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Cage: The Works for Violin 3 - Two4

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Album Review

These two magnificent versions of John Cage's late duo work Two4, one with the Japanese sho (mouth organ), the other the piano, both feature the exceptional talents of violinist Irvine Arditti. Apart from mastering a range of microtonal inflections, the piece doesn't stretch him technically the way that a Ferneyhough or Xenakis work would, but its difficulties are subtler and no less challenging: Stephen Drury's excellent notes are some the clearest out there, with their lucid explanation of the nuances of Cage's time-bracket notation. The violin's sustained tones — sul ponticello and without vibrato — are crystalline and slightly jarring, and meld with the sho and the piano in radically different ways, and yet the "identity" (Cage's term) of the piece is clearly preserved in both versions. This is fantastically beautiful music performed with loving care and attention — quiet and restrained as ever, though quite distinct from the hushed carpet weaving of Morton Feldman, to which it has often been somewhat unjustly compared. Another fine addition to Mode's ongoing Cage collection.


Born: 08 February 1953 in London, England

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Irvine Arditti is the first violinist and leader of the Arditti Quartet, an ensemble that he co-founded as a student of the Royal Academy of Music in London in 1974. From 1978 to 1980, Arditti served as co-concertmaster for the London Symphony Orchestra, a position he voluntarily left in order to devote more time to the quartet. This turned out to be the right choice, as since then the Arditti String Quartet has become an institution in the realm of contemporary chamber music. The list of new works...
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Cage: The Works for Violin 3 - Two4, Irvine Arditti
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