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Christian Wolff – Early Piano Music (1951-1961) [2002]

Christian Wolff - Early Piano Music (1951-1961)
Christian Wolff – Early Piano Music (1951-1961) [2002]
Avant-Garde | EAC (APE+CUE) | 210 MB | Cover
John Tilbury, Christian Wolff, pianos • Eddie Prévost, percussion
Wolff first met Cage in New York in 1950 when at the age of sixteen he began to study composition with him. Wolff later described some of the things he learnt from Cage: “That musical structures are most usefully and clearly made in terms of time (rhythmic structures). That musical continuity need not follow along single, homogenous categories … That by making indeterminacy integral to the process of composing and (or) performing there can be brought about unpredictable successions, combinations, superpositions and overlaps which may surprise you, innocently and impersonally. That your work is not finished until performed, that it cannot but exist socially.”

Already, even before he met Cage, Wolff was asking some fairly fundamental questions: “What sort of sounds do you use?”, “Why should this sound follow that sound?”, “How do you structure this?”, i.e. questions of compositional choice, procedure and continuity. His experience up to then had been in classical music, which he had studied from an early age; he was discovering Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Bartok, Varese; he wanted to make a fresh start, to take nothing for granted. Someone gave him copies of Cowell’s New Music magazine, virtually a compendium of American experimental music since the 1930s. He was looking for alternative models, “anything to suggest you could work in a different way”. The meeting with Cage came at an opportune moment, when Cage had reached a critical point in his work: “I was with Cage when he finally decided that chance was the way to do it”.

– Michael Parsons, album booklet


Disc 1. solo

1-4. For Prepared Piano (1951)

  • I (1:54)
  • II (1:51)
  • III (1:37)
  • IV (1:51)

5. For Piano I (1952) 7:08

6. For Piano II (1953) 10:32

7-9. Suite (I) [1954]

  • I (3:19)
  • II (1:53)
  • III (2:15)

10-12. For Piano with Preparations (1957)

  • I (3:43)
  • II (1:32)
  • III (3:55)

13. For Pianist (1959) 12:15

Disc 2. for two pianists and a percussionist

1. Duo for Pianists I (1957) 4:11

2. Duo for Pianists II (1958) 11:05

3. Duet I (for piano four hands) [1960] 7:23

4. Trio II (for piano four hands and percussion) [1961] 15:39

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Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


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July 4, 2008 Posted by | Christian Wolff, Music_Classical, Music_Experimental, _MUSIC | Leave a comment