Two Pieces for Piano," "Quest," and "Two Pieces for Piano."
I love the pauses in this ("Two Pieces For Piano (1946): I")

3: "In A Landscape"; "Two Pieces For Piano (1946): I";
2: "The Seasons: 2. Winter"; "The Seasons: 3. Prelude II"; "The Seasons 6. Summer"; "The Seasons: 7. Prelude IV"; "The Seasons: 8. Fall"; "Ophelia"; "Two Pieces for Piano (1935): II Quite fast"; "Two Pieces For Piano (1946): II";
1: "The Seasons: 1. Prelude I"; "Metamorphosis: I"; "Metamorphosis: II"; "Metamorphosis: III"; "Metamorphosis: V"; "Two Pieces for Piano (1935): I Slowly"; "Quest";
0: "The Seasons: 9. Finale (Prelude I)"; "Metamorphosis: IV";

I think my lack of familiarity with the genre inevitably resulted in ratings which would be less precise than my ratings for an album in a genre that I'm familiar with. In other words, if I were to listen to an album several times and perform independent ratings, there is likely going to be more variability in the assigned ratings when the album belongs to an unfamiliar genre compared to a familiar one. In any case, this might explain why the distribution of ratings of the album's individual songs differs from my overall impression of the album lies (the song rating distribution might suggest a 4.0 while I rated the overall album a 4.6). I enjoyed all the tracks, but perhaps I would not be completely committed to sitting down and listening to the album from start to finish on a frequent basis. With that being said, I will likely begin to listen to this genre of music more.

Overall Rating: 4.6/5
Favorite Song: "In A Landscape"

[20210307 Edit]

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