CAGE, JOHN As It Is. Alexei Lubimov, Natalia Pschenitschnikova. ECM New Series

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Cage John As It Is Natalia Pschenitschnikova Ecm New Series

JOHN CAGE

As It Is

1. Dream

2. The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs (Words by James Joyce)

3. The Unavailable Memory of

4. A Flower

5. Music for Marcel Duchamp

6. Experiences No. 2 (Words by e.e.cummings)

7. A Room

Three Songs (Words by Gertrude Stein)

8. I. Twenty Years After

9. II. Is It As It Was

10. III. At East and Ingredients

Two Pieces For Piano

11. I

12. II

Five Songs (Words by e.e.cummings)

13. Little four paws

14. Little Christmas tree

15. In Just-

16. Hist whist

17. Tumbling hair

18. Prelude for Meditation

19. She Is Asleep

20. Nowth Upon Nacht (Words by James Joyce)

21. Dream (var.)

Alexei Lubimov (piano, prepared piano),

Natalia Pschenitschnikova (voice)

A fresh approach to one of contemporary composition’s most iconoclastic and inventive figures, ‘As It Is’ is issued to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of John Cage. Early Cage is the subject here, strikingly original songs and piano pieces from the 1930s and 1940s. Songs in which Cage set words by writers whose vision was as independent as his own – James Joyce, Gertrude Stein, and e e cummings. They are performed by the Russian pianist Alexei Lubimov – who championed Cage’s work in Russia and later had a close working relationship with him – and his compatriot, vocalist Natalia Pschenitschnikova.

As Paul Griffiths writes, “The music exists in singing that has a raw, living edge, and it exists in piano tone that can be utterly simple and utterly remarkable. There is also a third presence, that of the producer, bringing forward the extraordinary resonances that come from Lubimov’s piano, with preparation or without.” With Manfred Eicher producing, the recording was made in December 2011 in Zürich. Lubimov grasps both the playfulness of the music and its message of freedom.

Lubimov previously included Cage’s In a Landscape on his 2002 debut recording for ECM New Series, Der Bote (4618122), a disc of piano elegies. Among his other acclaimed recordings for the label are works by Scriabin, Stravinsky, Shostakovich, Schnittke, Arvo Pärt, and Valentin Silvestrov. Earlier this summer his double album of Debussy’s Preludes and other pieces (4764735) attracted huge praise and was BBC Music Magazine’s ‘Recording of the Month’ in July. Natalia Pschenitschnikova has appeared on two previous ECM discs of Giya Kancheli as a flautist.

ECM New Series 4764933

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